Leading cruise operator MSC Cruises announced on Wednesday in Athens a first for the Swiss-based operator: the launch of a new route across the Aegean and the East Mediterranean that will have Piraeus as its home port.
MSC, which has seen the number of its passengers visiting Greece soar 41 percent over the last three years, has decided the time has come for Piraeus to serve not just as a port of call but also as the home port of a route starting in May 2021. It will be a seven-day cruise on the MSC Lirica vessel that will also visit Mykonos, Haifa, Limassol, Rhodes and Kusadasi before returning to Piraeus, the company’s executive director Angelo Capurro said.
“With Venice having the well-known restrictions, we sought alternative solutions, and Piraeus appears ideal. We are starting with a smaller ship, to test the waters,” he stated.
Capurro explained to Kathimerini that the reason Santorini has been left out of this first itinerary is that the environmental requirement for a speed below 20 knots meant the cruise liner would not be able to cover the extra stop to Santorini in time, given that it also has to receive passengers from as far away as Haifa in Israel. “This is not related to Santorini’s overtourism, I was personally eager to have Santorini in this route,” he said.