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Greece Waiting for Covid-19 Guidance to Restart Cruise Tourism

The rules that passengers and crew must follow on cruise ships while in Greek ports, during the post-Covid-19 era, are expected to be officially announced this week, Greek press reports said on Monday.

The Health Ministry on Friday announced health and safety rules that must be followed for cruise travel in Greece to restart. The rules, which are based on EU Healthy Gateways’ COVID-19 guidance for cruise operators and ports, are expected to be approved this week by the General Secretariat for Civil Protection and the Maritime Ministry.

The EU guidance for restarting cruise ship operations after lifting restrictive measures in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, recommends for cruise ships to carry 60 percent of the maximum passenger capacity and to conduct mandatory checks to passengers and crew before boarding, which would include thermal screening and the submission of a special health declaration.

Photo Source: @CLIA

The guidance says that ships should make “isolation cabins” available for quarantine purposes should a coronavirus case occur. Also, before starting journeys, cruise companies should make arrangements with local port authorities of the home port for possible isolation procedures. The facilities should also be pre-specified (e.g. hospitals, hotels).

Moreover, the guidance says that all persons working on board (ship officers, crew members) who interact with passengers or crew on board or ashore should have training about dealing with Covid-19 cases.

When will cruises restart in Greece

Speaking to Skai TV on Monday, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis once again said cruise travel in Greece may possibly resume in August.

“I want to believe that within the first 15 days of August, Greece will be able to open to cruise travel,” Minister Theoharis said, adding that cruise lines are interested in including Greece in their itineraries.

However, the president of the Union of Cruise Ship Owners & Associated Members (EEKFN), Theodore Kontes, told the Athens News Agency (ANA) that even if the guidelines are approved in the coming days, “this does not mean that cruises will resume in Greece in August”, as it will take a long time for companies and their crews to prepare.

When asked if large cruise lines are interested in launching itineraries in Greece, Kontes said that no itineraries should be expected before September.

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