Yanbu Al-Bahr (aka just Yanbu/Yambo) is a Red Sea cruise port and large city in Saudi Arabia's Al Madinah Province, with population around 190,000 (municipality population around 250,000). Yanbu is approx 300 km (185 mi) northwest of Jeddah (the country's largest seaport and the cruise port to Mecca and Medina). Many Yanbu residents are foreign workers serving the nearby oil refineries and petrochemical facilities.
Port Yanbu is a major petroleum shipping terminal (serving three oil refineries) and also Saudi Arabia's second-largest seaport (after Jeddah). Yanbu is also a cruise port to the holy city Medina (Al Madinah Al Munawwarah) located approx 165 km (100 mi) to the east, The Yanbu-Medina travel time is ~1,5 hours. Three major oil pipelines (from the oilfields in the east) terminate at Yanbu.
The settlement was founded as a trading point on the route Yemen-Egypt-Mediterranean. During WW1 (1914-1918) Yanbu was the operational base for the British who (together with Arab revolutionary forces) fought with the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922). The small port town Yanbu started to develop after 1975 when was designated as one of Saudi Arabia's two industrial centers on the Persian Gulf - together with Al Jubayl. The current city's economy is largely based on the petrochemical industry.
Yanbu City is divided into three sections (approx 15-min drive away from each other) - Yanbu Al-Bahr, Yanbu Al-Nakhal, and Yanbu Al-Sinaiya.
- Yanbu Al-Bahr (aka Al-Balad) is the northern section, housing most of the population and the city's downtown with historical buildings, numerous restaurants (including international chains), coffee shops, a large shopping mall (Dana Mall), hotels, as well as Yanbu Airport.
- Yanbu Al-Nakhal is approx 47 km (30 mi) from Al-Balad, combines 20+ villages and here live mainly Saudis and expatriate Arabs. Most Saudis are occupied in farming and trading (sheep and camels). The largest village is Jabriyya (town's administrative center) with a hospital, a bank, a fire station, two shopping malls, recreational facilities, gas stations, no hotels or schools.
- Yanbu Al-Sinaiya (1975-founded as "Yanbu Industrial City") is the city's most southern and industrial part, divided into two sections - industrial (south) and residential (north). The industrial area houses all the three oil refineries and the petrochemical plants (including a plastics facility). In the residential area can be found many restaurants and coffee shops, supermarkets, two shopping malls, retail shops, hospitals, banks, private residential compounds, as well as Yanbu Industrial College.
In April 2021, MSC and Cruise Saudi (fully-owned by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund) announced a partnership for launching Red Sea cruises (2021-2022 winter season) with the homeporting in Jeddah of the ship MSC Magnifica.
- Magnifica was scheduled to operate 7-day voyages (November 2021 through March 2022) visiting 3 Saudi ports - including weekly calls to Port Al-Wajh (gateway to the UNESCO site Hegra in Al-Ula).
- In addition to Magnifica's itineraries, MSC Virtuosa had scheduled Arabian Gulf 2021 winter program (December 2021 through March 2022) with visits to Prot Dammam and the Al-Ahsa Oasis.
- With the two MSC liners, Cruise Saudi expected ~170,000 tourists during season 2021-2022.
- MSC's Saudi Arabia voyages were also offered as fly-cruise deals with fares inclusive of direct flights between Europe and Jeddah (King Abdulaziz Airport) provided by Saudia (fka Saudi Arabian Airlines). As part of the agreement, Saudia's flight schedules were modified to fit the two MSC cruise ships' homeport times (departure and arrival).
Next table shows the 7-night/8-day itinerary (Jeddah roundtrip) as call ports and times.
|Day / Time||Port|
|DAY1||Departing from Jeddah|
|DAY2 09:00 - 18:00||Al Rayes White Head Beach, Saudi Arabia, Ar-Ras al-Abyad|
|DAY4 06:00 - 18:00||Aqaba-Petra, Jordan|
|DAY5 06:00 - 21:00||Safaga-Luxor, Egypt|
|DAY6 07:00 - 21:00||Al Wajh, Saudi Arabia|
|DAY7 09:00 - 16:00||Yanbu Al-Bahr, Saudi Arabia|
|DAY8 05:00||Arriving in Jeddah|
Prices started from ~USD 1130 (EUR 950 / GBP 816) per person with double occupancy.
Port Yanbu Al-Bahr cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Yanbu Al-Bahr, Saudi Arabia. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|19 November, 2021|
|26 November, 2021|
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