Port of Bilbao ends record-breaking cruise season

A total of 78 cruise ships and over 100,000 tourists visited the Spanish port during 2022

Port of Bilbao ends record-breaking cruise season

Port Authority of Bilbao

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Borealis departed on 17 December, bringing Bilbao’s 2022 season to a close

By Alex Smith |

The Port of Bilbao has ended its 2022 cruise season, which has seen a record number of ship calls and passengers visit the Spanish port.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Borealis was the last ship to arrive in the port, bringing 900 passengers to Bilbao on the morning of 17 December before departing later that night.

The ship was the last of 78 cruise ships to have docked at the cruise terminal, with lengths ranging from 126 to 348 metres. In total, 108,154 passengers have arrived in the port onboard cruise vessels in 2022. The most common nationality among visiting tourists was British, followed by American and German.

In 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the port received visits from 50 cruise ships, while in 2021 14 ships stopped over following the resumption of cruise services in August. Visits in 2022 have included both returning vessels and 20 cruise ships making their maiden calls in Bilbao. In June and October, up to three ships were accommodated at the port in the same day on several occasions.

“In addition to these post-pandemic figures on traffic flow, of great value for the economy of the area, the recovery has been rapid, and with figures previously unheard of in the Basque Country,” said the Port Authority of Bilbao in a statement. “This is a type of traffic that needs to develop over time. If we are going to attract, little by little, new business and new companies, we need to demonstrate repeatedly that we are capable of offering a good service.”

To continue to promote the Port of Bilbao and the Basque Country as a cruise destination, representatives of the port authority will be attending Seatrade Cruise Global Miami from 27 to 30 March 2023, along with hosting visits and meetings with members of the cruise industry.

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