Spanish Port Sailing Toward Record Cruise Traffic in 2024

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Spain’s Alicante Cruise Port is expecting a record-breaking year for cruise ship passengers. The season has already begun with the debarkation of 8,400 passengers so far in January 2024.

Alicante Expects 230,000 Cruise Passengers in 2024

Alicante Cruise Port expects to receive more than 100 cruise ships and 230,000 passengers in 2024. The Mediterranean port ended 2023 with 84 ship visits and 200,000 passengers, which broke the previous record.

Traffic for 2024 has already begun, with P&O Cruises’ Iona arriving on January 6 with an estimated 5,200 passengers. That ship is on a 14-night Spain and Portugal journey, having departed Southampton in England with stops also scheduled for the Spanish cities of Vigo, Barcelona, Valencia, and Cadiz. Other calls include Lisbon in Portugal and Gibraltar in the UK.

On January 9, MSC Cruises’ MSC Poesia paid a visit to Alicante with about 3,220 guests. That ship is on an 89-night world cruise, having left Genoa, Italy, on January 5.

Other destinations include the Canary Islands, South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar, Brazil, Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, the Bahamas, and Florida before finally disembarking in New York on April 2. Other ships from the cruise line visiting Alicante include MSC Musica, MSC Orchestra, MSC Virtuosa, and MSC Magnifica.

MSC Poesia Cruise Ship Deck
MSC Poesia Cruise Ship Deck (Photo Credit: Shevchenko Andrey)

Ana Poquet, the councilor for tourism in Alicante, lauded “the positive impact of cruise passengers in the city and their contribution to deseasonalization in spring and autumn.” 

“Once they (the cruise guests) know Alicante, they usually return for a getaway or vacation, so it is a fundamental segment that we will continue working for,” Poquet said.

To that end, the Alicante Port Authority, the Costa Blanca Association for Cruise Tourism, and the Alicante City & Beach Tourist Board have been working together to promote the city and port as a destination. Officials expect the economic impact of the cruise port to increase between 10% and 15% in 2024.

Alicante’s Port Draws World Cruises

Alicante is a popular port of call, particularly for longer world cruises. Other cruise lines scheduled to visit Alicante in 2024 include Oceania Cruises’ Insignia, which stops in Alicante on June 7 during its 196-night voyage. That cruise set sail from Miami on December 29, 2023, and is scheduled to disembark in New on July 12. 

Seven Seas Mariner from Regent Seven Seas Cruises will likewise pay a call to Alicante on May 4 during its 132-night world cruise. That voyage set sail from Miami on January 6 and will end back in Miami on May 17.

Mein Schiff 2 in the port of Alicante
Mein Schiff 2 in the port of Alicante (Photo Credit: RomanFedorov)

Among other ships paying a visit to Alicante include Oceania Cruises’ Vista, Marina and Sirena, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Epic, Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Pursuit and Azamara Quest, Seven Seas Splendor from Regent Seven Seas, Holland America Line’s MS Oosterdam, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Legend, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas, and Costa Cruise Line’s Costa Fascinosa

The spring and fall months are traditionally the busiest months at Alicante. December and February are often the slowest.

History of Region Offers Plenty of Tourist Attractions

Located in the Valencian area of eastern Spain, Alicante is on the Mediterranean coast. It’s the fourth largest area of Spain with a population of about 1.8 million. 

The area around Alicante was founded more than 7,000 years ago, which gives the area a slew of historic attractions for guests visiting the port. The nearby Santa Bárbara Castle is chief among them. The castle is located on the slopes of Mount Benacantil, nearly 550 feet above sea levels. Visitors can take taxis or private cabs to the fortress, which has been the site of many legendary battles over the centuries.

Read Also: Spanish Port’s New Cruise Terminal Taking Shape

The historic quarter Elche just outside of Alicante is another popular destination, particularly for its famed palm grove, which has been designated a World Heritage Site.  

For those who enjoy a more tranquil distraction, Alicante is home to a several beautiful beaches, some located just a short walk from the cruise port. 

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