Ship management company

Royal Caribbean makes homeport of Piraeus, other cruise ships arrive

ATHENS – The port of Piraeus which has been revitalized by the Chinese management company COSCO, which holds a majority stake in the operation, will welcome The Royal Caribbean Group in February 2023.

It will be the base from which to make voyages to Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, the port gaining international attraction for cruise ships as the sector tries to recover from the still lingering COVID-19 pandemic.

In a meeting with Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias, the company’s senior executives expressed satisfaction with the increase in direct flights between the United States and Greece, Kathimerini said.

They explained that around 60% of Royal Caribbean’s passengers are US citizens, while adding that they estimate that at least 43% of passengers in the group will spend at least one night in Athens.

In February, Kikilias said the ministry and tourism agencies expected strong growth in the Greek cruise market this summer, although there were concerns about rising energy costs driven by the Russian invasion of Ukraine that could deter travellers.

The ministry said then that it expects the increase in the cruise sector to reach 118% for Piraeus and 189% for the port of Thessaloniki, while these ports will also be home ports for more than half of the cruise ships that dock there.

Kikilias told the Sunday newspaper Real News: ‘We have supported the cruise industry from the first moment and we support our ports as home port destinations. Cruise ship passengers add value to the local economy and society. »