The first cruise ship of 2022 docked at the port of Volos on Friday morning, reports.

The Norwegian-flagged Viking Sky arrived at Volos port at 07:00 from the Greek port of Piraeus.

The luxurious cruise ship has 308 passengers, mainly American and British nationals, and 436 people staff.

During the 11-hour stop at Volos, the passengers will visit monuments and archaeological sites in the area.

According to the president of the port of Volos Vicky Mitrou, nearly 55 to 57 cruise ships are expected to stop in the port of Volos this year.

She noted that this number may increase, depending on the course of the pandemic.

The cruise ship will depart at 18:00, bound for Thessaloniki.

Meanwhile, Greece is betting on cruise tourism as part of its campaign to extend the tourism season.

According to Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias in an interview with SKAI television this week, Greece is expecting a 300% increase in Thessaloniki alone.

Kikilias pointed out 2022 would be a year of all-time cruise arrivals as Piraeus and Thessaloniki will be serving as home ports.

The minister referred to the first cruise ship set to arrive in Thessaloniki on Saturday (cruise ship Viking Sky of Viking Cruises) where check-in and luggage transport services for passengers will be included, adding that scheduled cruise arrivals at Piraeus are also on the rise.

Other destinations to benefit from cruise ship calls are Crete, Corfu, Santorini, and Mykonos islands. The tourism minister added that there was huge demand compared to other years.

“We are sending out a message to the whole planet that Greece will remain open. Greece will welcome tourists earlier,” he stressed, adding that summer destinations should be ready on March 1.

“There is no doubt that whatever problems there are in the unstable global context of the pandemic, we will overcome them and succeed,” he added.