Cruise Saudi welcomed Viking Star from Viking to Saudi for its inaugural visit on 30 March. The ship called at Jeddah Islamic Port where a plaque and key exchange ceremony took place before traveling on to call at Yanbu Port.
The visit from Viking Star marks the fifth ship to sail Saudi waters as part of Cruise Saudi’s mandate to build a world-class cruise industry in the country, opening up a new gateway for tourism in line with Vision 2030, Saudi’s transformation blueprint.
Viking Star is one of Viking’s award-winning ocean ships. Relatively small in size, with a capacity of 930 guests, the ship is able to dock where other larger ships cannot and provide a smooth embarkation and debarkation process.
The interior and facilities on the cruise ship are in line with Viking’s Nordic theme – the award-winning spa has been designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind. The Explorers’ Lounge and Mamsen’s gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow of the ship and designed to represent the Scandinavian spirit for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.
Commenting on the Viking Star visit, Cruise Saudi’s Chief Executive Officer, Lars Clasen said: “Viking Star’s visit is an important milestone for Cruise Saudi in welcoming a new cruise line to Saudi. We are proud to have hosted ships from some of the biggest and most renowned international cruise lines including Viking. We are excited to offer tourists a new and exciting opportunity to discover all that Saudi has to offer from pristine islands and beaches of the Red Sea to unique culture and heritage – all underpinned by the quintessential Saudi hospitality.”
“We aim to be recognized as a world-class one-stop-shop maritime operator and to develop the cruise industry in Saudi as an important economic pillar of tourism in line with Vision 2030. Our ultimate goal is to establish the Red Sea and Saudi as a cruising hub, echoing the history of the region as a maritime hub.”
Cruise Saudi has welcomed and has built partnerships with several major international cruise lines including MSC Cruises, Scenic Group, Silversea and Viking, which have completed more than 70 sailings during the summer and winter seasons in 2021 and 2022.
Cruise Saudi is based in Jeddah, formed to develop the infrastructure and services required to scale a full-suite cruise market along the Saudi coastline. The company, a 100% Public Investment Fund-owned business, is responsible for the port development at key Saudi destinations as well as scaling cruise services, from marketing to Shorex coordination and vessel operations. Cruise Saudi works hand in hand with ministries and regulatory authorities to build the offshore and onshore cruise ecosystem with the aim of positioning Saudi as a premier global cruise destination.
Saudi’s coastline is the nexus between classic Mediterranean destinations and a multitude of Indian Ocean hotspots, offering a pristine maritime route for cruisegoers from around the world. Located a mere three-hour flight from 250 million people in Europe, Asia, and Africa, Cruise Saudi’s ports and routes along the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf will provide an ideal base for cruise passengers to discover the authentic treasures of Arabia and beyond. Cruise Saudi seeks to create 50,000 jobs in the cruise industry in Saudi by 2035.