The company Ukrferry plans to revive circular cruises along the Black Sea and in July 2009 opens the Crimean-Caucasian line, extremely popular in Soviet times.
The car-passenger ferry Yuzhnaya Palmyra will cruise on the route Odessa — Yalta — Sochi — Istanbul — Odessa. So, the leadership of Ukrferry hopes, the development of cruise shipping in Ukraine, including the once famous Crimean-Caucasian line, will be initiated.
In the near future, the company plans to include in the cruise lines the ports of Batumi (Georgia), Nesebor (Bulgaria) and Constanta (Romania).
The main ports of the cruise line at this stage should be Sochi and Istanbul, as they are developing at an incredible pace, reviving as tourist and resort centers.Another advantage for tourists will be the opportunity to stay in any port for a week, and then change to the next ship and continue the cruise.
This project became possible thanks to the support of Ukrferry by Russian partners. The embodiment of the idea of the revival of the Crimean-Caucasian line began in February this year,when a number of large transport organizations of Russia and Ukraine held a meeting in Odessa. In the course of the exchange of opinions, experts came to the conclusion that there is potential on the cruise market, and especially in the Black Sea and Mediterranean routes. However, this is not surprising. The state does not hurry to pay attention to the passenger fleet,and companies do not have the opportunity to purchase expensive modern vessels, since the ferry costs about $ 100 million.
There is another problem of cruise shipping in the Black Sea — providing year-round loading and operation of the vessel. Even in Soviet times, this task was not completely accomplished,and today ships are loaded only in the holiday season — this is four months a year. In order to seriously consider plans to purchase a new generation cruise ship, you must give a guarantee of its full load. The solution to this problem can be the ship's transfer to the «unpopular» period on the Caribbean or the Red Sea or on other routes.
To date, cruise tourism is experiencing its boom, Ukrainian single companies are trying to lure tourists to their boats. It remains only to wish the «pioneers» good luck in a hard cruise business without state support.
Technical specifications of the ferry Yuzhnaya Palmyra:
- Displacement — 7,995 tonnes
- Length — 127.6 m
- The width — 19.4 m
- Draft — 5,4 m
- Power plant — two diesel engines
- Speed is 18 knots
- Crew — 70 people
- Number of passengers — 464 people
- Number of trailers — 26 units
- Number of cars — 277 units
- Built in 1979 in Poland.