Photo: AROYA Cruises

Saudi Arabia Launches a New, Alcohol-Free Cruise Line

Saudi Arabia Cruises
by Morgane Croissant May 16, 2024

Sober travelers who wish to take to the seas find it nearly impossible to book an alcohol-free cruises. Major cruise lines focus heavily on alcohol consumption, trying hard to sell expensive drinks package to cruisers. In return, cruisers who paid big bucks for their drinks package tend to indulge a lot more than usual in an attempt to get their money’s worth, creating an atmosphere that’s very unhealthy for those who want to avoid booze altogether.

While Redditters have plenty of good advice for sober cruisers, including choosing a more upscale cruise line whose clientele is older travelers, and itineraries with very few sea days, there’s now an option that will make the life of sober cruisers a lot easier: AROYA Cruises.

Launched in June 2023 and scheduled to sail for the first time in December 2024, AROYA Cruises is Saudi Arabia’s own cruise line. And because Saudi Arabia is a dry country (i.e. a country where alcohol is prohibited) so is AROYA.

Alcohol-free travel is nothing new in Saudi Arabia — all airlines flying to the kingdom refrain from serving alcohol and Saudia Airline, Saudi’s flag carrier, as well as all other Saudi airlines, are entirely dry.

While AROYA Cruises certainly have a Muslim clientele in mind, anyone who can or wants to go without a drink for a few days would find this new cruise line appealing, especially considering its offerings.

Despite being new, AROYA Cruises isn’t starting small; its first and only ship has no less than 18 floors, 1,678 cabins, suites, and villas, and the capacity to accommodate 3,362 guests. The vessel is also home to 15 restaurants, 13 lounges and cafes, spa facilities, fitness facilities, 20 entertainment rooms, an adult-only swimming pool, a children’s splashing area, five water slides, and more.

Note that AROYA Cruises also provide women-only spaces by allocating specific times at the adult pool, gym, and thermal spa.

Saudi Arabia welcomed back cruise ships to its port for the first time in 17 years in 2021 and has since then become an attractive destination on cruise itineraries. (Saudi Arabia welcomed 300,000 cruise passengers this past winter.) Saudi Arabia’s goal is to host 1.3 million cruise visitors by 2035, and AROYA Cruises is meant to help the country reach that number.

AROYA Cruises’ first sailing is scheduled to be a three-night trip in the Red Sea starting on December 16, 2024. The ship will depart from Jeddah, sail to a private island with beautiful beaches, and return to Jeddah. The fare for this first voyage starts at $445.83 per person.

AROYA Cruises’ itineraries will first focus on the Red Sea, but are expected to spread to the Gulf region and the Mediterranean in the future.

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