The number of cruise ships visiting Balearic ports this summer is expected to be down by just over four per cent. The Balearic port authority yesterday revealed that 715 cruise ships will sail into the Balearics this year, but last year a total of 746 visited the region. Palma will be the busiest port with 486 cruise ships on the horizon, but the figure is six less than last year, which saw cruise traffic into Palma rise by nearly 40 per cent. The port of Mahon can, however, expect little change in its traffic. This year 144 are booked to make a port of call in Mahon, just one less than last year. It is Ibiza and Formentera which can expect to see the biggest shortfall of affluent cruise passengers. Last year 108 ships visited the two small islands; only 85 are expected at the moment. Last year was a boom year for Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The port of Mahon enjoyed a 24 per cent increase in cruise traffic with Ibiza and Formentera witnessing a 34 per cent rise. The Balearic Port Authority has recently returned from the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami, where the port of Palma was awarded a prize and the foundations have been laid for Carnival cruise line to launch a Mediterranean cruise programme, with its cruise ship being based in Palma.

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