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Rhapsody of the Seas is the cruise ship coming to town. Photo: Royal Caribbean
Rhapsody of the Seas is the cruise ship coming to town. Photo: Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean cruises return to Cartagena

After nine years, Royal Caribbean Cruises return to the city for the 2023-2024 season.

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At Anato, the Colombian travel industry promotion fair, Royal Caribbean cruise line announced a new operation in the Port of Cartagena.

The cruise line returns after nine years without having any in the country. The return was part of its larger "return to Latin America" for the 2023-2024 season. The ship, known as the Rhapsody of the Seas, has an itinerary of adventures to the Caribbean, Latin America and the Panama Canal.

"Since 2006, Royal Caribbean has been a key partner to our cruise industry and we celebrate the fact that they continue to place a vote of confidence in Colombia, the most welcoming country in the world. We are thrilled with this announcement, which marks the beginning of a new era of embarkation ports on the Caribbean coast of our country," siad Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia.

Before the pandemic, it was estimated that the city received more than 600,000 tourists a year, which meant an economic impact of $66 million, according to estimates by Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA). 

"The boarding operations are very significant given that the economic impact is increased since expenses are involved for the arrival to the city and in many cases of permanence, lodging and other services, it is good news for everyone and it is a product of the articulation of efforts between ProColombia, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Tourism Corporation and the Mayor's Office of Cartagena," said María Emilia Bonillas, coordinator of the Cartagena Cruise Terminal.

This news comes amid great efforts made by the authorities in the country and city to fully reactivate its tourist industry to great economic success. The country had shut down cruise visits amid the pandemic.

Cruise activity in the city was paralyzed for seven months, until Aug. 24, 2021, when the industry was reactivated. 

The Rhapsody of the Seas has a total capacity of 2,416 guests, and is part of Royal Caribbean International's Vision Class. It has sophisticated facilities and features of the deepest-draft ships, such as the Viking Crown Lounge (exclusive to the line), Casino Royale, Vitality Spa & Fitness Center, a sports deck with climbing wall, a video game room, as well as a great food options like sushi at Izumi and exclusive cocktails at the Schooner Bar.

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