ATHENS – A disastrous tourism year in Greece during the COVID-19 pandemic that saw travelers from some countries barred and others not willing to take the risk of traveling also torpedoed the critical cruise ship sector.
During a run of record arrival years, the port of Piraeus outside Athens had seen more ships berthing and with hopes to accelerate it more with the Chinese company COSCO which operates the facility planning renovations.
The cruise ship industry numbers for 2020 fell some 80 percent compared to the year before said the Association of Cruise Ship Owners and Maritime Agencies, a little less than the 85 percent worldwide and 84 percent for Europe, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki.
Association President Theodoros Kontes said worry persists as it’s uncertain when – or if – ships will be coming in 2021 if the Coronavirus crisis lingers, although the arrival of vaccines is providing some hope for recovery.
He said the intent for cruise ship companies – the vessels were breeding grounds for the virus – would be to start with "short cruising, " smaller to medium-sized vessels employed for short holidays, not the more lucrative giant passenger ships carrying thousands at a time.