Cruise liner docks in Maldives for the first time since 2020

Europa 2 docked in the Maldives. (Photo/Maldives Association of Yacht Agency)

The first cruise liner docks in the Maldives after the lockdown due to COVID-19 back in 2020.

The cruise liner is named “Europa 2”, from the Hapag-Lloyd company.

While the cruise liner business, which had come to a standstill, began anew yesterday, the passengers of Europa 2 are not permitted to disembark in Male’, which prompted the cruise liner to stop at two other islands near the capital.

The cruise liner came to the Maldives from Port Victoria in Seychelles and will stay in the Maldives for two days, as per the Maldives Association of Yacht Agents (MAYA).

Highlighting the obstacles cruise liners face when coming to Maldives, MAYA said that some of the restrictions put forth by Heath Protection Agency (HPA) continue to hinder the business of cruise liners. The restrictions include the ship not being able to enter Maldives even if one passenger or crew tests positive for COVID-19.

MAYA said three more cruises will dock in the Maldives in the next month.

While the Maldives gains a lot of business from such cruise liners, there are problems faced by these ships as they dock in the island nation. These include the COVID-19 restrictions put in place post-pandemic and the increase in the pilotage fee from Maldives Ports Limited back in 2020. When MPL lowered the cost of the fee in December 2021, many cruise liners showed interest in coming to the Maldives although this is the first time such a ship has docked in the Maldives since then.

The Maldives was a main port for boarding and disembarking such ships and profited from such cruise liners being docked near Male’ for multiple days. But this industry started sinking with the global pandemic.

The Maldives used to see more than 60 cruise liners per year bringing with them more than 60,000 tourists and profits to the Maldivian markets.