The cruise ship industry battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ships said to be superspreaders for the Coronavirus, is taking a chance again that people will sail, including news that Celebrity Cruises will come to Greece starting June 19.
That will be a few weeks after the New Democracy government, anxious for revenues to bolster an economy brought down by three closings of non-essential businesses shut more than half the previous 12 months.
Celebrity will begin with seven-night trips around Greece and the Aegean Sea, said Travel and Leisure. Departing from Athens, cruises will stop in Mykonos, Rhodes, and Santorini in Greece before continuing onto Limassol, Cyprus, and Haifa and Jerusalem, Israel.
Passengers and crew members older than 18 must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they board the ship. Those younger than 18 will have to present negative PCR test results before boarding.
As part of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises will follow the health and safety measures laid out by the Healthy Sail Panel, including frequent disinfecting and strict vaccination and testing requirements, the report added.
Celebrity Cruises was founded in 1988 by a Greek family and more than 70 percent of its marine officers hail from Greece.
"Celebrity Apex is such an exquisite ship and for her to finally begin sailing in the beautiful Aegean, where it all began for our fleet, and after so long away, is incredibly meaningful," Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said in a statement. "This is a very special homecoming for Celebrity Cruises made possible with the strong collaboration of the Greek government."
Greek Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis said, “I am proud to be welcoming Celebrity Cruises back to its Greek roots on this special occasion of our Country’s independence bicentennial and am eager for travelers to return to the unforgettable experiences of all of our destinations on one of the world’s newest ships.”
He added, “The positive economic impact that tourism brings to our country cannot be underestimated and I am very happy Celebrity Cruises is playing an important role in rebuilding this important economic pillar,” Cruise Industry news said.
“It is such an honor for me to Captain the newest ship in the Celebrity fleet. I have been anxiously awaiting the day when I can welcome our first guests onboard this magnificent vessel and it will be a very proud moment for me to do this in my homeland,” Captain Dimitrios Kafetzis also told the site.