The Colombian city of Cartagena de Indias became this week an intermediate boarding port for Royal Caribbean International Southern Caribbean cruise circuit which was marked with the arrival of “Enchantment of the Seas”.
The vessel with 2.252 passengers and 840 crew members arrived from Colon, Panama, and after boarding 400 passengers left for the seven days Caribbean cruise which includes Santa Marta another Colombian city; Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemmstead, Curacao and Kralendijk, Bonaire, and from there back to Colon.
“Enchantment of the Seas” was refurbished in 2005 and can carry 2.500 passengers plus a crew of 800. She has an 80.000 tons displacement, 279 metres long and a structure of twelve stories with all the modern amenities of cruise vessels including casino, gymnasium, swimming pool, boutiques, restaurants, theatre, etc.
According to Colombian officials the cruise season which is scheduled to end next April will have 19 Royal Caribbean cruises calling at Cartagena.
The Colombian government has invested heavily in promoting the tourism industry and along its Caribbean coastline the cruise option, having built facilities in Cartagena to host at least two major cruise vessels simultaneously plus all the necessary services.
Present at the ceremony were Colombia’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, Luis Guillermo Plata; Maria Elvira Pombo from the Export Promotion Office; Deputy Tourism minister Oscar Rueda Garcia; the mayor of Cartagena Judith Pinedo and high officials from Royal Caribbean.
During the ceremony it was mentioned that every Monday 400 passengers will board cruises and 320 from February onwards. Ms Pombo said that the second phase is for Cartagena to become a “home port” for Royal Caribbean cruises.
Colombia massive tourism campaign has targeted four million tourists by 2010 of which a million are expected to come through Cartagena.