The ports of Las Palmas end the 2021-22 season leaders in cruises

This season 730,000 people moved between the three ports of the province. The Port hopes to recover the 1.3 million cruise passengers from 2019 in 2023, when new operators arrive

Silvia Fernandez

The ports of Las Palmas will close the 2021-2022 season, which ends this weekend in La Luz with the arrival of two boats with nearly 6,000 people, such as
first Spanish cruise destination.

In total, between October and June, 730,000 people will have passed through the province's ports,
60% of those who arrived before the pandemic. ANDAround 350,000 in Las Palmas, 242,000 in Arrecife and 137,000 in Puerto del Rosario.

The sixth wave has had an impact on the cruise sector worldwide and the Canary Islands have not been an exception. The industry expected to have recovered the traffic of 2019 this season but it has not been possible. It won't log in until next time. Then the ports of Las Palmas will once again reach 1.3 million pre-covid cruise passengers, according to estimates
the commercial director of the Port Authority of Las Palmas, Juan Francisco Martín.

Las Palmas has become the first cruise port with a total of 650 scales. They already took this position in 2020 and in 2021 they lost it, surpassed "to a minimum" by Barcelona.

Main operators this season in Las Palmas

In the season that is now ending, they have remained the main operators and with La Luz as a base port, the companies
TUI, Aida and Marella (the old Thomson).

In addition, as a novelty they have operated
Nicko Cruises (specialized in river cruises and that this season has chartered Mystic Cruises boats for the Canary Islands) and
Azamara, which was based in Las Palmas for three months. She also operated several cruise ships
Hapad-Lloyd and the largest river cruise company in Europe,
CrosiEurope.

At a time of difficulties for the cruise sector worldwide due to covid and restrictions, companies found refuge in the Canary Islands.

The president of the Port Authority of Las Palmas, Luis Ibarrahighlights that the positioning achieved by the ports of the province responds to the "tenacity" of many professionals, companies and administrations to keep this industry active in the covid, when it was paralyzed throughout the world.

As will be remembered, the Canary Islands were then the only place in the world where cruise ships were operated. "We closed a few tough years very satisfied, placing ourselves as the first port in Spain in tourist cruise passengers after overcoming the worst crisis in the cruise industry," he says.

Looking ahead to the next season, which will start next October, it is proposed
as a novelty the start of operations in the Canary Islands of Norwegian Cruise Line. As Francisco explains, the company planned to operate in Asia but has decided to do so in the islands, where it will carry out 16 cruises, slightly less than the 26 carried out by the big ones such as TUI, Aida or Marella.

MSC is also returning to make stops in the Canary Islands and is considering launching a cruise for residents of the islands. In the same way that it offers one that leaves Barcelona and makes the route through the Mediterranean, it is proposed to put a ship that leaves the Canary Islands (from different ports) and makes this route to finish in Barcelona.

Start of works for the new terminal

The recovery of the pre-pandemic levels of cruise passengers will coincide with the works of the new Santa Catalina cruise terminal. It is expected that in the board of directors on June 27, the
to tender the demolition project of the current structure and the works are carried out until December. Construction work on the new terminal will begin in January and will take until mid-2024.

The goal is that
in the 2024-2025 season it is already operational the new building. Meanwhile, some tents will be installed for the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers.

Cruise ships and inter-island passenger traffic skyrocket in ports

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