As the Monaco Yacht Show ends in September, a familiar procession of superyachts begins to head west for winter sun. But a small number of adventurous charters are turning their attention east, cruising into Saudi Arabia and its Red Sea ports. It’s an area that may soon be as much a winter yachting destination as the Caribbean.
The country’s coastline is dotted with stunning beaches and picturesque coves, while the interior has a rich heritage that dates back to ancient times. As the birthplace of the prophet Muhammad, it is also home to the world’s two holiest mosques in Makkah and Medina. Jeddah’s boutique and art galleries are also a draw, as well as numerous luxury shops.
One of the best places to explore is onboard a saudi arabia yacht, with a variety of options from opulent megayachts to sleek and contemporary new build options. The Crown Prince’s Serene is a striking example. Built by Fincantieri, it’s a vessel that combines an endless list of features with exquisite design and decoration.
It’s an intriguing contrast to the sterner, more utilitarian approach of many other Saudi Arabia yachts. This isn’t the first time the kingdom has attracted the interest of superyacht owners, with some of its ports of call offering surprisingly good infrastructure for chartering. The Saudi government is focusing on attracting high net worth individuals and young people with the potential to become wealthy in the future, and it wants to see its tourism sector become an international powerhouse.
This ambitious goal was outlined in the Saudi Vision 2030 plan, which calls for the country to host some of the top sailing events and classes in the world by 2023. A large-scale project is under way to turn the Red Sea into a world-class yachting destination, including building a new port at Jeddah.
The port is currently undergoing an expansion that will see it become the largest in the Middle East, capable of handling 300 m-long vessels and 1,800 ton-plus cargo ships. The expanded facility will include a new marina and a dedicated berth for yachts up to 100 m in length, as well as an enlarged cargo terminal.
At a glance, the port’s expansion seems to be well under way. But it’s important to note that the expansion is only partially complete, and that there is still a lot of room for further growth.
A massive jetty has been added, and a further berth for cruises is under construction. In addition, a new marina complex is planned at AlUla in the Tabuk province. The project will be called AMAALA, and it’s envisioned as a world-class marina that supports the goals of Vision 2030.
When it opens, the 86-berth AMAALA will be situated close to pricey European destinations like Capri and Porto Montenegro. But a veteran Australian sailor told MEE that agent fees to coordinate check-in and visas are far higher than at other marinas he’s visited around the world. saudi arabia yachts