Open Access

Cruise visitors in Agios Nikolaos, Greece. Characteristics, preferences, satisfaction, and overall experience


The cruise industry is exhibiting a steady significant growth during the recent years worldwide, and it is assessed to have remarkable economic implications for the local economies. The quality of cruise visitors’ experiences at a destination is crucial for the inclusion of that destination on the cruise itineraries. The aim of this paper is to investigate the cruise ship visitors’ off-board experiences in a Mediterranean port of call – Agios Nikolaos on the island of Crete, Greece, providing a better understanding of the main features of cruise customers’ behaviour and expectations from a port of call. Primary research was conducted at the port of Agios Nikolaos during the 2014 cruise season. The 306 filled questionnaires provided useful information related to the visitors’ demographic characteristics, travel motivation, destination perception, satisfaction, and intention to revisit and recommend the town to others. The findings and discussion of this study are useful to the tourism authorities of Agios Nikolaos and other Mediterranean ports of call with similar characteristics, which wish to maximise the benefits of cruise tourism, to industry practitioners, and academic researchers interested in cruise tourism.