Celebrity Cruises announced the cancelation of the stop in Costa Rica of its Infinity liner with 3,500 passengers on board, that was due to dock in Puntarenas this morning (Monday) at 6 am.
The cruise line said it decided to bypass the stop in Costa Rica, to avoid possible delays due to the strike of public unions.
Juan Ramón Rivera, executive president of the Costa Rican Institute of Ports of the Pacific (Incop), confirmed that the company Celebrity Cruises notified that the ship will no longer dock in Costa Rica this Monday.
The ship was going to be in port for 10 hours during which time passengers can take tours, visit the artisan shops and spend tourist dollars.
The concern of the cruise line is a blockade can delay tours and if a tour cannot return on time, the ship obviously has to wait for those passengers and, then, the ship’s itinerary get totally complicated.
Rivera told La Nacion, “They decided not to dock in Puntarenas, because they say that the blockages on the roads are going to delay the tours, and then, if the tours are delayed, the boat cannot sail on time. That was the reason why they canceled the arrival of that cruise to Puntarenas.”
“That’s the damage that these strikers do to the country, right? The most booming industry in this country, which is tourism, they are damaging it, ” added Rivera.
Enoch Quesada, a member of the Cámara de Turismo Puntarenense (Puntarenas Chamber of Tourism), said: “the impact is enormous because these months, prior to December, are usually very bad and many families and businesses were heavily dependent on this ship”.
Quesada said small and large tour operator companies, taxi drivers, restaurants, souvernir shops are all affected.
“At least 300 people were harmed directly. It is an incredible affectation for this sector that is hit and that is entering a very low season, September and October. This (the ship that will no longer arrive) was a kind of buoy to stay afloat,” said Quesada.
He added that, on Monday, those affected, ready for the tourists, to confront the unionists who block roads.
For the past week, authorities and citizens have been forced to deal with blockades in different parts of the country, by the strikers who are opposed to approving the tax reform that is currently before the Legislative Assembly.
The Policia de Transito (traffic police) have been unable to keep up with the intermittent blockades, calling on dialogue the only way out of the crisis.
“Very regrettable, we are very sorry because we want to promote tourism so that Puntarenas has more jobs and move away from the socio-economic problems it has, but they put stones in the way”, lamented Rivera.
According to the official, this is the first vessel that cancels its docking on the Pacific coast. The arrival of a smaller cruise ship in Golfito this Monday is still on.