The peak season for cruises is beginning at Malaga Port, and from 20 March to 30 June, 113 ships are expected to visit the capital city of the Costa del Sol, carrying 180,000 passengers, according to figures from Malaga port. Here, the arrival of spring marks the start of the busiest months for this sector, with 43 cruise ships due to arrive in April and in May. The only month which is busier is October, when 46 liners are scheduled to visit.
The new peak season is marked by efforts within the sector to attract luxury cruise tourism, and Malaga is very well positioned for that as its terminal at El Palmeral is just metres from the historic city centre. Sources at Malaga port say that half of all cruise passengers who arrive in Malaga each year are on board 'premium' ships. In fact, during the next few months seven of the 11 cruise liners which are scheduled to come to Malaga are within that category.
"The Seadream, Sea Cloud and Crystal Cruises companies have chosen Malaga to start and end their itineraries," say sources at the company. In addition to these cruises, where passengers stay at least one night in the city before leaving or upon arriving, Pullmantur has a further three scheduled during this period.
Malagaport has also announced a new initiative, 'Parking at your departure port', in conjunction with the cruise company, so passengers who arrive in a private car can leave it parked near the terminal while they are away.
A total of 14 cruise ships will be visiting Malaga for the first time, including Royal Caribbean's new 'Spectrum of the Seas', for whom Malaga will be the first stop after leaving the shipyard. This giant of the seas will arrive on 16 April, during Holy Week.
Another landmark this season will be the first visit by the 'Marella Explorer 2', from the British Marella Cruises company, part of TUI Group. "Other companies who are regular visitors, such as Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruceros and AIDA Cruises will be using Malaga again this season, and other ships designed for more exclusive tourism will be visiting for the first time," say sources at the Port.