By Humphrey Carter

THIS month, the Port of Palma, has broken all previous cruise records, the Balearic Port Authority announced yesterday.
Thursdays have become the busiest day in the port, in fact, some cruise ships have been turned away because of a lack of space in the port for any more ships.

According to the Port Authority, on August 5, 21'510 cruise passengers sailed into Palma on board six cruise liners, Island Escape, Navigator of the Seas, Ventura, Adventure of the Seas, Costa Concordia and MSC Fantasia and all are regular Thursday visitors.

The Balearics, Palma in particular, has been enjoying steady growth in the cruise industry over the past decade and this year, Balearic ports are going to handle over 1.5 million cruise passengers and 768 cruise ships, nearly 20 percent more than during last year.

The Port Authority reported a significant increase in demand for berths from the cruise lines earlier this year and on a number of days, there are hardly any spare moorings in the Port of Palma and, market indications point towards further growth next year.

Aware of another increase in demand from some of the world's largest cruise lines, the Port Authority is busy studying a number of ways of expanding the Port of Palma and creating more mooring space, especially for the super liners which are due to be using Palma as a regular port of call next year.

The industry as a whole is forecast to double over the next decade.
At the annual Miami Cruise Convention earlier this year, the industry was informed that the growth market for 2011 is going to be in Europe, in particular the Mediterranean and, as a result, some of the largest operators in the world are going to be cruising the Western Med. next year.

For example, the American cruise line Celebrity Cruises is going to be basing liners in the Western Mediterranean and its newest ship is going to be a regular visitor to Palma
But, in order to be able to cater for a further growth in passengers numbers, facilities and services in the Port of Palma, for example, do not only need to be increased, they also need to be improved.

This year there have been complaints about a lack of information available in the port, confusion over how to get into the centre of Palma which for the Sunday visitors, is all closed.