Cruise ships reach ports in cities around Catalonia beyond Barcelona

Beyond Barcelona, other port cities in Catalonia that are also cruise ship destinations are closing the 2014 season with positive results. The Ports of Palamós and Roses in Girona’s Costa Brava (northern Catalonia), and that of Sant Carles de la Ràpita in the Ebro Delta (south of Tarragona Province) will be closing this season having brought a total of 43,000 passengers on 50 cruise ships. This will have generated a total of €3 million for the local economy. The Port of Palamós has had its second best season in history with 38,616 passengers and 36 cruises. The Port of Roses closed the season in October with 10 cruise ships bringing a total of 3,700 passengers, while that of Sant Carles de la Ràpita brought a total of 4 ships and half a thousand passengers to the region. The city of Tarragona, which received approximately 2,000 passengers in 2013, is hoping to double these figures for 2014. Moreover, the Port Authority of Tarragona is planning to build a new terminal over the next four years, with a goal of bringing 40,000 or 50,000 passengers per year when completed.

Zenith cruise ship in Palamós (by X. Pi)
Zenith cruise ship in Palamós (by X. Pi) / ACN / Nell English

ACN / Nell English

November 18, 2014 09:57 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The 2014 cruise season is ending, and port cities of Catalonia beyond that of Barcelona are tallying their annual figures. In Girona’s Costa Brava (northern Catalonia), the Port of Palamós had its second best season in history, with a total of 38,616 passengers and 36 cruise ships. This was an increase of 29% in terms of visitors while there were 5% fewer boats. This was just under its best season in 2011, when the city attracted a total of 38,770 passengers.  The first cruises of the season were those of the Zenith, MSC Sinfonia and the Star Flyer, while it ended the season on Sunday with the last cruise ship, the Seabourn Soujourn. While the Port of Roses, also in Girona, closed the season with 10 ships bringing a total of 3,700 passengers. In southern Catalonia in the port city of Tarragona, the port of Sant Carles de la Ràpita ended the season with a total of 4 cruise ships bringing 500 passengers. Altogether, these port cities are estimated to have brought a total of €3 million of revenue to the local economy. Tarragona, which received around 2,000 passengers last year, is hoping to double that figure in 2014. In addition, the Port Authority of Tarragona will be building a new terminal over the next four years, towards a goal of accommodating 40,000 or 50,000 passengers per year.

Seabourn Soujourn ends 2014 season

The Port of Palamós closed the season with its last cruise ship, the Seabourn Soujourn. It arrived at half past eight on Sunday from the French port of Marseille, and continued to Palma de Mallorca. The large vessel has 438 passengers onboard, mostly Americans and British, who spent a few hours in this part of the Costa Brava. The cruise, with a 341 strong crew, has made six stops this season in Palamós.

In general, the Girona port which began last season in April have the following profile among their cruise ship passengers: nearly half of them are British (49%), followed by French (32%), Americans (9%), Irish (2%), Australian (2 %), Belgian (1%) and Canadians (1%), among others.

Regarding their interests, 31% of the passengers decided to go hiking in the area while 69% opted to stay aboard or walk through town. The most popular tourist destinations chosen by visitors were Girona, Figueres, Púbol, Tossa de Mar, Lloret de Mar, Pals, Peratallada, La Bisbal d'Empordà, Castelló d'Empúries, Platja d’Aro, Begur and Barcelona.

As for the companies with the highest presence at the Girona Port, the season began with cruise companies Zenith, MSC Sinfonia and Star Flyer. In addition, the companies Gaughin Luxury Cruises, Express, Thomson Cruises, Seabourn Cruises, Crystal Cuirses, Azamara Cruises, and Star Clippers have also been present.

The Ports of Roses and Sant Carles de Ràpita also end season with positive figures

It is thought the good figures achieved by the Port of Roses in Girona, and Sant Carles de Ràpita in Tarragona, are thanks to the tourist attractions of the respective regions. Destinations popular among visitors have been promoted thanks to joint efforts by the Costa Brava-Girona Tourism Board, the town councils of Palamós and Roses and the chambers of commerce of Palamós and Girona, alongside the Ebro Delta Tourism Authority, the town council of Sant Carles de la Ràpita and the chamber of commerce of Tortosa for access to the Ebro Delta Port.

The Port of Tarragona plans to build new terminal to attract 50,000 passengers

Tarragona is rearranging its harbour and in the near future it will host a temporary facility to accommodate between 40,000 and 50,000 passengers annually, to bring it to the level of the Port of Palamós or that of Alicante, in Valencia. The chairman of the Port Authority, Josep Andreu, insisted on the need for a new passenger terminal, due to the "functional limitations" of the current port, which last year received 2,000 passengers, a figure the Port hopes to have doubled this year. According to Andreu, the 16 metre wide wharf is insufficient to meet the technical and functional needs of the sector, and the extension envisaged by the Port will cost an estimated €30 million, with an additional promenade of between 60 to 80 metres width costing an extra €8 million.