Will cruise ship limits apply in 2022? | Teresa Ayuga

On Monday, there is to be a meeting between representatives of the Balearic government, the Balearic Ports Authority, the CLIA cruise lines association and consignees. The reason is to seek agreement about the immediate future of cruise ship operations in Palma.

While the government did arrive at an agreement with the CLIA about cruise ship limits at a recent meeting in Hamburg, the fact is that the government doesn't have the power to impose this. This resides with the Balearic Ports Authority (APB), the regional arm of the State Ports. In principle, and as Palma is a port in the general interest, the APB and the State Ports do not deny arrival to any ship, be this a cruise ship or otherwise. There can be exceptional circumstances for refusing use of ports - the pandemic has been one of them.

The cruise operators will be requesting that 496 stopovers scheduled for Palma in 2022 are maintained. They have already been selling bookings for these. The APB and the State Ports have thus far made no statements regarding the Hamburg agreement for a maximum of three cruise ships per day, one of which can be a large ship with up to 5,000 passengers.

For the CLIA, it would be "logical" to leave the 2022 schedule as it is and use the coming months to iron out arrangements from 2023. The limits for 2022 don't correspond with the current legal situation, so Madrid (the State Ports) will need to make necessary amendment.

There is an appreciation on the part of the cruise operators of the Balearic government's position. They share the need for sustainability criteria as well as those for a quality of tourism and competitiveness of Palma. But they point out that what is potentially at stake is cruise tourism's economic impact on Palma and the rest of Mallorca.