Cruise ships will not be permitted at Barcelona terminals in a few days. Additionally, the authorities have decided to decrease the number of cruise ships stationed in Barcelona at the same time from ten to seven.
Cruises have faced criticism in Barcelona due to their emissions and contribution to mass tourism. In 2018, the city council implemented measures to alleviate this burden, such as restrictions on guided tourist groups in popular areas of the old town since August 2022.
Despite these efforts, Barcelona remains the largest cruise port in Europe and the fifth largest globally, following Port Canaveral, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Cozumel. In 2023, cruise passengers are expected to surpass record numbers in 2019. Every year, over three million cruise passengers visit Barcelona.
Fewer ports and fewer cruise ships
The authorities have recently announced further measures regarding cruise ships docking in Barcelona. Starting October 22, 2023, the terminals near the city at the World Trade Center and Maremagnum will no longer be available for cruise ships to dock. Instead, the more distant terminals at Mol Adossat will be used. Additionally, the number of cruise ships allowed to dock in Barcelona simultaneously will be reduced from ten to seven.
According to Lluís Salvado, the President of the Port of Barcelona, the decision was made to protect the city center from ship emissions. The terminals for larger cruise ships located further south are farther away from the city center, thus less emissions.
Port President Salvado called October 3, 2023, a historic day for the city as it marked the last time a cruise ship left one of Barcelona's city center terminals. No more calls will be scheduled for these terminals until October 22, when the ban officially occurs.
Smaller luxury cruise ships typically dock at the World Trade Center at Port Vell's Terminal M (Maremagnum) and Terminals E, N, and S. Columbus Column and Rambla are just a ten-minute walk away from these terminals.
Passengers who want to reach the city center of Barcelona from the cruise terminals at Mol Adossat, much further from the city center, usually take the shuttle bus provided by the port or travel with the shipping company's transfer buses. Walking to the city center takes at least 30 minutes, depending on the terminal.