Bounding into a new cruise era in Cyprus

Lazaros Charalambous explains to Rebecca Gibson how DP World Limassol’s new cruise terminal is helping to drive the sustainable growth of cruising in Cyprus

Bounding into a new cruise era in Cyprus
Image: Limassol Tourism Board

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Spring/Summer 2019 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Legend has it that Cyprus was the playground of the Greek gods – and it’s easy to see why. Blessed with more than 300 days of sunshine each year, the Mediterranean island boasts picturesque villages, sandy beaches, the rugged Troodos Mountains, wineries, historical buildings and archaeological sites that serve as a tangible reminder of its storied history which dates back to the Palaeolithic era.

“Cyprus is an ideal location for year-round cruising and cruise guests will be able to participate in plenty of activities and shore excursions, regardless of what time of the year they visit,” says Lazaros Charalambous, commercial manager at DP World Limassol, which operates the cruise port in Limassol and works with local stakeholders and cruise lines to develop authentic tours and shore excursions that immerse guests into the Cypriot way of life.

“Cruise guests can stroll along the promenade, visit Limassol Marina and the old port area, or walk into the vibrant city centre, which is filled with cafés, restaurants and historical attractions,” adds Charalambous. “Alternatively, they can head to Paphos for an opportunity to explore the mythical birthplace of the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite. The city is now a UNESCO World Heritage site with archaeological attractions including the cliff-side Tombs of the Kings (dating back to 4th-century BC), villas, palaces, Aphrodite’s temple, a 1,200-seat amphitheatre and traditional baths. Another option is to head north towards the Troodos Mountains to discover the hinterland of Cyprus, which is scattered with quaint villages, monasteries, wine vineyards, boutique wineries, great scenery and more.”

Cyprus’s cruise industry leapt into a new era when DP World officially opened a new passenger terminal in Limassol in summer 2017. Consisting of seven pods with an internal area of 7,000 square metres, the new terminal is open 24 hours a day and provides integrated services for ships making day calls, and homeporting vessels. The terminal is the first port of call after the Suez Canal and it also offers fast turnaround times for connections to both Larnaca and Paphos international airports.

“Our new terminal has empowered us to drive the sustainable growth of Cyprus’s cruise sector by giving us everything we need to transform Limassol into a popular homeport for cruise lines – and to continue attracting more day calls,” says Charalambous. “We have a dedicated berth for cruise of 360 metres and two additional berths of 430 metres each that can be used subject to availability and demand and we’ve significantly enhanced the services and facilities we offer for cruise lines, their crew and their guests. By basing their ships in Limassol, cruise lines know that they have a reliable port partner for their itineraries in the Eastern Mediterranean and further afield. Of course, any growth in day or homeporting calls will generate multiple benefits for Limassol and the overall economy in Cyprus.”

According to Charalambous, DP World Limassol is committed to collaborating with other local organisations and stakeholders to continually develop the port and its services to ensure it can meet the ever-evolving needs of cruise lines and their guests.

“Working in partnership is a top priority for us because we want our key stakeholders and local citizens to experience the benefits this new terminal is bringing to both the island’s tourism industry and its economy,” explains Charalambous. “We cooperate with the Deputy Ministry of Tourism (formerly Cyprus Tourism Organisation), the Cyprus Shipping Chamber, the Limassol Tourist Development Company and Limassol Municipality, and we’re constantly communicating with local cruise agents to ensure we’re all working towards the same goals. We actively listen to their feedback and we provide suggestions as to how these organsations can promote Cyprus’s cruise industry to local and international passenger source markets.”

Recently, DP World Limassol and other local authorities have joined forces to develop plans that will make it even easier for visiting cruise guests to explore Cyprus.

“Although there’s a regular public bus service from the front of the passenger terminal, we want to further improve the road infrastructure to increase access to the port and we’ll create more car parking spaces,” comments Charalambous. “Similarly, we’re in constant contact with the relevant authorities for building new footpaths and cycle paths to allow cruise passengers to take a coastal route directly into the city of Limassol. We’ve also agreed on a series of actions to enhance the cruise passenger experience at the terminal, such as unique and exclusive welcome events. These initiatives, combined with the hard work and dedication of our terminal employees and external partners, will establish Limassol as an important tourist destination and boost its position on the cruise tourism map.”

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Tuesday, May 14, 2019