Barcelona Port bans cruise ships from its central harbor

   October 10, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

From October 22nd, there will be a significant change in the cruise ship operations in Barcelona (Spain) as part of an effort to reduce emissions near downtown.

The most central port in Barcelona will no longer allow cruise vessels to dock and they will be redirected to the southern port along Moll Adossat Pier. This port is currently utilized by larger cruise companies like NCL-Norwegian, RCI-Royal Caribbean and MSC.

The ban will impact the northern docks known as 'Muelle Barcelona Norte' and the World Trade Centre area, both of which have historically been used by cruise ships. As a result of this change, tourists disembarking from cruise ships will no longer have the convenience of stepping directly into Barcelona's historic center. Instead, they will need to take a shuttle bus from the southern port to access the city.

Previously, reaching the iconic La Rambla Boulevard from the central dock only required a 10-minute walk, but with the new arrangements, it will take approximately half an hour by bus from the southern port.

Barcelona has been a popular destination for British cruisers touring the Mediterranean. The city's appeal lies in its sandy beaches and famous landmarks, including the Sagrada Familia and Antoni Gaudi's Park Guell.

Although the ban officially takes effect later this month, the last cruise ship docked at the northern port on October 3rd.

Lluis Salvado, president of the Port of Barcelona, characterized October 3 as a significant day for the city. He emphasized that the move is aimed at pushing pollution away from the city center to the south and reducing emissions impacting the city.

In addition to the change in docking locations, a new limit has been set on the number of cruise ships that can dock at Barcelona's ports. The available docking areas for cruise ships will be reduced from ten to seven on October 22. These new restrictions have been under consideration since 2018 when the municipal government and port authority in Barcelona decided to regulate cruise ship activities.

The partial ban on cruise ships in Barcelona follows similar measures introduced in other popular European tourist destinations. Venice implemented a ban on ships from stopping in the Lagoon in 2021 and has explored the possibility of introducing a daily tax for visitors over the age of 14. Amsterdam Holland, Santorini Greece and the UK's Orkney Islands have also taken steps or announced plans to limit or ban cruise liners as part of their efforts to address environmental concerns.