MALAGA became the first European port to welcome the Oasis of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship in the world currently in operation.
Royal Caribbean’s pride and joy docked into port at 7am this morning. The event is being described as a ‘baptism of fire’ for Malaga port’s infrastructure, which completed the berthing of the liner an hour after it entered Malaga’s north dock.
The ship, which left Fort Lauderdale on September 1, is carrying 5,100 passengers and 2,100 crew on board, although there is enough space for 6,300 passengers in total.
Since the ship left Florida it has docked sparingly amongst the various Caribbean islands, and six days have passed since the passengers last set foot on dry land. The vast majority of those on board, therefore, are expected to disembark to visit the city.
The tourists are predominately American, but also include many from China and South Africa, and for many Malaga will be their first experience of the Old Continent: Europe.
Malaga’s council has organised special events in honour of the cruise ship’s arrival, aiming for the travellers to discover the city during their eight hour visit.
Plaza de la Constitución will host the group Flamenkura in concert at noon, and Calle Alcazabilla will see performances by Laura León Sánchez, Isa la Flamenca and El Grupo Flamenco.
Events on board are due to begin at 11am, with the ship’s captain participating in a special ceremony with Malaga’s Mayor Francisco de la Torre.
Delivered to Royal Caribbean in October 2009, the ship has a gross tonnage of 225,282, and is 361 metres in length. At 65 metres high, its arrival is expecting to draw people from far and wide hoping to stand in its shadow.