Cruise Lines Favor Cartagena
Cartagena has great news! You will once more have numerous choices to visit this impressive city on cruises by the major cruise lines serving the Panama Canal and Southwestern Caribbean. Currently you could visit Cartagena aboard a few of the Trans-Canal calls of the Holland America ships, and aboard the MSC ship Lirica; but beginning in April 2007 there will be a steady increase of calls of the ships of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Celebrity, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Crystal Cruises and others. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity are planning 32 visits in Cartagena in the Fall season (October 2007 - May 2008), and Princess Cruises has joined in with a similar number of calls for that season. Leading up to the return of substantial numbers of cruise ship visits the city has begun to receive ships such as the QE2, Crystal Symphony, and Oceania's Regatta.
This is all a part of the steady improvement in security in Colombia as a whole under the current (and recently re-elected) president, Alvaro Uribe. The United States Travel Warning for Colombia is slowly beginning to reflect this dramatically improved situation, and particularly to reflect the different risk levels in different parts of this large and geographically diverse country. In the case of Cartagena, particularly, the risks have always been minimal. Today, the United States Travel Warning for Colombia specifically mentions that “…Violence in recent years has decreased markedly in most urban areas, including …Cartagena.”
If you have thought of visiting Cartagena, now is the time to do so. The place is not overrun by tourists, and yet there is enough activity to make things interesting. You can walk around the main tourist areas of the city by day and by night without any more than normal vigilance.
A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the return of the cruise ships to Cartagena:
If you like to read about recent experiences of yachting couples in Cartagena and along the Colombian coast, you might take a look at The Log of Ithaka (http://www.boatus.com/cruising/ithaka/).