Palma is one of Europe’s busiest cruise ports. | JOAN TORRES


The volume of cruise-ship passengers that came to the Balearics over the first eleven months of last year was up by almost 16% to 1.7 million.

Barcelona, the national leader for cruise shipping in terms of passenger numbers, received 2.28 million passengers on 723 ships, which represented a 7% increase in passengers but eight fewer ships. The Balearics received over 16% more ships, i.e. 773. In November alone, there were 68 ships - one fewer than in November - and 90,215 passengers who, nevertheless, represented an increase of some 800 passengers over the previous year. Barcelona received the same number of ships as the Balearics in November, which was also one fewer, but increased passenger numbers by almost 17% (nearly 200,000).

In the Canaries, Las Palmas received the third most passengers through to the end of November - more than one million, a rise of nearly 21% - on almost 10% more ships: 447. In November there were 27 more ships (93 in all) and close to 170,000 passengers, a rise of over 16%. Santa Cruz in Tenerife also had an increase over the eleven months - 12% more passengers who totalled 765,000 - but on 399 ships, which were 6% down. In November its numbers were over 135,000 passengers on 99 ships, which were eleven more.

Cadiz, Malaga and Valencia occupied the next three positions for the year, the first two having increased passenger volume, while Valencia experienced a two per cent decrease to just under 360,000.

Cruise-passenger volume for the whole of Spain for the first eleven months was 7.9 million, which was a rise of more than 10%. The eight million mark for the whole year is expected to have been exceeded, an indication of the attractiveness of Spanish ports at a time of instability in other Mediterranean areas.