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Greek Cruise Industry Starts Off With a Bang for Summer 2021

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A cruise ship named “Legend of the Seas” off the coast of Santorini island, Greece. Credit: Olaf Tausch/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

The opening up of the Greek cruise industry for 2021 was met with enormous enthusiasm from travelers and analysts alike, with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) lauding the success of the industry on Thursday.

The CLIA noted that Greece had made a considerable effort to relaunch the cruise industry on time this year after the extraordinary difficulties of the past year and this effort had paid off, as cruises are forecast to do very well this summer.

The Greek Cruise Industry in 2021

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The cruise industry opened up with the rest of Greece’s tourism sector last week, welcoming two ships to the port of Chania, Crete.

The fact that cruises have been allowed to set sail in Greek waters amid the coronavirus pandemic is no easy feat, and the CLIA acknowledged this, stating “Cruise resumption has been the result of extensive and fruitful collaboration between the cruise industry, the Greek government, health authorities, and ports.”

The Greek cruise industry wasted no time in 2021 after the steep losses incurred last year with four cruise lines beginning operations by May.

“We are extremely happy with the restart of cruise travel in Greece. The restart marks the culmination of the excellent collaboration our industry has with the Greek government.

“In particular, Minister of Tourism Haris Theocharis and Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy Ioannis Plakiotakis, with their structured and focused work on the restart timeline and the ports’ preparedness, helped to make cruise travel possible again, on time,” said Maria Deligianni, national director for the Eastern Mediterranean at CLIA.

The CLIA shared that more than 20 cruise lines are currently scheduled to sail in Greek waters this year, with calls at 45 ports in total, demonstrating the dynamism of the industry as well as the momentum of Greece as a top cruise destination.

At least 15 of those cruise lines will homeport in Greece, likely bringing even more revenue in to the country.

Cruising Amid the Pandemic

This resumption is vital, as cruises which voyage in Greek waters enjoy host more than five million passengers annually, with revenue from the industry raking in almost €1 billion ($1.2 billion).

Overall, approximately 40 individual cruise ships will set sail around Greece this year. These projections from CLIA come just in time for the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum 2021, which is an international conference and exhibition dedicated to cruising and sea tourism taking places every two years.

This year’s conference is being held five days after CLIA’s statements were made on Tuesday.

Of course, the Greek cruise industry will need to adapt to the 2021 coronavirus reality, and there have been a plethora of regulations put in place in order to keep both crew and passengers safe.

The new regulations include operating at a lower capacity — often 75 % — as well as new sanitation standards and technology.

The main adjustment that cruise companies are making in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus on board is universal testing of both passengers and crew upon embarkation. Many companies have also put in place monitoring systems in order to be able to trace the virus if a case crops up on board and enacting strict rules for passengers’ shore outings.

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