Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis expressed his optimism about the launch of cruises in Greece this summer, speaking at the 66th Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for Europe held in Athens on June 2-4.
The minister noted that the number of scheduled cruises launching from Greek ports this year is “record-breaking,” and paves the way for Greece to become a so-called home-port destination on the map of international cruises.
Some 20 cruise routes have been scheduled for the Mediterranean country so far this summer, visiting a total of 45 ports across the country.
Fifteen of these cruises will launch from a Greek port, noted Theocharis, while the number of ships expected in Greece so far is also 45.
The tourism summit’s Friday session was held aboard the cruiseship Celebrity Apex at the port of Piraeus.
Greece welcomed its first cruise ship for 2021 in May, the 1,000 passenger ‘Mein Schiff 5’, marking a step forward in the country’s tourism recovery.
Greece reopened to tourism on May 15.
All travellers will have to fill in a passenger locator form (PLF) detailing where they will be staying and for how long.
They will also have to present a certificate of vaccination against Covid-19 or a recent negative PCR test or an official document certifying recent recovery from the virus.
Theocharis said that a system will be set up for COVID-19 tests to be carried out at regular intervals at popular tourist destinations, while the government will also be leasing hotels to act as quarantine stations in the event of outbreaks.
Nearly 450 ships are expected to arrive at Piraeus during the summer season.
Of these, 250 will be using Piraeus as their home port.
Meanwhile, Virgin Voyages has announced its third ship, The Resilient Lady, is scheduled to be completed by July 1, 2022.
Her home port will be Athens, from where she will offer two ‘dreamy’ European itineraries.
‘The Resilient Lady’ two itineraries:
- The “Greek Isles Itinerary” includes stops in Santorini, Rhodes, Crete and Mykonos with an overnight stay in Mykonos.
- The “Adriatic (with Greek Isles) Itinerary” departs from Athens with a stop in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Kotor, Montenegro, before returning to Greece for port calls to Corfu and Argostoli.
“Sailing in the Med is such an extraordinary experience, and we’re so excited to bring the adventure of a Virgin Voyage to this beautiful place,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group.