Ras Al Khaimah Port Cruise Terminal welcome the arrival of its inaugural cruise ship “MV Seabourn Ovation” on 1st December 2019. The cruise ship was escorted in style along Ras Al Khaimah’s Creek by the tugs from Saqr Port and arrived to a red carpet reception, a local Bahriya band and authentic Arabic traditions of food, beverage and entertainment, within the idyllic setting of the overlooking Jebel Jais mountain range and the city of Ras Al Khaimah. The ship guests disembarked and took part in tourism activities offered in Ras Al Khaimah, such as the Jebel Jais Zip Wire, Culture & Heritage Tours including a trip to the Pearl Farm in Al Rams, Desert & Dune Safari’s or just relaxing at the hotels restaurants and beaches.
MV Seabourn Ovation is an ultra luxury boutique cruise ship, carrying approx. 600 guests and is currently on its middle eastern tour of the GCC including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat & Doha. The vessel was constructed and completed in April 2018 by Fincanteri in Genoa, Spain.
Ras Al Khaimah Ports (RAK Ports) and RAK Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) have been working closely together, developing the new boutique terminal and reinforcing the cruise and water tourism opportunities in Ras Al Khaimah.
The inaugural call took place on the morning of 1 Dec 2019 and which saw the attendance of Chief Executive Officers and General Managers from the Emirate’s leading businesses, representatives from destination management & tourism companies, official representatives from RAK Customs, Immigration, Police, Tourism and Ports Authority, who had a VIP tour of the vessel and took part in the customary exchange of pleasantry’s and plaques onboard the ship’s forward viewing deck.
RAK Ports, RAKTDA, RAK Hospitality and RAK transport authority will continue work on multiple maritime projects to support the development of boutique cruise and water tourism offerings. To achieve these goals the departments will develop a marine transport infrastructure around the cruise terminal, while RAKTDA will design and enhance visitor itineraries and tourism opportunities for future arrivals during the 2020-2022 seasons and further attract leisure cruise passengers. RAK Ports & RAK Transport Authority will also facilitate water tourism operations by developing state of the art ferry, abra and water bus passenger platforms, commence water bus services from RAK Creek to Al Hamra, Marjan, Mina Al Arab, and develop a marine licensing authority for leisure Dhows, water buses and abras carrying passengers in RAK territorial waters.
Captain Clifford William Brand, CEO of RAK Ports commented: “We are pleased to receive this inaugural visit of MV Seabourn Ovation after completing the development of the city’s first boutique cruise vessel passenger terminal, which is able to accommodate vessels up to 210m in length carrying approx. 1000 guest. The terminal has been installed with state of the art Immigration E-Gate equipment, CCTV, security X-Ray machines to ensure that ships guests receive an impeccable service and enjoy a hassle-free experience”.
Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority said: “We have identified the cruise segment as a key part of our Destination strategy 2019-2021 and have been working on developing the infrastructure to promote our cruise tourism proposition. While we aim to diversify our tourism offering to reach a wider segment of visitors, we recognize the importance of cruise tourism and its appeal for active adventurers, wellness seekers and cultural explorers from around the world. It is an honour to inaugurate the terminal with the arrival of the Seabourn cruise ship, given its international recognition and stature within the marine industry. We look forward to developing our strategic partnership with the brand, and welcoming further vessels to the Ras Al Khaimah Port”.
The ship arrived at 11am on the 1st of December, before setting sail again at 4.30pm on the same day. The general feedback received from the ships guests on their return was extremely positive, conveying their thanks for the “amazing spectacular morning welcome” they received from the local Emirati Bahriya band, the friendly and efficient terminal and immigration formalities and the wide variety of opportunities they experienced whilst in Ras Al Khaimah, albeit for only a few hours. The Seabourn brand has attained recognition on an international level, through its incorporation of new concepts, fresh vision and appeal to the most discerning travelers.