The MSC Orchestra which will use Malaga as a base port next summer. / SUR

Malaga is set to welcome 293 cruises next year, more than the year before the pandemic

The city is expecting the arrival of 32 ships that have never visited the capital of the Costa del Sol before

Pilar Martínez

The cruise industry was one of the last sectors to resume activity after the worldwide coronavirus crisis broke out. But the implementation of strict health protocols has allowed it to reach cruising speed very quickly. So much so that the Port of Malaga is looking forward to a busy 2022, when 293 passenger ships are expected to dock in the city, a figure that exceeds the number registered in 2019. In the year before the pandemic there were 288 cruise ships loaded with tourists that called in the city, the Port Authority has stated.

With the enforced stoppage of cruises due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was questioned whether some ports would lose their position in the sector, but Malaga seems have strengthened its place in view of the volume of visits and the fact that 32 of them are from cruise ships that had never visited the capital of the Costa del Sol before.

“The figure is quite high compared to previous years, and in line with the growth of the cruise sector worldwide", said the operator Malagaport. "These are very positive figures if we take into account the recent restart of the cruise sector."

Alongside this, one of the large shipping companies, MSC Cruises, has announced plans to reinforce its presence in Malaga. The city will be the embarkation port during the summer season of 2022 for a new 11-day cruise itinerary through the Western Mediterranean from June to October. It will be operated by the MSC Orchestra, with the capacity to carry 3,223 passengers and some 1,300 crew members. This decision means that MSC Cruises becomes the shipping company with the highest number of stops in Malaga next year, with 52.6 per cent more than in 2019, as it had already announced 17 for 2022, which will mean a total of 29 stopovers.