THE Port of Malaga has said it is confident that international cruise activity will be recovered by autumn—with 30 cruise ships forecast to dock in its ports again this summer.

Following the lifting of the ban on international cruise ships to Spanish ports on June 7—imposed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020—the first international cruise ship to dock in Spain was at Malaga Port, with 30 more stopovers planned at the harbour over the summer.

According to Carlos Rubio, the president of the Port of Malaga, shipping companies are currently in the midst of reorganising their itineraries, something that would normally be planned two years in advance, with many scheduling stops at Malaga Port.

“This year will see a certain recovery in the sector with a full recovery expected in 2022.” he said.

The Mein Schiff 2, from TUI Cruises was the first cruise ship with a stopover in mainland Spain in fifteen months.

Its arrival at the port of Malaga on June 15 was hailed as a success story by port authorities.

“It was a very positive experience, a very important day for the Port of Malaga and for the sector,” Rubio said.

“The arrival of the ‘Mein Schiff 2’ is the result of the constant work of all the people involved in these 15 months,” he added.

“After 15 months we’ve finally seen how a ship has docked at the quay, how passengers have disembarked, and how this activity, about which there was enormous uncertainty, has finally been resumed,” the president of the Port of Malaga concluded.

The TUI shipping company has developed a ‘bubble’ cruise experience, in which it transports its passengers on its own planes and only allows excursions organised by the company itself.

The excursions around the province of Malaga include visiting towns such as Ronda, Marbella, Mijas, the capital itself or the Caminito del Rey.

After the call on June 15, the Mein Schiff 2 is scheduled to dock again tomorrow, June 22, coming in from the Canary Islands and after a short stay will carry on to Mallorca, as part of a weekly itinerary that includes the ports of Cadiz and Cartagena.

In 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port of Malaga, the fifth in Spain and second on the peninsula in the ranking of cruise ports, had 288 stopovers with a total of 476,973 passengers. Of these, 30.6% were luxury cruise lines.

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