NICOSIA – Despite the loss of Russian tourists over European Union sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine, Cyprus – even during the COVID-19 pandemic that’s receding – is drawing big crowds of visitors, helped by cruise ships.
With more vessels docking at the port of Limassol, there are signs that the number of passenger arrivals this year could even exceed the record-buster of 2019, said The Financial Mirror.
Ships were said to be breeding grounds for the Coronavirus but with cases, hospitalizations and deaths declining, people have lost their fear of being on board largely closed ship spaces at sea and are traveling again.
Limassol port operators estimate 160,000 passengers will arrive on the island on board one of the 150 cruise ships calling on Cyprus this year, the site said, with a big tourism year looming.
Talking to Phileleftheros daily, Doros Aresti, spokesperson for port operators DP World Limassol, said that 2022 has already marked the return of cruise ships, with next year even more promising.
“After two years of being hit by the coronavirus pandemic, we are optimistic over the prospects of cruises in 2022 and 2023. The DP World Limassol terminal is now attracting cruise industry giants, confirming the high-quality services we provide,” said Aresti.
A giant in the industry, Royal Caribbean has chosen the port of Limassol as its base for a series of cruises in the Mediterranean, using it as a base for the vessel Rhapsody of the Seas, it was noted.
Celestyal Cruises has also chosen the port as part of its “Three Continents” program, expected to start in November as well MSC Cruises, the report on the ships returning said.
Kinisis Executive Chair and Honorary President of the Association of Cyprus Tourist Agents Akis Kelepeshis said 200 Cypriots are expected to board Royal Caribbean cruise weekly this summer.