THIS WEEK’S arrival of two cruise ships at Alicante will see the end of the 2023 schedule and a record year for passengers using the Costa Blanca port.

The last two vessels will see a joint capacity of 7,850 passengers on the Nieuw Statnedam from the Holland America company- which spent eight hours at the port on Tuesday- and on P&O’s Iona that is planned to stay for nine hours this Friday.

Official statistics have yet to be published but it appears to have been a record year for Alicante, with at least 192,000 cruise passengers, up by 64% on last year with 84 ships using the port.

The provisional schedule for 2024 guarantees a new record with over 220,000 tourists expected to arrive on a hundred vessels.

A large part of the massive expansion is down to MSC Cruises using Alicante as a base for arrivals and departures for its Mediterranean cruises during the summer season.

It’s part of a long-term commitment from the Swiss-Italian company that is already looking to expand its programme still further in 2025.

It’s also responding to a trend where travellers are looking for week-long cruises, rather than ten day trips, meaning that more passengers are going on cruise ship holidays.

Port and tourist officials are continuing to woo representatives of British and Italian shipping companies to attract Alicante stop-overs by organising special trips to check out the area.

The port terminal is also currently being refurbished to improve passenger disembarkation and boarding facilities at a cost of €1.8 million.

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