TUI cruise ship arriving in Corfu on Thursday morning - the first following prolonged absence
CORFU. The first cruise ship following the absence due to coronavirus will be arriving at Corfu Port on Thursday 17 September.
The cruise ship Mein Schiff, TUI's flagship, set of from Heraklion on Sunday 13 September in the hope that cruise will be able to provide a safe holiday during the pandemic. To make the package even more attractive, the cruise includes a concert by the famous Greek-German singer Vicky Leandros.
The 7-day cruise includes visits to Corfu - the singer's birthplace - and Piraeus before returning to Crete.
According to Heraklion Port Authority, the agreed emergency procedures if there is a case of COVID-19, both for the Port Authority and the ship, strictly follow the EU and national health protocols.
Heraklion is the home port and passengers arrive on flights specially chartered by TUI from Germany so that they won't come into contact with other travellers. The 7-day cruises will set off from Heraklion every Sunday, visiting Piraeus and Corfu before returning to Crete.
According to bookings up to now, approximately 600 passengers are expected on the ship which has a capacity of 2,534 passengers. The maximum number of passengers allowed by the health protocol is 1,520.
Corfu shopkeepers, however, have, in various ways, expressed their opposition to the prospect of the 'manipulated' tourist shore excursions. Several of them reckon that this pilot scheme heralds the adoption of the all-inclusive concept for cruises as well as hotels and that Corfu will just bear the costs and the shipping companies will make whatever profits there are - citing the restrictive measures and the need to cover the ship's costs.
Corfu Port Authority
Corfu Port Authority, on the other hand, considers these tentative steps by the cruise ships as a good opportunity to restart cruise tourism. It doesn't agree with the view of local businesses that the policy of 'distancing' will remain in place in cruise companies future planning.