Transport and Shipping Ministers welcome “Rhapsody of the Seas” in Ayia Napa Marina

Minister of Transport, Communications and Works Yiannis Karousos and Deputy Minister of Shipping Vassilis Demetriades welcomed on Tuesday the cruise liner “Rhapsody of the Seas” which docked at the Ayia Napa Marina carrying 3,000 passengers and crew.


Operated by Royal Caribbean, the ship is carrying out cruises in the Mediterranean and arrived in Cyprus’ south eastern resort early Tuesday from Haifa, Israel, and will depart bound for Rhodes, Greece in the afternoon today.


“This is the first large cruise ship (arriving here) carrying approximately 3,000 passengers and crew,” Karousos said speaking to the press, adding that the arrival of cruise ships will be beneficial for the area.


Karousos said the Ministry’s decision to create an anchorage both in Ayia Napa Marina and in Protaras, once it is completed was correct, as this would attract ships. He expressed the wish that the marina, as well as other ports and marinas in Cyprus will continue attracting cruise ships, recalling that Cyprus Ports Authority will invest €50 million to upgrade the port of Pafos, in the island’s south west.


“Cyprus is entering the map of this special form of tourism as we are seeing increasing arrivals of cruise ships in our ports and marinas,” the Minister added.


Karousos said that in collaboration with the Deputy Ministries of Shipping and of Tourism, the Ministry is preparing incentive schemes and a promotion campaign on Cyprus’ advantages for cruise ships, noting that a total of 250 cruise ship arrivals in the Limassol port are estimated for 2023.


On his part, Vassilis Demetriades expressed his joy over the first cruise ship arrival in the Ayia Napa marina, noting that following coordinated efforts by the Ministry of Transport and the Deputy Ministries of Shipping and Tourism “Cyprus is in a very visible spot of the world cruise shipping map.”


“We are seeing increasing cruise ships trusting our ports and our marinas,” he added.


He also noted that following the new infrastructure projects carried out, Cyprus offers options to world-class cruise ships to place the island in their cruise lines.


Demetriades said the Deputy Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and the Deputy Ministry of Shipping are drafting a framework of incentives, providing even more prospects in this sector for Cyprus, adding that growth in this sector will yield “huge benefits for the economy and the tourist product which will expand by offering this option.”


Responding to a question, Tony Calne, the ship’s captain, said they will to their utmost to include Cyprus in the cruise ship’s routes. “We are all happy, the visitors and the crew, there are so much to see, there are beautiful beaches and culture,” he said, hoping that he will be docking in Cyprus and in the future.


Costas Fitiris, Director of the Ayia Napa marina said this is a historic day for the marina as following efforts by the Ministry of Transport and the Deputy Ministry for Shipping the anchorage was made possible enabling the marina and the region of Famagusta to become part of cruise ship destinations.


He added that “the marina will enter the map not only as a destination for yachts but for cruise lines as well.”


Source: Cyprus News Agency

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