First international cruise ship docks in Spain after ban is lifted – Manila bulletin
MADRID. Spain – An international cruise ship carrying German tourists docked in Malaga in southern Spain on Tuesday, the first such arrival in more than a year, officials said.
On June 7, the Spanish Ministry of Transport lifted the ban on international cruise ships that had been imposed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.
The ban was lifted after the virus began to ease in Europe, where most cruise passengers come from, and also due to the increase in the number of vaccinations.
“It is the first international cruise ship,” a spokesperson for the Spanish port authorities told AFP after the Mein Schiff 2 moored in the southern seaside resort.
The liner, which belongs to travel giant TUI, has 1,200 German tourists on board, a company spokesperson told AFP, saying that all had passed “two compulsory Covid tests” before boarding. There are also 764 crew members on board.
“After 15 months of our ports being empty, waiting for these ships, we are all determined to make it an unforgettable experience for passengers,” Carlos Rubio, president of the Port Authority of Malaga, told RNE.
He said visitors were allowed to exit in organized groups to ensure compliance with Covid safety regulations.
“With these first cruises, the excursions are going to be done in bubbles, which means that people will not be able to walk freely but I hope that within a few months, as the vaccination progresses, things will be able to return to normal. “
Rubio said Malaga expected to receive around 50 stopovers this year, describing it as “a good start”.
The ship arrived from Gran Canaria in the Spanish Canary Islands and is due to sail later Tuesday to Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, the port authority said.
Before the pandemic, Spain was Europe’s second most popular destination for cruise ship stopovers.
In 2019, international cruises contributed around 2.8 billion euros ($ 3.4 billion) to the Spanish economy, accounting for 50,000 jobs and 1.5 billion euros in wages, according to Cruise Lines. International Association.
With more than 80,000 deaths and 3.6 million infections, Spain has been hit hard by the pandemic but the number of cases has slowed considerably as its vaccination program has accelerated.
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