Thousands of cruise passengers flocked in to Alicante on Wednesday, many having booked excursions to visit Santa Barbara Castle, but unfortunately, the faulty lifts left all of them disappointed.
In their attempts to mitigate the problem, however, council officials quickly decided to provide a bus service but as the castle paths and roads, which dates back to the 9th century, were never designed to receive coaches that in itself presented problems of both space and vehicle parking.
In total over 6,500 passengers disembarked from the Jewel of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and the Seven Seas Explorer, details of which were known over six months ago, but with the castle lifts failing yet again, reports suggest this was at least the 10th occasion in the last two years that they have broken down, many of the tourists were unable to spend a much anticipated day in the fortress despite having paid to do so.
During the past year, the Department of Culture has reported on seven occasions that the lifts to take visitors to the top of the fortress were out of order, in January, April, July, August, September, October and November. In addition, at the end of the previous year there were two further stoppages in the service during the months of November and December.
The problem has now occurred on several important dates, regularly coinciding with holiday periods during which the frequency of tourists increases. On each occasion the break down guarantees that those tourists caught up in the situation will leave the city with a feeling of displeasure which is not the ideal situation for a city that relies on attracting tourists for much of its economy.
The incidents in the castle elevators have also resulted in many tourists and Alicanteans being locked inside for hours until they were eventually released by technicians.
Fortunately there were a number of other activities laid on for the visitors, many by the merchants and restaurateurs association, including dances in the Port terminal by the students of the Professional Conservatory of Dance as well as different traditional festivals such as the Bonfires, Moors and Christians, Carnivals, Traditional Dances and Holy Week activities in la plaza del Ayuntamiento.