Greek port representatives and cruise operators presented ambitious and detailed plans to large and small cruise company representatives in dozens of one-to-one meetings at a global fair in Florida in the United States last week. What’s more, this is in a year when cruise ship calls are set to drop 30 percent in Greece, along with a 10-15 percent drop in passengers.
Foreign company officials who spoke to Kathimerini expressed their optimism that the investments beginning in Piraeus can bring more ships and passengers to the islands of the Aegean and the Ionian, especially if Piraeus becomes the so-called“bridge” Cosco Group hopes to create to attracts more Chinese tourists to the Mediterranean.
The contacts were made during Seatrade Cruise Global 2017 at Fort Lauderdale, and the interest of major cruise operators such as Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises and MSC Cruises focused both on the infrastructures to be constructed and on the upgrading of services offered by Piraeus Port Authority.
They also received updates on the expansion of the cruise port with two more slots (whose building is likely to start next year) for very large liners and on the upgrading of existing slots, including the new one near Aghios Nikolaos in Piraeus.
Talks also centered on reception facilities with the upgrading of passenger terminals, and on Cosco’s plan to make it possible for ships to refuel with liquefied natural gas.