Cruise operators have made hundreds of bookings for calls in Piraeus this year, in numbers comparable to those of 2019, a record year, with Greece’s main port ready to receive them with all the updated health protocols, Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) deputy chief executive officer Captain Weng Lin stated on Tuesday.
“The trend in berth bookings from what we have in hand for this year is very positive, even compared with 2019: Until today we have had bookings for a total of 444 calls for this year,” Weng told the Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum in Athens, a biennial event on cruise tourism that was held online this year.
He added that “we never stopped our investment and preparation to resume cruising activity. For the time being we have seven to eight berths available, while the health protocols are being updated. On Tuesday we had some close cooperation with the local government and authorities to see what’s more efficient and practical.”
Weng further noted that the company has been upgrading Piraeus’ facilities, “especially for emergency issues, at the passenger terminals,” in a bid to meet all cruise passenger needs.
“For the long term, I believe we will meet the new needs and adapt to all the suggestions from the experts. We are continuing our investment for the port of Piraeus, with major infrastructure projects. We still have time to build the new terminals. This is a big matter and will take some time, but we can meet the requirements of the major players for the new generation of the cruise industry,” explained the deputy CEO of the authority that is majority controlled by China’s Cosco.
In general, OLP is continuing with its investment plans for Piraeus: “The amount of the contracts we have already done comes to over 240 million euros for the Piraeus port investments, for various sectors, and we will continue ahead,” said Captain Weng: “We have confidence we will meet the dynamic changes, even in the post-Covid era. We need to cooperate with everyone.” He added that the authority is preparing the infrastructure for liquefied natural gas bunkering for the large cruise liners that Piraeus will soon be able to host at its new pier.
“Our dream is that in three or four years’ time ships will be fighting for berths in Piraeus as we aspire for it to be a major cruise hub,” Captain Weng concluded.