More than 700 passengers of the luxury cruise ship Azamara Journey visited Doha as the vessel berthed at the Doha Port for a day as part of their 10-day trip in the Gulf region.
The 11-deck ship, which came from Bahrain, was scheduled to leave early Tuesday for Abu Dhabi. It is the second of the 32 cruise ships expected to visit Qatar during the 2016/2017 season.
In a press statement, Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani Qatar) said passengers were able to disembark with ease and received a ‘seamless tourist experience’ under the new entry procedure, free of charge.
“The joint efforts had contributed to facilitate the procedures and provide best services to the passengers who expressed their satisfaction with the level of services that accompanied them throughout their stay in the port,” it added.
Mwani Qatar wants to develop Doha Port into a special marine excursion tourist port after transferring all business processes to Hamad Port by end of this year.
The redevelopment of Doha Port is part of the country’s strategic aim to achieve the National Vision 2030 as it aims to contribute in making Qatar a vibrant hub and a key destination for cruise tourism.
Many of the 724 cruise passengers took the Doha city tour while others opted to visit the northern part of the country, particularly the Al Zubarah Fort.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Margarita, an American from Miami in Florida said she flew from New York to Dubai for an Arabian cruise with her friends.
“This is my first time in Qatar and I know there are a lot of developments here,” she said.
Part of Margarita’s itinerary included visiting the iconic Museum of Islamic Art, Katara – the Cultural Village, Souq Waqif, and The Pearl-Qatar.
Steve, another American, said he plans to visit some tourist destinations such as museums to learn more about Qatar’s culture and history.
Qatari cultural performers treated cruise passengers with the traditional (sword) dance and songs at the port’s entrance.
“It was a lovely and fantastic trip, I enjoy seeing these cultural performances, and also a beautiful weather here,” said a Canadian tourist, also a first time visitor in Qatar.
Another American took the dhow ride and city tour while some of his compatriots went for a desert safari in Mesaieed.
According to Mwani Qatar, Azamara Journey is an R-class cruise ship owned and operated by Azamara Club Cruises, a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises. The ship was built in year 2000 for Renaissance Cruises as R Six.
The ship can carry between 710 and 781 passengers and more than 400 crew members. Its gross tonnage is 30,277 tons and has a range of spacious staterooms or suites, many of which feature a private veranda and all offering complimentary butler service.
Qatari performers welcome cruise passengers with traditional dances and songs. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar
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