Cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas, of the Royal Caribbean group, with 3,000 people onboard docked on Thursday in Ayia Napa Marina on the southeast coast of the island.
The passengers were transported by buses to Ayia Napa, Protaras, Larnaka and the Avgorou Botanical Garden. Some chose to stay in the Marina of the famous tourist resort.
The ship is 297 meters long and has 12 decks. It carried 2,100 passengers and 800 staff.
A small ceremonial event took place at the Marina attended by its Director Costas Fitiris, the Mayor of Agia Napa, Christos Zannettos, and officials of the Deputy Ministry of Tourism.
A commemorative plaque was awarded to the crew officers and gift bags were given with olive oil produced by olive trees in the area. Deputy Ministers of Shipping and Tourism arrived later in the afternoon because of the meeting of the Cabinet in Nicosia in the morning.
Koumis said that this is the second ship that docks this year and three more are expected. He said that it is important for Cyprus and the tourist sector to have such big ships of such capacity to dock at the Marina.
In his statements Gary Waugh, one of the senior officers on the ship said that they are incredibly grateful for the hospitality that the marina, the mayor and his team and everyone has provided them today. He added that coming to Ayia Napa is an exceptional experience.
“This is the second time we visit the marina which is an outstanding project. We wish everybody here a great success and we look forward to returning. I believe we will be coming back in October to see you all again”, he said.
Costas Fitiris, Director of the Marina, expressed his pleasure for the ship coming back again to the Marina, noting that this shows that the efforts made collectively by the Marina, the Municipality of Ayia Napa and the Government pay off.
He hoped that they will have an increased number of cruise ships for this year and the next.
Replying to a question he said that they are working with the Deputy Ministries of Tourism and Shipping and they take part in exhibitions in order to convince the cruise ship companies to come to the Marina and visit the area.
Ayia Napa Mayor Christos Zannettou noted the importance of having 3,000 people visiting the area today. He expressed his belief that there will be visits to the Ayia Napa marina by other cruise ships as well adding that cruise tourism is a sector that needs to be supported.