According to the Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME), in 2022, cruise tourism in Greece experienced growth with the arrival of 4,614 cruise ships at 48 Greek ports, resulting in 4.38 million passengers.
The Hellenic Ports Association (ELIME) reports that the number of cruise ship arrivals in Greece had risen 16% compared to pre-pandemic levels in September 2022, and it was estimated to reach a 20% increase for the entire year. Although the passenger arrivals were still lower than the numbers in 2019.
In comparison to 2021, the number of cruise ship arrivals in Greece rose 123.5% in 2022 (2,064 cruise ship arrivals) and the number of passenger arrivals increased 209% from 1.41 million the previous year.
Top cruise destinations in Greece
According to ELIME, the most popular cruise destinations in Greece were Santorini, Mykonos, Piraeus, Corfu, Rhodes, Heraklion, Patmos, and Katakolo. In terms of the number of cruise passengers, the leading destinations were Santorini, Mykonos, Piraeus, Corfu, Rhodes, Heraklion, Katakolo, followed by Chania, Kefalonia–Ithaca, Patmos, Lavrio, Thessaloniki, Volos, and Nafplio.
ELIME reported a significant surge in cruise ship arrivals in Greece, demonstrating the high demand for the country. For instance, in 2022, Lavrio saw a 291% increase in cruise ship arrivals compared to 2021, while Thessaloniki and Santorini experienced a 259% increase, Mykonos saw a 141% increase, Volos had a 114% increase, Corfu had a 96% increase, Rhodes had a 95% increase, and Heraklion saw a 92% increase.
Furthermore, homeporting activity also increased at ports such as Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Lavrio, Corfu, and Heraklion in Crete.
The Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) announced earlier this year that based on pre-booking data, it was anticipated that nearly 800 cruise ships would make port calls at Piraeus in 2023, leading to a 16% increase in cruise passenger arrivals compared to 2022.
Greek Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias stated that the ministry prioritizes the further development of cruise tourism and making sure that there are cruise ship arrivals throughout the year. According to ELIME, the outlook for cruise travel to Greece is optimistic, with current bookings up by approximately 15% for almost all destinations.