By Andrew Atkinson
The Cruise ship Mein Schiff 2 docked in Cartagena port on June 19 after months of inactivity, due to Covid-19, with 900 passengers on board of German, Swiss and Austrian nationality.
President of the Cartagena Port Authority (APC), Yolanda Muñoz, said: “Fifty national and international cruise ships will arrive for this summer.
“The Port has done its homework during this pandemic year and they have their reward, with the first cruise of the ten nationals that we have confirmed until October.
“The request for ten international cruises are scheduled to begin in September.”
The next cruise ship will arrive on July 14.
The cruise liner, from Tui, has had strict measures to avoid contagion. A third of the people on board, 300 tourists, are part of a bubble group to visit the city in groups of 10-20, accompanied by a tour guide.
The cruise passengers will visit the Museum of the Roman Forum Quarter, the Roman Theatre, walking through the historic centre or travelling by bus to natural landscapes of Cartagena.
During their visits, these spaces are closed exclusively for them, minimizing close contacts with the local population.
Following the arrival of the Mein Schiff 2, a band from Carthaginians and Romans received the crew, together with institutional representatives who delivered commemorative plaques to the captain of the ship, Tom Roth, in an act of gratitude for having chosen Cartagena as a safe tourist destination for his cruise.
The mayor of Cartagena, Noelia Arroyo, president of the APC, Yolanda Muñoz, general director of Tourist Competitiveness and Quality, Carlos Peñafiel, deputy mayor, Manuel Padín, and the representative of the consignee Agencia Marítima Blázquez , José Mª Fernández attended the ceremony.
They delivered commemorative plaques to the Captain of the ship, Tom Roth, in an act of gratitude for having chosen Cartagena as a safe tourist destination for his cruise.
Cruiseliner Mein Schiff passengers who dock at Alicante Port – the first liner to arrive in 14 months – are prohibited from disembarking, due to COVID-19 – unless passengers have booked excursions.
German liner Mein Schiff is set to dock on June 26. The TUI tour operator will be in dock for 8-hours, after arriving from Malaga.
Passengers will not be able to be able to visit the city or other areas, unless prior booking excursions.
The measure comes on June 26, the day Spain announced it is no longer mandatory to wear a facemask in outdoor spaces, after lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
Alicante Port has registered multiple thousands-euro losses during an inactivity period since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.
With measures in place to keep the spread of coronavirus cases low Alicante Port schedule the arrival of 36 cruise lines by the end of 2021.
Thousand of tourists will arrive via MSC, the Royal Caribbean, along with small liners. During October 11 and November 12-26 two cruise ships will be in port.
Cruises brought in an annual €5m financial to the city of Alicante, prior to the coronavirus lockdown.
The Mein Schiff is a ‘bubble cruise’, being Phase 1 of the recovery of tourist cruises.
All cruise passengers will be grouped in bubble groups and must avoid social contact with the local population.
“This system is based on the bubble concept, which our passengers follow from the start of their journey in Germany until they embark, and on their shore excursions. The same applies to the crew,” said Mein Schiff Captain Tom Roth.
“Several daily antigen tests, PCR, along with temperature checks for passengers and crew will be taken.
“We have been able to make more than 200 trips, with more than 100,000 happy passengers. The objective is to minimize interaction with the local population and keep social groups defined to minimize the risk of contagion,” said Capt. Roth.