Palamós (ACN).- The Port of Palamós, on the Costa Brava, is hoping for a good season and is expected to receive 18% more passengers than last year in August. There will still be six visits, but there will be more tourists due to the industry’s increasing tendency to offer bigger cruise liners with more room for passengers and the work carried out at Palamós port. One of these ships is the Crystal Serenity cruise that this Monday made its first stop at the Port of Palamós and in the afternoon set sail for Cannes. With 550 suites, 14 floors, a wide range of restaurants, a wine cellar with 200 varieties of wine and even the opportunity to learn the piano, it certainly is a ship of luxury.
One of the highlights this Monday morning for the passengers of the Crystal Serenity was enjoying breakfast with views of Palamós beach. Others have opted to take a variety of trips to the Costa Brava, for example there are visits to Salvador Dalí’s Castle in Púbol, the coastal town of Tossa de Mar or the village of Peratallada. The visit will be short since the ship arrived at eight this morning and set sail at six in the afternoon to Cannes (France).
“I’m very excited” said the captain this morning during the unveiling of the commemorative plaque marking his first call at this port. The captain explained that as a child he spent the summer with his family in San Antoni de Calonge (a nearby town on the Costa Brava) and was happy to be back. It will not be the only time that this cruise will stop here, as it is expected to make another visit this season.
The ship has a crew of 602 workers and some 584 passengers mostly from America as well as from Britain, Canada and Australia. The cruise started in Lisbon, stopping over in Gibraltar, Barcelona and now in Palamós. After France, it will set sail for Monte-Carlo and then the Italian cities of Porto Venere, Livorno and Rome, where the journey will end.
It’s considered one of the most luxurious cruises available. In fact, Crystal Cruise has won the award for best cruise in the world, voted for the twelfth consecutive year by readers of the travel magazines, Travel & Leisure and Condé Nast Traveller. The cruise liner is 250 metres long, has 14 floors, 550 cabins and seven restaurants available offering a wide range of food as well as over 200 varieties of wine on offer from around the world. It also has the Japanese Sushi Bar, headed by renowned chef Nobu Matshuia. There are also cooking classes and a range of activities from piano lessons to language classes given by experts.
The Port of Palamós is an attraction for cruise tourists with high purchasing power, a fact that the community hopes will serve as an economic catalyst. According to a European study, a passenger spends on average 60 euros at ports similar to Palamós, and about 20 euros in the case of the crew. This means that if in one year 40,000 passengers pass through the port, the annual figure would be 3 million euros, a significant amount if one considers the benefit to the whole province since tourists often visit other places close by.
The Chief Financial Officer of the Catalan Government’s Ports stresses that “it is important to keep working together in promoting this port,” considering the economic impact on the territory. However, she also points out that to maximise their potential there is a need to obtain a series of administrative permissions from the Spanish Government, including being considered a Schengen border. With this measure, Palamós could host cruise ships coming from non-EU ports. Without mentioning a timeframe, she said “we are working on it” and it would be a “great” opportunity to get the permissions.