The Port of València is welcoming the MSC Grandiosa, a latest-generation ship, every Friday until 5th November. The ship docks at the Cap i Casal.
“It is important that the sector is slowly but surely returning to normality, which is what we all want and wish for. An important industry for the city and its surroundings. In fact, the paralysis of cruise activity, which has lasted for 15 months, has caused damage which we at the PAV estimate at around 72 million euros, affecting sectors such as tour operators, guides, public transport and taxi drivers, hotels and destinations”, said Aurelio Martínez, President of the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV).
Cruise activity was paralysed in Spain on 13 March 2020 and resumed on 6 May (for domestic cruises) and 7 June (for international cruises). In the Port of Valencia, the first visit by a coastal cruise ship took place on 27 June with the arrival of the MEIN SCHIFF 2 and on 8 July the first international cruise ship docked with the AIDA PERLA.
According to APV forecasts, it is estimated that during this season, still marked by COVID-19, more than 100 cruise ships may arrive at Cap i Casal. The city of Valencia is a medium-sized and sustainable cruise destination, with annual growth of 2%, some 400,000 visitors and 200 stopovers/year. Specifically, in 2019 Valencia registered 203 cruise ship stopovers and 435,000 cruise passengers, 16% of which embarked and disembarked in the Port of Valencia using the city as a base.
Maximum security for the public
The president of the PAV stressed that “the activity has resumed with the highest levels of health guarantees, both for the cruise passengers, the crews and, very importantly, for the citizens of the destinations and cities visited”. Along these lines, like the rest of the cruise ships, the excursions made by tourists on the MSC Grandiosa will be carried out in bubble groups and following safety protocols established by the administrations and the shipping company itself.
“We have drawn up a very rigorous and strict protocol based on international and national regulations, together with a group of experts, to be able to resume cruise activity with the highest level of safety. A dynamic protocol that adapts to the evolution of the epidemiological situation, and that will continue with bubble excursions to guarantee the safety of the communities we visit”, explained Gianluca Suprani, VP of MSC Cruises, who thanked the collaboration of institutions such as the Generalitat Valenciana and Puertos del Estado.
In this sense, the MSC Grandiosa, with a capacity for 6,000 passengers, has reduced its occupancy to 70%, with an isolation area. After calling at Valencia, the ship will make a route that passes through Barcelona, Genoa, La Spezia and Rome. The vice-president of MSC Cruises has pointed out that the company, thanks to this protocol, has been able to launch up to eight cruise ships so far in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, and in August it will start a route in the Caribbean. Suprani stressed that “the market wants to come back on board, we are seeing a very high level of bookings almost like 2019. This is an encouraging figure because of the great effort we have made to face this situation”.
Suprani announced that the city of Valencia will be a stopover for the new luxury cruise line Explora Journeys and has indicated that “València is an area that people like to visit and that is becoming very important in transit operations. It is also a point for the embarkation of citizens from all over this part of Spain who have an ideal port here to start their holidays”.
On the 21st of July the President of the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV), Aurelio Martínez along with Gianluca Suprani, VP of MSC Cruise accompanied by Francisco Lorente, CEO of MSC Spain gave a press conference announcing the great news.