The 2015-2016 cruise season began in Ecuador, with the arrival of Ms Zaandam to Manta.
This happened on Saturday, September 17th. With a total of 966 tourists and 606 crew members on board the luxury liner, which sailed 10 days ago from San Diego, USA, arrived in Manta, Manabi. Dominic Hamilton, Deputy Minister of Tourism, said that from October 17 until July 30, 2016, 37 cruise ships will arrive in the ports of Ecuador.
During the press conference held in the opening ceremony of the 2015-2016 cruise season, Hamilton stressed the importance of receiving more and more cruise ships in the ports of Ecuador, "because this promotes tourism in the country as while visiting our country tourist promote Ecuador worldwide after their trip", he said.
Cruise arrivals have increased compared to last season, where the country received 33 boats. As the only deep-water port of Ecuador, the Port of Manta is the destination of 67% of cruises, while the other 33% stop in Guayaquil and Esmeraldas. During this season, 22 cruise ships will dock in Manta, five this year and 17 next year, with 21,857 passengers and 8,957 crew members.
Hamilton also stated that the aim is to make tourists arriving on cruise ships stay more days in the country by buying tourist packages to visit the different destinations offered, thus, generating higher foreign exchange income to Ecuador. To achieve this it is necessary to make joint efforts between the Ministry of Tourism and the national tourism sector in order to improve the supply and quality of services offered to visitors.
After the press conference, Deputy Minister Hamilton presented a plaque to Ms Zaandam Captain, Wouter Van Hoogdalem, in celebration of the Holland America Line cruise line for opening the 2015 - 2016 cruise season and in recognition of its support for the development of cruise tourism in Ecuador.
The cruise ship has a total capacity of 1,400 passengers and 800 crew member. It has 10 floors where there are swimming pools, restaurants, playgrounds, exclusive clothing stores, perfumes and jewelry, casino, library, theater, spa, sauna, gym and sports fields.