Aida prima. archive photo. | Ultima Hora

Several cruise ship companies, including MSC, Costa Cruceros, Royal Caribbean, Carnival (Aida) and TUI won’t be stopping in Palma in the immediate future, they are diverting their ships to Turkey, Greece, Egypt and Israel instead, according to Alfredo Serrano, Director of the International Association of Cruise Lines.

Serrano says the Spanish Government’s decision not to allow international ships to dock has forced them to reschedule.

"Ships can't come to the Balearic Islands and other Spanish destinations and as a result of that the shipping companies have made a decision to sail in the eastern Mediterranean,” he said.

The shipping companies have also created some new routes, including Israel-Cyprus-Greece and Red Sea cruises and Turkey will benefit enormously from the change in scheduled stops.

CLIA Spain says it's already asked the Spanish Central Government to authorise cruises between Spanish ports.

"In the Canary Islands, cruises have been runnng since last November and now other Communities want to do the same, particularly Andalusia and Murcia,” explains Serrano. “The shipping companies expect the Balearic Islands to enter into this dynamic as well, because they are complying with all protocols and it’s not logical to continue as if we are still in March 2020. There are guidelines set by the European Commission to reactivate cruise tourism now.”

Carnival, which owns Aida Cruises has decided to postpone trips to Palma in June, which will have a direct impact on taxis, tourist transport, trade, restaurants and excursions in Palma and the rest of the Island.

Meanwhile, the Balearic Port Authority, or APB, has announced that the drafting of the basic construction projects and corresponding environmental processing of the new berths and esplanades for ferry traffic on the West Dike in Palma port has been awarded to the UTE GPO-TYPSA Dique del Oeste with a budge of 1.65 million.

Ferries in Palma port currently operate in the Poniente, Comerciales and Dique del Oeste docks and the goal is to rearrange ferry traffic so that it’s all in one place.