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Barcelona is Cruise Capital - And it's Getting Bigger.
The Catalan Capital of Barcelona has been a firm favourite for years with the tourists. Even battling through the current economic downturn, the city has survived drastic dips in visitors with its award-winning architecture, art, culture, warmth and food proving just too good to miss. One particular sector within the tourism ranks has also seen an improvement - the cruise passengers. Barcelona is an extremely popular destination for the cruise ships. Many tours begin or end in the city, and those which don't always include a stop along the way.
However, it's not just the tourists who love the city enough to keep coming back, but the tour operators, too. As recently as April 2010, Disney announced it would be choosing Europe's largest port as the only destination to launch it's weekly cruises on the Disney Themed "Disney Magic" cruise ship. After testing the port in 2007, Barcelona was chosen over the competition and currently sits as the fourth most popular port in the world, only surpassed by those in the Caribbean. Over two million passengers passed through the port via cruises in 2009 alone, and numbers look set to increase in 2010 and 2011 with confirmation that the biggest cruise liners will be making regular stops in Barcelona's "Port Vella" Liberty of the Seas, Epic, Ruby Princess and Solstice to name but a few.
And despite pumping in just short of sixty-six million Euros in improving the port and its installations over the last ten years, they're not stopping there. 2010 sees the installation of a new walkway to ease the disembarking of passengers in terminal C (the one to be used by Disney Magic), and plans are already in the advanced stages for a 4th terminal D to be installed - copying the success of sites such as Florida's Port Everglades to really cement the name of Barcelona as a continuing big player in the cruise game.
The ease of navigation of the city from the port means that even day-trippers can manage a fair bit of tourism - exploring the Gothic Quarter and the winding streets of the Old Town is a breeze and walking distance from the cruise terminals. The city's fantastic tourist bus routes can give you a whirlwind tour of Gaudi, Miro, Picasso, and many other sights and famous names, and still leave time for an evening Paella or tapas in the fisherman's quarters of Barceloneta before heading back to the ship for the next city.