By Kim Hayeon
Cruise lines halted because of COVID-19 will be resumed for the first time in three years and five months.
The Incheon Port Authority on Jan. 8 said Europa 2, a 43,000-ton vessel from the German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd AG, will arrive on March 19 at Incheon Port International Cruise Terminal.
The ship will depart Hong Kong with 544 passengers and arrive in Incheon after stops in Okinawa and Nagasaki, Japan, and Busan.
This is the first time in three years and five months that a cruise ship will enter Incheon Port.
Including the Europa 2 in March, the port this year will see combined 12 cruise liners with 18,100 passengers dock at the port.
Among them, four cruise vessels arriving between May and October will use Incheon Port as their home port, not a halfway station.
Around the time when Incheon hosted the Asian Games in 2014, more than 90 cruise ships used to stop at the port as cruise travel started to boom.
The reduction in the number of Chinese passengers meant fewer port calls, and as the coronavirus spread, entry to the port was suspended in 2020.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries on Oct. 24 last year lifted the entry ban to allow cruise lines to resume operations.
The authority will actively promote Incheon Port to cruise operators under a plan to attract this year a combined 20 vessels with 30,000 passengers.