Book Gulf Dream Cruise?
By Indo Asian News ServiceIslamabad, Aug 25 (IANS) A Karachi-Dubai ferry will link the ancient route to the Gulf region, but the focus now will be on foreign and local tourists looking for luxuryCompared to about two hours of flying undertaken by thousands who work in the Gulf region, a two-day cruise will cost a whopping $549.The maiden voyage is scheduled for Nov 2, the Dawn newspaper said. Captain (retd) Anwar Shah, Director General of Pakistan Ports and Shipping, told a TV channel that the government was encouraging private operators to run the ferry service.
‘We have already awarded licences to five operators and Gulf Dream Cruise will be the first to operate its cruise in November,’ he said.
The official said the service would be extended to other Gulf countries such as Bahrain, Oman and Qatar in the coming years.
Gulf Dream Cruise will run a weekly ferry service between Dubai and Karachi. The ship will take two days to travel between the two destinations and dock in Dubai for a day before taking a reverse course to Karachi. Passengers will be able to take a one-way trip as well, APP news agency reported.
‘The regular ferry for fast transfer of passengers between Karachi and Dubai is not feasible because of the cheap airfare between the two destinations.
Also, expatriates living in the UAE don’t want to spend days on the ship when they go on annual leave to their country,’ said Shah.
‘This is a unique idea with a lot of potential due to a big demand from foreign and Pakistani tourists who love to go on a cruise for a short distance, and Dubai is the most sought-after destination,’ Shah said.
Gulf Dream Cruise weighs 23,000 tonnes with a length of 196 metres. It has 540 rooms and can accommodate up to 1,250 passengers, besides 400 crewmembers.
‘The cruise will have all the facilities available on an international cruise liner, like restaurants, theatre, games, music and other entertainment facilities,’ he said.
Tour operators in Dubai have also welcomed the new service. ‘It will definitely give a boost to tourism between the two countries,’ said the administration and operations manager at Lama Tour, which receives tourist groups from Pakistan.