Thursday 16 September 2021

Cruise season restart postponed until November

Costa Rica depends on the evolution of the pandemic in the United States to reactivate

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QCOSTARICA – There is no good news for those who depend on the cruise industry in Costa Rica, as these luxurious ships will not return to the country until at least November.

Costa Rica has the advantage of currently being the best destination for cruises on the isthmus. Photo: ICT

Wagner Loría, president of the Costa Rican Cruise Industry Association, predicts, analyzing several factors that could even cause another “zero season” in Costa Rica, after what was experienced for the September 2020 to March 2021 season.

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The return of cruise ships by the end of the year is subject to what may or may not happen with the pandemic in the United States.

“Cruises remain subject to the Centers for Disease Control of the United States (CDC) and other guidelines in Europe and in different destinations, meanwhile, the cruise lines continue to prepare to comply with the provisions and resume operations in the second half of this year,” according to Gustavo Alvarado, director of Tourism Management of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).

The first routes out of the United States are projected to be short, to private islands owned by cruise lines located in the Caribbean, a situation that would allow companies better control of any Covid-19 outbreak.

“They will go down gradually, perhaps to the island of Roatán in Honduras, but I see it unlikely that Limón and Puntarenas will be included in those first routes,” predicts Loría, who worries that Costa Rica will not be included in the typical start of the cruise season in September.

Despite Costa Rica’s maritime borders are open to tourists, they continue to be closed for the entry of cruise ships, pending the approval of a sanitary protocol for ships by the ICT and the Ministry of Health, among others.

For the September 2019 to March 2020 cruise ship season, the country registered the arrival of 197 cruise ships, a 24.8% drop compared to the previous period, according to data from the ICT.

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The industry is hoping to avoid another “zero season”.

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