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Rubio and Pacheco, next to the MSC Orchestra which opens its summer season in Malaga. Daniel Maldonado
MSC Cruises to carry 100,000 passengers on its 35 scheduled stops in Malaga during summer season
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MSC Cruises to carry 100,000 passengers on its 35 scheduled stops in Malaga during summer season

The MSC Orchestra, with almost 1,300 cabins and capacity for 3,223 passengers, will use the gateway to the Costa del Sol as its base port with 20 calls to the city to embark and disembark holidaymakers

Pilar Martínez

Malaga

Wednesday, 8 May 2024, 14:54

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MSC Cruises will carry approximately 100,000 passengers on its 35 stops to Malaga this summer season, around 20% of those expected in the city's port..

The MSC Orchestra ship, with almost 1,300 cabins and capacity for 3,223 passengers, will make 20 scheduled stops involving passengers embarking and disembarking in Malaga city, which has become a hotspot in the MSC Cruises shipping company's programme this year.

The Italian company expects to carry 100,000 cruise passengers in Malaga in the 35 scheduled stops, of which 20 of them are with the vessel that will be based in the city and three more with the luxury flagship Explore I. This was detailed in one of the lounges onboard the MSC Orchestra, by the general manager of MSC and Explore in Spain, Fernando Pacheco said.

Market share

President of the Port Authority of Malaga city, Carlos Rubio, pointed out the figures count towards the largest operation of a shipping company in the port, with a market share of 20% of the passengers. "It is by far the most important cruise company in the port," he said. It is worth remembering the MSC Cruises stopovers planned for this year has increased by 84% compared to 2019.

Pacheco said: "we are very grateful to celebrate, for the third consecutive year, that we are once again offering the people of Malaga and the Costa del Sol the possibility of embarking on one of our ships from the doorstep of their homes".

Pacheco said 2024 will be the third consecutive year MSC Cruises has maintained its base at the Port of Malaga and pointed out "Malaga plays a very important role in a company that was founded in 1970 by Gianluigi Aponte. It is a city that has no competition in the whole world. For cruise passengers, it is a fantastic experience, as well as having port and airport infrastructures that allow embarkation and disembarkation in the best conditions".

From now on, every 11 days the MSC Orchestra will start a new ten-night route from the Costa del Sol which will allow passengers to visit Cadiz, Lisbon, Mahon, Genoa, Marseille and Olbia.

Fewer CO2 emissions

The general manager of the company said they began operating in Malaga in 2022 with nine stopovers, which increased to 14 in 2023 and there are already 20 this year. He also advanced that 2025 will be a year of consolidation of this operation, for which he estimates they will move a minimum of 100,000 cruise passengers. However, he announced MSC Cruises is the shipping company in the world with the largest current investment in the construction of new ships, with an outlay of 10 billion euros that will allow the addition of 18,000 cabins from next year until 2028 in ships powered by liquefied gas which have 25% fewer CO2 emissions. "This growth in supply must be good for Malaga," he said.

With regard to the increase in demand, Pacheco said that if cruise sales in Spain ended well, "in 2024 they are going even better. We are growing by around 15% compared to the same period last year in the set of cruises planned for the whole year, although a greater pull is noticeable in those that will operate in summer".

Pacheco said the most popular trips in Malaga last year among travellers on the MSC Orchestra were Mijas, the romantic Malaga, which covers the historic centre of the city, and Picasso's Malaga, where tourists discover all the attractions linked to this artist. "This city is a fantastic destination," he said.

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