I am pleased that many cruise ships are in the process of returning to European waters following being  positioned elsewhere during  our winter season and we now  look forward to a busy remaining 2019.

Cruise vessels that visited Cartagena in recent weeks are mainly ships operational within Europe during our winter season. One is the P & O Cruise Line vessel ‘Ventura’ pictured with the ship passing close to shore at Christmas Fort on departure. I was offered the opportunity to wave ‘away’ with assistance of friends by vigorously waving the P & O ‘house flag’ together with the Red Ensign I possess. As usual many passengers were on deck and within their balcony cabins, acknowledging.

The ‘red ensign’ is displayed at the stern of UK registered merchant vessels. However, if the ship’s Captain is ex-Royal Navy, or a member of RN Reserves, then the ensign is blue. ‘Ventura’ is registered in Hamilton, hence the Bermudan flag being displayed at the stern. 

Built in Italy the ‘Ventura’ is currently the second largest of seven ships operated by P and O cruises for the British market. Although operated by P & O, it is actually owned by Carnival Cruise Line of USA. It is able to accommodate 3,192 passengers with 1,550 cabins. There are 8 restaurants, 6 boutiques, 5 pools and 3 show lounges, including one claimed to be largest theatre currently on a British ship.
  
Also visiting Cartagena recently was ‘Balmoral’ (pictured). It is not very large, but is the largest ocean-going ship within the fleet of Fred Olsen Cruise Line. Other ships within the fleet are all regular visitors; ‘Braemar’, ‘Black Watch’ and ‘Boudicca’. These are small enough to navigate size restricted waterways such as the Kiel Canal.  ‘Balmoral’s’ capacity is 1,325 passengers with 710 cabins, 6 restaurants, a swimming pool, jacuzzi, spa and gym. Departure ports include Dover, Southampton and Liverpool.

‘Saga Sapphire’ was also a recent vessel to visit, operated by Saga Cruises and advertised as ‘the British Cruise Company exclusively for over 50’s’.  Many extras included on their cruises are, return chauffer service from airport to ship, all on-board gratuities, Wifi Internet and much more. Departure ports include Liverpool, Newcastle, Rosyth, Southampton, Dover, Bristol and Tilbury.

‘Viking Sea’ is Norwegian owned and is the most recent vessel. It was here on Saturday 13th April on a cruise that commenced from Barcelona and departed from Cartagena on passage to Malaga. The itinerary included Falmouth and Portsmouth, completing Bergen, Norway.
Being only part way through April preparing this article, in addition to ships mentioned, a further 3 vessels have visited. I am hoping to include pictures and brief descriptions of each one in June’s edition of the Costa Cálida Chronicle.