First Cyprus-Greece car & passenger ferry in 22 years starts Limassol-Piraeus Athens service

   June 20, 2022 ,   Cruise Industry

The first Ro-Pax vessel (car and passenger ferry) in 22 years linking Cyprus and Greece departed on its first voyage on Sunday, June 19, setting sail from Limassol (Cyprus) to Piraeus-Athens (Greece).

Scandro Holding is the operator of the refurbished Daleela ferry (1991-built/IMO 9001306). The boat hax max capacity 400 passengers.

Daleela will sail out of Limassol to Piraeus on Wednesdays and Sundays, while services from Piraeus to Limassol depart on Tuesdays and Fridays. The last sailing of 2022 will take place on September 16 (Piraeus to Limassol).

The crossing's duration is ~30 hours.

Vassilios Demetriades, Deputy Shipping Minister of Cyprus, said recently that reviving the ferry connection would help them to continue building their relationship with the rest of the Mediterranean and they welcomed the opportunity to expand the ferry link to a 3rd neighboring country beyond Greece too.

Israel authorities have also expressed interest in joining the proposed Greece-Cyprus ferry route, saying they would like a port in their country to be added to the itinerary. A meeting in December 2021 between Israeli Minister of Transport Merav Michaeli and Cyprus Deputy Minister of Shipping Vassilis Demetriades discussed the prospect. They agreed that the establishment of the route would even create a new market for travelers who prefer to explore the Mediterranean by sea since some can't fly for health reasons/have fear of flying.

In November 2021, the ministry launched an attempt for a 3-year contract valued at EUR 33 million (US$35.6 million) with annual state aid of EUR 5.5 million.

The ferry connection between Cyprus and Greece was stopped 22 years ago, as the increasing use of airplanes made the line obsolete. However, the planned reintroduction was seen as a way of deepening the cordial relations between the 2 countries.

Port of Piraeus-Athens (Greece)

The aid was approved by the European Union in July 2020, stating at the time it was in the “general economic interest” of the public, and any ferry which eventually sails along the route will be EU-flagged. In case it is a foreign-owned ship, it will have to be registered in the EU, according to EU regulations.

Greece had reiterated its will to facilitate the reintroduction of the ferry line by offering a dedicated berth in Port Piraeus for the companies that would have undertaken the route.