Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis on Tuesday announced that six ports in Greece will be open to cruise ships as of August 1. The announcement follows some four months of suspended cruise operations in Greece due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.
In a letter to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and three leading companies in the sector – MSC Cruises, Costa, TUI Cruises – the minister confirmed that cruise ships will be welcome to the ports of Piraeus, Rhodes, Heraklion, Volos, Corfu and Katakolo, from August 1.
According to the minister, after their first mooring at one of the six Greek ports, cruise ships will be able to approach any other port in the country included in their route. The minister clarified that if new epidemiological conditions, regarding the coronavirus, occur then the regime will change.
“All cruise ships are welcome in Greece to offer a unique experience to all their passengers,” Minister Theoharis said in his letter to the cruise professionals.
Moreover, the minister said that Greece is the first country that has responded to the cruise industry and has introduced official health protocols.
“The health rules that will be applied on cruise ships, under the supervision of the Greek authorities, are based on the released European Union guidelines (EU Healthy Gateways) and have been adapted to Greek legislation and domestic data,” he said.
Minister Theoharis has also called on cruise companies to restart procedures to relaunch homeporting operations in Greece.
He has also requested for leading international cruise lines to promote cruise travel in Greece beyond the summer season. “The current season extends to the end of the year,” the minister said.
CLIA in late June said that the suspension of cruise operations in Greece due to Covid-19 had led to a total national economic impact at least of 200 million euros and the loss of more than 1,700 jobs.