MSC Bellissima’s Saudi Arabia Program Extended Into Winter

MSC Cruises has announced today that the MSC Bellissima will extend her deployment in Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea for winter 2021/2022 season, following a “highly successful” inaugural summer season in the region.

According to a press release, the Bellissima will replace the Magnifica, which was previously scheduled to serve in the region this winter.

MSC said that the MSC Bellissima and her Red Sea itineraries have proven “very popular” since she first commenced sailing in July from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and her continued deployment in the region will “further enrich the cruise experience for guests looking for the ultimate winter getaway.”

The itinerary for winter 21/22 is brand new for the cruise line and is “the first of its kind,” according to MSC. It offers international and local guests opportunities to discover Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan by cruise ship – exploring their culture, history, tradition and enjoying their beaches.

From Oct. 30, 2021, the MSC Bellissima will offer seven-night cruises from Jeddah, calling at the ports of Ras Al Abyad, Aqaba for Petra in Jordan, Safaga for Luxor in Egypt and then Al Wajh and Yanbu, in Saudi Arabia.

The MSC Bellissima is one of the newest ships in the MSC Cruises fleet, first launched in 2019. Its facilities include the MSC Yacht Club, 12 dining venues and more than 20 lounges, a dedicated family deck area, two entertainment venues, an 80-meter-long LED Sky and more.

Itinerary Highlights:

• Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – Homeporting in this city, guests will have their pick of sites to visit. AlBalad, the old town of Jeddah and a cultural hotspot, dates back to the seventh century and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites Saudi Arabia has to offer. Jeddah is also known for its waterfront and modern shopping malls, offering entertainment and recreational activities to its visitors.

• Ras Al Abyad, Saudi Arabia – known as “the White Coast” due to its white beaches.

• Aqaba for Petra, Jordan – This city on the Red Sea coast is a “haven for divers and history buffs alike,” MSC said. Guests can snorkel in the Aqaba Marine Park, visit Mamluk Castle and the Aqaba Archaeological Museum, and much more. Aqaba’s close proximity to Petra offers guests a chance to travel to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, inhabited since as early as 7,000 BC, and discover its rock-cut architecture.

• Safaga for Luxor, Egypt – A short distance from one of Egypt’s most spectacular destinations, the small city of Safaga is the gateway to Luxor, which offers the ruins of the Luxor, Karnak temples and the Necropolis – where guests will find the Valley of Kings and the Valley of Queens.

• Al Wajh, Saudi Arabia – The coastal city of AlWajh offers turquoise seas and 100 km of beaches on either side. It once served as one of the region’s central shipping ports. Its abandoned AlBalad old town features ancient Hejazi architecture made from Red Sea coral. It now serves as a coastal gateway to AlUla, home to Hegra (Al-Hijr Archaeological Site) one of Saudi Arabia’s cultural masterpieces and its first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features more than 110 tombs carved from giant rock formations as well as ancient sites that date back to the first millennium BC.

• Yanbu, Saudi Arabia – This major port is the final stop on this seven-night cruise. The old town of Yanbu, located within walking distance from the port, dates back 2,500 years and offers one of the oldest souks, where traders used to come from places far and wide to sell their goods. The city is known as “the diving capital of Saudi Arabia,” and is an attractive tourist destination due to its white sandy shores and lively coral reefs, offering opportunities for snorkeling and water activities in the Saudi Red Sea.

At the end of March 2022, the Bellissima will leave the region and reposition to Japan for her planned cruises out of Yokohama from Apr. 21.

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