“Cruise Saudi’s vision is to become a world class cruise port and cruise line operator, in line with Vision 2030, and launching a new cruise line is a natural step in our ambitious plans,” said Lars Clasen, CEO of Cruise Saudi.
The company acquired the former World Dream at an auction in late 2022 for over $300 million. The ship is now in Germany for an extended refit, with details set to be unveiled soon, Clasen said, in an interview with Cruise Industry News.
“The new name (of the ship) as well as details about the level of work, timeline and investment will be announced during the commercial launch but the dedicated AROYA Cruises team are working hard to ensure the facilities onboard are of the highest standard for guests,” he said.
Columbia Blue is the current ship manager and acting project manager during the ship’s refurbishment, Clasen noted, adding that future operational activities will be defined at a later stage.
The World Dream, originally built by Meyer Werft for Genting and the premium Dream Cruises brand, will be converted to a ship for the Arabian demographic.
“Everything from the staff and the food to the way rooms are furnished is designed to reflect Arabian preferences,” he continued.
“AROYA Cruises is reinventing what it means to holiday in Arabia and will be the cruise line that leads the way, by creating joyful and memorable experiences for guests at sea and on-shore, commercially and sustainably.”
While deployment is another item set to be revealed soon, expect both local trips in the Middle East and more international sailings.
“Locally, AROYA Cruises will offer passengers the opportunity to explore Saudi along the beautiful Red Sea and Arabian Gulf. Deployment,” Clasen said.
The first ship combined with numerous port projects in Saudi Arabia may just be an opening act.
“Locally, we expect to increase our passenger numbers year on year, and open up the Saudi coastlines to our target audience, who may never have otherwise visited. AROYA Cruises will also help us achieve our goal of providing 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in Saudi by 2035,” Clasen said. “On a wider scale, we hope the AROYA Cruises fleet will continue to grow, in line with Cruise Saudi’s wider efforts to put Saudi on the global cruising map and welcome 1.3 million international and local passengers by 2035.”