A cruise ship docked in Palma last week. | Emilio Queirolo

Like it or not, Mallorca is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world and more and more people are travelling to the island by air and by sea, but the latter appears to be causing some grief. While very little opposition is raised about the ever increasing number of flights handled by Palma airport and the airport authority Aena is preparing for further growth over the coming years, all eyes are focused on the port.

The Balearic government claims it is going to limit cruise ships and had the backing of the major cruise lines, they apparently signed up to the plan in Hamburg last year. Trouble is, the deal does not appear to be worth the paper it was written on, if it ever was. Palma is going to be the centre of Mediterranean cruise operations this year, according to the cruise line associations, so someone has gone back on their word, and there is very little the Balearic government can do about it.

To start with Madrid manages the port of Palma, but the fact that it is classified as an international port means it has a host of responsibilities. It cannot turn ships away, hence why a number of Covid-cruises which were denied entry by ports elsewhere in the Med. were diverted to Palma. I fear that the cruise argument is going to sink before it ever really set sail.