Friday, 28 February 2014

Bilbao Eyes Major Growth

We like to be on the ball here at World of Cruising, and our recent Three Of A Kind feature in our Jan/Feb edition highlighted the growing cruise influence of three Spanish ports on the Costa Verde, A Coruna, Bilbao and Santander.

Hot on the heels of our great feature by ports expert Susan Parker comes news from the Port of Bilbao that they are forecasting a 25% increase in cruise visitation this year at the same time as they are inaugurating a splendid new cruise berth.
The new quay for this spring (artist's rendering, above) will be 354 metres long with a 12m draft and will be built alongside the existing quay at a cost of €13.8m. On completion, the port will be able to accommodate an impressive 1,000m of berthing space for cruise ships

Based in the suburb of Getxo, the berths are located within walking distance of the city’s smart marina and just 1km from the nearest of Bilbao's many EU Blue Flag beaches.

MSC Cruises, Iberocruceros and Pullmantur are all continuing to use Bilbao as a turnaround port this year while Celebrity Cruises will be a first-time visitor as its Celebrity Constellation makes seven overnight calls in the course of the season.

In 2013, some 44 ships and 57,000 cruise tourists visited the Basque Country last year, with the bulk of passengers hailing from the UK (33%), Spain (20%), the US (19%) and Germany (5%).  
Bilbao city centre - which boasts the stunning Guggenheim Museum - is a 20-minute drive away, as is the International Airport. 
Shuttle buses are usually provided for trips to the beach and the nearby Vizcaya Transporter Bridge, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. 
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