By José Antonio Pérez / Shandra Keesecker-Rivero
The MV Astoria of Britain’s leading independent Cruise and Maritime Voyages cruise line, presented to the eagerly awaiting community of Puerto Peñasco on Wednesday, Jan. 8th, has already fulfilled initial expectations (just with its arrival and three scheduled 11-day cruises through the Sea of Cortez in 2020), and with sights set on the possibility of upcoming seasons.
John Dennis, Vice President of Cruise and Maritime Voyages, was pleased with the history making event in Puerto Peñasco, which marks the first cruise route for this destination. He stated ticket sale goals for this first cruise season out of Puerto Peñasco were met, therefore plans are to continue the route in the future. In the official inaugural ceremony held on January 9th, Dennis explained plans for this cruise began three years ago, with a determined optimism to make it a reality. This has been achieved even without conclusion of Puerto Peñasco’s home port as tenders (provided by EcoFun Adventures) facilitated passenger boarding. Though the Astoria is a medium-sized ship, it places Puerto Peñasco on the international sphere as it has drawn cruise-goers not solely from the U.S. and Mexico but from other parts of the world.
Flag Waving Ceremony marks Astoria’s historic launch from Puerto Peñasco
On Thursday, Jan. 9th, just hours before the Astoria cruise ship’s departure from Puerto Peñasco, Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich Arellano led a celebratory launch ceremony on the malecón. The Governor was accompanied by Cruise and Maritime Voyages Vice President John Dennis, Puerto Peñasco mayor Ernesto Roger Munro López, and Sonora Tourism Coordinator Luis Núñez Noriega, along with local and state officials, Harbor Master Luis Castro Galán, members of the Navy and National Guard, and San Luis Rio Colorado mayor Santos González Yescas, among others.
With hundreds of local community members and students from across Puerto Peñasco on hand, the Governor heralded this as a “day to remember in Sonora.”
“This is a historic day for Puerto Peñasco and Sonora, this is the first cruise ship to embark into the Sea of Cortez with Puerto Peñasco as the departure and return destination,” remarked Governor Pavlovich, “I am very happy and extremely grateful to John Dennis, Vice President of Cruise and Maritime Voyages, as well as Mayor Kiko Munro, and all of us who have worked in synergy, all of us that have worked to make this dream a reality. This began two years ago in talks, in seeing how we could achieve this. We are working in synergy thanks to the terrific labor; we are taking advantage of the snowbirds who come to Phoenix, and through this wonderful relationship we have with the MegaRegion there are people traveling from the U.S. and Mexico.”
The cruise’s three trips through the Sea of Cortez are expected to garner approximately 190 million pesos in economic revenue in Sonora. This represents an important boost for tourism and the region’s economy, highlighted the governor.
The Puerto Peñasco Convention and Visitors Bureau detailed with a capacity for 550 passengers, and nearly 300 crew members from different parts of the world, on its first departure from Puerto Peñasco, cruise goers were mostly from the U.S. (341), Mexico (19), and Canada (8), as well as from England and Latvia.
Upcoming departures of the Astoria from Puerto Peñasco are Jan. 20th and Jan. 31st. More information at: https://us.cruiseandmaritime.com/mexican-cruises