Tuesday, 30 May 2023, 16:01
The Port of Malaga will be the setting this week for the christening of two cruise ships, unique ceremonies that are not frequent on the Costa del Sol and in which tradition dictates that a bottle of champagne is smashed on the ship's hull.
The first of the events, the christening of the Marella Voyager, will be held tomorrow (Wednesday, 31 May) , although the ship has docked today and has received a visit from dignitaries from the local authorities. The president of Turismo Costa del Sol, Francisco Salado; Carlos Rubio from the Port Authority; councillor for Tourism at Malaga City Council, Jacobo Florido; and the Tourism delegate of the Junta de Andalucía, Gemma del Corral, have celebrated that Malaga is increasingly the chosen destination for this type of event, which generates a great promotional impact.
The Marella Voyager is the third cruise ship from the British shipping company Marella Cruises to hold this event in the Malaga port area. Of its five ships, the Marella Discovery 2 was christened in Malaga in 2017; the Marella Explorer 2, in 2019; and Marella Voyager, in 2023. This new ship, the company's flagship, will begin operating next June on various itineraries that will cover the Caribbean, Canary Islands and the Western Mediterranean. It is a 262-metre-long cruise ship, with thirteen decks, 952 cabins and a maximum capacity of 2,681 passengers.
The ship arrived this Tuesday morning from the shipyard and docked at Terminal A where it will remain until its next departure, tomorrow at the stroke of midnight. The christening of a ship that will make its maiden voyage with company workers and other invited professionals from the sector is scheduled to begin at eight in the evening. Precisely, the key players in the christening will be two employees of the shipping company, who together have more than forty years of experience in the cruise industry. They are the chief purser Tatyana Olkhovskova and the head of Destination Operations, Jacqui Nobile. Fireworks will end the ceremony, after which the ship will leave for Almeria.
On Saturday, the port will once again celebrate another christening. In this case of a super-luxury vessel: the Scenic Eclipse II. This exclusive ship visited Malaga for the first time last April, as a prelude to the christening, which in this case will take place at the Palmeral terminal and which will have the NASA scientist Kathy Sullivan break the bottle of champagne over the hull. According to the company, she embodies the values of “improvement, passion for adventure and curiosity to discover the world around us, having had a successful career dedicated to research and exploration”.
Eighty specially invited guests and members of international media will gather in the city for this event, which will be a good opportunity to position Malaga as a destination. All of them have been offered excursions to Mijas, Puerto Banús and the city itself. The ceremony will also be attended by the passengers of this ship, which is 168 metres long and has a maximum capacity of 228 passengers. An exceptional ship that has two helicopters and a submarine on board for made-to-measure excursions.
“Currently, the shipping company is working together with the port and the destination to offer a unique experience to these exclusive passengers, organising activities committed to sustainability, which is a very important pillar for the company. In this sense, it has fundamental objectives such as protecting the places they visit, collaborating with their communities and leaving the least possible footprint", said a spokesperson from the Port of Malaga.
From the Australian shipping company Scenic they point to the capital of the Costa del Sol as “an ideal port with very good facilities for both passengers and crew. With its walking distance to the city, it is the perfect place for our guests to experience the vibrant atmosphere of the old parts and outdoor restaurants. We believe that Malaga is an important port for an ultra-luxury Mediterranean cruise and that it attracts a global audience with passengers from the UK, US, Canada and Australia.”
Carlos Rubio from the Port Authority highlighted that "the christening scheduled for this week place Malaga once again in the focus of international cruise tourism, in a year in which it is expected to definitively consolidate the figures prior to the pandemic period, since the sector sails at full capacity. Turismo Costa del Sol president Francisco Salado pointed out that "the leadership of our province in this activity is indisputable, since Malaga receives half of the cruise ships that arrive in Andalucía." In addition, he has specified that "half of the calls that dock at the port of Malaga in recent years correspond to luxury and premium shipping companies" and that the impact of this segment is 50 million euros.
The councillor for Tourism at Malaga City Council focused on the importance of this type of event and on the advancement of shipping companies that are committed to this area as a base port. In this sense, Gemma del Corral from the Junta stressed that this sector is "fundamental for the trade of the city centre. We are consolidating ourselves as a priority cruise destination in Spain”.
El Diario Vasco
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