Cruise passengers in Palma find that there are no public toilets. | Miquel A. Cañellas

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It's a familiar story. Cruise-ship tourists flood into the centre of Palma, creating overcrowding. To certain voices of disquiet can now be added those who work at establishments along the Paseo Marítimo, overwhelmed by the number of visitors who come in to use the toilets. "Whenever the cruise ships arrive, so do groups of between twenty and thirty people who want to go to the bathroom but never consume anything," says a waitress at a tapas bar. "I have even found underwear in the loo, and it's always getting blocked."

Everyone agrees that the large numbers of cruise passengers are good news for the city. However, not everyone is happy. "Yes, we know that they spend money, but not with us," says the owner of one of the bars affected by the toilet seekers.

The situation is difficult for owners. "Every time they flush the loo, eight or ten litres are used, and I have to pay for it," reports Giovanni of an Italian restaurant. He notes: "For clients who are dining, it isn't agreeable to see a line of people queuing for the toilet."

Restaurant and bar owners along the Paseo agree that they cannot indiscriminately deny access to the toilets. "Children, old people, pregnant women. We let them use the toilets. But there comes a point when it's abusive, and so we have to stop it," adds a waiter at the Italian.

These owners argue that there is a need for public toilets in the centre of Palma but that no one has launched an initiative for them. The town hall maintains that it hasn't had any complaints from businesses, adding that the installation of toilets is in a situation of limbo regarding who has powers for them. It has no plans at present for public toilets.