Ugh – New Tarragona Cruise Port Terminal Set to Open Spring of 2024 in Spain

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Not good. If you are a Frequent Floater then you likely have visited Barcelona either as a stop on your Mediterranean cruise or a departure point for your sailing. I have a free cruise booked for next year that departs from Barcelona and am so looking forward to another visit to the city including it’s simply outstanding underground transit system.

a map of a country
Photo credit Google Maps

A few years back I was on the NCL Star and had a very relaxing crossing from the USA and experienced the calmest seas I have ever seen in my life. The only problem with the cruise was that mid journey we learned that we would no longer be ending in Barcelona as planned but instead landing in Tarragona, a city down the coast well over an hour away because the other port was too full to accept our arrival.

Ugh!

The impact of this was I had to pay for a taxi ride from the rugged and commercial port of Tarragona to Barcelona airport to the tune of about $200. While my travel insurance paid for this cost it did change my relaxing last day onboard to one where I had to get off the ship ASAP to make it to my flight I had booked.

Now, it seems, Tarragona is getting a brand new HUGE cruise line port per Cruise Hive. They say about the port in part that:

Located roughly an hour from Barcelona by train or car, the port is well-positioned for excursions to the Mediterranean city. However, Tarragona itself is a cultural treasure, due to its Roman Empire-era heritage and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

That sounds great but I take issue with almost everything they said. It is not “roughly an hour from Barcelona” it is well over an hour away and greatly complicates and adds to the cost of your travel to and from your ship. While the city itself and the nearby area may be great for sightseeing and adventures I doubt many will take 2-4 hours of extra travel to visit Barcelona for a day.

The other issue, once this port is completed, is I am sure more lines will use it than the planned ones at this point as Barcelona is trying to reduce the number of ships visiting the city. Also, as was in my case, diversions likely will rise and that means more will have to adjust plans they may have already booked.

Another issue I see happening, after the new Tarragona port is open, that it will still be “marketed” to us as a “Barcelona port” when it is clearly not. Most Frequent Floaters know that the port for Rome, Italy is a good 40 miles away and will require either a train ride or private transfer plus the time required to make it to the ship (since we know they will depart without you if you are late)!

What do you think of this new port? Will it have any impact on your Mediterranean travel plans going forward? – René

 

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René de Lambert
René de Lamberthttp://www.FrequentFloaters.com
René de Lambert has been a travel blogger for over 10 years covering the travel industry - including cruising.

1 COMMENT

  1. You’re 100% correct that this is what Civitavecchia has been for Rome for many years and now Trieste is becoming for Venice. The reality is that Barcelona already has more tourists of all kinds than it really wants; outside of the people working in the tourism/hospitality industries. The city risks becoming a Disneyland rather than a real, livable city, for the inhabitants congested with tour busses and t-shirt shops crowding out the locals and diluting the culture and ultimately the visitor experience. Maybe the upside of this is that cruisers that have already been to Barcelona, will explore smaller cities in the region sharing the tourism-wealth with lesser known towns and lessening the congestion in Barcelona during the peak Med season. In the extreme case of a cruise port far from the major “attraction” city, Warnemunde serves as the port for Berlin which is more than 2.5 hours away. The result is that a lot of passengers choose to go on other excursions rather than trek in to Berlin helping a lot of towns in the former East Germany develop their own tourism industries. The downside of all of this for cruisers is that you tend to lose the ability to explore on your own and the need to book an organized excursion.

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