The end of the sail crossings? New Ferry Service Between Colon and Cartagena to Begin on 10 May 2012 Tuesday, April 10 2012 @ 01:34 PM COT Contributed by: Don Winner Views: 233 Nissos Rodos - New Ferry Service Between Colon in Panama and Cartagena in Colombia The Caribbean cities of Colon in Panama and Cartagena de Indias in Colombia will be connected as of 10 May 2012 by a new ferry service, which will cover the shipping route in about seven hours, said the general manager of the company Aventuras 2000, Augusto Terracina. "The intention is to be able to connect these two countries which have always had a good relationship in both the tourist and commercial sectors," said Terracina, as part of a press conference to announce the launch. Terracina said the ferry "Nissos Rodos" of the cruise line Panamerican Seaways has a capacity to carry approximately 1,500 people, but they will start running at about half capacity, and they will also be carrying shipping containers and automobiles. He said the intention of Adventura 2000, which manages the Colon 2000 port in the Caribbean city of the same name, is to open Panama to the tourism and commercial landscape of the second country with the highest number of annual tourists. "We will be able to bring many more Colombian tourists from other regions, hoping this will become a mass product which attract groups for conventions, trips and other activities in Panama," he said. He said the investment is more than $15 million dollars, including making necessary improvements to the Colon 2000 port, improvements to the ferry ship itself, as well as the promotional aspect to be held in Panama and in Colombia. (more - prices and schedules) The inaugural departure is on 10 May 2012 from the city of Colon, and the next day there will be a similar ceremony at the port of Cartagena. Trips are scheduled to depart from either of the two ports at 6:00 pm local (23.00 GMT) and will arrive at 7:00 am local time (12.00 GMT) the following day. The ferry will make six trips each week, with three departing from Colon and three from Cartagena. The ferry will depart on Monday, Thursday and Saturday from the Panamanian port, and on Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays from the Colombian city. The trip on the Greek ship "Nissos Rodos" will have a cost ranging from $99 dollars for a "delux seat" to $508 dollars for a "presidential suite." The ship will also have the capacity for 500 cars and 2,000 square feet for cargo. Terracina said the ferry will be manned by a Greek crew, who will be responsible to manage the boat, as well as Colombians and Panamanians who will be responsible for the restaurant, shopping and entertainment. The first ferry crossings between the ports of Colon and Cartagena to promote trade and tourism in both countries were recorded between 1994 and 1997, but did not have the desired success due to several factors. In that sense, Terracina said tourism in Panama at that time was still emerging, and in Colombian there was the latent political problem between the government of that country and the guerrillas. But now the conditions of both countries are different, especially in Panama, where the tourist and commercial activity is in one of his best. (Panama America) Editor's Comment: Excellent news! A lot of people fly between Panama and Colombia every day, and this will open up a new and much more economical option for those travelers. Hopefully the governments of both Panama and Colombia will make it easy for people to bring their cars with them if they want to - so you can go to Colombian and drive around for a week or whatever, without having to rent a car. I really hope these guys are successful. Another upgrade, great.