The Malaga Port Authority is forecasting that cruise ships will return to the Costa del Sol in the second half of this year.
The authority’s president, Carlos Rubio, said some cruise companies have already scheduled the arrival of ships, although he added that there may be a test done before then.
"Stopovers on scheduled routes are expected for the second semester," Rubio told Europa Press, while clarifying that they will not be like those prior to the pandemic since the cruise ships will arrive with only a partial capacity.
The ban on cruise ships docking a little over a year ago due to the Covid-19 pandemic mobility restrictions have been "a hard blow" for port activity "but also unavoidable".
However, Rubio said that the port authority "has not stopped working" and, in fact, has held regular meetings with shipping companies "preparing the way for when the ports open".
The process of returning the ships to the ports "is accelerating thanks to the increase in the number of people vaccinated," and he pointed out that some cruise companies may "only accept passengers that have been vaccinated".
"I have no doubt that when vaccination has advanced more in neighbouring countries, more cruise ships will arrive," he explained, while describing the "exhaustive" coronavirus protection measures that have been implemented at the Malaga terminal.
"The cruise terminal has achieved Covid security approval. It is perfectly prepared so that when the cruises resume, it can be done safely."
Rubio acknowledge the "significant blow” of losing the cruise ship business for more than a year: "This activity accounts for 25 per cent of all the income of the port, it is like any company that if income falls by 25 per cent it has a big impact."
However he stressed that freight transport has produced "acceptably good results" in 2020 and this year "has started really well".
"In some segments such as containers it is better than before the pandemic last year," he added.