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Cruise giant to set sail from new homeport in Jeddah

JEDDAH (Arabnews): DUBAI: It’s the ultimate in all-inclusive, luxury holidays and no doubt on the bucket list of many an avid traveler — postcard-worthy cruises have long been sought after by holiday makers looking for a destination-hopping good time.

Now, for the first time, global cruise company MSC Cruises is offering passengers the chance to sail the Red Sea from its new homeport in Jeddah.

From Nov. 13, the MSC Magnifica will sail seven-night itineraries, including visits to Aqaba for Petra in Jordan, Safaga for Luxor in Egypt, and the Saudi ports of Al-Wajh and Yanbu before returning to Jeddah.

However, the behemoth ship is a holiday destination itself, with restaurants, entertainment and shopping venues, as well as a planned aqua park which will be added this summer.

The ship’s leisure facilities include a spa, an open-air pool complex and an indoor pool with a retractable roof, so guests can enjoy a dip regardless of the weather.

For all the athletes, sports and activities include tennis, minigolf, bowling, billiards, along with a high-tech gym and a jogging track.

For kids and teenagers, there are themed venues on board the MSC Magnifica, along with kids’ clubs with dedicated programs of daytime activities that will help the children break the ice and make new friends.

When it comes to evening entertainment, the boat offers multiple ways for guests to spend their leisure time. These include a disco, 4D cinema, a cigar lounge, a 1,200 seat theater and live music in the lounges.

There are currently two restaurants on the boat — Oriental Plaza and Quattro Venti — with an additional two restaurants to be added this summer.

Oriental Plaza is an Asian restaurant that offers authentic Japanese, Chinese and Thai dishes, while Quattro Venti offers dishes that range from traditional Mediterranean meals to international recipes.

From the summer of 2021, MSC Magnifica’s cruise experience will be enhanced with an extra 8000 sq ft sundeck, 215 new staterooms of which 116 feature a balcony, two new restaurants, a new aquapark, a new kids area and new shopping venues.

The ship will sail its Red Sea itinerary through March 2022 and bookings opened on May 1 for future guests.

Those who book a December trip will be able witness Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 on Dec. 5 in Jeddah.