THE cruise ship L’Austral, which is operated by French group Compagnie du Ponant, made its inaugural call to Gibraltar on Thursday March 31.
With a gross tonnage of 10,700 tons and a length of 142 metres, the vessel which has the capacity to carry 264 passengers and a crew of 136 was built in 2010 at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard, Italy, and entered into service on April 20, 2011.
As has become customary during inaugural cruise calls, the Minister for Tourism Samantha Sacramento MP, accompanied by Captain of the Port, Commodore Bob Sanguinetti and Gibraltar Tourist Board CEO Nicky Guerrero, took part in a short informal welcome ceremony on board the vessel during which plaques were exchanged with the visiting captain.
Minister Sacramento said: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome L’Austral to the Rock at the opening of what promises to be another magnificent cruise ship season for the Port of Gibraltar. We are confident that Gibraltar’s tourist product will once again stand up to the test and that the thousands of cruise passengers that will be visiting our city in 2016, will return home with fond memories and a desire to repeat the experience.”
“As in previous years the Government of Gibraltar remains firm in its political commitment to materially support and promote the cruise industry and indeed, all other sectors of the tourist trade, which is a formidable source of income for the local economy.”