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Published on : Tuesday, May 10, 2022
Celestyal Cruises on Sunday officially launched its 7-night voyages out of Thessaloniki for the 2022 season, recognizing the incredible potential of the Greek Northern city as a homeport (ports where passengers begin or end their cruises).
Named Idyllic Aegean, the voyages from Thessaloniki, which include stops at Kusadasi (Turkey) and Greek ports Rhodes, Heraklion, Santorini, Mykonos, Milos and Piraeus, will take place on the Celestyal Crystal, a moderate size-cruise liner with a big ship feel that can accommodate up to 1,200 cruisers.
Thessaloniki can develop into an important cruise destination, attracting passengers from Northern Greece and the Balkan countries, Celestyal Cruises Chief Operating Officer Capt. George Koumpenas said during a special event on board the Celestyal Crystal which had docked in Thessaloniki earlier.
He highlighted that the average expenditure per cruise visitor per call in the homeport is estimated at around 400 euros, which significantly supports the city’s local economy.
Koumpenas said Thessaloniki has the potential of becoming a significant hub for cruise tourism in Southeastern Europe, adding that the Celestyal Crystal would dock in the Greek city 30 times for the 2022 season (last departure is October 9) and 40 times in 2023.
He then applauded the plans of the Thessaloniki Port Authority to upgrade the port’s cruise passenger terminal which will help for further development of the city’s cruise tourism.
Thessaloniki this season is expected to welcome 62 cruise ship arrivals (of which 50 percent concern homeport arrivals) from a total of 17 vessels of twelve companies.
On his part, the Regional Governor of Central Macedonia Apostolos Tzitzikostas said Thessaloniki is among the best destinations in the Mediterranean for cruises due to the many tourism options passengers have once they get off the ship.
In just 60 minutes from the port one can visit any point of interest for cultural tourism, for example, in Vergina or Pella; for wellness tourism; for gastronomy tourism; or for excursions in nature, he noted.
It is reminded that Thessaloniki has over 30 museums and 15 monuments included on the UNESCO world cultural heritage list.