Bulgarian Black Sea ports expect cruise ship boost because of Crimea crisis

The 2014 summer season will see an increase in the number of cruise ships docking at Bulgaria’s Black Sea ports of Varna, Bourgas and Nessebur, as a result of cruise companies changing plans because of the crisis in Crimea, Bulgarian tour operators said.

While luxury cruise trips are normally planned two years in advance, a number of liners will now be calling at Bourgas and Nessebur instead of Yalta and Odessa. These ports, as well as Sevastopol, are being avoided by cruise line companies, reports said.

Requests for docking permission for cruises originally intended to go to Ukrainian ports were increasing every day, television station bTV said on April 6.

In just a few days, there were just more than 50 applications for mooring permission, the report said.

In just less than a month, the first cruise ship of the season will arrive in Bourgas, carrying 3000 passengers.

The first passenger ship will arrive in Nessebur in a few days.

Stoicho Dimov, head of marketing for Bourgas port, said that the fact that the port could accommodate the larger passenger liners was making it an attractive alternative, and an increase in revenue was expected.

It is estimated that a ship carrying between 1000 and 3000 passengers means earnings for the country of between 200 000 and 300 000 euro in just a few hours.

In late March, cruise news website cruisecritic.com said that Costa Deliziosa had decided to cancel its planned port calls at Odessa and Yalta, scheduled for April, May and June, and these would be replaced with more time in Istanbul and a stop in Bourgas.

Azamara, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Windstar and MSC have all substituted ports in other countries, including Turkey, Romania, Georgia and Bulgaria. Some sailings will also spend more time in Greece, the report said.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)




The Sofia Globe staff

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