After remaining shut down during the past 17 months because of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, the historic port of Cartagena, the main tourist destination in Colombia, on August 24 welcomed Windstar Cruises' Star Breeze ship with 87 passengers onboard.
Star Breeze, which had sailed from Willemstad (Curacao Island, Dutch Antilles), docked at the cruise terminal, where under strict health protocols she was received by city authorities and where the vessel remained for 15 hours before setting sail for neighbouring Panama.
Cartagena designed a biosecure tourist corridor and intends to guarantee the health security both of anyone on cruise ships as well as of residents who welcome them and work at the cruise port and at places in the city that tourists visit.
According to the coordinator of Cartagena port cruise ship terminal, Maria Emilia Bonilla, the biosecurity guaranteed that are now bringing cruise ships to the city had not been implemented in any other tourism sector “given that it is required that 95 percent of the passengers and 98 percent of the crew be vaccinated.”
Bonilla added that the vessels had reserved cabins in which to isolate people testing positive for COVID and to house patients who are critically ill. Self-service services had been suspended onboard and restaurant capacity had been reduced.
According to port authorities expectations are that for the 2021-2022 season, which started with the arrival of Star Breeze and will end on June 14, 2022, they expected to collect US$34 million in income derived from tourism.
In spite of the fact that a total of 122 cruise ships are scheduled to arrive in the port of Cartagena this season, it is far below 2018-2019 activity, for instance, when it welcomed ~620,000 visitors and ships from 34 different lines, all of which had an economic impact of ~US$70 million.