This morning about 2,300 cruise tourists from “Jewel Of The Seas” and “Mein Schiff 5” flooded ashore at Souda Bay in Chania. I’ll bet the city’s merchants and citizens are cheering “woopie” over the news.
After (no doubt) stuffing themselves at morning breakfast buffets aboard the giant ships, passengers headed off to Chania attractions in Old Town and beyond. The two ships will be in port only a few hours, before heading out to sea again.
TUI’s 98,000 ton Mein Schiff 5, which is home ported in Heraklion now, is scheduled to head back to Crete’s capital at 19:00, after having hit Corfu, and Katakolon, with Perieus at either end of those excursions. Rhodes was another day embarkation as well.
Royal Caribbean’s “Jewel of the Seas” is only in Chania for 8 hours before heading to Rhodes. This 90,000 ton cruise ship is home ported in Florida. The ship has visited Mykonnos, Limassol in Cyprus, Piraeus, and Santorini so far.
To break it down, these cruise ships are neither friendly to the seas, the ports they visit, or the economies they interact with. Jewel of the Seas, for instance, fails just about every test Friends of Earth has. The only category where this ship passes muster is in sewage treatment, with a grade of “C”. Otherwise, this behemoth gets a solid “F” environmentally on the 2021 report card.
This report card, the economic impacts, are significant, but not nearly as horrendous as the damage these gigantic ships do to the envionment. The average cruise liner belches out hundreds of times more pollutants than cars in the regions they visit.
Crete decisionmakers need to read this story about the island of Roatán in the Caribbean, and how a paradise has been transformed into just another crowded budget tourism destination. But this won’t happen. Politicians and business leaders are desperate to pump revenue back into Crete after the pandemic bankrupt so many. The future of Crete will probably be the nightmare of becoming the “Florida” of Germany and the rest of the EU.
Goodbye Eden-like paradise, hello Mickey Mouse. The land of the ancient Minoans will soon be a parking lot for money strapped pensioners and college partiers on Spring Break. Oh wait, Crete already is.