Cruise tourism to gain momentum

93 Cruise ships expected in Limassol in 2019

The number of cruise ships calling on Limassol is expected to increase by 37% this year, according to Charles Meaby, General Manager of DP World Limassol. In an interview with Entrpreneurial Limassol, Mr. Meaby said contacts with leading international players in the cruise business have already begun to bear fruit and Limassol port will soon be a starting point for cruise ships of highly reputable worldwide operators of the calibre of Celestyal Cruises and TUI. 

Mr. Meaby, what are the estimates of DP regarding the number of cruise ships that will call ion Limassol port this year. How do they compare to the figures past years? 
In 2018 we had at Limassol port a total of 68 arrivals, of which 36 were transit calls and 32 were home port calls. For 2019 we expect an overall increase of nearly 40%, with a total of 93 arrivals, of which 53 will be transit calls and 40 home port calls. What is more, the upward trend is expected to continue into 2020. 

At what stage are consultations with foreign companies to include the port on their routes? 
Several consultations are now under way and results are expected shortly. Recently, new extended routes have been announced, for the next two years, that include the port of Limassol, both as a as a starting point and as a destination. For instance, Celestyal Cruises has announced its new extended routes for the coming towo years and these include Limassol.

Celestyal ships are expected to call on Limassol port in December του 2019 and also in March, November and December of the year. At the same time, Limassol will be a starting point for 7-day cruises, Celestyal having already scheduled 4 such cruises in 2019 and 12 in 2020. Moreover, TUI cruise ships are scheduled to embark Limassol port staying in the autumn of this year. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has likewise included on its routes visits to and from Limassol and Marella Cruises has announced 13 new routes from Limassol for the 2019/2020 winter season.

At this point in time,  what are the factors that can impact positively on the growth of the cruise sector? 
Tourist arrivals in Cyprus have recorded an upward trend in recent years, breaking one record after another. Cruise tourism can claim its own share in that and Limassol does possess what it takes become a regional cruise centre.  Limassol is the first port of call for cruise ships για κρουαζιερόπλοια, after passing through the Suez Canal, while the excellent location of the Limassol port passenger terminal offers easy access to Larnaca and Pafos airports.

Therefore, one factor that can impact positively on the Cyprus cruise industry is the increase in airline connectivity between Cyprus and the rest of the world. Moreover, the fact that the brand new Limassol passenger terminal is now fully operational implies improved services and infrastructures upgrading the overall experience of cruise companies and passengers alike.  The terminal is also specially designed to provide services for Transit–day calls and turnaround–home porting to the largest cruise ships there worldwide. 

Factors that could further contribute to increasing passenger traffic over the long term are additional government incentives, on a par with those on offer in neighboring countries with a view to attracting more cruise ships. The implementation of infrastructures connecting Limassol port and the city centre is also vitally important. 

Are there plans to further exploit and upgrade the services offered by the new passenger terminal, given the many possibilities offered by its size?
Our objective is to make use of the new passenger terminal throughout the year, including by hosting exhibitions, conferences and other activities. To that end, we have proceeded with the installation of state of modern equipment, including state of the art screens. We are also considering upgrading the duty free shops during the current year, in addition to work already carried out to upgrade the internal and external areas of the terminal to further cater to the needs of tourists. A case in point, is the terminal cafeteria which was inaugurated in a special designed space in the Departures Hall to serve the needs of outgoing cruise ship passengers.  

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