Preparations are on overdrive for the first ferry round-trip on Sunday between Cyprus and Greece after 21 long years, according to the shipping line coordinating the route.
CEO of Scandro Holding Ltd, Marios Michael, told CNA that the fully renovated M/V Daleela that will be carrying passengers between Limassol and Piraeus is already at the Limassol port's anchorage and is expected to enter the port on Friday “for its final touches”.
The ship can carry up to 700 people, but the permit it secured is for a total of 340 people, including staff, Michael said, with a maximum number of around 270 passengers per trip.
President Nicos Anastasiades will attend a ceremony on Sunday, to mark the inauguration of the ferry link between Cyprus and Greece 21 years after the service between the two countries was interrupted.
173 passengers will be onboard the M/V Daleela for its first sail to Piraeus this Sunday afternoon, among them the Deputy Minister to the President, Kyriacos Koushos, Deputy Ministers of Shipping and Tourism, Vassilios Demetriades and Savvas Perdios respectively, Greek Deputy Minister of Tourism Sofia Zacharaki, MPs, journalists and members of the team that worked for the establishment of the ferry link.
A welcoming ceremony will also take place on Monday evening, when the vessel will arrive at the port of Piraeus, in Greece.
Michael said bookings have exceeded all expectations, since, studies had estimated that they would have around 3,000 passengers per year, but reservations so far exceed 6,500. He said that reservations have been made for more than 1,500 motor vehicles, mainly motorcycles. The service will run until September 16.
In addition to the restaurant, cafeteria and the infirmary provided in the contract, the ship also has bars and playgrounds, a casino and provides services for transporting pets, while the price for a full meal will not exceed €12.
Michael said that despite the steep rise in prices, the company had decided not to amend the prices they had already announced.