A cruise liner in Malaga Port this week. / salvador salas

Peak cruise season gets off to a swell start in Malaga Port

Nineteen of the ships which are scheduled to visit the capital of the Costa del Sol this summer have never done so before

PILAR MARTÍNEZ Malaga

The peak season for cruises has now started and the Malaga Port Authority believes that the sector will soon be back to pre-pandemic levels, with only seven fewer ships than at this time in 2019. From April to June, 96 cruise liners are booked to visit Malaga, compared with 103 three years ago, and the Port is maintaining its status as the second most important in Spain. Sources at Malagaport say they cannot give any idea of passenger numbers at present, as the cruise companies are restricting capacity as one of their Covid-19 precautions.

Of the cruise ships which are to visit Malaga from now until June, 19 have never done so before. This figure is higher than in 2019, when 14 ships stopped over in Malaga for the first time.

Start and end point

Several companies are using Malaga as the departure and end point for their cruises, which is important for the city because many passengers stay in hotels overnight before boarding or after arriving back. Eight ships are expected to start and end their cruises in Malaga this year, mainly from Star Clippers and Silver Sea Cruises.

On 28 April, five ships will be in Malaga Port at the same time, the highest number since the pandemic began. On 31 March there were four cruise ships in the port: Marella Discovery 2, which is on a technical layover until 3 April and is carrying no passengers; the 181-metre Azamara Pursuit; Riviera, 238 metres in length; and the Hanseatic Nature, 139 metres long, which is visiting Malaga for the first time.

293 passenger ships

The president of the Malaga Port Authority, Carlos Rubio, says 293 passenger ships are expected to visit Malaga this year, compared with 288 in 2019. Meanwhile the MSC Cruceros company has confirmed that it will be using Malaga as the departure point for MSC Orchestra’s 11-day Western Mediterranean cruise between June and October. The ship can carry 3,223 passengers and has about 1,300 crew.