The port is a convenient place to drop off excursions passengers. | Archive

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The Balearic Ports Authority says that even on days when there are no cruise ships in Palma, the Moll Vell area can still be full of coaches. The reason is that excursion coaches from parts of the island park there and let passengers off. As there are four points where coaches can pull up, the authority accepts that it makes sense as they don't have to be driven right into the centre.

Companies operating at the port stress, therefore, that it is not only cruise ship passengers who generate "saturation" in the old centre of Palma. If these operators are being asked to avoid creating overcrowding, then the same measures should apply to excursions coaches coming into Palma. People arriving on excursions take the same routes as cruise ship passengers normally do - right into the old centre and to the Cathedral.

Cruise ship operators like Royal Caribbean have accepted the town hall's plan for transporting passengers to alternative stops in different parts of the city - there are four of them - in order to alleviate the pressure. But they believe that a similar system should apply to excursions coaches.

As noted last week in the Bulletin, these alternative stops haven't been a great success. Between July last year and the current month, under 13,000 tourists had been transported on the buses from the port. To give an idea of how low this number is, it is around twice the passenger capacity of Symphony of the Seas, which docks each Sunday.