! Murcia Today – Blow to business as Covid forces cruise ship passengers in Cartagena to stay in managed groups


Publication date: 01/10/2022

Passengers will be confined to bubble groups at Port of Murcia due to Omicron fears

Cruise passengers docking at the coastal port of Cartagena will once again be placed in “bubble groups” and their movements in and around the city will be restricted due to ongoing concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant.

Despite the imposition of strict safety measures, infections can spread quickly among those on board, and the recent arrival of the Viking liner Venus brought three Covid infections among its 335 passengers.

The infected travelers have been quarantined in a hotel near the port while three of their close contacts will have to isolate themselves on the ship for the next seven days of the trip.

This is the second time in less than a month that a group of cruise passengers has had to be quarantined. The previous outbreak occurred during the December public holiday and resulted in several arrivals from Portugal being quarantined in Cartagena.

Rules vary between cruise lines, but in general most ships operate with a minimum of 95% vaccinated passengers – exceptions are made for a small number of young children and unvaccinated adults who have already had Covid . Many ships require masks to be worn inside and all companies require a Covid test before boarding.

Some cruise lines have gone even further: Viking sea and river cruises only accept fully vaccinated passengers, who must also undergo a nasal swab test for the detection of Covid-19 before boarding, as well as daily tests for the duration of the trip.

The latest incident means cruise ships arriving in Cartagena during January – eight liners carrying 16,000 passengers – will have to ensure their passengers are kept in “bubbles” away from the general population. They will only be allowed to enter the city for shopping or visiting museums or hospitality venues on excursions pre-arranged by cruise operators and will not be able to roam freely around the city.

This will logically limit their possibilities of shopping or consuming refreshments in the numerous bars and restaurants of the city, considerably reducing the amount of money spent in the port.

Image: Archive

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