RED SEA & Saudi Arabia Cruises - Winter 2022


General Information

Our brand-new Saudi Arabia and Red Sea seasonal itinerary promises to be the very best way to discover this fascinating part of the Middle East. Guests will find the MSC Cruises’ world-class entertainment, fine international dining, award-winning family programs and a rich offer of excursions to discover the authentic beauties. It will be also enriched with extra features to welcome and accommodate local guests in respect of local culture and values. 


What will be the travel requirements to reach Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, the embarkation port?

Guests sailing on MSC Bellissima departing from Jeddah, will be required to have a valid visa (see next question) and comply with certain covid related requirements.

  • All guests are strongly encouraged but not required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
  •  For fully vaccinated guests, testing is recommended (within 72 hours of embarkation before boarding) but not required (with proof of vaccination), per our vaccination requirements.
  • All guests over 5 years old who are unvaccinated or do not have proof of a vaccine certificate, must show proof of a lab-administered negative COVID-19 viral test (RT-PCR or antigen) taken within 48 hours of embarkation before boarding. Children under 5 years of age are not required to submit a negative test.
  •  A rapid antigen self-test is not valid for travel purposes.
  • The original test results certificate and vaccination certificate must be presented at the terminal (paper or electronic format) and must be in one of the following languages: English, Italian, German, French or Spanish.  The COVID-19 test certificate must contain the guest’s data (verifiable with the other travel documents), date of the test, identification/contact details of the center that performed the analysis, technique used, and negative test result.


In addition, all guests over 12 years old must download and register in the official Saudi Tawakkalna App (COVID-19 KSA). In addition to this, a local Health Authorities questionnaire will need to be submitted upon arrival and required for all guests over 5 years old. Detailed information for Winter cruises are available soon on MSC Cruises website.

How do MSC Bellissima guests obtain travel visas for Saudi Arabia, as well as for Jordan?

Guests who purchase our fly & cruise package will have a visa for Saudi Arabia included valued at a discounted price (€30 per person included in the overall cost). For guests who opt to buy a cruise only, they will be responsible to obtain their visa independently. All guests from countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council countries will not require visas. Visas to visit Jordan on one of our shore excursions will be included in the guest's vacation package, whether it be fly & cruise or cruise only. Guests' passports need to have a minimum of 6 months validity at the time of travel.


Will there be additional travel and covid related requirements during the cruise?

MSC Cruises is offering a safe and stress-free vacation option thanks to stringent MSC Cruises Health & Safety Protocol. Specific measures for Winter cruises in Saudi Arabia and Red Seas will be applied and are available soon on MSC Cruises website. MSC Cruises is continuously assessing developments in response to the COVID-19 and will adapt the health and safety measures.


- Food on board

What type of food will be served?

From elegant main restaurants with new international and local menus every day to an informal buffet restaurant, MSC Bellissima offers as well the world’s finest cuisine with our specialty restaurants: from authentic teppanyaki and Japanese delicacies, to French cuisine, Spanish Tapas, and to succulent American-style steaks. Since the guest profile for MSC Bellissima’s sailings will be about 50% international guests and 50% from Saudi Arabia, MSC Cruises will provide a large variety of food options, including many local flavored options and halal food proteins will be served in all dining outlets.

- Beverages

With MSC Bellissima's itinerary set to call three ports in Saudi Arabia, will you serve alcohol onboard?

Yes, alcohol will be available for our guests onboard MSC Bellissima during her winter season in the Red Sea as it has similarly on our cruise ships that have in the past operated in the Gulf and will do so also in winter 2021/22. In respect to Saudi Law, alcoholic drinks will not be served during the stays in Saudi Arabian ports. Our long list of non-alcoholic drinks will be enriched to offer even tastier drinking choices when the ship stays in Saudi Arabian ports.

- Onboard Languages

Which languages will be spoken on board MSC Bellissima on her Red Sea itinerary? 

The guest profile for MSC Bellissima’s sailings will be about 50% international guests and 50% from Saudi Arabia. As onboard all our ships, public announcements and printed materials on board MSC Bellissima will be available in our regular six international languages (English, Italian, German, French, Spanish, and Portuguese). In addition and in order to also address the best service and experience to our local guests, Arabic will also be used for public announcements and we will have a number of Arabic-speaking staff on board all of MSC Bellissima’s sailings throughout the season.  

- Dress Code

Is there a specific dress code for guests onboard the ship or when relaxing by the pool?
We have a dress code for all of our cruises - not just the one proposed for Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea - and all of our guests are asked to dress appropriately as they would in their normal day-to-day lives. The same applies when guests are relaxing by the pool.

- Mixed venues and women-only venues

Will you make some venues available exclusively for women? 

Both mixed venues and women-only venues will be available within the ship’s public areas such as in the MSC Aurea Spa in order to accommodate our international and local guests in respect of their culture and practices. 


Where is the list of shore excursions for these Red Sea cruises?

A spectacular shore excursions program is already available and bookable on our channels. New and exciting updates are being added all the time so please check back till the end of October.

Is there a specific dress code for shore excursions in Saudi Arabia?

All our guests – male and female – are kindly requested to respect local customs and traditions in Saudi Arabia. Local customs in Saudi Arabia require men and women to dress modestly, with their shoulders and knees covered in public areas. They should avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing or clothes with profane language or images. It is also advised to avoid showing a display of affection when in public.


Will there be restrictions during the excursions to destinations in Saudi Arabia?

Guests will discover Saudi Arabia and the Red Sea thanks to organized MSC Shore Excursions, which are conducted with the highest standards of health and safety. While the modest dress code applies while onshore in Saudi Arabia, it is especially important in and around religious buildings and monuments, where women will also be asked to cover their hair. It is forbidden to photograph Saudi residents without their permission. It is also advised to avoid showing a display of affection when in public.