Fly-cruise sailings from Abu Dhabi have been added by MSC Cruises as part of an extended winter season of Gulf cruises.

Passengers are being given the option of joining MSC Musica in Abu Dhabi as well as the ship’s winter home port of Dubai.

The Italian line is running 16 week-long UAE sailings by the 2,550-passenger vessel between December this year and March 2016.

Flights will be available with Etihad Airways from Heathrow, Manchester and Dublin in addition to connections with Emirates from Gatwick and Glasgow to join the ship in Dubai.

The Etihad Airways flights enable people to travel at the weekend – cutting the time they would have to take off from work to just five days, according to MSC Cruises’ UK and Ireland executive director Giles Hawke.

The company is also offering both Dubai and Abu Dhabi embarkations for winter 2016-17 when the cruises, including Bahrain, will be operated by the 3,274-passenger MSC Fantasia.

Hawke said: “MSC Cruises is unlike other cruise lines in that we offer multiple embarkation ports on many of our sailings around the world. Being able to offer fly-cruise holidays from Dubai and Abu Dhabi demonstrates our commitment to the destination and our flexibility.

“By flying into Abu Dhabi, guests have the opportunity to make the most of the time in Dubai, which includes an overnight stay.”

This winter’s itinerary from Dubai calls at Abu Dhabi; Khor Al Fakkan; Muscat, Oman; Khasab, Oman and Dubai.

Fly-cruise prices start at £749 per person, including return flights with Emirates or Etihad Airways.

“Our Dubai, Emirates and Oman itinerary has proved to be immensely popular with since it began in 2011 – the spectacular scenery, amazing modern cities and guaranteed sunshine are the perfect tonic for British guests wanting to escape the cold weather at home,” Hawke said.