Gay cruise ship turned away by Morocco, goes to Spain

July 2nd, 2012 - 12:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Malaga (Spain), July 2 (IANS/EFE) The cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam, on its present voyage catering to a gay clientele, docked Sunday in the southern Spanish port of Malaga after Moroccan authorities prohibited it from making its scheduled port of call in Casablanca.

The vessel carries 1,564 passengers and 869 crewmembers, Malaga Port Authority spokespersons told EFE.

The RSVP Vacations travel agency, which specialises in organising tourist trips for gay and lesbian customers, said 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 1 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”.

The ship, which belongs to the US company Holland America Line, had scheduled a programme for its stay in Casablanca that included a visit to several souks - or traditional marketplaces - in the city.

After the stop in Casablanca, which was supposed to last for about 12 hours, the cruise ship was due to sail to Cadiz, also in southern Spain, and then to continue on to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, then to the eastern Spanish city of Valencia and finally to end its journey in Barcelona.


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