Twice as many cruise ships arrived at the port of Heraklion (Irakleio) this year compared to 2022, according to reports on Sunday.

The major Cretan port also recorded a 50% increase in passenger traffic in December 2023, with optimistic forecasts for the coming season.

The Heraklion Port Authority this weekend organized a special event with Cretan treats, traditional music and gifts to bid farewell to the last cruise ship calling for the year, the Silver Moon.

According to official data, a total of 382,981 cruise passengers passed through the port in 2023, while cruise ship arrivals reached 253. Port arrivals recorded a 27% increase compared to 2022. In terms of passenger origin, the majority were US nationals, one in four in fact, for a total number of 97,245.

Italians, Germans and Britons followed: 54,629, 45,187 and 42,416 passengers, respectively.

Port authority CEO Minas Papadakis referred to an extremely successful year for cruise ships at the port of Heraklion, while 2024 is expected to be a new milestone, with forecasts of 300 vessels, 38 of the which will use Irakleio as a homeport.

The specific port is one of the most popular destinations in Greece.