MSC Cruises is moving one of its biggest ships to the Middle East in winter 2016/17 to meet growing demand for voyages in the Arabian Gulf.

The 3,274-passenger MSC Fantasia will be based in Abu Dhabi between December 2016 and March 2017, and offer a choice of three one-week itineraries.

All include an overnight stay in Dubai and visit Sir Bani Yas Island, a desert conservation area and wildlife park, but also variously visit Manama in Bahrain, Doha in Qatar, Khasab and Muscat in Oman, and Khor al Fakkan in Al Fujairah.

MSC is offering flycruises from London, Manchester or Dublin to Abu Dhabi with Etihad Airways from £799 per person departing January 8 2017. Clients can alternatively fly from London, Manchester or Dublin with Emirates and embark in Dubai from £849 per person departing December 17 2016.

Customers who book before the end of November are eligible for a free balcony upgrade.

MSC’s Gulf cruises this winter are on the 2,500-passenger MSC Musica from Abu Dhabi. There is just one itinerary, a seven-night cruise visiting Khor al Fakkan, Muscat, Khasab and Dubai. Alternative embarkation is available in Dubai.