Alicante becomes a Cruise ship home port again.
If you can wait until September 2010, you won’t have to travel far on the Costa Blanca to board your cruise. Italy’s largest Cruise Line, MSC recently announced that starting next September, the port of Alicante will be the place of embarkation for the ‘MSC Orchestra’ and ‘MSC Opera’.
The CEO of MSC Cruises Spain, Emiliano Gonzalez, Alicante Mayor, Sonia Castedo, and the chairman of the port, Miguel Campoy, said that this decision will help spread the tourist season into the Autumn and represents the first time that a multinational Cruise Line makes the important port city of Alicante their embarkation port.
For 2010 there are ten scheduled cruise departures, seven of them on the ship ‘MSC Orchestra’ (293.8 meters in length and with capacity for 2550 passengers) on an eight night and nine day itinerary from Alicante to Barcelona, Genoa, Malaga, Cadiz, Gibraltar and Lisbon. The ‘MSC Orchestra’, launched in 2007, will depart on 22 and September 30, 8, 16 and October 24 and November 9 and 1, with a planned occupancy of 98% of its nearly 800 cabins. The ‘MSC Opera’ (launched 2003) shall be sailing on September 26 and October 3 to Marseilles, Genoa, Civitavecchia (Rome), Malaga and Tangier.
MSC Cruise already use Alicante as one of their itinerary stops but are attracted by the new facilities of El Altet, the large resident population of the Southern Costa Blanca and willingness of the Port Authorities to work closely with them.
MSC noted that the cruise market is booming in Spain; around half a million people sailed in 2008, putting Spain in fourth place for cruise tourism in Europe, following the United Kingdom (1.3 million cruise passengers last year), Germany (900,000) and Italy (700,000).
Â© Keith Nicol 2009
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