THE Celebrity Apex cruise ship that stayed in Gibraltar for the first time last week was the 16th first cruise liner to arrive on the Rock this year, the government revealed.

Minister for Transport Vijay Daryanani welcomed the Celebrity Cruises vessel with a capacity for 2,900 passengers and 1,320 crew members and exchanged a plaque with its captain.

Daryanani said this latest inaugural cruise visit to the Rock was ‘a sign of the hard work we are doing to attract new ships to Gibraltar’.

“These things do not happen by magic,” Daryanani added. “It takes time and tremendous effort in convincing the operators. We will keep on promoting our port energetically and proactively to continue bringing success to Gibraltar.”

The visit followed Daryanani’s appearance at a panel discussion with rivals from Malaga and Tangier earlier in September.

At the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in the city of Malaga, the minister showcased Gibraltar’s offering after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daryanani said the cruising industry had ‘changed dramatically’ after the pandemic.

“It is more competitive than ever before and we need to keep up with these changing times,” the minister for tourism said.

“Malaga and Tangiers are our direct competitors but it is also crucial to explore if we can work with them to see if we can attract more traffic to the region.

“The number of cruise calls for next year is on the rise but we will keep on working to improve as there is a lot to be done,” he added.

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