MIAMI — Colombia has welcomed back cruising, with the first cruise ship docking at the Port of Cartagena in more than 18 months.
Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze, which reached the Cartagena coast with 312 passengers onboard on Aug. 24, marked the official launch of Colombia’s 2021-2022 cruise season. The ship embarked on a 14-day itinerary to Aruba, Curaçao, Colombia and Panama, with local tours that included visits to San Felipe Fortress, the Old City as well as an exclusive Colombian coffee tasting.
So far, 26 cruise lines are projected to arrive in Cartagena and seven in Santa Maria, representing a recovery of 57% of the calls the country had for the 2019-2020 season. These lines include Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Scenic Luxury Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, Princess and MSC Cruises for Cartagena, and Norwegian and Ritz Carlton Yacht, among others, for Santa Marta.
“We continue working for the safe economic reactivation of the country and its tourism sector,” said María Ximena Lombana Villalba, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism. “In addition to what has been achieved for the return of shipping companies to the country, we have made great efforts to comply with the biosecurity measures implemented in the city and activate all the actors in the chain.”
Villalba also highlighted the measures determined in a new legal framework whereby “it was requested that the crew of the cruise ships must be vaccinated and the vessels must have effective measures aimed, if there are positive cases of COVID-19, to identify symptomatic passengers and have spaces available for isolation.”
Flavia Santori, president of ProColombia, the agency in charge of promoting tourism in Colombia, added that this first call was achieved thanks to the work between all players in the industry.
‘This is a key sector for the development and safe economic reactivation of the country because it generates income of more than 60 million dollars per season,” she said. “For this reason, since last year all the entities linked to the cruise industry have worked on a common purpose to make a safe return for both passengers and destinations.”