Greek island of Corfu welcomes first cruise ship of new season
The Greek island of Corfu hosted its first cruise ship of the new season on Tuesday, hoping that the long-awaited tourists will help save the losses suffered in 2020 from the coronavirus.
Corfu port authorities said some 600 tourists from countries including Italy, France and Germany were on board the Costa Luminosa, operated by Italian company Costa Cruises, and that all safety measures were observed in the port.
Some passengers expressed their joy at being able to travel again.
“It’s freedom, enjoying life, you really feel a lot better. You are no longer in prison, you are free and that feels really good,” said French tourist Robert Maran from Lyon.
Greece opened its doors to tourists from the EU and other key markets such as the United States, Israel and Britain on Saturday, lifting the need for people to self-quarantine while they have been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19.
Costa’s first ship to resume cruises in Greece and the second to fully resume operations is one of four expected to resume cruises this summer in the Mediterranean.
She set sail from the port of Trieste on May 16 and, besides Corfu, will also call at Athens, Mykonos, the port of Katakolon near Olympia in Greece and Bari in Italy. It will operate until mid-November for some 27 cruises.
According to the company’s website, security measures due to the coronavirus include reduced passenger numbers, social distancing, pre-board and mid-cruise testing, as well as daily temperature checks when passengers disembark and re-enter the ship, as well as during excursions.
Masks will be needed if necessary. The crew will also undergo frequent tests.
Another cruise ship, Mein Schiff 5, with around 1,000 passengers, was the first to dock at the port of Piraeus this summer holiday season, the Piraeus Port Authority has said.
Tourists visited local sites on the island with masks and underwent temperature checks in museums.
“Finally, we are back on the road to freedom and work,” said tourist guide Wafaa Spirou. “The safety and hygiene measures are respected by us as well as by our customers.”
In March, the Costa Luminosa bound for the Italian port of Savona, had on board 36 people infected with the coronavirus during tests on passengers, during a stopover in the French port of Marseille.
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