Costa Brava represents the best cruise season in its history

by Lorraine Williamson
visit Girona on Costa Brava cruise

PALAMÓS – After being shut down for almost two years due to the pandemic, the ports of the Costa Brava are expecting a record season for cruise ships. 

Forecasts predict that a total of 66 cruise ships and 60,000 passengers will make a stopover in Palamós or Roses. That is a better figure than in 2019, the last year before the coronavirus outbreak. Furthermore, that year was the best in passenger terms in the history of the two ports on Spain’s northeast coast. 

The number of stopovers by cruise ships on the Costa Brava is growing by 32% compared to 2019 and the number of passengers is 6% higher. 

Since the outbreak of the corona pandemic in 2020, cruise activity has slowed down and only activated in the last quarter of last year with the arrival of 9 cruise ships and 4,000 passengers. 

Record-breaking 

A large part of the cruises planned for this season, a total of 57, will be in Palamós. This port will receive a total of 58,000 tourists. These are the best figures in the port’s history, second in Catalonia in cruise ship arrivals after Barcelona. 

cogesa expats

North Americans 

Last week, this municipality received from the Baix Empordà the first of this season’s ships. The season will last until November. The ship coming from Barcelona had 300 passengers on board. They were mainly North Americans. The same applies to the majority of cruise passengers docking on the Costa Brava. Specifically, 56% comes from North America, followed by passengers from the European market. There it is mainly passengers from the United Kingdom, Germany, and France. 

Visit places in the area 

Some cruise passengers from the ship that was to stay in the port of Palamós for ten hours used their stop to visit municipalities such as Figueres, Girona, Púbol, Pals, or Peratallada. Passengers also chose to visit some wineries in the area before the ship set sail for the French Côte d’Azur. 

Season-enhancing role 

Tourist bodies of the Costa Brava and the Palamós and Roses Municipal Councils emphasise the important ‘season-enhancing’ role of cruise ships in tourism. Two-thirds of the scheduled cruise passenger arrivals take place in the low season. In addition, seven ships will visit the Costa Brava for the first time. 

Economic impact 

According to a study by the Associació Internacional de Línies de Creuers (CLIA), cruise tourism has an estimated economic impact of €5.4 million in the area. In addition, it is estimated that each passenger disembarking at a port of call will spend an average of €80. 

Local companies always notice the arrival of tourists 

The President of the Business Development of Trade and Tourism (Fecotur) of Palamós, Toni Bachiller, explains that the arrival of a cruise is “always” noticeable in the environment and the local business community. “Although they have everything on the cruise, those who take a trip still go to restaurants and often make several purchases.” 

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