Buenos Aires expects 168 cruise calls in the 2012/13 season, according to Terminales Río de la Plata, up from 158 calls in 2011/12. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORER is booked as the first arrival, on October 21, with SPLENDOUR of the SEAS to wrap the season on April 15.

Thirty-five calls are by Costa Crociere (COSTA SERENA, COSTA FORTUNA, COSTA FASCINOSA), 34 by MSC Cruises (MSC MAGNIFICA, MSC MUSICA, MSC ORCHESTRA) and 30 by Iberocruceros (GRAND CELEBRATION, GRAND HOLIDAY, GRAND MISTRAL). Royal Caribbean International’s SPLENDOUR of the SEAS is set for 11 visits, while Pullmantur’s EMPRESS will make nine calls.

Among the other ships booked for Buenos Aires are AZAMARA QUEST, CELEBRITY INFINITY, CRYSTAL SERENITY, Passat Kreuzfahrten’s DELPHIN, Hapag-Lloyd’s EUROPA, Institute for Shipboard Education’s EXPLORER, Hurtigrten’s FRAM, Plantours’ HAMBURG, Holland America Line’s PRINSENDAM and VEENDAM, GRAND PRINCESS, STAR PRINCESS, Pullmantur’s OCEAN DREAM, Ambiente Kreuzfahrten’s PRINCESS DAPHNE, Regent’s SEVEN SEAS MARINER, Oceania Cruises’ REGATTA and MARINA, SEABOURN SOJOURN, SILVER CLOUD and SAGA RUBY.

CARNIVAL SPLENDOUR will stop once as part of its round South America repositioning cruises from Long Beach, Calif., to its new home in New York.

The vast majority of calls involve turnarounds or partial passenger exchanges, according to Terminales Río de la Plata. Only 21 calls will be transits.

Last season Buenos Aires was projected to handle 420.000 passengers, up from just over 357.000 passengers in 2010/11. Numbers have been climbing steadily since the 108,500 passengers of 2005/06.

Buenos Aires’ Quinquela Martín Cruise Terminal is scheduled as the venue for the Seatrade South America Cruise Convention, September 10-11.