By Humphrey Carter

PALMA can apparently count itself lucky that the port continues to enjoy a cruise boom and that the forecast for next year, with many of the leading US cruise lines using Palma, suggests it will be a record year.

But, what does the City actually get out of the hundreds of thousands of cruise passengers?
In May, 323'333 people sailed into Palma on board one of the scores of cruise ships calling into the city this year.
That was 37 percent higher than in May last year.
However, between 20 and 50 percent of passengers remain on board.
Earlier this year, the President of the Majorcan Tourist Board, Pedro Iriondo, complained in an interview with the Bulletin that on the weekend, there is nothing for cruise passengers to do.

He said that shops and attractions need to be open and more transport links from the port to the city centre need to be available.
According to sources at the tourist office in the cruise terminals, the most common questions are if the shops are open and how do they get into the city. For those on board cruise ships which dock right up alongside the main terminal, the problems of catching a public bus into the city is not that great.

However, those on board the liners which moor up on the outer quay, they face major problems.
The nearest public bus stop is just outside the port, 1.5 kilometres away.
From the ferry and cruise terminal, walking into the city is an option, it takes about 30 minutes to reach the cathedral.
But, for those moored on the outer quays of the Dique de Oeste, it can take nearly an hour-and-a-half while a taxi will cost between 11 and 30 euros.
Port sources said that many tourists in this heat, embark on the trek into Palma but either give up at Porto Pi or turn back to the boat before they even reach the shopping centre.

It seems to be the same old story.
If Palma wants to excel in the cruise industry and the short haul, weekend break market, the capital has to open at weekends.
Staying open late on Thursday nights is not going to transform Palma's tourist market.