Cyprus expects no cruise ship visits until late this year: report

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NICOSIA, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus does not expect to receive any visits by cruise ships until late this year, state radio Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation reported on Saturday, citing manager of Limassol port, the island's main port on the southern coast.

Starting on June 9, Cyprus reopened its airports and cruise services at the island's ports, as part of the third and most important phase of the easing of restrictions following a lockdown since mid-March.

According to Limassol harbor-master Panayiotis Agathocleous, the first cruise ships with passengers are expected late this year at the earliest.

"Cruises require a great deal of preparation, unlike flights, involving arrangements for visits to several counties during a journey. It is natural for people to currently be hesitant to get on a ship and travel in a restricted space for so many days," Agathocleous told the state radio.

He also said that reports of cruise ships -- which were either refused to enter a port or were quarantined for a long period of time with people infected by COVID-19 onboard during the early stages of the pandemic -- is a memory which discourages prospective passengers.

Limassol port is Cyprus' main commercial port, absorbing about 80 percent of passenger traffic, and servicing around 70 percent of ships passing through Cyprus.

Of the 72 cruise liners expected to dock at Limassol port this year, 55 -- initially scheduled for October and November -- have been canceled, newspaper Cyprus Mail reported. Enditem

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