Saudi Arabia’s Ambitious $300 Million Strategy to Establish Dominance in the Cruise Industry

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Saudi Arabia is launching its own commercial cruise line brand, AROYA Cruises, which is designed to cater to “Arabian preferences.” The cruise line will debut next year with its first ship, Manara, formerly known as World Dream. The ship was purchased by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) for $300 million and will be managed by PIF’s cruise company, Cruise Saudi. AROYA Cruises aims to provide an Arabian feel and programming, honoring Arabian culture through its brand values of inspiration, enrichment, generosity, and respect. The ship will undergo a significant refurbishment, with 98% of “guest-facing venues” being transformed by maritime outfitting firm MJM Marine and De Wave Group.

AROYA Cruises has also announced its main retail partner, Gebr. Heinemann, a Germany-based firm. Gebr. Heinemann will operate all retail spaces on the ship, offering a variety of products including perfume, cosmetics, confectionaries, fashion, watches, and jewelry. However, the retailer did not mention alcohol, which is its main source of revenue in other parts of the world. The Saudi government has previously denied reports that the dry Kingdom would sell alcohol in duty-free stores.

Overall, AROYA Cruises is investing heavily in creating a luxurious and tailored cruise experience for Arabian travelers. With the backing of the sovereign wealth fund, the cruise line aims to provide exceptional service and amenities, while also showcasing Arabian culture and preferences.

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