Athens, 26 October 2023 – CLIA continues to celebrate 2023 as the “European Year of Skills” and to actively contribute to the development of skills in the cruise industry by organising one more educational cruise ship visit for students in Greece. This time the invitation was addressed to postgraduate students from the Maritime Studies Department of the University of Piraeus who had the opportunity to get onboard the cruise ship MSC Splendida of MSC Cruises at the Port of Piraeus on Saturday, October 21. The students had the opportunity to navigate through the world of cruising, learning about career opportunities in the cruise business and the industry’s actions on sustainability.
Hosted by CLIA’s National Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Mrs Maria Deligianni and MSC Cruises’ Vice President Sustainability & ESG, Mrs Linden Coppell, who presented virtually, as well as honored by the presence of the President of the Piraeus Port Authority, Mr Yu Zenggang, students of MSc in Shipping Management and MSc in Ports and Coastal Economy of the University of Piraeus were offered the opportunity of a guided tour of MSC Splendida in order to experience what cruising is about. The students were accompanied by Mr Thanos Pallis and Mr Aggelos Pantouvakis, professors of the Maritime Studies Department of the University of Piraeus.
Welcoming the students onboard MSC Splendida through a video message, the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, Mr Christos Stylianides said: “Cruising is one of the most important tourist activities in Greece and in the wider Eastern Mediterranean region. The cruise sector is expected to bring even greater value to the sea tourism industry and at the same time bring significant benefits to all involved parts, it boosts the blue economy and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring sustainability in the maritime industry”. Regarding the prospects for cruise in Greece Mr. Stylianides noted that “all experts agree that the positive course of the industry in our country will continue and we hope that we will have a further increase in cruise ship calls, which from next year may even exceed 10%”.
Executive Chairman of BoD of PPA S.A., Mr. Zenggang Yu expressed gratitude to CLIA and MSC Cruises for hosting an educational ship visit, emphasizing the significance of Piraeus as the largest passenger port in Europe and a vital Mediterranean cruise destination. Mr. Yu underlined the economic benefits brought by the cruise industry, particularly the growth in homeporting despite pandemic challenges. This is verified through a research study conducted by the Dept. of Maritime studies of the University of Piraeus which found that cruise tourists contribute significantly to the local economy, not only in Athens but also in Piraeus. The global economic impact of the cruise industry and sustainability efforts at Piraeus port are both in focus through decarbonisation and recognition for sustainability. Mr. Yu concluded by encouraging students to enjoy the presentations and ship visit and whished them success in their studies and professional careers.
Maria Deligianni, National Director, Eastern Mediterranean, CLIA presented an overview of trends and key figures for the cruise industry globally and in Greece as well as CLIA’s latest Sustainability report issued October 2023. “This initiative is part of CLIA’s priority to engage with students and young people who are interested in the dynamic cruise industry and raise awareness about its significant and growing impact on the economy and employment at global, European, and local level”, said Mrs Deligianni. “As a cruise industry we are sailing to a better future, and these young students are our future. We are delighted to be able to host these students onboard and give them the chance to “taste” and “feel” what cruising is about”, she added.
Maria Deligianni, National Director, Eastern Mediterranean, CLIA
Linden Coppell, Vice President Sustainability & ESG, MSC Cruises presented the environmental technologies onboard and the MSC Cruises sustainability strategy, as well as facts about cruise industry careers. “Our sustainability programme is organised around four key pillars: Planet, People, Place and Procurement, ensuring that our attention is focused on the issues that matter the most. At MSC Cruises, we firmly believe that our people are the cornerstone of our success and employ talented team members worldwide. We understand that nurturing talent and providing opportunities for growth in a safe and supportive environment is paramount, and we work to ensure that we have a skilled and motivated workforce to achieve our sustainability goals and deliver exceptional experiences to our passengers” she said.
Professor Thanos Pallis noted on behalf of the University of Piraeus: “Cruise is a sector demonstrating great potential. It is also a sector that is based on the coordination of several stakeholders in order to achieve this potential in an economical, environmental, and socially sustainable way. This educational visit provided a unique opportunity to our postgraduate students to better understand the multiple and multidimensional efforts of cruise lines, and the port of Piraeus, in achieving such sustainable growth in all respects, and discuss the contribution of cruise activities to local communities. All these while experiencing a cruise vessel in full operation and the unique hospitality that MSC Cruises offers to its guests. Congratulations to CLIA Europe for this commendable initiative and to MSC Cruises for making this a unique experience for our students. Our Department of Maritime Studies will work with all partners involved to give to such educational visits a periodical character”.
The cruise industry offers a high-quality work environment with competitive wages and benefits, as well as training for crew members to perform jobs skillfully and advance on a rewarding career path. CLIA member cruise lines employ a multinational workforce in a huge variety of jobs, onboard as well as onshore, also including guest services, medical, entertainment, chefs etc. Often more than 60 nationalities may be working together onboard a ship at any time. Cruise also provides the most advanced opportunities for women in maritime, as 94% of women seafarers across the world are working in the cruise industry. At the same time, CLIA member cruise lines have focused on programmes that remove barriers for entry and offer independence for workers with disabilities.
CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice for the industry as the leading authority of the global cruise community. On behalf of its members, affiliates and partners, the organization supports policies and practices that foster a secure, healthy, and sustainable cruise ship environment, promoting positive travel experiences for million of travelers who cruise annually. This year, CLIA forecasts that annual the number of passengers will reach 31.5 million passenger – surpassing 2019 levels. The CLIA community includes the world’s most prestigious ocean, river, and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and a widespread network of stakeholders, including ports & destinations, ship development, suppliers, and business services. For further information, please visit cruising.org or europe.cruising.org.