Exciting Tourism Prospects Emerge as Setúbal Port Gets Ready to Host Cruise Ships

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In November 2019, the Port of Setúbal made history by hosting a medium-sized cruise ship, the Le Lyrial from the French company Ponant, at the Fishermen’s Dock’s outer pier. The city was chosen as the starting point for a journey to Uruguay, capturing the curiosity of Setúbal residents during the two-day stopover.

Now, a new development project is underway, set to bring cruise ships to the Port of Setúbal later this year. The initiative, part of the administration’s strategy for the Port of Setúbal and Lisbon, aims to invest significantly in the region. Anticipated to include four stops, the first cruise is scheduled for spring, with the vessel docking at the Fishermen’s Dock.

António Caracol, responsible for the administration of the Port of Setúbal, emphasizes the commitment to strategic growth, aligning with the region’s sustainability goals. He states, “We understand the opportunities that arise with the increasing number of cruises. There is a current transformation in environmental sustainability that aligns with the strategy of our region as defined by the port.”

This venture not only highlights Setúbal’s potential as a tourist destination but also emphasizes economic development through increased exports, imports, and tourism. Caracol clarifies that this initiative is complementary rather than competitive with Lisbon, acknowledging Lisbon’s record-breaking 347 cruise ship stops and over 700,000 passengers.

The initial phase of the project, set to commence in a few months, will be in its early stages. Caracol acknowledges that the desired infrastructure may not be fully in place initially but emphasizes ongoing efforts to attract key partners and ensure a smooth and efficient operation. “Passengers should have a good experience. It’s important to signal a warm welcome, complying with all rules,” he adds.

Setúbal aims to provide a unique cruise experience, targeting a different audience than Lisbon. The plan is to accommodate smaller ships, offering a distinct advantage as cruise passengers typically possess higher economic capacity, fostering opportunities for local businesses.

Celebrating its centennial in 2023, the Port of Setúbal looks forward to reinforcing its vital role in the economic and social development of the region. The institution remains dedicated to promoting its relationship with the city and enhancing Setúbal’s appeal as a dynamic port destination.

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