El Caribe, los fiordos noruegos, el Mediterráneo, Alaska e, incluso, la Antártida. Cuando parecería que los cruceros habían explorado todas las posibles rutas del mundo, un nuevo destino se sumará a los itinerarios más exclusivos de las navieras ofreciendo nuevos horizontes a los fanáticos de estos viajes. Y es que, después de décadas de batalla legal, el Mar Caspio se abre a los cruceros.

Más que un mar, esta vasta extensión de agua, que ocupa una superficie de 371.000 km y cuenta con una profundidad media de 170 m, es el mayor lago del mundo y hace de frontera natural entre Rusia, Azerbaiyán, Irán, Turkmenistán y Kazajistán, con las estepas de Asia central al norte y al este.

Lago o mar
Los cinco países que lo comparten, de hecho, han mantenido una disputa legal de décadas acerca de su status. Una vez superada, el mar, rico en recursos como petróleo y gas y principal fuente del preciado caviar negro, se abre ahora a los cruceros de lujo.

El nuevo estatus del Caspio que, si bien pospone la división del subsuelo, otorga a cada país 15 millas de aguas soberanas y otras 10 como área de pesca, y califica el resto como aguas comunes, abrió nuevas oportunidades para el turismo.

Nuevo barco en construcción
Operado por la compañía Russian River Cruises, el barco contará con 155 cabinas y capacidad para 310 pasajeros y se espera que en los próximos meses, si bien aún no se han anunciado fechas concretas ni se han puesto a la venta los itinerarios.

El primer barco que operará cruceros en el mar Caspio ofrecerá también itinerarios fluviales por el Volga, así como los mares Báltico y Negro. Entre sus viajes se contarán trayectos de una y dos semanas alrededor del Mar Caspio, con escalas en puertos de Azerbaiyán, Rusia, Kazajstán, Turkmenistán e Irán.

Sin embargo, las dimensiones y el diseño de este barco de 141 por 16,8 m también le permitirán moverse a través de la red de canales navegables por el interior de Rusia, por lo que su actividad no se limitará al Caspio, sino que, previsiblemente, alcanzará también los mares Báltico y Negro.

De hecho, diversos medios locales avanzaron que el buque alternará los cruceros del Caspio en invierno con los itinerarios fluviales a lo largo del Volga y entre Moscú y San Petersburgo en el verano. También podrá realizar cruceros en el Mar Negro, a lo largo de la costa rusa y hasta Georgia y la ciudad turca de Trabzon.

Cruceros fluviales en Rusia
Los cruceros fluviales no son nuevos en Rusia, que cuenta con una red de operadores que navegan por los principales ríos del país. Entre sus actores más destacados se encuentra Viking Cruises.

Actual referente de cruceros fluviales de lujo, la compañía fue fundada por Torstein Hagen en Leningrado como Viking River Cruises en 1997 y contaba con cuatro pequeños barcos. Hoy la empresa sigue teniendo una fuerte presencia en el país, donde transportó, solo en 2018, alrededor de 12.000 pasajeros.

Habitualmente operados con barcos más pequeños y acogedores, sin grandes atracciones como toboganes y tirolinas, los cruceros fluviales incluyen, sin embargo, una gran oferta gastronómica y cultural.
 

Confían en nosotros
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