Chile’s cruise industry experienced an upswing in the 2023 to 2024 season, with a 4% increase in both cruise ship arrivals and passenger numbers.

The Southern Cone Port Corporation, which manages and promotes the South American nation’s port activities in the cruise industry, confirmed the figures, indicating a total of 370,274 travelers, comprising 260,356 passengers and 109,918 crew members, arrived on 410 calls between September 2023 and April 2024.

“We are pleased to report this growth in our cruise season,” said Carlos Mondaca, president of the Southern Cone Port Corporation. “It reflects the increasing appeal of Chile as a destination and the hard work of all those involved in the industry.”

Patagonia Cruise (Photo Credit: SL-Photography)

In the previous year, Chile welcomed 250,000 passengers on 394 calls. However, its best cruise season to date was pre-pandemic, when it witnessed 300,000 passengers step ashore.

The data revealed that Punta Arenas was the most visited port, with more than 76,500 passengers. The port, known for its proximity to the Chilean Patagonia and its natural beauty, continues to be a major draw for cruise travelers.

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It was followed by Puerto Montt in Southern Chile’s Los Lagos Region, which welcomed nearly 39,000 passengers to its Patagonia gateway. In Central Chile’s Valparaíso area, San Antonio saw 28,760 passengers, and Valparaíso hosted 24,300 passengers.

Smaller ports also saw an increase, although most, with the exception of two niche ports, didn’t exceed 5,000 passengers. Easter Island, one of the most remote islands in the world and famous for its Moai statues, witnessed 7,446 passenger arrivals, and Puerto Williams, part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago and considered the southernmost city in the world, had 6,010 passengers arrive.

The increase is seen as a significant boost for the local economies and tourism sector, prompting the corporation to commit to enhancing the country as a cruise destination.

It will focus on improving port infrastructure, offering better services, and promoting Chile’s diverse tourist attractions to international travelers in the future.

Chile’s cruise traffic shows no sign of slowing down. Punta Arenas, for example, is already on the itinerary of numerous cruises for its summer 2024 through 2025 months.

Viking Oceans’ Viking Jupiter will be the first ship to arrive on November 21, 2024, during its 17-night South American voyage. Departing from Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 8, the ship will also call on Puerto Montt before concluding in Valparaiso.

AIDA Cruises’ AIDAsol will also arrive in Chile during its 117-night World Cruise, which launches from Hamburg, Germany, on October 23. It will arrive first in Punta Arenas on November 21 and continue to Puerto Montt, San Antonio, and Easter Island.

Juan Fernández, Chile (Photo Credit: Sarah Spiess)

Costa Cruises’ Costa Deliziosa is also scheduled to visit during its 130-night roundtrip World Cruise from Trieste, Italy. It will also visit Puerto Chacabuco, renowned for its stunning Aysen Fjord.

Additionally, British cruise line Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Bolette will call on four Chilean ports during its 108-night World Cruise from Liverpool to Southampton, England. It includes a stop at Isla Robinson Crusoe, part of the Juan Fernandez Archipelago.

Other major cruise lines will spend the season visiting Chile on multiple voyages, including Princess Cruises’ Sapphire Princess and Majestic Princess; Holland America’s ms Oosterdam; Oceania Cruises’ Marina; and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Star.

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