According to the official data provided by the Heraklion Port Authority, the year 2023 witnessed a remarkable surge in cruise activity, boasting 382,981 passengers and 253 cruise ship arrivals. This signifies a substantial 27% increase in passenger traffic compared to the previous year, 2022.
In 2023, the port of Heraklion experienced a remarkable 50% surge in passenger traffic, hosting twice as many cruise ships as the previous year, thereby establishing a new record for cruise activity. To commemorate the conclusion of the cruise season, the Heraklion Port Organization S.A. orchestrated a special event for the departure of the last cruise ship of the year, the Silver Moon. The festivities included souvenir exchanges, Christmas Cretan treats, traditional music, and dance for all disembarking passengers at the Cruise Terminal.
An intriguing demographic shift was observed in 2023, with American passengers leading the way at 97,245 visitors, followed by 54,629 Italians, 45,187 Germans, and 42,416 English travelers. Anticipating a monumental year in 2024, Minas Papadakis, CEO of the Heraklion Port Organization S.A., expects approximately 300 cruise ship arrivals, including 38 homeported ships. He underscored the port's consistent selection as a preferred embarkation and disembarkation point by major cruise companies, solidifying its position as a key homeport in the Eastern Mediterranean.
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In the context of cruises, the port's success reflects its attractiveness to major cruise companies, with a positive outlook for 2024. The departure event for the Silver Moon marked not only the end of the 2023 cruise season but also served as a testament to the port's commitment to providing a memorable experience for cruise passengers.
Officials of the Heraklion Port Organization S.A., emphasized the port's dynamism and its standing as a sought-after Greek destination. They envision significant progress in 2024, with substantial growth rates that will mutually benefit both Heraklion and the broader Greek economy.