Cruise op­er­a­tors eye­ing Pi­raeus port up­grade

Kathimerini English - - Focus - ILIAS BELLOS

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.

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