The world’s largest cruise ship, Great Britain’s Queen Mary II, arrived to the Pacific port of Caldera Feb. 17, according to a statement from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).
The ship’s gargantuan proportions made it impossible for it fit into Caldera’s dock. Instead, it docked 1.8 kilometers away, and many of the 2,500 passengers aboard were transported in smaller boats to Caldera, where they were greeted by folkloric dancers and served traditional Costa Rican food.
Pacific Port Authority president Paul Zúñiga said Queen Mary II’s visit was a good way to celebrate Caldera’s 25th anniversary, and he took advantage of the occasion to urge the Comptroller General’s Office to approve contracts for the expansion and modernization of the port, plans which have been in the works for years (TT, Sept. 23, 2005).
Queen Mary II is as tall as a 16-story building and is equipped with five pools, a conference center, jogging track, mini golf course, movie theater and several bars and restaurants, according to the ICT statement.
The ship’s voyage began in New York and is scheduled to end in Acapulco, Mexico, Feb. 22. It stopped in Saint Thomas, Curaçao, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Panama before arriving to Costa Rica.
Queen Mary II had previously planned to dock at Costa Rica’s Caribbean port of Moín Jan. 11, but the stop was cancelled due to strong winds that caused concern over passenger safety (TT, Jan. 13).
Tourism Minister Rodrigo Castro said the ship’s visit to Costa Rica is an indicator of the country’s status as a world destination.
“With the arrival of this ship, some of the most important pages are written in the history of Costa Rica’s tourism,” Castro said. “This act is not a coincidence, rather it is the result of the model of sustainable development that Costa Rican has chosen … that makes a visit to our country an experience that very few destinations offer.”