Argentine Minister of Tourism Matias Lammens and Tierra del Fuego governor Gustavo Melella officially opened the 2021/22 cruise season this Monday, in Ushuaia, with the arrival of “National Geographic Endurance”, which tomorrow leaves for Antarctica.
It was very difficult to think in a cruise season, but we made the political decision since we know what it means for the local and national economy. Tourism is the locomotive of the province's recovery, pointed out Lammens. He added we've worked hard to sustain the sector, but now is the moment to grow with the support of an innovative State.
Governor Melella expressed his satisfaction and said it was a great moment to begin the recovery, thanking the federal government and the private sector for their joint efforts in sustaining jobs.
The officials then met with Captain Oliver Kruess, who invited them to a tour of the National Geographic Endurance, docked in the port of Ushuaia since its arrival on Sunday.
The head of Tierra del Fuego provincial ports Roberto Murcia met on Sunday with Captain Kruess and said it was a motive of pride that the 2021 cruise season was taking off from Ushuaia and travelling to our Antarctica. The fact that an expedition vessel has chosen Ushuaia, confirms that we are the gateway to Antarctica.
Further Murcia said Tierra del Fuego was grateful to the federal ministries and local health authorities in helping draft and approve the Covid 19 protocols and establishing a safe corridor from the international Malvinas Argentinas airport to the dock for passengers to embark.
The provincial official said they were looking forward to a very encouraging tourism season since some 243 cruise calls are scheduled involving 37 vessels. Our strict sanitary measures and the successful vaccination program in the province are the great support for the season
Captain Kruess said he was extremely pleased to be back in Ushuaia. When we left Ushuaia in March 2020 we thought we would need to be very lucky to see the following season...It was a terrible year, our vessels idle without operating, we did the presentation of this new vessel and her sister but were never able to operate. That is why we are so happy today and full of expectations”.
The National Geographic Endurance is an expedition vessel for 126 tourists, and has a very revolutionary hull with an X-Bow, which allows for a more gentle and ecologic sailing, more fuel efficient and less carbon contaminating. On Friday November 19, she is expected to meet in Ushuaia with her sister, National Geographic Resolution.
The vessels work for Lindblad Expeditions, and will have three National Geographic vessels based in Ushuaia, Endurance, Resolution and Explorer.
Among the cruises offered by Lindblad Expeditions include the 14-day Journey to Antarctica: The White Continent; 24-day Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falklands; 19-day South Georgia & the Falklands; 20-day Patagonia & Antarctica: Legendary Ice and Epic Fjords (this voyage embarks in Punta Arenas); and 33-day Epic Antarctica: South Sandwich Islands, South Georgia & The Peninsula.