The cruise ship “Nieuw Amsterdam” on its present voyage catering to gay clients docked Sunday in Malaga, south of Spain, after Moroccan authorities prohibited it from making its scheduled port of call in Casablanca.
The vessel with 1.564 passengers and 869 crewmembers docked early morning and was scheduled to depart from Malaga later in the day, a Malaga port authority informed.
The RSVP travel agency, which specializes in organizing tourist trips for gay and lesbian customers’ said on Saturday in a letter to its clients that its agent in the port of Casablanca had reported that “the authorities have cancelled the scheduled July first visit despite having previously confirmed it”.
The agency said that they considered this to be “disappointing news” and added that the decision was made after the visit of a gay cruise ship turned into a public and potentially controversial matter”
“For all of us, this is a very disappointing development … It was ultimately the decision by local authorities in Morocco that has necessitated us to adjust our plans.”
This ship, which belongs to the US company Holland America Line had scheduled a program for its stay in Casablanca that included a visit to the Hassan II Mosque and to several traditional marketplaces of the city.
After the stop in Casablanca which had been supposed to last for about 12 hours the cruise ship was due to sail to Cadiz also in Spain and then to continue to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, then to Valencia and finally end its journey in Barcelona.
Organizers had emphasized the “historic welcoming tolerance for gay tourists in Morocco” despite the fact that the religion Islam punishes homosexuality.