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Port of Tarragona Prepares for Upcoming Cruise Seasons

future cruise terminal
Rendering of the future cruise terminal at the Port of Tarragona

Published Oct 26, 2020 4:00 PM by Port of Tarragona

The government's ban on cruise ships in Spanish ports has led to near complete cessation of berthing at the Port of Tarragona. Since last March, despite a lack of cruise operations, Tarragona has adopted a proactive approach, pursuing two parallel strategies.

The first is to remain constantly prepared to ensure that health safety protocols are kept up to date so that cruise ship operations can resume at any time, from minute zero. In the end, operations did not recommence in 2020, nor has a date been set for 2021.

The second action, which the Port of Tarragona is executing in parallel with the first, is the development of medium- and long-term organizational, marketing and sales strategies to prepare for operations in coming cruise seasons, with a timeline of two to three years.

Therefore, the Port of Tarragona’s primary objectives for this year are to develop and implement new measures to adapt to new scenarios arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and to be prepared for a possible restart of activities in the cruise sector. At the same time, Tarragona Cruise Port – Costa Daurada has allocated time, talent, effort and resources towards strengthening its range of products and services on offer in the medium to long term in preparation for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

Tarragona Cruise Port’s team has redoubled its efforts to promote and present a new range of products and services to meet the needs arising from the pandemic in the gatherings and conferences that might be held, including strengthening relationships with stakeholders in the sector to generate business opportunities and promote stopovers in the city of Tarragona.

The Port of Tarragona continues to spearhead the southern Catalonia cruise project. This commitment goes beyond strictly commercial motivations, as it is a project to promote the whole region, involving leading tourism stakeholders from the public as well as private spheres, united on occasion under the aegis of the cruise board, which coordinates efforts to maintain an attractive range of products and services for the sector. The combined efforts of those taking part in the joint project to adapt to the needs of cruise operators has managed to increase the number of visitors from 1,400 passengers in 2013 to 128,000 in 2019.

A destination with a bright future

Part of this strategy for the future and an important new development in 2021 is the Port of Tarragona’s new Balears pier, which will boast a new cruise ship terminal.

The construction of the new pier is ahead of schedule, despite the difficulties of the current situation. Project leaders expect to be able to complete this new infrastructure within the planned period of 14 months. Upon completion in 2021, the number of cruise ships that will be able to dock at once in the Port of Tarragona will double, with enough space for even the world’s largest cruise vessels. This represents a quantitative and qualitative leap forward in terms of space, comfort and quality of service.

This new infrastructure will fundamentally change the area of the Llevant wharf currently allocated for berthing cruise ships, as it will cover four hectares and extend an impressive 460 meters in length. With berthing possible on both sides of 240 meters of the 460-meter length, the total berthing line will be 700 meters. This will improve the Port of Tarragona’s positioning in the Mediterranean and allow it to welcome more cruise ships and visitors starting in 2021, provided that the current circumstances improve.

The work on the pier, which has a budget of more than $32 million (plus VAT), aims to meet the growing demand identified in 2019, which is expected to continue after the hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Costa Daurada will continue to be one of the top tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. Thanks to its prime location, it is a destination with wide-ranging attractions: the sea, a mild and sunny climate, and a rich cultural and culinary heritage, to name just a few.

The famed Castellers de Tarragona

The Roman-era Tarragona Amphitheatre

The new cruise terminal will allow the port to attend to the influx of passengers attracted to the city of Tarragona, a leading destination for Mediterranean cruise itineraries thanks to its fascinating Roman archaeological legacy (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site), as well as other attractions like PortAventura and the slated Hard Rock project, with more capacity, greater efficiency and higher quality.

This article is sponsored by Port of Tarragona. For more information, visit https://www.tarragonacruiseport.com/.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.