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Skip Navigation · Home · Cruise tourism in Spain is getting back on track
Cruise tourism in Spain is getting back on track

With nearly 3.5 million cruise passengers and 2,384 cruise ships in the first seven months of the year

Cruise tourism in Spain is getting back on track


  • New all-time high: 2,384 cruise ships over the first seven months of 2022
  • The Mediterranean attracts two out of every three cruise passengers visiting Spain.
  • The cruise industry in Spain generates around 50,000 jobs and has an annual turnover of €6 billion.



12-09-2022 (Spanish Port Authority). With 3,487,507 cruise passengers between January and July 2022, Spain has confirmed its commitment to cruise tourism. With clear differences between the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Cantabrian Sea, all the ports of general interest in Spain have experienced significant increases with respect to 2021, resulting in an average percentage growth of 781.8%.


This high growth is explained by the gradual disappearance of limitations imposed on passenger traffic during the pandemic, and the progressive recovery of destinations. However, the cruise companies themselves have preferred to remain prudent, choosing to avoid filling maximum capacity on their cruise ships, meaning that, despite the fact that 2,384 cruise ships arrived at Spanish ports over the first seven months of 2022, compared to 2,231 in 2019, a new all-time record, the number of cruise passengers was still 38.5% lower than the last year when it set an all-time record.


By geographical areas, the Mediterranean Sea, with more than 2.3 million passengers, accounted for 2/3 of the cruise passengers who passed through Spanish ports, with the port of Barcelona being the undisputed leader with more than 1 million cruise passengers over the first seven months of the year, followed by the ports on the Balearic Islands with 758,735 passengers, Valencia with 249,377 and Malaga with 131,071 cruise passengers.


In the Atlantic Ocean, the Canary Islands reported notable figures, with 755,176 cruise passengers, 442,255 of which corresponded to the ports that report to the Port Authority of Las Palmas (on the islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote), and 312,921 to the ports that report to the Port Authority of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (on the islands of Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro).


The Atlantic peninsular, which includes the Galician Port Authorities of A Coruña, Ferrol, Marín and Ría de Pontevedra, Vigo and Vilagarcía, and the Andalusian Port Authorities of Bahía de Algeciras, Bahía de Cádiz, and Huelva, managed to attract 344,315 cruise passengers over the first seven months of 2022, with the most notable being the ports of Bahía de Cádiz with 165,683 passengers, A Coruña with 91,932, and Vigo with 71,052.


Finally, the Cantabrian Sea, which includes the Asturian ports of Avilés and Gijón, the Cantabrian port of Santander and the Basque ports of Bilbao and Pasaia received 70,506 cruise passengers, with Bilbao having welcomed 54,413, making it the most notable port on this coast.




Malaga will be the host for Europe's most important cruise event this year: Seatrade Cruise Med. On 14 and 15 September, the world's most prominent cruise companies, operators and ports will come together at the Trade Fair and Congress Centre of Malaga. Over the course of two days, a range of presentations and talks will be given with a focus on the challenges facing the cruise industry today.


Ports of Spain, the commercial brand that covers most of Spain's ports, will have a 230 m2 stand, where representatives from the ports of A Coruña, Alicante, Avilés, Balearic Islands, Bilbao, Cartagena, Castellón, Ceuta, Ferrol, Gijón, Melilla, Santander, Tarragona, Valencia, Vigo, Vilagarcía de Arousa, and the Andalusian ports included within the Suncruise association (Almería, Bahía de Algeciras, Bahía de Cádiz, Huelva, Málaga, Motril and Seville), will be there to greet all the professionals and visitors attending the fair.




In 2022 in Spain, cruise lines are planning to expand their capacity to potentially reach levels similar to those before the pandemic, according to data from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).


Globally, close to 100% of the ships in the CLIA fleet were already in service as of last August, with 2022 being "a vital year for the recovery of pre-pandemic passenger volumes (over 29 million) in 2023".


As for the data in Spain before the pandemic, in 2019, more than 550,000 Spaniards chose a cruise for their holiday, a figure that positions Spain as the fourth largest outbound market in Europe.


The cruise industry in Spain generated more than 50,000 jobs that year and its turnover amounted to almost 6 billion euros, according to CLIA estimates.


The association highlights that the equivalent of one full-time job is created for every 24 cruise passengers, and, on average, each passenger spends 660 euros at the destinations they visit over the course of a seven-day cruise.

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