Panama continues to grow as a tourist destination.
The Grandeur of the Seas, by Royal Caribbean, and the Horizon, by Pullmantur, are the two cruise ships that have departed from Home Port Colón 2000 throughout the tourist season with a 100% occupancy.
The Horizon, with 828 thousand passengers, left every Friday and finished its program this week. However, the Grandeur of the Seas, with 2,426 passengers, will continue taking off every Sunday until April 15.
These two cruise ships launched their tourism offer to the Latin American market, but have been sought by tourists everywhere from Canada to Finland who arrive in charters to Panamá.
Augusto Terracina, from Port Colón 2000, indicated that the operation's success is due to the hub of Copa Airlines, and the growth of Panama as a tourist destination.
"Copa has direct flights to the major cities across the continent. South America has become a big market for Panamanian tourism, and the cruise ships also stand out among the offers. " Terracina said that, by operating at 100% capacity, Royal Caribbean is being pushed to add a larger cruise ship for future tourist seasons.
For now, Horizon will resume its season next November 30 and will continue active throughout the year 2013, which means that there will be year-round cruises from Panamá.
Lyany Caballero from the company Grand Tour, which handles the Panamanian market for these two cruise ships, says that the market has responded very well: "We had a great season with over 100% full departures and a growing demand. You do not need a visa to take a cruise in Panama, and it is easily accessible by air. "
Experts state that operation of the Colon 2000 home port helps boost hotel occupancy, as more than 3,500 passengers per week decide to extend their trip and need rooms.
Other cruise lines have already shown interest in programming departures on their boats from Colón.