Abou Merhi to run cruises from Beirut starting July
Hopes are high for 700-passenger cruise ship to stimulate sea travel from Beirut Port
A new cruise ship will run regular trips from Beirut to a number of Mediterranean destinations starting from early July, announced Abou Merhi Lines. The ship, Orient Queen II, will be docking and boarding from Port of Beirut.
“The ship will be running nonstop cruises from July to October,” said Lina Zarif, marketing manager at Abu Merhi Cruises. The liner will visit port cities in Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey.
Orient Queen II is designed to carry up to 700 passengers.
During its first season, the ship will not receive new passengers from its ports of call, according to Zarif: “Passengers who want to go on the cruise will have to come to Lebanon.”
Several cruise lines include stops at the ports of Beirut and Tripoli, but boarding from Lebanon’s ports is not a popular route. “Even Lebanese who want to join cruises had to travel abroad to do so,” Zarif said.
“We hope this new cruise liner would be successful, unlike its predecessor in 2005 and 2006,” said Merhi Abou Merhi, the group's CEO. The company launched a similar cruise ship, Orient Queen I, in 2005. back then, the ship was used to ferry foreigners from Lebanon to Cyprus during the 2006 summer war.
The Minister of Tourism, Fadi Abboud hoped the new cruise liner would encourage other travel firms to operate their cruises through Beirut: “We hope that this initiative would help revive marine tourism in Lebanon, and restore what had once been a thriving business.”
Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Jun 15, 2012