The Port of Mombasa on Sunday welcomed a cruise ship christened ‘Ms. Albatros’ with 446 passengers and 346 crew members on board.
The luxury MS Albatros with mostly European tourists set sail from Zanzibar on Saturday and is headed for Seychelles after Mombasa.
The luxurious cruise ship with tourists of various nationalities on board becomes the first passenger cruise ship of 2019 to dock at the port of Mombasa’s new world class cruise ship terminal.
A German tourist, Catherine Bidman who is visiting Kenya for the first time said she was excited, saying that she has heard the country has some incredibly friendly people.
Bidman said she is part of a television crew that is documenting all the destinations the cruise ship will visit and broadcast it to audiences back home.
The Inch-cape Shipping Line Operations Manager, Bwanaheri Omar who was among the stakeholders who welcomed the tourists said the holidaymakers will proceed to excursions in Maasai Mara national park, Tsavo National Park and Shimba Hills national reserve and a tour of Mombasa’s old town.
The passenger cruise ship terminal currently 90 per cent complete is being constructed with funding from Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and the Finish Embassy in Nairobi, which contributed funding through the Trademark East Africa.
Omar said the completion of the cruise ship terminal comes in time for the cruise high season during the December and New Year holidays, adding that the arrival of quality cruise ships with high spending tourists is an indication that Mombasa is slowly becoming a cruise destination of choice in the region.
He said Kenya has for long been looking into the growth of the cruise industry to help boost its tourism earnings.
Omar said tourism stakeholders are excited about the modern cruise terminal with two passenger pavilions as over the years, there has been an increase in the number of cruise ships that want to berth at the port of Mombasa.
The Trademark East Africa and KPA agreed to upgrade the old passenger terminal constructed in the 1920s and which was initially designed for storage of conventional cargo.
By Hussein Abdullahi