| Date Published: July 31, 2009 |
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|Update: Cruise Ships Sail After Mallorca Port Reopens|
Update, 1:30 p.m. EDT: All ships impacted by yesterday's bombing in Mallorca set sail late last night or early this morning, local time. (The airport and cruise port on the island of Mallorca reopened yesterday afternoon.)|
MSC Fantasia and Costa Concordia departed at 1 a.m. as scheduled. As we reported yesterday, Thomson Destiny's departure was extended to accommodate all late incoming guests; the ship's actual departure time was 2:40 a.m. P&O's Oceana left four hours later than scheduled on Thursday. The port of call in Alghero on Friday was reduced to a half day call as a result.
No further itinerary changes have been reported.
(July 30, 11:30 a.m. EDT) -- A bomb that exploded on Spain's island of Mallorca today is having some impact on cruise visits there. P&O spokeswoman Kate Rist told Cruise Critic that its Oceana is on a scheduled call at Palma de Mallorca. The ship had planned on a 4:30 p.m. departure, local time, but Rist says, "the port has been closed until at least 10 p.m. (22:00), standard procedure in such circumstances, and the sailing will therefore be delayed."
Contrary to media reports elsewhere, passengers -- at least on P&O's Oceana -- are not being stranded. "Some crew members and passengers are still ashore and making their way back to the ship," Rist said.
Thomson Cruises, whose Thomson Destiny is ending one cruise -- and beginning another -- in Palma today, is facing a few additional challenges as it has chartered flights to the island from the U.K. with loads of embarking passengers. And of course, the flights are planned to return to U.K. airports with loads of debarking travelers.
Hannah Burden, a spokeswoman for Thomson, tells Cruise Critic that the tour and cruise operator "has four flights currently en route to Palma, of which a number of passengers are cruise passengers. Of these flights, two are returning to the UK to depart later today and two are to continue and shortly land in Palma."
"At the moment," she adds, "we are working closely with our airline to ensure passengers due to embark the ship are taken care of."
Thomson Destiny's original departure was scheduled for 11 p.m. and Burden notes that, "We have flexibility, we will wait for them. We have until 2 a.m. before we have to depart Palma to get to our destination on time tomorrow."
Other ships in Palma today include Costa Concordia and MSC Fantasia. MSC spokeswoman Julianne Carelli told us that MSC Fantasia is expected to depart from Palma on time at 1 a.m. We have not yet had a response from Costa about our queries.
The explosion, as reported by the Associated Press (AP), occurred near a police station at Palma Nova, some four miles from Palma de Mallorca. Two police officers were killed. Authorities have since restricted all ships and planes from departing from Mallorca (the airport is accepting inbound traffic but outbound flights are halted for now) in an effort to prevent escape by the terrorists.
In addition to attracting daytrippers, Palma de Mallorca also serves as a port of embarkation for Ocean Village; a spokeswoman told Cruise Critic that the next departure isn't scheduled until next Tuesday. The company doesn't expect the incident to have any impact on Tuesday's cruise, and told us that they are liaising with the 200 stay-and-cruise passengers who are currently in hotels across Mallorca prior to joining the ship on Tuesday.
The bombing is being blamed on the armed Basque separatist group ETA.
We'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief, and Kim Kazell, Assistant Editor
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