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High demand for Greece ferry

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Cypriots are jumping at the chance to travel to Greece by ferry this summer, after the revival of the link after two decades, as in less than a week, almost 3,000 have booked a place on one of the 44 trips.

In comments to the Financial Mirror, Akis Kelepeshis, the executive chair of Top Kinisis, handling the ticketing system for the ferry, said that bookings are encouraging, and they expect more than 7,000 passengers will be making the trip between Limassol and Piraeus.

“When we launched the ticketing platform for the ferry link, we thought we would see a maximum of 3,000 passengers making the trip,” said Kelepeshis.

Top Kinisis’ boss said that stakeholders thought that demand would be coming from people who want to avoid getting in an aeroplane for one reason or another.

“However, the majority of bookings have been made by people who want to take their vehicles with them for a holiday break in Greece.”

Noting the ticketing system has only been live for less than a week since launching on 7 May, Kelepeshis said most travellers are Cypriots looking for short getaways in Greece.

“So far, 60% of bookings are for trips leaving from Limassol and 40% for trips leaving from the Greek port of Piraeus.”

The revived Cyprus-Greece ferry is set to sail on 19 June, conducting 22 round trips between Limassol and Piraeus this summer after the winning contract sealed a three-year agreement worth €16.4 mln.

The operator of the EU-subsidised line, Scandro Holding, will run four round trip voyages in June, eight in July, seven in August and three in September.

The trips will be carried out by the 400-capacity ferry MV Daleela, with trips to Piraeus scheduled every Sunday and Wednesday and from Piraeus every Tuesday and Friday.

Passengers onboard the 30-hour voyage will pay anything from €38 for a seat to €80 per person in a premium cabin each way, about €101 for a car and €63 for a motorcycle.

The ship, a roll-on passenger (RO-Pax) ferry, can accommodate 400 passengers, 110 in 38 first-class cabins, 180 in 68 second-class cabins and 110 in ‘aircraft-type’ seats. It can also carry over 100 vehicles.

Bicycles will be carried free, and the ship has a pet-friendly policy, with special rates for an in-cabin stay or kennels.

Passengers can spend time at the ship’s casino or bar, while children can be entertained at a playground set up onboard.

The final return voyage for this season will leave Piraeus on 16 September, arriving in Limassol on 17 September.

The ferry link has been revived after being abandoned for 21 years.

Salamis Tours operated the last passenger ferry link to Greece from 1993 until 2000, when demand faded and trips stopped.