TORREVIEJA welcomed its first ever cruise ship yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon.
The Amadea ship anchored out at sea with boats operating a shuttle service as around 400 of the 600 passengers on board got off the boat arriving on land at the Marina Salinas to much applause from curious visitors wanting to catch a glimpse of the historic moment.
Shortly after 4.30pm, German cruisers Klaus Vogler and his wife Sijrid were the first to step on land in Torrevieja and were a little bemused and puzzled at the fuss being created:“We did not know we were the first ship to arrive. We have never heard of Torrevieja so are looking forward to having a look around and we have never had such a welcome before.”
They arrived to a high security presence and an information tent from the Town Hall with leaflets and a map of the city. The Costa Blanca Tourism Department was also present giving information as the mainly German tourists had waiting courtesy buses and the tourist train to take them around the port area into the city centre.
The arrival of the Amadea also brought a lot of local attention with curious visitors and residents wanting to catch a glimpse of the ship. Ruth Drury, who lived in Torrevieja for 15 years before returning to the UK last year was back in the city on holiday and was delighted to see the cruise ship: “I think it is fantastic and will like to see a lot more.” Friend Christine Bouanani agrees: “I’m in favour of it and think it will bring a lot more to the economy and will benefit the city, although I did hear someone complain they didn’t want cruises because of the crowds.” Christine has been on cruises before and thought Torrevieja offered a great location: “Sometimes you arrive in industrial areas, and have quite a long journey into the cities, but here you are right by the centre. This is a beautiful front to come in to. If I was on the boat and saw this I would be very pleased, it looks gorgeous.”
However, the cruise has not been criticised. With the Town Hall under fire for last minute planning and arrangements, Bill Little, who owns Corazon del Puerto in the Marina Salinas said signs and barriers had only gone up the day before and little preparation had been made for the hundreds of visitors apart from a few litter bins being emptied and a palm tree being pruned: “I don’t think enough has been done. It is a predominately German ship and there should have been more signs in German and more German speakers. I’m not sure they’ve done enough to entice more ships. They knew it was coming and yet it all felt very last minute and I think the Marina Salinas should have done something as well.”