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Port of Bilbao to welcome first cruise ships of the season

On Friday 5 April, the Port of Bilbao will welcome the first two cruise ships of a season in which around 80 such vessels are expected to call at the port, a sizeable figure similar to that of last year.

This not only confirms the interest of the sector in what the Basque Country has to offer in terms of tourism, but also endorses the investment of the Port Authority in infrastructure for cruise ships in Getxo, and is recognition for the customer service provided to the shipping companies and their passengers by those working in the port.

The first cruise ship of the year to arrive, in this case at 07.30, will be the Aurora, of the P&O Cruises cruise line, 270 metres long and arriving from Gijón. An hour later, the 330-metre long Sky Princess, of the Princess Cruises cruise line, will arrive from Málaga. The two companies, both of whom belong to the international Carnival Group, will be represented in Bilbao by Noatum and Transcoma, and will be carrying a combined total of around 5,000 passengers. After spending the day sightseeing in Getxo, Bilbao and the surrounding area, the passengers will return to the cruise ships to depart between 17:00 and 18:00 for La Rochelle and Le Verdon.

Although these are only forecasts and the number of passengers will, as always, only be known shortly before their arrival, it is estimated that this year some 80 cruise ships from 28 different companies, with lengths ranging from 90 to 348 metres, will use the facilities that the Port of Bilbao has in Getxo, and some 150,000 passengers will arrive with them.

If the forecasts are maintained, in 2024 the Carnival Group will call at the port of Bilbao 18 times, exceeding last year’s figures, ten cruise ships will visit us for the first time and shipping companies of the prestige of Princess, Oceania and Royal Caribbean, each of which has scheduled six calls, will once again put their trust in the Port of Bilbao for another season. Likewise, five calls have been scheduled by the Ambassador, Mystic and Regent Seven Seas cruise lines.

Over the course of 2024, two cruise ships will coincide in the port on seven occasions, and in September and October there will be two days on which three will call. It should also be noted that four of them will spend the night in Getxo.

The Port Authority will once again be at Seatrade Cruise Global, the most important trade fair of the cruise industry in the world, to be held in Miami from 8 to 11 April. This international event is attended by more than 10,000 visitors and 80 cruise line companies, At the fair, the Port Authority of Bilbao will be present at Stand 1205 and, in collaboration with Bilbao Tourism, has already arranged meetings with representatives of a dozen cruise companies to showcase what it and the Basque Country have to offer to cruise passengers.

New stand-out developments to be presented at the fair by the Port Authority include the port’s own BilbOPS project to deploy OPS technology at its cruise ship docks, amongst others, for power supply to vessels while they are berthed. This project requires an investment of EUR 78 million, of which EUR 14.2 million will co-funded through a grant from the European Commission.

The BilbOPS project, all the improvement actions taken in recent years and the efforts of all those in the port community who provide service and attend to cruise ships and their passengers – as well as the support and collaboration of Turismo Getxo – have enabled the Port of Bilbao, and by extension the Basque Country, to position itself on the route of the major shipping companies, and to progressively improve passenger comfort and facilities every year.