Strict measures for cruise ships. | Gabriel Alomar

The Balearic government has established a protocol for cruise ships. This is being forwarded to cruise operators which intend including stopovers at Balearic ports.

There will need to be prior authorisation from the health authorities. This will have to be requested at least twenty days in advance of arrival, and the regional health ministry will need information regarding the complete itinerary of the cruise - all the stops and their duration - the maximum capacity of the ship and the required reduced capacity, and health contingency plans.

Various measures being demanded by the government include antigen tests for passengers before they disembark. If these are not possible, the tests will be performed on arrival. This obligation is in line with the existing regulation for anyone entering the Balearics, which is to have a negative test within 72 hours of arrival. Negative tests for passengers and crew before starting a cruise are also required, regardless of the port of origin.

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Passengers will only be allowed on scheduled excursions with their "stable coexistence group". Interaction between ship and port personnel should be minimised. The cruise ship must have medical insurance to cover all health care expenses that are the consequence of Covid.

The pro-cruise ships lobby group 'Sí als creuers' has welcomed the protocol; it has been demanding this for months. A few days ago, there was a warning that the Balearics was the only region not to have established a protocol. The president of the Pimem small to medium-sized businesses federation, Jordi Mora, says that the protocol "is certainly late", but there now is one and this is a positive step.

The Spanish government is now being urged to open ports to international cruise operators.