The Port of Lisbon broke several records in cruise activity in 2023, surpassing for the first time the barrier of 700 thousand passengers and 200 thousand cruise passengers in the “turnaround” segment (cruises that embark and/or disembark at the cruise terminal of the capital), an activity that generated more than 83 million euros of direct economic impact. "Excellent news for the economic and social development of the entire region", says Carlos Correia, president of the Board of Directors of the Port of Lisbon (APL).

“The year 2023 was, unquestionably, the best ever for cruise activity in Lisbon, which reflects the success of the strategy to enhance and qualify the cruise industry in the Portuguese capital coordinated by APL and the concessionaire", highlights Carlos Correia, in a statement.

The Port of Lisbon registered 758,328 cruise passengers, 54% more than in 2022, surpassing the previous record set in 2018, a year in which it registered 577,603 cruise passengers, according to the information released.

The biggest highlight goes to the "turnaround" segment, which reached 204,004, an exponential increase of 131%, when compared to that same year 2022, during which it registered 102,680 passengers embarked and 101,324 disembarked.

The number of passengers in transit reached 554,324, an increase of 37% compared to 2022.


83 million euros of direct economic impact

According to the Economic Impact Study of Cruise Activity in Lisbon, promoted by APL, in partnership with LCP and carried out by Netsonda and Nova SBE, an embarked passenger spends on average 367 euros in Lisbon and a transit passenger 82 euros . Considering that in 2023, 102,680 passengers embarked at the Port of Lisbon and 554,324 were in transit, this means that cruise activity generated more than 83 million euros of direct economic impact.

“We are facing excellent news for the economic and social development of the entire region, with the additional good news that were the results of the environmental study regarding cruises in Lisbon, carried out for APL by CLIA - International Association of Cruise Lines, in partnership with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Rovira i Virgili University (Tarragona, Spain), highlights Carlos Correia when explaining the strategy followed to achieve such results.

“I remember that this study reveals that pollution concentration levels in the Portuguese capital are not significantly influenced by cruise activity. In addition, the Port of Lisbon continues to work on the electrification process of the cruise terminal to mitigate as much as possible the environmental impacts of cruise activity”, he adds.

The aforementioned study analyzed the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter (PM10).

According to the data analyzed, any contribution of cruise ships to the increase in local levels of various air pollutants such as SO2 and PM10 is very limited. In terms of the amount of carbon monoxide and ozone in local air quality, the impact of cruise activity appears to be insignificant.

Even with ship traffic much higher than what the Lisbon Cruise Terminal can accommodate, the results for NO2 levels would have a “reasonable” or “moderate” rating, according to the Air Quality Index (AQI) of European Environment Agency (EEA).


Turnaround segment with exponential growth

When taking stock of the 2023 results in cruise activity in Lisbon, the “turnaround” segment was the one that stood out the most, exposing the growing demand for Lisbon by operators to carry out large operations.

On July 30th, the largest “turnaround” operation ever occurred at the Port of Lisbon, with a total of 9,163 passengers, of which 4,476 embarked and 4,687 disembarked.

On average, 1,624 passengers embarked and disembarked for each turnaround stop, compared to 629 passengers in 2022.


20 more stopovers

The positive balance also extends to the number of stopovers. 347 were carried out, 20 more than in 2022. The “turnaround” stopovers also registered a new record, 107, surpassing the absolute maximum of 103 stopovers recorded in the same period last year.

The new maximum values ​​are joined by 24 ships that chose the Port of Lisbon for their first call, the largest number ever combined. Of these vessels, nine were making their first voyage, and four of them passed through Lisbon on their maiden voyage.


Main markets: UK, USA, Germany and Canada

Europe continued to be the main source market for passengers who visited Lisbon in 2023, with the United Kingdom standing out as the predominant market, with 38% (286,305) of the total.

Second place, which until now belonged to the German market, is now held by the United States of America (USA), which registered a growth of 116% and now holds a 20% share of cruise passengers (149,233) compared to 14% from 2022.

The German market, despite having registered a growth of 14%, now occupies third position, responsible for 15% of cruise tourists in Lisbon.

Canada is in fourth place, with 34,085 passengers (+172%) and a market share of 4%.

In fifth place, with 28,025 passengers, is Portugal, which registered a growth of 68% and maintained its place compared to the previous year.

With regard to the “turnaround” segment, the leadership belongs to the US market. With a growth of 204%, American passengers embarked and disembarked at the Port of Lisbon increased from 28,355, in 2022, to 86,124, in 2023.


“Last cry” of the shipping industry is called Silver Nova and climbed Lisbon with zero harmful emissions

Finally, we highlight the fact that the Port of Lisbon received in 2023, on its inaugural voyage, the most sustainable cruise ship today, the Silver Nova. This is a ship that has hybrid energy sources, a novelty in the industry, which means that, in port, it reaches zero harmful emissions.

This is one of the investments that companies in the cruise sector continue to make in new ships and green technologies, with the aim of achieving “Global Net-Zero” by 2050, that is, zero greenhouse gas emissions.

For the next five years, members of the International Association of Cruise Lines announced investments of 23 billion euros in new ships, in a strong commitment to sustainability and decarbonization.

On the other hand, by 2026, several ports will invest in the supply of electrical energy to cruise ships, with a view to contributing to eliminating all CO2 emissions in ports by 2030. In the Port of Lisbon, this transition to electrical energy is expected until 2026.


Source: APL – Administration of the Port of Lisbon / Release