The MSC Grandiosa cruise ship is set to dock at the cruise pier of the Port of Valencia marking the MSC's resumption of activity at the port.
The ship will dock at the Cap i Casal, an operation that will take place every Friday with a full day stopover until November 5, when the summer and autumn season comes to an end.
This was explained this morning at a press conference by the, who was accompanied by the president of the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV), Aurelio Martínez, and the CEO of MSC Spain, Francisco Lorente.
Vice-president of MSC Cruises, Gianluca Suprani said it was important that the sector was slowly but surely returning to normality, "which is what we all want and wish for."
Aurelio Martínez, the president of the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV) stressed the importance of the cruise industry on the Spanish city and its surroundings.
He said the paralysis of cruise activity - caused by COVID-19 - which has lasted for 15 months, had caused damage which the Port Authority of Valencia estimated at around 72 million euros.
The cruise activity hiatus affected sectors such as tour operators, guides, public transport, and taxi drivers, hotels and destinations, according to Martínez.
Cruise activity in Spain stopped on March 13, 2020, and resumed on May 6, for domestic cruises and June 7 for international cruises.
In the Port of Valencia, the first visit by a coastal cruise ship took place on June 27 with the arrival of the MAIN SCHIF 2, and on July 8, the first international cruise ship docked with the AIDA PERLA.
Port Authority of Valencia expects to see more than 100 cruise ships arrive at Cap i Casal this season.
"The city of Valencia is a medium-sized and sustainable cruise destination, with annual growth of 2%, some 400,000 visitors and 200 stopovers/year. Specifically, in 2019 Valencia registered 203 cruise ship stopovers and 435,000 cruise passengers, 16% of which embarked and disembarked in the Port of Valencia using the city as a base," PAV said.
The president of the PAV stressed that "the activity has resumed with the highest levels of health guarantees, both for the cruise passengers, the crews and, very importantly, for the citizens of the destinations and cities visited".
The excursions made by tourists on the MSC Grandiosa will be carried out in bubble groups and following safety protocols established by the administrations and the shipping company itself.
"We have drawn up a very rigorous and strict protocol based on international and national regulations, together with a group of experts, to be able to resume cruise activity with the highest level of safety. A dynamic protocol that adapts to the evolution of the epidemiological situation, and that will continue with bubble excursions to guarantee the safety of the communities we visit", explained Gianluca Suprani.
The MSC Grandiosa, with a capacity for 6,000 passengers, has reduced its occupancy to 70%, with an isolation area.
After calling at Valencia, the ship will make a route that passes through Barcelona, Genoa, La Spezia, and Rome. The vice-president of MSC Cruises has pointed out that the company, thanks to this protocol, has been able to launch up to eight cruise ships so far in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, and in August it will start a route in the Caribbean.
Suprani emphasized that "the market wants to come back on board, we are seeing a very high level of bookings almost like 2019. This is an encouraging figure because of the great effort we have made to face this situation".
The vice-president of MSC Cruises has also shared that the city of Valencia will be a stopover for the new luxury cruise line Explora Journeys and has said that "València is an area that people like to visit and that is becoming very important in transit operations. It is also a point for the embarkation of citizens from all over this part of Spain who have an ideal port here to start their holidays".