Barcelona and cruise ships seafarers welfare

Costa Pacifica visiting port Barcelona Costa Pacifica visiting port Barcelona

The magnificent city of Barcelona is situated on Spain's Mediterranean coast, 120 km south of the Pyrenees. It boasts one of the most important commercial ports in Europe with 30 terminals. Traffic includes container ships, tankers and bulk cargo carriers. Cruise ships are present most of the year.

Barcelona: key cruise facts

  • Europe's leading cruise ship port and a popular start and/or end port for cruises
  • World's fourth largest turnaround port for cruise ships, first outside of the Caribbean
  • Receives some 850 cruise ship calls, and 2.4 million cruise passengers, every year
  • Seven international passenger terminals, three of which lie close to the city

Seafarers' welfare in Barcelona

Welfare services are provided by the award-winning Stella Maris Seamen's Club, situated close to three of the passenger terminals. Run by the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS), the centre offers communications facilities, games, a bar, chapel and overnight accommodation. Legal advice is available to seafarers at the Centre for Seafarers' Rights.

Satellite office

The remaining four passenger terminals are serviced by the Stella Maris Club satellite office, specifically for cruise ship workers. The office belongs to the Port Authority which allows AOS to use it free of charge. It has one permanent staff member and up to five volunteers in the holiday season.

Stella Maris satellite office facilities

  • Wi-Fi
  • 4 PCs with Internet
  • 4 cables for laptops
  • 8 VOIP telephones
  • 2 landline telephones
  • multi-lingual information
  • free transport into the city

Stella Maris Club satellite office usage statistics

In a year, the Seamen's Club and satellite office provide services to some 7000 seafarers. Of these, about 3000 use the satellite office. Profile of the visiting cruise ship seafarers

Country of origin

Percentage of total















Assorted countries


Some advice from an expert

Ricardo Rodríguez-Martos is the director of the Apostleship of the Sea in Barcelona. It is his role to coordinate all the services to seafarers in the port. A former seafarer, he spent seven years at sea, Ricardo is now a lecturer at the Nautical School of Barcelona. He is also a deacon of the Catholic Church who has received an award from the Regional Authority of Catalonia for his work in promoting inter-faith dialogue. Here he shares some advice.

"Legal advice is an important service for us. In Barcelona, we are assisted by two experts in maritime law, one of whom is a practising lawyer. Of course, we cannot always have a lawyer present in the seafarers' centre. But I know that I can call our experts any time of the day or evening if I need their help. It's vital to have those contacts in place so that you know where to turn when a seafarer arrives with a problem. Remember that seafarers do not have time to wait.

Build relationships in the port. Get to know managers personally. It's easier to advocate on behalf of seafarers in difficulty if you know who you are talking to. Once, a young woman seafarer came ashore without permission and missed the sailing. It's a sacking offence normally. Fortunately, we had a good relationship with the company bosses. We explained that the woman's mother was seriously ill and that she had needed to telephone home. As a result, they agreed to re-instate her."

Sport in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the host ports for the Mediterranean and Black Sea Football Cup which is especially popular with cruise ship crews. In 2011, Ricardo and his team organised 15 football matches for the Cup. They also hold a football day every year in November and can arrange football and basketball games on request.

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