Busy cruise ships dates

Every so often, several big cruise ships in Malaga coincide on the same day packing the city centre to bursting point. Our guide to the busiest dates helps you plan your visit ahead and hopefully avoid the crowds. 2022 promises a return to Malaga’s popularity as a cruise ship stop off after two years of very little activity because of the pandemic. 

Cruise ships bring in lots of revenue for the city, but they also make the centre and all the museums and monuments in Malaga extremely busy. It isn’t unusual for 4 cruise ships to moor on the same day and their over 10,000 passengers to visit the city. We’ve been in the city centre when this happens and usually give up trying to get in anywhere because Malaga was just too busy.

We realised we should have checked the schedule for cruise ships in Malaga first and avoided the city altogether that day. It’s easy enough to check which ships are in town and when plus the number of tourists they carry on the Malaga Port website. Click on the month and scroll down to a particular date. You can even see where the cruise ships come from and go to.

DISCOVER THINGS TO DO IN MALAGA

But we like to make things easy and this blog post does just that. Here, you’ll find a month-by-month listing of the largest cruise ships. This means you can choose to avoid Malaga city centre on those days if jostling your way through lots of people isn’t your thing. On the other hand, if you love the atmosphere that goes with tonnes of tourists you can make a note of the dates and join them. Or maybe you’re a huge fan of cruise ships and want to see the real biggies, the dates below are the ones to save.

In this latest update, we’ve also included the super-yacht days. Those dreamy boats that moor next to the Pergola with just a few dozen lucky passengers. If you’re in town when they are, pop along to the port to admire them close-up. 

We’ve covered all these eventualities. The post includes two-three months at a time to give you plenty of advance warning. We’ve included the largest ships and the days when there will be most tourists in town (over 3,000). And if you can’t avoid being in Malaga – you’ve already booked your stay – we provide some ideas to get you off the beaten track in Malaga and away from all those cruise passengers (see below).

Most cruise ships arrive between 7 and 8am – for the best view of their arrival at dawn head for the western seafront. 

anthem of the seas in Malaga

Cruise ships in Malaga in April 2022

Early spring is high, high season for cruise ships in Malaga and hundreds (if not thousands) of cruise passengers arrive every day. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet, maybe give the following dates a miss:

3 April – three ships arrive in Malaga with around 3,000 passengers on board.

11 April – two are in town including Mein Schiff with 2,217 visitors on board, bringing the total to over 3,000. 

12 April – the Ventura sails into Malaga with almost 3,600 passengers and is joined by Seven Seas Voyager with 730. Both dock in Malaga before heading to Cadiz. 

14 April – two ships arrive bringing nearly 5,400 people – the Norwegian Epic lives up to its name and has 5,186 on board. 

18 April – the biggie on this date is Sky Princess with 3,660 passengers.

19 April – two ships cruise in, the Bolette with 1,772 and Seabourn Ovation with 704. 

20 April – another giant, the Aidacosma, docks on its way to Barcelona. Nearly 7,000 passengers will disembark from this biggie. 

23 April – a mix of large and small with the Britannia bringing over 3,670 people to Malaga plus the Royal Clipper (246 passengers) and Sea Cloud with ‘just’ 94. 

27 April – Costa Luminosa arrives in Malaga with over 2,800 on board. 

28 April – a day for lovers of smaller cruise ships in Malaga when the city will welcome five including three Ponant Compagnie craft from France. 

29 April – just one, but the Nieuw Statendam is big and has over 3,150 on board. 

30 April – the month ends with a bang and over 11,000 cruise passengers in town. The star of the show is the Wonders of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship and on its inaugural voyage in Spain, taking 6,360 people east. Joining her are Celebrity Constellation with 2,450 on board and Aidastella with nearly 2,200. 

cruise ships in Malaga moored in the Port

 

Cruise ships in Malaga in May 

High season continues for cruise ships in Malaga this month and May is definitely one of the busiest times of the year. Plenty of big of 9 ships will be in town in May . Days to see them or avoid the crowds are:

1 May – the Marella Explorer pops into Malaga with 2,250 passengers.

2 May – another contrast of big and small with the giant Celebrity Edge with 3,200 on board and Scenic Eclipse, with a ‘mere’ 240 passengers who are visiting Malaga en route to Marbella.

4 May – the busiest day this month with the arrival of the Norwegian Gem with over 3,130 passengers plus three other biggies. Between them, they have over 11,700 passengers on board.

6 May – 2 more giants are in town, headed by the Norwegian Escape with 5,000 on board plus Carnival Pride with 2,680. Almost paling in comparison is Le Bougainville with ‘just’ 180 passengers. 

8 May – another Costa biggie, the Costa Diadema docks for the day with almost 5,000 passengers.

11 May – two cruises ships will be in town: the Costa Luminosa (2,800) and the Vasco da Gama (1,600). 

13 May – another Costa sister (Fascinosa) brings over 4,000 passengers to Malaga.

15 May – the Norwegian Star returns to Malaga with 3,000 people on board, visiting the city before they head for Cadiz. 

19 May – Disney Magic is in town with 2,800 on board and is joined by Silver Dawn, also a new ship and providing a super-luxe experience for its 620 passengers. 

25 May – Costa Luminosa pops back again with another 2,800 people on their way to Citivavecchia. 

29 May – the month ends with a visit from Enchanted Princess with over 3,6000 passengers visiting Malaga.

Anthem of the Seas, one of the biggest cruise ships in Malaga

Best views of the cruise ships in Malaga port? Head for the Gibralfaro Castle – there’s something very special about seeing big and small ships in the port.

Cruise ships in Malaga in June

Things quieten down a little during this month, but there are still several days when lots of cruise ship passengers will be in town. They include: 

3 June – Mein Schiff Herz arrives for the first time in June with over 2,200 people on board, visiting Malaga before they reach Lisbon. Joining them is the Azamara Pursuit with over 700 passengers. 

9 June – 2 biggies and 1 slightly smaller bring almost 6,400 visitors to Malaga. Mein Schiff 2 and Valiant Lady are joined by Seven Seas Voyager. 

10 June – Mein Schiff Herz pops by again on its return trip, heading for Cartagena this time with 2,200 passengers. Artania is also in port with 1,300 people on board. 

30 June – another busy day for cruise ships in Malaga when the MSC Orchestra (3,605) joins Silver Dawn (623) in Malaga Port. 

Cruise ships in Malaga in July

It’s now low season for cruise ships in Malaga. Update to follow. 

Tatoosh mega yacht in Malaga

 

 

Alternative things to do in Malaga

You might be disappointed not to get into the Picasso Museum or to find the Alcazaba Fortress packed to the brim because of the cruise ship tourists. But don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do in Malaga that will take you away from the beaten tourist track. Here are some suggestions:

Discover El Limonar – 1 of the loveliest districts in Malaga. Check out our walking tour.

Explore Calle Victoria area – right off the beaten track in Malaga with some unusual things to see. Read more.

Take the jabega boat trail – discover an essential piece of Malaga’s past, hopefully pretty much on your own. Find out more.

Walk along the Western Seafront – big beach, 2 good museums and seriously delicious fish. Read more.

Our website has a section dedicated to unusual things to do in Malaga.

Go off on a half-day visit – see our Things to Do section for some great suggestions, all easily doable in a day.

Make a full day of it – our Things to Do section also suggests 5 great day trips from Malaga. We recommend avoiding Granada (a favourite with cruise ships passengers) but we reckon the other 4 will be pretty quiet.

And if you really can’t avoid being in Malaga on a busy cruise ship day:

  • Book visits to museums and monuments in advance.
  • Book that restaurant table well ahead.
  • Do your sightseeing first or last thing.
  • Soak up the buzz of so many people enjoying Malaga at the same time!

Keep your finger on the Malaga button with our free fortnightly newsletter. All the news and events in Malaga in your inbox every other Friday. Sign up for your copy now! 

Planning to visit Malaga?

Get Malaga at your fingertips quickly and easily with our handy ebook. Full and guided itineraries for a short break in the city whether you're visiting for 2, 3, 4 or 5 days. All you need to make the absolute most of your stay.

GET YOURS NOW