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Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas makes maiden call to Vigo, Spain


The world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, made a stop in Vigo, Spain today on its maiden voyage from Southampton, with some 8,000 people on board, including passengers and crew.

The massive ship, which was build at STX France, made her first stop in the city earlier today.

To commemorate the occasion, the ship's captain and the President of the Vigo Port Authority met to officially welcome Harmony of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean's General Director of Spain and France, Bethlehem Wanguemert, has been estimated  an economic impact to Vigo of some 350,000 euros. 

Harmony of the Seas spent almost 12 hours in port, and as the ship sailed away from Vigo, about 200 blue balloons were released to celebrate the world 's largest cruise ship's presence.

Harmony of the Seas headed next to Malaga, Spain and from there to Barcelona, ​​where he is scheduled to arrive on Sunday.

City of Malaga preparing celebrations for arrival of Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas


The city of Malaga, Spain is getting ready to celebrate the arrival of Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas with festivities to commemorate the occasion.

Oasis of the Seas arrives on Thursday and will be the first stop in Europe for this giant cruise ship.

Malaga's Department of Tourism has prepared musical activities in different parts of the historic center.  Activities are planned between 10:00am and 2:00pm. At noon the Flamenkura group will perform on stage on the main square of the Constitution. Between 12:00 and 2pm Alcazabilla street will host performances of Laura León Sánchez, Isa and the Flemish Flamenco Group.

At 11.00am, the mayor, Francisco de la Torre, and the Councillor for Tourism, Julio Andrade, will go aboard Oasis fo the Seas to deliver a commemorative plaque to the ship's captain.

Royal Caribbean to base Allure of the Seas in Barcelona in 2015 and offer Mediterranean cruises


Royal Caribbean is sending the largest cruise ship in the world, Allure of the Seas to Barcelona, Spain in summer 2015 to offer Mediterranean cruises.

Sailing from Barcelona, while also offering embarkation in Rome, Allure of the Sea’s seven night itinerary will feature calls in Palma de Mallorca, Marseilles, La Spezia (Florence and Pisa), Civitavecchia (Rome), and Naples.

Allure of the Seas will arrive in Barcelona in May 24, 2015 and offer cruises until October 2015.

The Mediterranean cruises will go on sale to Crown and Anchor Society members Febryary 12, 2014 and then go on sale to the general public on February 18.

Moving Allure of the Seas to Spain makes sense considering Royal Caribbean is bringing three new large cruise ships online over the next three years, with many (if not all) of them coming to the United States.

Royal Caribbean offers first time cruisers in Spain an interactive video


Royal Caribbean is looking to attract more cruisers from Spain and has developed an interactive online cruise guide to help those new to cruising become acclimated to the process.

The guide is a series of videos that are introduced by a friendly hostess, who takes novice cruisers through various sections that address typical concerns for people who are cruising for the first time. 

These short videos show statements by people that have cruised a lot and they also can learn about the destinations Royal Caribbean serves as well as the ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet.  There's also access to frequently asked questions.

Royal Caribbean shows possible interest in Almuñécar, Spain


Royal Caribbean representatives along with representatives from Norwegian Cruise Line met with port officials from Almuñécar, Spain as a possibility for shore excursions on future cruises.

The port cities of Motril and Malaga, Spain were also on hand as these cities were looking for ways to bring back Royal Caribbean after they announced the company would cease port calls to Malaga next year.  

This visit is part of the campaign to promote the Port of Motril as a destination for cruise ships where other cruise lines are already operating with some regularity.

The visit began with a welcome by the Municipal Tourism Coordinator, Rafael Caballero, at the headquarters of the Tourist Board of Almuñecar. In addition to delivering information about the town municipality, Caballero informed the group of the availability of a guided service to show some of the most prominent monuments and archaeological sites.

For municipal representative, Rafael Caballero, the visit of two large cruise line representatives "is very important to Almuñécar so can be assumed in the projection of our community be included in brochures and possible destination of tourists arriving to the port as we have had the opportunity to meet, "he said.

Royal Caribbean will remain in Barcelona through 2013


Royal Caribbean has committed itself to serving the port of Barcelona, Spain through 2013 and will make about 50 stops next year.

During 2013, Liberty of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas will home port in Barcelona and offer western Mediterranean itineraries but they will soon be joined by other Royal Caribbean ships.  Splendour of the Seas will arrive in May and Serenade of the Seas will offer a new route from Barcelona in January to the Middle East.

The news comes after Royal Caribbean opted to drop other Spanish ports such as Malaga, Valencia and the Balearic Islands will be dropped in 2013.  Royal Caribbean has promised to re-evaluate the situation in 2014 but for now, Barcelona remains a key port of call for Royal Caribbean in Spain.

In 2013, over 20,000 cruise passengers will call at Barcelona on Royal Caribbean ships that are based on other ports and that will mean about 1.2 million euros spent in Barcelona by tourists.

Royal Caribbean leaving Malaga as home port in 2013


Royal Caribbean will cease home porting its ships in Malaga, Spain in 2013.  Currently Adventure of the Seas is there and will complete its 28 cruises but by 2013, she will move to be ported out of Southampton, England.

The move by Royal Caribbean to leave Malaga isn't permanent.  Royal Caribbean describes the change as "transitional" and anticipates reassessing the possibility of returning to Malaga in 2014, "given the interest of the company for the city".

Royal Caribbean has spent three years operating out of Malaga, near Valencia, as a base port for the western Mediterranean. The Adventure of the Seas, with capacity for 3,840 passengers, currently covers the route Málaga, Valencia, Civitavecchia (Rome), Livorno (Pisa and Florence) and Ajaccio (Corsica). 

The change was characterized by a Royal Caribbean spokeswoman as "reprogramming of the ships to meet new demand" and she also indicated that Malaga has received very high results in passenger satisfaction surveys.

Sebastian Camps, the Malaga port manager, insists Royal Caribbean's departure is "temporary" and blames the economic situation in the Mediterranena area.

Vision of the Seas to open cruise season in Gijón


The Port of Gijón, Spain will host the docking of Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas tomorrow.  This will be the first cruise of the season and will bring the city 2,435 passengers and 765 crew.

The Royal Caribbean ship will dock at North Pier Extension area, from Vigo bound for Portland (United States).

This is the same ship that opened last year the springs in the area of enlargement, reports the Port Authority of Gijón.

This is the first of nine cruise ships expected this year will host the Port of Gijón, reinforcing the role that has been gaining in recent years in passenger traffic.

Royal Caribbean brought 31,500 cruise passengers through Cadiz, Spain


Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas will visit Cadiz, Spain this year and will be the largest ship to ever dock at the port.  The ramifications of which will bring over 31,500 cruise passengers to the city and have a direct and indirect financial impact of "more than 1,800,000 euros."

Liberty of the Seas arrives in Spain after serving the Caribbean cruise season and will also visit Mediterranean ports after Cadiz of Malaga, Valencia and Barcelona.

Royal Caribbean protests new tourism tax in Spain


Royal Caribbean is joining other cruise lines in protesting a new tourist tax that is about to go into effect in Spain.  The new tax would charge cruise operators the same rate of 2.5 Euros that is currently charged to tourists staying in 5 star hotels for every passenger.  

The cruise lines argue it isn't fair since all passengers on the ship will be subject to the same rate as those staying at a 5 star hotel, when clearly not all passengers are in the same type of accommodations.

Francisco Reddel, port manager Mediterranean and Middle East Operations of Royal Caribbean was at the Balearic Cruise Forum 2012 in Palma de Mallorca to join in the chorus of complaints about the new tax law.