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Why you should cruise the Arabian Gulf – discover Dubai, Abu Dhabi & Qatar with MSC Cruises

Author: Lucy Abbott

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MSC Cruises has extended the successful sailing of MSC Virtuosa in the Arabian Gulf to the gorgeous MSC Bellissima, visiting fascinating destinations such as Dubai and Doha – lucky you!

Travel somewhere hot with MSC Cruises and discover new destinations and cultures to immerse yourself in when you cruise to Dubai

Whether you are swimming to the edge of the highest 360-degree infinity pool in the world in Dubai or gazing in amazement at the Swarovski encrusted 24-carat gold crystal chandeliers at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi – there is plenty to see in the United Arab Emirates.

What’s more, you can enjoy an exclusive cruise and fly deal package, courtesy of MSC’s partnership with Emirates, thanks to which you can fly from the UK directly to Dubai, so no faffing around with connecting flights.

What better ship to discover countless stunning destinations on than MSC Bellissima? She certainly lives up to her name and features a beautiful 80 meters long LED dome on the promenade.

These impressive Arabian Gulf itineraries are sailing up until June 2022 so if you fancy getting onboard you will have to be quick.

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Cruises to Dubai

Dubai is an exciting, innovative and unique destination to visit by cruise - with major landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa and the stunning Burj al Arab to admire.

Dubai also offers a perfect warm escape thanks to the sun, sea and an elevated version of shopping, as there is a multitude of extravagantly themed shopping centres to pick from.

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Yet there is much more to discover than simply a bustling shopping scene. MSC brings you to a different side of Dubai, one that offers up an intriguing mix of traditional Arabian houses and an ever-changing impressive skyline.

You can discover this stunning city on a seven-night ‘Emirates’ itinerary onboard MSC Bellissima roundtrip from Dubai departing throughout April, May and June 2022.

MSC Cruises offers countless excursions for you to discover Dubai.

Embark on an excursion in Dubai with MSC Cruises. Credit: Shutterstock

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A truly special experience is the ‘Snapshot of Dubai’ excursion on which you will gain unrestricted views of this exciting city from the luxury of a helicopter – the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion like a birthday or wedding anniversary.

Another tempting excursion is the ‘Discover Dubai and lunch at the Burj al Arab’. Enjoy a tour of the historical Al Bastakiya district before visiting the Dubai Museum and the huge gold souk to admire the surprisingly cheap gold jewellery as well as multiple other sightseeing opportunities.

Sir Bani Yas Island

Your next port of call, Sir Bani Yas Island, provides a stark contrast to Dubai. With the focus firmly on delicious beach BBQ food, water sports and nature, the island is one-of-a-kind.

To make the most of your time on the soft sands, take part in the MSC Beach Experience which includes a delectable barbecue lunch of juicy grilled burgers and vegetables alongside fresh salads, pastries and fruit.

Step onto the soft sands of Sir Bani Yas Island with MSC Cruises. Credit: Shutterstock

The drink options are endless too, with a range of refreshing beers, cocktails and soft drinks. Wherever you are on the beach, you will never be far away from the bar as the island boasts six of them.

Entertainment includes plenty of high energy activities such as volleyball and beach tennis as well as paddle boarding and snorkelling - or you can simply party the day away at a beach party!

- READ MORE: MSC Cruises reveals Winter 2022/2023 programme -

Wildlife lovers might like to see the expansive nature reserve, with the spot home to endangered species from a range of locations including Africa.

Sand gazelles, the Arabian Oryx and cheetahs are just a few of the animals living in the nature reserve – see if you can spot them.

Make the most of the bustling atmosphere that Abu Dhabi possesses. Credit: Shutterstock

Abu Dhabi

As the United Arab Emirates capital, it comes as no surprise that Abu Dhabi is full to the brim with attractions.

F1 fans can enjoy Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island which offers a whole host of Ferrari-themed rides, including an F1 simulator and the world’s fastest roller coaster - the Formula Rossa.

Don’t miss the world’s biggest and most expensive mosque to have ever been built, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It took around 12 years to build and cost $50 million!

Qatar Cruises

Doha in Qatar is your last port of call before heading back to Dubai – and this capital city is a futuristic sight to behold.

Doha, the capital city of Qatar, is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf. Credit: Shutterstock

Appreciate the plethora of modern skyscrapers that include the torch-shaped Aspire Tower, measuring a staggering 300 metres.

Sports fans will enjoy seeing the preparation the city is making to host the 2022 World Cup, having already hosted famed sports events such as the XII Pan Arab games.

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Doha also features a historical centre where you can watch lively exchanges of everything from gold to animals in the souk.

You can also take part in the ‘Sunset Doha Desert Safari’ during which you can admire the stunning dune landscapes made up of beautiful light sand. You will then watch a Tannourah folkloric show and indulge in a BBQ dinner – yum!

So, if you fancy flying away sooner rather than later to a new exciting destination, then cruise with MSC.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.