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Rhodes tempts cruise ships

- by Dave Sewel

Rhodes tempts holiday cruise ships.

Rhodes plans to tempt giant luxury cruise lines to use the port to launch Mediterranean cruises in an attempt to boost the island economy. The move follows disappointment that a major cruise operator ruled out Rhodes as a suitable port to base its holiday cruise liners, after touring the port and looking at facilities there.

They said Rhodes port did not have the infrastructure needed to handle the thousands of passengers joining and leaving cruise ships on Mediterranean excursions.

Now Rhodes Port Authority plans to upgrade facilities so as to attract big cruise firms to the island. 

Experts say Turkey has managed to further develop ports that attract big cruise liners and that Rhodes can do the same.

They say the benefits would include attracting thousand of tourists each year who will combine the cruise with a short stay in Rhodes. Holiday packages could be configured to enable tourists to use local hotels, restaurants and shops while transferring to and from cruise ships.

The news comes as the port of Rhodes experienced significantly reduced tourist traffic in May 2011. Figures show a drop of about 13,000 people through the port, down to 62,830 people compared to 75,520 in May 2010.

Passengers to Marmaris in Turkey totalled about 12,000 while cruise liners accounted for 48,000 tourists.