After a 16-month break, the cruise ships have returned to Cartagena. The ‘Mein Schiff 2’ of the German shipping company Tui, from Palma de Mallorca, has docked early in the morning at the port, to make a stopover in the city before heading to Cádiz and Malaga this afternoon.
It is the first cruise with international passengers, but with stops only in Spanish ports, which calls from confinement and mobility restrictions caused by COVID-19 that paralyzed the tourism sector in March last year.
Finally the first ship reached Cartagena.
The ceremony to welcome the ship, crew and passengers was attended by the Mayor of Cartagena, Noelia Arroyo, the Deputy Mayor, Manuel Padin, the president of the Cartagena Port Authority, Yolanda Muñoz, the General Director of Tourist Competitiveness and Quality, Carlos Peñafiel, the delegate councilor for Tourism, Cristina Pérez, and the representative of the consignee Agencia Marítima Blázquez, José Mª Fernández, who have delivered a commemorative plaque to the ship’s captain, Tom Roth, set by a representation of Carthaginian partygoers and Romans.
“The beginning of the economic recovery is marked by milestones like the one we are experiencing today, with the return of the cruise ships to Cartagena. We are delighted to receive the first cruise with international passengers, but with stops only in Spanish ports, which calls from confinement” said the mayor, Noelia Arroyo.
Almost 300 people, a third of the passage, have reserved their entrance to the museums and interpretation centers of Puerto de Culturas, to visit in bubble groups.
“We are a safe destination. During this time we have been working to be prepared for this day and that the cruise passengers who visit us enjoy their stay safely,” according to Arroyo.
For her part, the president of the Port Authority, Yolanda Muñoz, stressed that “today is a very important day for Cartagena and thanks to the institutional support of both the mayor and the Regional Government, the arrival of this cruise is possible.”
The health situation forces to maintain a very controlled activity of the movements and interactions of the 900 passengers who, from early in the morning are leaving the ship in a staggered way to visit the city in 26 buses.
Tourists, the majority of German nationality but also Austrian and Swiss, organized in bubble groups of 10 people indoors and 40 outdoors and accompanied by a guide will visit the Roman Theater, the Forum, the Castillo de la Concepción and the panoramic elevator.
Cruise ships must maintain strict safety standards, including a 60% to 70% reduction in vessel capacity, the requirement for cruise passengers to have a negative PCR and up to three negative serological tests in the case of the crew, in addition to performing a period of isolation.