Daleela embarks on first voyage for 2024

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The Daleela passenger and car ferry resumed its Limassol to Piraeus sailings for the third season on Wednesday and will continue to early September.

The roll on-roll off vessel embarked from Limassol with 126 passengers on board, 49 vehicles, nine motorcycles and five pets.

From the day that sales for this year started in mid-April, some 8,500 passenger tickets have already been sold, with bookings for 1,550 vehicles.

This is up from 7,000 tickets sold last year, according Charalampos Manoli, director of the ship’s operator, Scandro Holding Ltd.

Manoli said that the nine departures for August are already fully booked, with some seats available for early June, and fewer in July.

Limassol will be the exclusive port for the Daleela, and the last of the 22 sailings will be the voyage departing from Piraeus on September 3.

Antonis Orthodoxou, Managing Director of Orthodoxou Aviation, the GSA for the Cyprus-flag Daleela, said that of the 15,000 individual tickets available for the entire season, some 3,000 passengers booked their journey during the first 24 hours.

“There is a pleasant sense of panic,” Orthodoxou told CyBC radio, adding that the passengers have booked both cabin spaces, as well as ‘airline seats’.

Ticket prices for the 22 journeys are slightly up at two euros from last year, but a heftier €45 for cars and motorcycles.

This is the third season for the Ro-Ro vessel that carried 7,407 passengers, 2,496 vehicles and 455 pets last year, as part of a “three plus three” year concession, earning the operator Scandro Holding an annual €5.5 mln subsidy.

“From these numbers, it appears that the sea passenger link has achieved its purpose, creating a new segment of the tourism market for those travellers who wish to travel to and from Cyprus and the rest of continental Europe, in their private cars and two-wheelers, offering an alternative mode of transport,” said Deputy Shipping Minister Marina Hadjimanoli.

Departures for the 30-hour trip will be on Wednesdays and Sundays from Limassol and Tuesdays and Fridays from Piraeus.

Speaking during a launch press briefing earlier in the week at the Limassol Chamber of Conference, Hadjimanoli said that, “the forecasts regarding the viability of the line in the long term are positive, therefore, it is hoped that after the end of the subsidised service there will be interest from the industry, so that the maritime connectivity of Cyprus-Greece, as well as the maritime connection, can continue seamlessly.”

She pointed out that the junior ministry would welcome any effort to permanently add a Cyprus-Greece sea passenger route, or with another neighbouring country.

“However, the permanent addition of a sea passenger route to and from Cyprus will depend on many factors, such as the demand that the line would have, the frequency of the routes and the financial viability of the carriers. I believe that with this initiative, we have set the stage for making the line sustainable.”

Launched around the same time last year, the 2023 itinerary started with 14 departures from Limassol and then switched to eight from Larnaca for the rest of the season, which added a further two hours to the journey.

However, the cost of tickets from Limassol were increased due to higher port fees.

Prices similar as last year

For a first-class single cabin, the return price per passenger from Limassol is €147.86 (from €145.98 last year) and €137.86 per person in a double cabin. A second class ticket is €97.86 per person per cabin of up to four persons.

Prices for an ‘airline seat’ from Limassol the return cost is €77.86 from €75.98 last year.

A pet in a cabin will set you back €100 return, or €70, if kept in a kennel or in the hold.

Transporting a car from Limassol and back will cost €268.10 (from €223.10 last year), while for a motorcycle it’s €185.84 (€141.80).

A motorhome, up to 5m long, will cost €281.26 return and for a bicycle €10.

In 2022, the ferry link between Cyprus and Greece was reinstated after 20 years, as the route is supported by a state subsidy approved by the European Commission.

The last voyage before its reintroduction was on October 8, 2001.

Regular departures of ferries from Limassol to Rhodes and Piraeus were discontinued as the 90-minute flight to Athens from Larnaca and Paphos became more frequent and inexpensive.