Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Barcelona makes way for more cruises

Written by Francis Matéo, BARCELONA on Wednesday, March 27th 2013 à 11:38 | Read 1077 times

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Barcelona is still the cruise capital of the Mediterranean despite a decline in passenger numbers. New developments carried out this year should allow it to regain lost territory.

Navigator of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) off Barcelona (photo F. Matéo)
Navigator of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) off Barcelona (photo F. Matéo)
SPAIN. Barcelona is still well ahead of all other cruise ports in the Mediterranean despite a decline in the number of passengers.

Despite a 9.4% decline in passenger numbers in 2012, the port authorities hope to achieve again this year a record 2.6 million cruise passengers recorded in 2011. And perhaps even exceed this threshold. In any case, this is the course set by Sixte Cambra, president of the Port of Barcelona. 850 stopovers are expected in 2013 in the catalan capital, including those of Disney, back in Barcelona between june and september for departures of Mediterranean cruises (four days to a week). The reconquest of the Mediterranean is the number one goal of the catalan port. The Balearic Islands are strongly affected by the drop in the number of cruise passengers in 2012 (- 21.39%).

This partly explains the decline observed in Barcelona, where cruises are closely linked to the Balearic Islands, particularly on Acciona Transmediterranea routes. However, the shipping company plans to maintain its service this year from its Ferry Terminal in Barcelona. This is good news for the Catalan port, as it is in direct competition with Valencia on these routes.

Still number one in Europe

Barcelona remains the staple of Western Mediterranean cruises (photo F.Dubessy)
Barcelona remains the staple of Western Mediterranean cruises (photo F.Dubessy)
The real novelty for the Port of Barcelona is the summer 2013 opening of a second terminal specialising in short-distance maritime transport - Quai Costa, in addition to that of Acciona Transmediterranea. The Grimaldi Group has invested €20 million to allow simultaneous loading and unloading of passengers at the new terminal.

At the same time Italian shipping company confirms its anchorage in the Port of Barcelona, where the concession has been granted for fifteen years. Of the 7.4 hectares of Quai Costa, 3,000 m² will be dedicated to ferry passengers.

This development will leave more space for other cruise operators including MSC, who took the opportunity to moor its new flagship, the “Preziosa”, in Barcelona. The company intends to maintain its growth in the Spanish market l (90,000 passengers in 2012, an increase of 7%).

Among other large cruise ships also expected this year at the Port of Barcelona: Sunshine Carnival, Carnival Legend, Princess Royal and a ship of the Compagnie du Ponant.

Barcelona will therefore retain its position as Europe’s leading cruise port in 2013, and the world’s fourth largest, still behind the Californian platforms of Miami, Port Everglades and Port Canaveral.

This encourages Sixte Cambra already consider a further extension of infrastructure by 2016, with the possible construction of a new wharf. But it will wait until 2014 to find out what will be the financial means for this development.

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