IN a major step towards the return of cruise tourism to Gibraltar, the Transport and Tourism Minister Vijay Daryanani met with Viking Cruises to discuss plans to return to the territory.

Daryanani met with Viking’s Vice President of Maritime Operations Matt Grimes and Chairman Torstein Hagen on Tuesday on board the carrier newest addition, the state of the art Venus liner.

The huge, 340 million ship was visiting Gibraltar on a technical visit, with Grimes and Hagen flying in to meet with the Transport Minister and conduct a tour of its facilities.

In order to comply with the strictest COVID-19 protocols, the ship has been fitted with a comprehensive PCR testing facility to ensure the safety of passengers.

“I’m delighted to be in Gibraltar to meet Minister Daryanani and to join our newest ship, Viking Venus.” said Grimes.

I’ve been speaking virtually with Minister Daryanani now for several weeks, discussing possibilities for Gibraltar and it is a pleasure to be here and to meet him in person.”

“I talked to Mr. Grimes and Mr. Hagen about Viking’s role in the resumption of cruise services and I have explained the protocols we have in place.” explained Daryanani.

“I have also highlighted the success of our vaccination program, thanks to the UK Government and the management of the pandemic here, I’m heavily committed to the cruise industry and this meeting is just one facet of the hard work I am carrying out to ensure the successful return of this important element of our tourism sector.”

Viking cruises postponed operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the company has been working hard to resume cruises from May 31, announcing a host of new routes this summer including stops in Gibraltar.

The LA based company also announced in a statement last week that it will require all passengers on board to be fully vaccinated and wear face mass when moving about the ship.

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