The new cruise season starts October with more stops than before Covid
The new cruise season will start in the ports of the Canary Islands in October and will do so with some force. The main cruise companies have scheduled more ships and similar stopovers than in 2019, before the Covid pandemic, in anticipation of a strong 2021/2022 campaign, although the commercial director of the Las Palmas Port Authority, Juan Francisco Martín, warns that everything will still depend on the evolution of the virus, its variants, and vaccination of passengers.
In total, among the three ports of the province of Las Palmas (Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, and Fuerteventura), 634 stops at these ports are scheduled for the season, 13% more than in the 2018-2019 season. Last year, and despite the fact that the Canary Islands were the only place in the world where cruise ships continued to operate, 206 stopovers were made and the previous season, which was cut short by confinement, there were 432.
In the port of La Luz in Gran Canaria, 272 stopovers will be made this year compared to 235 before Covid; there will be 254 in Lanzarote (237 pre-pandemic), and 108 in Fuerteventura (compared to 88 before).
In September and especially October, there will begin to be specific cruises, such as Royal Caribbean's 'Celebrity Silhouette', which will make three stops, although TUI and Aida's base port operations will not begin until the first weekend of November.
Previously, the cruises in the islands started in September, and the base port operations in October, however, this year the season starts a month later because the companies have extended their routes in the Mediterranean for another four weeks, after a late start to the summer.
Aida will operate its cruises on Saturdays with two ships, the 'Aida Perla' and the 'Aida Mar' and in December it will incorporate the 'Aida Mira' which will replace the 'Aida Nova'. TUI will go out on Sundays with two boats; the 'Mein Schiff III' and the 'Mein Schiff IV'.
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At the end of November, the 'Marella Explorer', from Marella Cruises (the old Thomson), will start operating. These companies will be joined next season by cruises from MSC, Sea Cloud and Azamara, Fred Olsen and Cunard.
Despite a greater number of stopovers this season, the number of cruise passengers will still be lower than before Covid. Juan Francisco Martín explained, “Cruise ships cannot operate at more than 75% capacity due to Covid protocols and looking at how the summer has gone in the Mediterranean, occupations are expected around 60%.”
The numbers suggest that some 600,000 cruise passengers will visit compared to 1.3 million normally. The routes will be carried out within the archipelago to include Tenerife and La Palma, but will also visit the ports of Madeira and Cape Verde, and all companies are offering attractive prices to fill boats.