Abu Dhabi Ports has begun welcoming cruise liners at Sir Bani Yas Island, with two prominent cruise ships having made their maiden calls at the island last week as part of their international itinerary.
A popular leisure destination, Sir Bani Yas Island is an award-winning nature and wildlife island reserve. One of the largest natural islands in the UAE, the destination is home to three luxury Anantara resorts and offers a variety of activities for guests of all ages such as archery, horseback riding, land sailing, pearl diving, kayaking and more. Also featured on the island is the Arabian Wildlife Park, which is home to an impressive number of free-roaming wildlife.
The first cruise vessel to arrive to Sir Bani Yas Island for a day-long stay was Island Sky, owned by Noble Caledonia. Meanwhile, Seaborne Sojourn, a 450-passenger capacity vessel owned by Carnival Corporation, also docked at the Island for a daytime holiday.
CEO, Abu Dhabi Ports, Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi commented: “We are introducing this new beach stopover to cruise liners as part of our ongoing efforts to reinforce the emirate’s appeal as a leading cruise tourism destination in the region. This beautiful beach destination will definitely enrich the itinerary of the visiting cruise ships.
“We are happy to start welcoming cruise vessels now at Sir Bani Yas Island, ahead of another important development ― the scheduled opening of the state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Zayed Port next month,” he added.
Currently under development as a cruise stopover, Abu Dhabi Ports is preparing to officially launch the Sir Bani Yas Island cruise stopover in late 2016. Until then, those visiting will enjoy temporary facilities established for their arrival, and will be given access to the Island’s diverse activities.
Upon its official launch, the Sir Bani Yas Island cruise stopover will have wooden boardwalks around the Island, barbecue facilities, hammocks, cabanas along the beach, dining and visitor facilities and more.
Adding to this, a dedicated information centre for cruise staff and tourists will also be developed as well as additional beach, sports, and water sports facilities, including an aqua park, boat tours and wildlife excursions.
Acting executive director of tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, Sultan Al Dhaheri noted: “The 2015/16 cruise season will be a defining moment in the development of Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s most exciting emerging cruise destinations. The addition of the Arabian Gulf’s first dedicated cruise beach stopover at Sir Bani Yas Island adds weight to Abu Dhabi’s distinct and diversified shore excursion opportunities, and this exclusive desert-island beach cruise passenger experience further strengthens the emirate’s existing attraction, entertainment, shopping and rich cultural tour options.”