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14 Dec 2015 07:30

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, celebrated the official opening of Abu Dhabi’s new cruise terminal, flying in more than 650 guests for the inaugural voyage from the facility in Zayed Port. 

In conjunction with MSC Cruises, Etihad Airways has created a special Fly-Cruise package for travellers from around the world to experience the splendours of luxury cruising around the Arabian Gulf. MSC Cruises’ ship, MSC Musica, will serve the region for the 2015/2016 cruise season which runs ‪from 13 December 2015 to 3 April 2016.

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier’s destination management company, Hala Abu Dhabi, is also providing eight unique tours to MSC Cruises guests that can be pre-purchased online or bought on board the ship. The Abu Dhabi shore excursions and tour experiences will all delivered by qualified guides.

Peter Baumgartner, Chief Commercial Officer for Etihad Airways, said: “The new cruise terminal at Zayed Port represents our shared vision alongside our local partners to position Abu Dhabi as a world-class transport hub.

“Cruising is an exciting and fast growing sector of the travel industry and we look forward to helping develop this segment further with the expansion of our services from the brand new cruise terminal in Abu Dhabi.”

Many of the ground services will also be handled by Etihad Airways and Hala Abu Dhabi. The airline will provide an enhanced guest experience in Abu Dhabi including a meet and greet service and return coach transfers between Abu Dhabi Airport and the Cruise Terminal. 

Additionally, Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC) has placed 15 check-in counters at the cruise terminal where the airline will provide check-in services, allowing passengers to proceed directly to immigration and customs. Currently cruise passengers in the region need to disembark the ship and go to the airport to check-in for their flights.

MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned global cruise line, is offering week-long cruises from Abu Dhabi with ports of call including Khor Fakkan (UAE), Muscat and Khasab (Oman) and Dubai. The company has repositioned MSC Musica, a 1,268 cabin vessel accommodating more than 2,500 passengers, to Abu Dhabi to operate the 16 week-long cruises from the new terminal during the current season.

Located at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Port, the new terminal covers 8,000sqm and houses all key passenger facilities, retail outlets and a café. The architectural design of the new terminal is based on the UAE’s heritage and identity with a view of the Louvre Museum.

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