Harry Theoharis (Greece's Tourism Minister) on July 28 announced that 6 domestic seaports will open to cruise ships on August 1. The announcement follows ~4 months of suspended voyages in Greece due to the country's COVID lockdown.
In a letter to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and 3 leading cruise shipping companies (TUI, MSC, Costa) the Minister confirmed that international passenger liners will be welcome to the ports Piraeus-Athens, Rhodes, Heraklion Crete, Corfu, Katakolon and Volos, from August 1.
According to the Minister, following the first docking at one of the 6 seaports, cruise liners will be allowed to approach any other port in Greece included in their itinerary. However, he added that in case new epidemiological conditions occur, then the regime will change.
Minister Theoharis said that Greece was the first country that had responded to the cruise shipping industry and had introduced official health protocols.
“The health rules that will be applied on cruise ships, under the supervision of the Greek authorities, are based on the released European Union guidelines (EU Healthy Gateways) and have been adapted to Greek legislation and domestic data,” he said.
He also called on cruise companies to restart procedures to relaunch homeporting operations in Greece and requested for leading international cruise companies to promote cruising in Greece beyond the summer.
According to CLIA, the suspension of cruise operations in Greece due to the Coronavirus had led to a national economic impact at least EUR 200 million and the loss of 1700+ jobs.