This Wednesday, 28 March, the facilities that the Port of Bilbao has in Getxo will receive the Ventura, the largest cruise ship of this season and the first to visit Euskadi this year. It boasts a length of 289 metres, capacity for 3,600 passengers and 1,200 crew members. It belongs to the shipbuilder P&O, which in turn forms part of the Carnival group, the largest cruise ship group in the world.
The Ventura was built in April 2008, and in May that year made her inaugural visit to the Port of Bilbao. On this occasion, she began her journey on Sunday from Southampton port in England and is set to arrive in Bilbao on Wednesday at around 8 a.m., from A Coruña. At 5:30 p.m. on that same day she will set course for La Rochelle and, after mooring at Le Havre, will return to Southampton to conclude her seven-day trip.
The vessel has 800 cabins (206 suites), twelve lifts, nine bars, a casino, a tennis court, five swimming pools, four Jacuzzis, a cirque deck, a spa and two show lounges distributed over fourteen decks.
Forecasts this year suggest a new record in cruise ship traffic at the Port of Bilbao, with around 80,000 cruise passengers aboard 57 cruise ships expected.
In 2012, three companies will once again use Bilbao as the port for passenger embarkation and disembarkation. These are MSC cruceros, with its vessel MSC Ópera (eight berthing lines); Iberocruceros, with the Grand Mistral (two berthing lines); and Pullmantur, with the Empress (two berthing lines).
Also docking this year for the first time is the cruise ship M/V Celebrity Constellation of the Celebrity Cruises shipping company, which belongs to Royal Caribbean. This cruise, under the name of ‘Wine Immersion’, will visit the Port of Bilbao on seven occasions, with one-a-half-day stopovers, meaning it will spend the night in the terminal.
In light of increased traffic, the Port Authority will build a new terminal in Getxo with a third berthing line. The works will commence at the end of the summer and will conclude midway in 2014.