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Spanish ports welcome 4.7m cruise passengers in first half

Balearics fiesta
Sant Joan fiesta in The Balearics
Spanish ports' cruise paasenger numbers rose by 4.9% to 4.7m in the first six months of this year, despite a 4.4% decline in port calls, to 1,907, reflecting the ongoing trend to higher-capacity vessels.

Eight of the top 10 cruise ports, including the top five, reported growth in passenger numbers, while all of the same five had fewer port calls. Barcelona and the Balearic Islands together handled more than half of the nation's cruise passenger traffic.

Details are as follows: Barcelona again headed the list, with 1.28m passengers, up 1.9%, on 342 vessel calls, down by 2.3%. The Balearics followed, with just over one million passengers, a 3.8% gain, aboard 312 port calls, down by 9.6%.

Canary Islands growth

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria came third, with 868,525 passengers, a strong 16.2% growth, aboard 291 vessel calls, down by 11%, the strongest divergence in those two metrics among the leading Spanish ports.

Neighbouring Santa Cruz de Tenerife also grew, with 574,559 passengers, up by a more modest 3.3%, on 248 vessel calls, substantially down by 15.9%.

As usual, the numbers drop off significantly to fifth ranking Bay of Cádiz, which reported 203, 206 passengers, up by eight per cent, aboard 150 vessel calls, down slightly by 1.3%. Malaga was in sixth place, with 200,000 passengers, a 4.6% drop, on board133 port calls, up 4.7% and an inversion of the usual trend toward larger vessels.

Valencia did well in  both metrics, coming in seventh place with 184,000 passengers, a 16% increase, aboard 90 port calls, a 12.5% gain. At number eight, Cartagena reported 97,651 passengers, up12.8%, on 74 port calls, a strong 27.6% growth.

A Coruña stood ninth, with 73,200 passengers, up by 33.5%, on 55 port calls, a 52.8% gain. The only divergence between passenger numbers and port calls came at the end of the list. Vigo was in tenth position with 53,576 passengers, down substantially by 30%. By port calls, Sevilla was number ten, with 44 visits, a 41.9% gain.