As Cyprus opened its airspace to commercial traffic on Tuesday, an official said the resumption of cruise lines would take a while longer, possibly until the end of the year.
Limassol harbour-master Panayiotis Agathocleous cited late 2020 as the earliest tentative date for the first cruise ships with passengers.
“Unfortunately cruises are quite different to flights, requiring a great deal of preparation. It is also a matter of the routes, we’re talking about a journey of 10 to 15 days long, where the ship approaches a number of countries.
“Then there is also the psychological aspect – getting on a ship and traveling with other people in a closed space for so many days.”
Of the 72 cruise liners expected to dock here this year, 55 – initially scheduled for October and November – have cancelled.
Despite this, the laying-up of six cruise ships – currently anchored off Moni, near Limassol – would bring in much-needed revenue.
It’s understood Agathocleous was alluding to Carnival Corporation’s ships.
Other companies have expressed similar interest in laying-up their cruise liners off Limassol.
In addition, owners of drilling rigs were considering Cyprus as a stopover while idle.
Meantime harbours continue to operate normally in relation to cargo loading and unloading, with extra safety measures.
Crews of commercial ships are now permitted to disembark at an isolated space in the port and stay there temporarily for relaxation; by month’s end these crews might be permitted to enter the country.
The same goes for crews of military vessels and yachts; they are allowed to enter the country provided their stay is of a certain duration, that they come from countries designated by Cyprus as relatively safe (countries A and B) and have been tested for the coronavirus.