Yesterday, the Port of Palma witnessed the meeting of some of the most prestigious and luxurious cruise liners afloat in the Mediterranean this year.
The highlight was the arrival of the British liner Queen Victoria which was also joined by a fellow giant British cruise ship, the Ventura, with the Union flag painted on her bow.
As forecast, an estimated 17,000 cruise passengers came ashore yesterday, many visiting Palma, although others did go on tours to certain parts of the island which had already been booked and paid for on board.
High street retailers did report a slight increase in businesses, but for those passengers on all inclusive cruises, it was back to the ship for lunch, while some of the cruise liners were actually sailing into their base in the Port of Palma to collect passengers with cruises starting here in Majorca. So all this very much fudges the figures provided by the authorities about the number of cruise passengers, when they do and how much they spend. A certain number fly into Majorca to board the ship, so spend very little on the ground.
But, with yesterday being the busiest day for the port so far this season, the sightseeing busses were doing brisk business as were the taxis as they shuttled people back and forth to their cruise ships.
Yesterday was also a first for the port because one of the liners had to moor up on one of the quays which is still being built and does not have a terminal.
But, work on expanding the port so that it can handle the growing trend of super liners is on track and is being carried out as quickly as possible.
And, over the coming months, with cruise lines still worried about security issues in North Africa and certain parts of the Eastern Mediterranean, a marked increase in traffic through Palma is expected as they reroute their cruise itineraries.
Cruise ships are going to be in port for the rest of this week.