“A new day is beginning for sea cruise and the country,” Maritime Affairs, Islands and Fisheries Minister Yiannis Diamantidis said in reference to the lifting of cabotage restrictions for non-European Union-flag cruise ships.
Mr. Diamantidis last month signed a ministerial decision that set the special levy (boarding fee) to be charged on cruise passengers embarking or disembarking from non-European Union-flag cruise ships at Greek ports.
According to the decision, the boarding fee for each passenger, per round cruise journey is 3.95 euros and proceeds would support the unemployment and health fund of Greek sailors.
Mr. Diamantidis said international cruise companies would receive a discount on the boarding fee as an incentive to hire Greek sailors.
The maritime affairs minister said the boarding fee would be reduced by 20 percent on the condition that at least one percent of the ship’s crew is Greek.
The fee would also be reduced by seven percent for each additional Greek port of call included on the ship’s cruise schedule.
According to Mr. Diamantidis, cruise companies accepted the decision with enthusiasm. “A new era for sea cruise is beginning in 2011 and will reach its peak in 2012,” Mr. Diamantidis added.
The ministerial decision setting the boarding fee will implement legislation passed on 25 August that lifted cabotage restrictions for non-E.U.-flag cruise ships and permitted them to homeport in Greece.
According to press reports, the cabotage restrictions will be officially lifted once the content of the contracts to be signed between the Greek state and the non-E.U.-flag cruise ship companies, in order to embark and disembark passengers at Greek ports, is finalized.