ATHENS – The port of Piraeus that’s been revitalized by the Chinese management company COSCO which has a controlling stake in the operation will be home to The Royal Caribbean Group in February, 2023.
That will be the base from which to make voyages to Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, the port gaining in international cruise ship attraction as the sector tries to come back from the still lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
In a meeting with Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, senior executives at the company said they were happy about the increase in direct flights between the United States and Greece, said Kathimerini.
They explained that some 60 percent of Royal Caribbean’s passengers are US citizens, while adding that they estimate that at least 43 percent of the group’s passengers will spend a minimum of one night in Athens.
In February, Kikilias said that ministry and tourism agencies expect a big growth in the cruise market in Greece this summer, although there is worry about the rising energy costs driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that could deter travelers.
The ministry said then that it expects increase in the cruise sector will reach 118 percent for Piraeus and 189 percent for the port of Thessaloniki while these ports will also be home ports for more than half the cruise ships berthing there.
Kikilias told the Sunday newspaper Real News, “We supported the cruise sector from the first moment and we support our ports as home port destinations. The cruise ship passengers give added value to the local economy and society.”