NICOSIA – A blessing for people afraid to fly or wanting to bring their cars or motorcycles to Greece, a ferry from Cyprus resumed after 21 years was a popular hit during the summer, taking some 8,000 passengers and 2,000 vehicles on the trip.
They don’t even mind the 30-hour voyage for the inaugural year of the service that ends Sept. 16, no explanation given why it won’t continue until deeper into the summer or early autumn.
Cyprus’ Deputy Minister of Shipping Vassilis Demetriades told Kathimerini Cyprus he was satisfied because the numbers exceeded expectations – but he remained cautious about what it meant.
“Many may have traveled out of curiosity to see what it’s like, others because they needed to. This number is not indicative,” he said, adding that the aim of the trip the government subsidizes is to make it self-sufficient.
“To make reliable estimates, we need to see if the ferry connection can be made viable without state subsidies,” he said about the public aid that bidders said was necessary to make it profitable for them over 22 trips, twice a week.
Demetriades said next year it may be done just once weekly but that it’s up to the contractor operating the vessel, as he suggested a ferry to Israel should also be considered given how popular the island is with Israelis.
The first trip by the vessel Daleela docked in Athens on June 20 and he said that it drew praise from the travelers who were able to occupy the time – besides sleeping – with cafes and restaurants, live entertainment and other diversions.