18 Jun, 2024 @ 10:39
2 mins read

Luxury cruise ship company targets Spain’s Malaga as its new ‘destination of luxury’: Explora I will dock in the city four times in 2024 

MALAGA can expect another influx of tourists as a new cruise ship company targets the Costa del Sol capital as a ‘destination of luxury’.

Explora Journeys, founded by the giant MSC Group in 2021, will see its first two ships, Explora I and Explora II, dock in Malaga a total of four times and Cadiz three times throughout 2024. 

This announcement follows the first docking of Explora I in Málaga, marking it as the first peninsular port of call for the new luxury liner.

“We are delighted to be calling on the Malaga coast,” said Fernando Pacheco, Explora Journeys’ General Manager in Spain. 

READ MORE: Council in Spain’s Barcelona wants to crack down on cruise ships after 3.6 million passengers disembarked there in 2023

The luxury cruise liner Explora I will dock in Malaga four times in 2024. Explorajourneys

“This demonstrates our ongoing dedication to Spanish ports and destinations, particularly Malaga and Cadiz. 

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to introduce the world’s luxury cruise passengers to the best that Spain has to offer.”

The company has scheduled over 40 stops across 15 Spanish ports, with Malaga and Cadiz playing a prominent role.

Explora I is the first ship in the fleet and started its maiden voyage on August 1, 2023. With a gross tonnage of 63,900, it can accommodate up to 922 guests in 461 suites. 

The vessel, known for its relaxed luxury ambience, boasts a sleek dark hull and high-end facilities.

READ MORE: ship tourists visit Spain’s Costa Blanca this year as figure surpasses 192,000

With a gross tonnage of 63,900, it can accommodate up to 922 guests in 461 suites. Explorajourneys

It features a variety of restaurants serving international cuisine, including Mediterranean, Asian, and French specialties.

Explora I and Explora II are a departure from the many of the mass-market cruise ships that are currently in service.

They are much smaller while still boasting a main lounge, a theatre, a casino, and a library, a spa and wellness centre and a variety of cocktail bars. 

“This is great news for local businesses in both Malaga and Cadiz,” said Carlos Rubio, President of the Port of Malaga. 

It boasts a main lounge, a theatre, a casino, and a library, a spa and wellness centre and a variety of cocktail bars. explorajourneys

“The Explora Journeys stopovers solidify the strong relationship between the MSC Group and our city. It not only increases passenger traffic but also boosts the number of premium and luxury cruises calling at Malaga, generating a significant economic impact.”

Beyond Malaga and Cadiz, Explora I will visit eight other Spanish ports in 2024, including Barcelona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and Valencia. 

Meanwhile, Explora II, set to begin sailing this summer from Barcelona, will make 25 stops in Spain, including Malaga, Cadiz, Palma de Mallorca, and Ibiza.

However, it might not all be plain sailing.

Barcelona city council announced last month that it would seek to reduce the number of cruise ships that dock in the city, after a total of 3,568,000 passengers disembarked there during 2023. 

Barcelona moves cruise liner docking away from main port to cut down on city centre pollution
Barcelona moves cruise liner docking away from main port to cut down on city centre pollution

The visitors arrived on a total of 803 cruise ships, breaking previous records for such tourist activity, and representing a rise of 13.7% compared to 2019, the last year before the coronavirus pandemic caused major disruption to the sector.

According to a report in Spanish daily El Pais, the pressure on the city caused by these tourists is such that the Socialist mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, is going to negotiate a reduction in the number of cruise ships arriving with the city’s port authority. 

“We want to propose a new agreement with the Port not just to discuss the number of terminals, but mainly to debate the number of passengers,” said the council’s deputy mayor and economy and tourism chief, Jordi Valls. 

Meanwhile, 2023 saw Alicante break its record for the number of cruise ships docking in the city’s port.

Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? walter@theolivepress.es
@waltfinc

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