Royal Caribbean -- which will sail its first full season of cruises, roundtrip from Dubai, from January through March of 2010 -- today announced that the 90,090-ton, 2,112-passenger Brilliance of the Seas will return to the burgeoning port to operate nine roundtrip cruises from January through March of 2011.
The seven-night voyages are the same as 2010's, with calls in Fujairah and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; Mina Sulman, Bahrain; and Oman's capital city of Muscat. The ship will overnight in Dubai at the beginning and end of each cruise. New for 2011, however, are two 12-night Dubai and India roundtrip sailings -- departing on March 28 and April 9 -- which will include the ship's maiden port calls in India's Mumbai, Goa and Cochin.
Also new -- and available as an add-on for cruises in 2010 and 2011 -- is an "Arabian Explorer" cruisetour program. These four-night land stays will be led by escorts and will offer guests in-depth, four-wheel-drive explorations of Dubai and the emirates of Raps Al Khaimah and Fujairah. Camel-racing and a sunset dinner at a Bedouin camp are among the highlights.
Brilliance will also sail 14- and 16-night repositioning itineraries between Barcelona and Dubai that transit the Suez Canal and call on ports in Egypt.
Costa, Peter Deilmann and Silversea Cruises also offer roundtrip Dubai itineraries, and lines like P&O, Crystal, Cunard, Holland America, Regent, Royal Caribbean and Silversea offer one-way itineraries, departing from the Middle Eastern port. However, Brilliance of the Seas is the largest cruise ship sailing an entire season from Dubai.
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor