Amsterdam Axed as a Cruise stop.

Cruise liners cancel trips to THIS popular destination due to new tourist tax

Cruises: Amsterdam trip change

Cruises: A new tourist tax in Amsterdam has meant cruise ships are changing their itineraries (Image: Getty)

CRUISES travelling through Amsterdam have been cancelled for passengers who book holidays with MSC Cruises or Cruise and Maritime Voyages due to a new tourist tax introduced in the city.

Cruise passengers looking for a trip to Amsterdam may find themselves short for choice thanks to a new tourist tax. The city has announced a €8 head tax per day for tourists arriving by cruise, affecting passengers who stay for 24 hours or less, or €16 for those staying more than 24 hours. This has resulted in a number of cruise liners removing Amsterdam from their itineraries choosing another Dutch city instead. Thousands of passengers travelling in 2019 and 2020 could find their trips drastically altered.

Earlier this year, MSC Cruises announced they will change their overnight calls from Amsterdam to Rotterdam.

Central Station in Amsterdam. photo credit Dave Jones

Gianluca Suprani, head of global port development and shore activities at MSC Cruises, warned Amsterdam could lose thousands of pounds of spending by the loss of passengers.

He told Seatrade Cruise: “We decided to pull our business in 2019 and as a result, Amsterdam city stands to lose between €50-100 per passenger in respect of potential spend.”

Cruise and Maritime Voyages has followed in their footsteps and announced their 2019 and 2020 port calls to Amsterdam will also now be at Rotterdam.

This means 37 of their cruises will make the move, with 30 Columbus ships and seven Magellan ships avoiding the city.

Costa Mediterranea in the Port of Amsterdam. photo credit Dave Jones

According to Seatrade Cruise, more than 50,000 passengers will be affected.

CMV CEO Christian Verhounig warned of the last minute changes for customers who will have already booked for 2019, advising 80 per cent had already been purchased.

“The local politicians have failed to acknowledge or understand that the cruise industry plans their budgets two to three years ahead and have been unwilling to look into a proper implementation schedule,” he warned.

“The late introduction of these new and un-phased charges are therefore not budgeted and simply cannot be absorbed.”

Passengers travelling with either cruise liner should check for any changes to their trips.

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Cruise couple held over suitcase cocaine

The Marco Polo cruise ship

A British couple in their 70s have been arrested after cocaine was found in their cruise ship cabin.

Officers found 20-22lb (9-10kg) of the drug “ingeniously concealed” in false compartments in four suitcases, Portuguese police said.

The man and woman, aged 72 and 70, were held on suspicion of drug trafficking when the ship docked at Lisbon.

Operator Cruise and Maritime Voyages said it was “co-operating fully with officials”.

The Marco Polo ship had left Tilbury in Essex on 5 November and travelled to the West Indies and the Azores with 610 passengers and 294 crew on board.

The couple were arrested on 4 December following a tip-off from the UK National Crime Agency.

They appeared before a judge and will be held separately while a joint Portuguese and British investigation continues.

A spokesman for the operator said the firm “does not tolerate any criminal activity or anti-social behaviour onboard its ships”.

Pensioner rescued after trying to swim to cruise ship

A British pensioner was rescued from the Atlantic after trying to swim to a cruise ship after the vessel left port without her.

Susan Brown, 65, jumped into the water off Madeira after she changed her mind about leaving the Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ ship Marco Polo with her husband.

She was rescued about 500 metres from the shore by fishermen who heard her cries for help.

She had been in the icy water for four hours and was reported to be recovering from hypothermia in hospital in Funchal.

The pensioner and her husband Michael Brown reportedly had a row on Saturday and asked to leave the cruise early and fly back from Madeira to Bristol.

She appears to have changed her mind at the airport and tried to swim out to the ship which had already left the port.

The ship docked in Madeira on Saturday at 8am and was due to depart later the same evening. The couple asked to leave the ship before the end of the 32-night voyage from the West Indies.

Felix Marques, the Funchal port captain, told Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha: “She was 500 metres from the coast when fishermen heard her shouting. When they reached her she was clinging to her handbag.”

Mr Brown is thought to have returned to Madeira to be with his wife.

A local newspaper, the Jornal da Madeira, reported: “It appears a woman failed to return to the ship at 8pm and instead decided to go to the airport to catch a flight.

“When she reached the airport, she saw the ship passing and threw herself into the sea with the aim of getting back on the vessel.”