The Port of Barcelona has broken its annual record for cruise passengers in the month of September with the arrival of 341,353 people. This figure represents an increase of 1% for the same period last year; a particularly successful year in the cruise industry when Barcelona became home port to the largest vessels operating in the Mediterranean (Liberty of the Sea, Carnival Magic and Norwegian Epic).

Of particular interest is the fact that 66% of cruise passengers passing through the Port of Barcelona in September were turnaround passengers, meaning they either embarked or disembarked in the port, representing an 11.6% rise on last year. Exactly 225,643 passengers either started or ended their itinerary in the port and 115,710 (44% of the total) were in transit. Turnaround traffic provides a significant input to the economy of the city and Catalonia since many passengers spend additional nights in Barcelona or some other Catalan or Spanish destination.

In terms of vessel calls, a total of 106 cruise ships stopped off at the city. Six cruise vessels have called at the Port of Barcelona for the first time so far this year and three more will follow suit by the end of the year, making a total of 9 new cruise ships. The vessels in question are: Costa Neoromantica, Serenade of the Seas, Riviera, Norwegian Spirit, Carnival Breeze, Sun Princess, Celebrity Reflection, MSC Divina and Costa Fascinosa.

Although cruise traffic decreased slightly during the first half of 2012, figures for the last quarter are expected to maintain September’s positive trend.