Cruise: Greece in the top 3 destinations in the Mediterranean, according to CLIA

Greece is among the top three tourism destinations cruise in the Mediterranean, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), while last year Greek ports welcomed 7 million passengers and 5,230 cruise ship calls.

Presenting industry data at the Posidonia shipping exhibition, Maria Deligianni, CLIA’s regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean, confirmed the information, stressing that our country is a favorite destination. However, she added that cruising is not the first choice of Greek travelers as out of 31.7 million passengers internationally, Greeks accounted for about 15,000.

He said that currently the largest cruise market, with 44.2%, in the world is the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Bermuda, while the Middle East is second with Italy, Spain and Greece being the main countries of activity.

In nationality of passengers, the first place is occupied by the USA and the second by Europe, with Germany, England and Italy, which, as Ms. Deligianni said, it is in the culture of these countries to cruise, while they have a lot of love for our country and its history. They are followed by travelers also from Australia and South America.

CLIA’s regional director highlighted the need for national governments to support ports in terms of infrastructure and management to develop the industry, which continues to be a fast-growing one.

Significant rise

It is noted that in the first quarter of 2024 alone, a total of 54,989 passengers passed through the cruise terminals of the port of Piraeus compared to 36,589 in the same quarter of 2023, an increase of 50.3%.

In 2023, the cruise sector from the port of Piraeus recorded a significant increase in both calls and passenger traffic.

The total passenger traffic in 2023 amounted to 1,484,788 compared to 880,416 in 2022, recording an increase of 68.6%. Cruise ship calls also increased by 12.3% with 760 calls compared to 677 in the previous year. Homeporting passenger arrivals recorded an increase of 110.4% compared to 2022 (from 378,899 to 797,234).

Piraeus welcomed last Thursday the cruise ship EXPLORA I on its maiden visit to the port of the Greek capital, marking the ship’s debut in the Eastern Mediterranean.

EXPLORA I is the first of a fleet of six cruise ships operated by MSC. The ship will visit a total of 21 Greek ports this year, with many of the itineraries offering convenient embarkation and disembarkation at the port of Piraeus.

Among the top destinations for guests traveling on the EXPLORA I in Greece are Katapola (Amorgos), Paros, Patmos and Corfu.

The port of Thessaloniki

The port of Thessaloniki is also on a successful course for the development of the sector, as it is expected to welcome a total of 82 cruise ships by the end of 2024.

Last Thursday, the capital’s port set a daily record for passenger arrivals with the arrival of two large cruise ships.

For the first time in its history, the largest cruise ship, the 326-meter-long “Norwegian Getaway”, of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. docked along with the “Celebrity Infinity”, of Celebrity Cruises.

According to the PPA, the record number of passenger and crew arrivals on this particular day reached 10,000 people.

Growing industry

According to Clia, cruise is the fastest growing tourism industry globally since, according to available data, 31.7 million passengers traveled on cruise ships in 2023, up 7% from 2019.

In 2024, a 9% year-on-year increase is expected in 2024, when passengers will reach 34.7 million worldwide, while 37.1 million are expected in 2025, 38.8 in 2026 and 39.7 in 2027, when in 2019 the figure was 30 million.

The popularity of cruising has grown tremendously in recent years as an ideal way to holiday, which has an impact on ship capacity and beds. From 2024 to 2028 a 10% increase in beds is expected.

35% of ships are under 1,000 berths and are the vast majority of the fleet today. 10% of cruise ships are from 1,000 to 1,999 beds, 28% from 2,000 to 2,999, 15% from 3,000 to 3,999 and 12% from 4,000 beds or more. By 2028 there will have been little change with a slight decrease in ships under 1,000 berths and a slight increase in ships with more than 4,000 berths.

CLIA currently represents 303 cruise ships owned by 55 cruise lines, representing 55% of the industry worldwide.

In the shipbuilding sector, 94% of the world’s cruise ships are built in Europe.

95% of the world’s ships are built in Europe

As CLIA’s Eastern Mediterranean Director for Greece Maria Deligianni has stated, all stakeholders should demonstrate the contribution of the sector to the European economy and the shipbuilding industry.

She also said that from 2024 to 2028 we will have 56 newly built cruise ships representing $40 billion in value, all of which will go to the European economy.

He also added that this year on the order book is to deliver 8 new cruise ships built in European yards.

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