Greece among the winners of cruise sector in 2023

Greece is emerging as the protagonist of the cruise sector in the Eastern Mediterranean for 2023, with an amazing year for the cruise sector in the country, and historic passenger arrivals.

In particular, in 49 Greek ports, the total arrivals of cruise ships amounted to 5,230 and the number of passengers to 7,003,150, which is an additional 450 ship arrivals with 2,373,500 passengers compared to 2022.

Accordingly, on a percentage basis, in 2023 compared to 2022, the country had a 9.41% increase in cruise ship approaches and a 51.26% increase in passenger numbers.

It is worth noting that the previous all-time record for arrivals was set in 2011 with 5,261 cruise ship arrivals and 6,121,360 passengers, and now a new passenger record is being set with an increase of 14.4% since 2011.

The difference in the percentage changes between ships and passengers, both for the years 2023-2022 and for the historical records 2023-2011, shows that on average the cruise ships calling at Greek ports in 2023 had a higher occupancy of passengers per ship.

Thus, each arrival in 2023 corresponds to 1,339 passengers compared to 969 in 2022 and 1,164 passengers per ship in 2011.

The leader in relation to the number of cruise passengers is once again Piraeus with approximately 1,500,000 passengers, followed by Santorini with 1,298,968, Mykonos with 1,192,822 and then Corfu, Rhodes, Katakolo and Heraklion.

In terms of ship arrivals, Santorini takes first place with 800 arrivals, followed by Piraeus with 760, Mykonos with 749 and then Rhodes, Corfu, Heraklion and Patmos.

Most ports showed significant increases in passengers compared to 2022, with Piraeus leading the ranking in absolute numbers with 619.514 (+70.37%), followed by Mykonos with 506.904 (+73.90%), Santorini with 472.366 (+57.15%), Katakolo with 139.360 (+55.57%) and Zakynthos with 130.050 passengers and the impressive increase of 510.96% compared to 2022.

There were significant increases also in the ports of Astypalea (+1106.52%), Chios (+571.47%), Paros (+251.61%), Naxos (+237.13%), Rethymno (+163.68%), Tinos (+157.09%), Agios Nikolaos (+127.30%), Sifnos (+112.07%), and Hydra (102.32%), while Preveza, Andros and Ios are added in the “map of cruise market”.

Last year the cruise, despite its positivity, did not favor Folegandros which saw a decrease of (-61.68%), Patras (-41.02%), Volos (-28.36%), Kos (-6.13%), Samos (-9.63%), Syros (-7.18%) and Igoumenitsa (-3.63%).

Another important element for the past year for the cruise market is the choice of Greek ports for homeporting.

As expected, the port of Piraeus takes the lead in homeporting with 525 arrivals and 880,800 passengers who started and ended their journey from Piraeus. It is followed by the port of Corfu with 54 arrivals and 194,792 passengers, Lavrio with 99 arrivals and 123,383 passengers, Heraklion with 6 arrivals and 14,106 passengers and Thessaloniki with 31 arrivals and 10,000 passengers.

As evidenced by the aforementioned, the cruise market in the country is an important development factor for both local communities and the national economy.

The forecasts based on the cruise ship pre-bookings in Greek ports for 2024 are promising, with estimates ranging from an increase of around 10% in arrivals and around 15% in the number of passengers expected this year in the Greek ports.

Source: The Hellenic Ports Association