Cruise ships and ferries on one particularly busy day in Palma. | Gabriel Alomar

Cruise operators have requested 437 stopovers in Palma in 2023, 101 fewer than this year and 155 fewer than in 2019 prior to the pandemic. The reduction is in accordance with the agreement signed in May this year by the Balearic government and the CLIA Cruise Lines International Association.

Beatriz Orejudo, president of the APEAM association of maritime businesses, says that Palma continues to be one of the most in-demand ports but adds that there will be no exceptions in 2023 as there have been this year. There will be no more than three ships per day, a principle which has essentially applied in 2022 but with exceptions - specified days with four or five cruise ships.

Orejudo notes that the balance for 2022 has been positive despite the lower number of stopovers. "We have not reached the 2019 figures and going forward they will not be achieved because of the reduction in stopovers and the CLIA's compliance with the agreement."

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According to the APEAM, cruise operators "work in an industry whose strategy is to commit to sustainable tourism and for which they develop plans to conserve resources and reduce emissions on board ships". Cruise ships arriving in Palma "are at the forefront of sustainability and measures to prevent pollution, due to investments being made and the launch of ships with technological advances."

The companies, Orejudo says, are asking the Balearic Ports Authority to facilitate the necessary infrastructure so that ships can connect to the general electricity grid once they are in port and can use clean energy with 100% renewable origin certification.

Meanwhile, the platform against mega-cruise ships is once again asking the government to review the CLIA's intentions and the agreement, which runs (at present) until 2026.