Around 343,000 cruise ship passengers arrived in Cyprus last year, while a slight increase in this figure is expected this year, said Tourism Minister Kostas Koumis welcoming the Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas cruiser.
He was on board to mark its arrival at Limassol port over the weekend for its summer season routes.
Koumis and Shipping Minister Marina Hadjimanolis welcomed the inclusion of Cyprus in its itineraries.
Limassol and Haifa are the only ports where travellers can board the Rhapsody of the Seas, whose itinerary includes Rhodes, Piraeus, Santorini, Mykonos, Chania and Kusadasi.
Koumis said last year, Cyprus had “satisfactory arrivals” from cruise ships, around 343,000 people, while they estimate that a small increase will be recorded this year and next.
He noted that numbers aside, it was also very important “to record the satisfaction of visitors”, which is also linked to the country’s infrastructure.
“It has improved a lot in recent years”.
Hadjimanolis said it was an honour for Cyprus and Limassol to be chosen for the Rhapsody of the Seas itinerary.
“We are particularly proud the Cyprus Registry is ranked among the top shipping registries worldwide and even more proud that it includes the Royal Caribbean group’s Spectrum of the Seas cruise ship from January 2023.
“We are grateful for the trust you have shown in the flag of Cyprus, putting our country on the global cruise map,” Hadjimanolis said.
She also noted another landmark: the expected operation of the group’s office in Limassol, which will be the centre of its shipping activities in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Cyprus is being established as a quality cruise centre, while our tourism product is strengthened, with significant benefits for tourism, Limassol and the wider local economy”.
Director of Europe, Middle East and Africa for Royal Caribbean, Christos Karavos, said the ship sailed from Haifa, Israel with more than 2,000 passengers while 207 individuals were to board the ship in Limassol.