ATHENS – No one's ready just yet to roll out the lazy, hazy crazy days of summer but Greece is looking forward to what could be a better-than-expected season of tourists coming, especially on cruise ships shunned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While they were called superspreaders of the Coronavirus because people were packed in so tightly, a worldwide vaccination campaign tilted in favor of richer countries is seeing the health crisis slowly being beaten back and people traveling.
That includes on cruise ships, more of them lining up to make Greece a key port of call, said Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis speaking at the 66th Meeting of the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) Commission for Europe, held in Athens on June 2-4.
He said the number of scheduled cruises launching from Greek ports this year is “record-breaking,” and is showing the way for the country to be a major EU destination, especially with the Chinese company COSCO upgrading the port of Piraeus.
Some 20 cruise routes have been scheduled for Greece so far this summer, visiting a total of 45 ports across the country, with 15 launching from a Greek port he said, with 45 ships also due.
Earlier, the German Cruise operator AIDA Cruises jumped in to the queue of passenger ships coming to Greece, scheduling 23 cruises including to Rhodes, Crete, Heraklion, Katakolon (Olympia), and Piraeus.
Corfu will act as the homeport for embarking and disembarking the vessel. Guests have the opportunity to book a 14-day back-to-back cruise as well, said the site Cruise Hive.
Passengers must have a mandatory PCR test before arrival, regular health checks, comprehensive AHA rules, medical care including testing capacities on board and follow health requirements and restrictions.