(3:45 p.m. EST) -- MSC has joined with Cruise Saudi, an organization dedicated to developing the cruise industry in Saudi Arabia, to debut a brand-new season of Red Sea cruises set to debut in winter 2021-2022. The weeklong voyages, which will be open to international passengers around the globe, will take place aboard MSC Magnifica and the brand-new MSC Virtuosa, with the first departures from Jeddah starting in November.
Each sailing will call on a variety of ports and destinations around the region, along with three Saudi ports. Weekly calls will be made to Al Wajh, gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Al-Ula, formerly known as Hegra.
Jeddah is the second-largest port in the Middle East, and one of the largest cities in Saudi Arabia. A dedicated partnership between MSC and national airline Saudia will allow for itinerary modifications to coincide with the anticipated schedules for MSC Magnifica and MSC Virtuosa (from select international cities). Passengers booked aboard MSC Magnifica will also have the ability to take in the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 5, 2021. MSC will operate its new Red Sea cruises through March 2022. MSC did not specify whether these cruises will require vaccinations against COVID-19, PCR tests, or both. Cruise Critic has reached out to MSC to confirm.