The Balearic government has announced that it agreed on what are essentially cruise ship limits in the Balearic Islands starting in 2022 during a Dec. 20 meeting with cruise lines.
Per the new rules, only one megaship with more than 5,000 passengers will be allowed to call in the port of Palma de Mallorca each day. In addition, the port will limit daily calls to no more than three ships with over 500 guests each.
This means the port will receive 14.5 percent fewer calls in 2022 than it did in 2019 (the last fully operational year before the pandemic-induced pause), the government said.
According to the Balearic government, the agreement was reached after “two years of constant negotiations” with the cruise lines that operate in the Balearic Islands. The Dec. 20 meeting took place in Hamburg.
The regional Minister of Economic Model, Tourism and Labor Iago Negueruela, the general director of the region’s tourism Rosana Morillo and the representatives of CLIA, Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises, TUI Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Marella Cruises were all in attendance.
The Balearic government referred to the decision as “historic.”
“Both (the government and the industry representatives) have stressed the importance of this collaboration agreement to set a sustainable limit on arrivals at the port of Palma … In other words, in 2022, only one megaship and two other smaller ships will call in Palma on the same day, which will mean an effective reduction in the number of calls and will also be translated into the number of visitors,” it wrote.
A total of 538 cruise ships with a passenger capacity above 500 called in Palma de Majorca in 2019, meaning that this number will be no more than 460 in 2022.
“And if we count the total number of ships – including those with a capacity of fewer than 500 passengers – 518 calls are planned in the Balearic capital for next year, compared to 594 in 2019. This is a similar-in-size reduction of 13 percent,” the government explained.
Respecting the fact that some cruise lines have already booked their calls in the port of Palma de Mallorca for 2022, some leeway will be permitted on an exceptional basis. In that way, there will be days in 2022 – no more than 20 – when four ships of the aforementioned capacity will be allowed to dock. No exceptions will be made in 2023.
The agreement will stay in force for the next five years.
Minister Negueruela praised the cooperation and “will” shown by the cruise lines and CLIA.
“A real limit on the arrival of cruise passengers in Palma has been set for the first time, something that would not have been possible without the will of the sector,” he said.
Negueruela added that the agreement is not just about the port calls, it covers environmental aspects too. The cruise lines are “ready to continue their policies and efforts in environmental matters, which will result in greater sustainability and respect for the environment,” he noted.