"The introduction of Saudi Arabia to our winter program is a one-of-a-kind itinerary as it also offers Egypt and Jordan in an unparalleled combination of sun, beach, tradition, and culture."

By Cailey Rizzo
April 30, 2021
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For the first time ever, MSC Cruises is offering passengers the chance to sail the Red Sea, visiting destinations like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt.

The MSC Magnifica ship will offer cruises this winter from its new homeport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The ship will sail seven-night itineraries from Nov. 13 that will call in Aqaba for Petra in Jordan, Safaga for Luxor in Egypt, and then the Saudi ports of AlWajh and Yanbu before returning to Jeddah.

"The introduction of Saudi Arabia to our winter program is a one-of-a-kind itinerary as it also offers Egypt and Jordan in an unparalleled combination of sun, beach, tradition, and culture," CEO of MSC Cruises, Gianni Onorato, said in a statement shared with Travel + Leisure. "Not to mention that traveling through the Red Sea by cruise ship is one of the most spectacular ways to take in the stunning coastline and enjoy the region's unique and still untouched beauty of sea and nature."

MSC Magnifica
Credit: Courtesy of MSC Cruises

Travelers will be able to disembark in each of the ports and explore the unique cultural treasures on land, including Jeddah's Old Town, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Petra, and the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

Those who book a December trip aboard the MSC Magnifica will also be able to take part in history, as Saudi Arabia will host the inaugural Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021 on December 5 in Jeddah. Guests aboard the ship around this time can take part in the action while aboard their cruise.

The MSC Magnifica will sail its Red Sea itinerary through March 2022. Bookings will open on May 1 for future guests.

The MSC Virtuosa will also set sail in Saudi Arabia during its winter 2021 season. The ship will debut in the UK this May, then call Dubai its homeport throughout the winter, making trips throughout the Arabian Gulf.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.