ARGUABLY the world’s largest travel business, the Anglo-German company which owns a number of airlines as well as cruise ships and hotels, indicated earlier this year that a lot of its business was diverting from Turkey to Spain, and is now following this up with the news that in 2016 its cruise ships will be visiting more ports in the Mediterranean including Gibraltar.
All of its ships are imaginatively name Mein Schiff (my ship) and Mein Schiff 4, currently the newest member of the fleet, paid its inaugural call to Gibraltar on Saturday April 9. In an informal but traditional ceremony aboard the ship the Minister for the port, the Hon Paul Balban exchanged plaques with the Captain.
The Mein Schiff 4 has a gross tonnage of 99,526 and a length of 293.2m. It can carry 2,790 passengers and has a crew of 1,030. There will be a total of nine calls from this cruise company throughout 2016 and it is hoped that the next ship in the fleet, Mein Schiff 5 due to launch in the summer, will also visit the Rock at some stage.
Minister of Tourism Samantha Sacramento said: “The government is extremely pleased with how the new 2016 cruise season is shaping up. There are numerous inaugurals lined up over the next few months, which once again highlight the importance of Gibraltar as a maritime hub and regional cruise port of call in the Mediterranean.
“It is particularly significant that we have attracted interest from the German market and we are keen to develop the fresh business opportunities that this will generate over the coming months.
“We look forward to receiving thousands of visitors and to another strong performance of the
Gibraltar port in handling the arrival of these cruise ships, which include some of the largest vessels in the world. Gibraltar has once again shown its capacity in this area and the new cruise season confirms an expanding local industry that has become an important driver of the economy and the Rock’s sustained prosperity.”