The Allure of the Seas, a regular visitor to Palma this summer.

26-09-2015G. Alomar

The number of passengers on cruise ships which arrived at Balearic ports over the first nine months of the year was up by 16%. 1.41 million passengers came into the five ports onboard 605 ships, which themselves represented an increase of over 13%. In September alone, there were six more ships than in 2014 with increased volume to more than 216,000 passengers, a rise of 12.8%.

In terms of greater passenger numbers, the Balearic percentage for January to September was lower than Las Palmas and the Bay of Cadiz, which increased by 21.6% and 23% respectively, but the actual numbers of passengers were lower than in the Balearics - 770,000 in Las Palmas and 325,000 in Cadiz. Barcelona registered the highest number of passengers - 1.9 million - though the increase in volume was just over 5% on eighteen fewer (540 in all) ships than in 2014. Of other ports, passenger numbers for Santa Cruz in Tenerife were up by over 9% to almost 535,000, while in Malaga and Valencia the increases were by 2.2% and 7.5% respectively: 262,000 and 268,000 passengers.

The September rise of around 13% in the Balearics was well behind a massive leap in Las Palmas, which registered an increase of over 80% but with 66,000 passengers, under a third of the Balearic figure. September passenger numbers in Santa Cruz and Valencia were also up, but Barcelona, Cadiz and Malaga experienced decreases. In Barcelona this was by 2% in terms of passengers - 286,374, so still above the Balearics - and by five ships to 85, which were 13 fewer than in the Balearics.

Nationally, there were over six million cruise-ship passengers between January and September, a rise of 11.7%, and 2,618 cruise ships: 64 more than in 2014. The expectation is that the year will end with a record number of more than eight million cruise passengers having come into Spanish ports. Instability in other Mediterranean countries plus the growing demand for cruise-ship tourism are being attributed as reasons for the record number, with Spain closing in on Italy as having the most cruise-ship traffic.

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