Embarkation Changes After Cruise Terminal Roof Collapses

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Guests setting sail from Buenos Aires, Argentina, will have slightly different embarkation procedures for the next few months after the Quinquela Martín Cruise Terminal’s roof collapsed during a storm recently, damaging the terminal’s waiting area.

Travelers on upcoming sailings are being informed that their embarkation location has changed, and asked to be patient with potential delays for embarkation processing at the new location.

Buenos Aires Cruise Terminal Damage

A violent storm with strong winds caused part of the roof of the Quinquela Martín Cruise Terminal in Buenos Aires to collapse, making portions of the facility unsafe and unusable for cruise guests.

Now, cruise guests are being notified of changes to embarkation procedures due to the damage, which includes dropping off luggage and waiting at the nearby Costa Salguero facility, 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) away.

A letter sent to guests setting sail on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Star, for example, have been notified of the change.

“Due to damage at the port caused by a recent storm, and in order to ensure the safest embarkation experience possible, guests will now wait for their embarkation at Costa Salguero,” the letter explained. “The local port authorities are doing everything in their control to ensure the best experience, however, we caution guests to expect some delays to the standard operations.”

It should be noted that the letter specifically says that “guests will now wait for their embarkation” rather than actually embark their ship at Costa Salguero. The cruise line has arranged complimentary shuttles from Costa Salguero to the port for embarkation.

Because guests must be shuttled from one facility to the other, embarkation delays are inevitable and guests should be patient with port personnel. Guests are strongly urged to stick to their pre-selected arrival times for their sailings, as those timing windows will be strictly enforced.

Norwegian Star Cruise Ship
Norwegian Star Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: Lukassek / Shutterstock)

If travelers have arranged transfers to the port through Norwegian Cruise Line, their drop-off location will be automatically adjusted to Costa Salguero. Guests who have made independent arrangements will need to be sure they are taken to the correct location.

The new procedure went into effect from Tuesday, December 19, 2023 and the repairs to the Quinquela Martín Cruise Terminal are expected to be underway at least until March 2024.

It is unknown at this time whether parts of the terminal may be reopened for guest use sooner than March, but all guests with cruises booked from Buenos Aires in the coming months should be prepared for procedure adjustments.

Storm Damage in Buenos Aires

The storm that passed through Buenos Aires on Sunday, December 17, had strong winds with gusts recorded up to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour). Such strong gusts could easily detach roofing materials or cause tree limbs to fall onto roofs causing leaks and other damage.

The type of damage to the Quinquela Martín Cruise Terminal has not been detailed, but the passenger waiting area and pre-boarding areas are not usable at this time. This could be due to debris, structural instability, flooding, or other types of damage.

Norwegian Star Deck
Norwegian Star Deck

The baggage handling, customs, and immigration areas of the terminal are not impacted and will continue to be used as planned.

It should also be noted that transit calls – cruise ships visiting Buenos Aires as a port of call rather than embarking or debarking guests – are not impacted by the terminal adjustments.

Cruising From Argentina

A number of cruise lines offer sailings from Buenos Aires from mid-December through March, when South American cruises are in high demand. Ships from MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises, and other cruise lines all include Buenos Aires as an occasional homeport.

Depending on the cruise line, departure date, and itinerary length, cruises featuring Antarctica are particularly popular to sail from Buenos Aires, as are different South American explorations that visit ports in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, and other amazing destinations.

The port is also a part of many World Cruise itineraries and may be part of transatlantic crossings, depending on the planned routes for different vessels.

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