All time high of 86,000 tourists arrived
With the arrival of the Celebrity Silhouette of Celebrity Cruises (belonging to the Royal Caribbean Group), the Port of Bilbao closed a record cruise tourist year.
From 25 February, when the first cruise vessel arrived, until the last one berthed on 1 November, an all-time high of 86,500 cruise passengers arrived – 2,800 up on last year. Of this total, 3000 used the Port of Bilbao to either commence or finish their cruise.
The dominant passenger nationalities were British (46%), German (20%) and American (15%).
There were 59 calls in all, with vessel lengths varying from 68 to 339 metres, and seven of them, one more than last year, stayed in the Port overnight. In addition, there were even eight occasions when several cruise calls coincided.
In all, vessels from 16 companies called, two of which were making their first visits to Biscay.
The Port Authority of Bilbao is most satisfied with the development of this season, which confirms the consolidation of the Port of Bilbao’s position as a future turnaround port. On the one hand, the increase in the number of tourists is worthy of mention “because the number of passengers arriving on the cruisers is more important than the number of calls. On the other, the Port Authority points out the fact that the nationalities of the cruise passengers have both diversified and increased, and in this sense, special mention must be made of the growth from 9% to 20% in the number of Germans, whose average spending is higher. And finally, it was considered very significant that each year, there is an increase in the number of cruises deciding to stay overnight before continuing on their routes.
In April, when the cruise industry’s most significant worldwide event is held at Miami/Fort Lauderdale, plans for 2019 will be made known.