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Vigo becomes one of the ten Spanish ports with the highest number of visits by cruise liners.

This month, 24 passenger ships with more than 40,000 holidaymakers and 15,000 crew visited the city. The port of Vigo has entered the top ten of Spanish ports with the most number of visits by transatlantic liners, unique in that it is the only one on Spain’s Atlantic and Cantabrian coastlines, the others belonging to the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. With data from the period January-June 2007, Vigo is the eighth most important port in Spain, after Barcelona, Valencia, the Balearics, Malaga, Las Palmas, Tenerife and Cadiz for this kind of traffic, with almost 55,000 passengers and 2% more than the same period for the previous year, which, however, does not come close to the average national figure of 25%, The national leader is still Barcelona, with more than 617,000 passengers in the first six months of the year and an increase of 34%.

The visits to the city yesterday of the two twin cruise liners Oceana and Sea Princess, both measuring 260- metres long and with a total of 4000 passengers, only consolidates Vigo’s importance in the eyes of the international shipping companies. The most important world groups are interrelated with the city via these huge floating hotels. Cunard, Costa Cruceros or the American giant Carnival have consolidated a commercial relationship with Galicia over the years thanks, above all, to the fact that the port is half way (around 30 hours) along the shipping route from southern Portugal –the customary second-last stopping point of the journey- and the base ports of the majority of the cruise liners, which are usually in the British Isles, especially Southampton.

Although in real terms the Vigo cruise liner market is somewhat limited, given that by the end of this year 150,000 passengers will have stopped off here, when in Spain as a whole the figure reaches over three million, it should be pointed out that it is one of the ports favoured by the shipping companies, as its inlet, allowing the ships easy manoeuvring, and its depth of over 20 metres greatly facilitate ship operations. Its position is strategic for ship logistics, as ships usually call into port every day and a half, coinciding with their journey along the Atlantic coastline.

This is the conclusion reached each year by tour operators who use the port of Vigo for what can be called the autumn phase of its cruise routes. The same ships which up until the autumn travel the sea routes of northern Europe head south for the sun and the more benevolent temperatures. During this month Vigo will receive 24 visits by cruise liners, with more than 40,000 passengers and 15,000 crew. Among these floating hotels are the Queen Mary 2, which also stopped over on 12 September, and the Navigator of the Seas, 311-metres long, 34 less than the British vessel, and which will arrive this Thursday along with the Silver Shadow. (Source: La Voz de Galicia).

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