The Port Authority of Bilbao has awarded the tender for the building works of the planned maritime cruise station the Port of Bilbao has at Getxo to the temporary consortium formed by Giroa, S.A.U. – Excavaciones Viuda de Sainz, S.A. The cost will be 4.6 million euros (excluding VAT) with an eleven-month completion period.
Similarly, Prosertek, S.L. has been awarded the contract for planning and carrying out the works for the moving gangway for passenger embarkation at the maritime station at a cost of 966,000 euros (excluding VAT) with a completion period of almost ten months.
A modern, dynamic and bright building
The new cruise terminal will be 15 metres high and will have an area of 3,200 usable square metres: it has been conceived as a great rectangular glass container, light in form and bright, protected by a light zinc roof with six skylights to give the impression of even more brightness: it slants to a close, which makes it more dynamic in appearance.
The building will consist of two main floors with a mezzanine in between. The hall and tourist information desk will be on the lower floor where embarking passenger reception and check-in will take place; there will also be ample space for disembarking passenger luggage collection. The mezzanine will accommodate the VIP lounge and offices. The waiting area, embarking and disembarking passenger control area and disembarking area will be on the first floor.
To cater for the embarking and disembarking needs of passengers commencing or finishing their cruise in Getxo- where baggage management is fundamental- the building has been conceived bearing in mind the differentiation between passenger and luggage flows. Likewise, for operational reasons, embarkation and disembarkation areas will be differentiated with independent lanes, and will have different stairways for passengers entering and departing to facilitate passenger movements. Doubling interior accesses will become a key factor for those ports like Bilbao that wish to put themselves on the map as cruiser base ports.
The design has been carried out after an exhaustive study and analysis of the functional demands of this type of building. Special attention has been given to the data provided by the major cruise operating companies, to international vessel safety and security norms in addition to the references from the best terminals in the world. In the choice of materials functionality, durability, easy maintenance as well as safety have been the keynote.
All this means that the first impression that visitors get is of a modern, dynamic, warm and friendly building like the society that welcomes them. This, together with the high standards of
quality and maritime safety that have been applied means that this terminal will be at the forefront of those in Europe.
Another important feature of the terminal is that it opens towards the vessels. Passengers will access the terminal and/or the vessel directly, comfortably and safely, without having to walk along the pier, thanks to a finger or gangway similar to those used at airports.
Emblematic and larger vessels
In 2015 the Port of Bilbao received a good number of cruise vessels which had just been completed at the shipyards, and were even larger than others that had berthed in previous seasons. Moreover, some of them are among the largest cruisers sailing around the world.
Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas stands out not only for its size – at 348 metres long and with a 4,200-passenger capacity it is the second largest in the world – but also for choosing Bilbao for its maiden voyage.
Other notable vessels were the Carnival Group’s Britannia, (330 metres long and some 4000 passengers); Celebrity RCCL’sCelebrity Eclipse (317 metres and 2,645 passengers) and RCCL’sExplorer of the Seas (311 metres and 2,600 passengers). This year also brought seasoned customers like Fred Olsen, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cr., Linblad, Louis Cruises, Phoenix Reisen, Residence at Sea, Sea Cloud and Silver Cr.
In 2015, 43 cruise vessels carrying 70,541 tourists called at Bilbao, nine of which visited the Port for the first time. Half of these cruise passengers were British, 17% German, and 13% were American.
In March, when the Miami Cruise Convention – the most important on the circuit – is held, forecasts for 2016 will be made known, although there are already indications that there will be an increase in traffic to around 55 vessels. This is thanks to the new cruise pier which enables the Port of Bilbao to offer three berths and also gives it the option to be promoted among the main companies without any space restrictions.