The Port of Bilbao has concluded the 2023 season with 80 cruise ships and 148,791 passengers. The last cruise ship of the year was Fred.Olsen’s Bolette, which docked on 16 November.

Most of the tourists have been transit passengers coming from the UK (41 per cent), North America (27 per cent), or Germany (13 per cent). Thirteen cruise ships made their first call at the port in 2023.

“We continue to position the Port of Bilbao and its terminal in Getxo on the route of the major cruise shipping companies, and this is making a significant contribution to the increase in tourism in the Basque Country and, by extension, to boosting our economy,” said Ricardo Barkala, president of the Port Authority of Bilbao.

“As a result, we continue to support this activity and to promote the development of the economic fabric of Bizkaia and the Basque Country”.

“In a sector as competitive as the cruise sector, the shipping companies choose Bilbao because of the infrastructure and services it offers, the operability of the terminal, the flexibility and ease with which stopovers can be managed, and the convenience for their passengers,” Barkala added.

In 2019, 50 cruise ships arrived at the Port of Bilbao. In 2020, cruises were suspended due to the Covid pandemic. Fourteen calls were made in 2021, and 78 cruise ships arrived at the port in 2022.

The Port Authority has announced the BilbOPS project to deploy shore power technology in several of the port’s docks, including the cruise ship docks. The aim of the initiative is to improve service delivery, and, in turn, contribute to environmental sustainability. The facilities will become operational in the beginning of 2026.

Photo of Seabourn Ovation at Bilbao by Pieter Inpijn/


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