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View Full Version : "You are Going to Greece? That is just plain crazy!"


librarygal
April 17th, 2012, 08:37 AM
"You are Going to Greece? That is just plain crazy!"

Is this true, or will a casual tourist to Athens on a one day tour from a cruiseship not even notice that Greece is in the middle of an economic depression?

If you have been to Athens in the last year, have you noticed any changes that would impact the casual cruise ship tourist?

fabnfortysomething
April 17th, 2012, 08:48 AM
well as tourism is Greece's major industry their economy is going to be in even worse ship if holidaymakers stay away!

CruiserBruce
April 17th, 2012, 09:33 AM
The US is coming out of a recession. Is it crazy to visit the US?

Go. Chances are good you won't notice anything- even if you did, as you haven't been there before, would you even know it was different due to economic conditions?

tom_uk
April 17th, 2012, 09:46 AM
In Athens I think it is possible that you might become aware of issues, because that is the centre of government and therefore where demonstrations, if any, will be happening. You might want to do some google searches for relevant events: a meeting of the IMF in Athens would be almost certain to attract very large demonstrations, for example.

Also, certain museums are closed more often - they've had to reduce staff hours in order to reduce operating costs. I seems to recall that the Acropolis museum was set to be one of those affected, so you might want to check opening times.

But out in the islands I doubt if you'd really notice.

texancruzer
April 17th, 2012, 09:57 AM
We were there in November, just two weeks after the really bad demonstrations/riots.

We didn't see anything different from our first visit to Athens 1.5 years before.

We saw some splashes of red paint on a building or two (that was thrown during the riots) and one or two burned billboards near Syntagma Square. Other than that everything was normal.

The people were still really glad we were there, we never felt "unsafe" and we had a wonderful day.

I will say, we did take the ships tour that was basically a ride into town and back as we were worried the metro COULD strike on our day there......it didn't but we played it safe as we didn't want to get stuck on the ship.

Almost all the unrest has been in Athens and even then in a small area near Syntagma Square. You will not notice anything in the other ports (on the islands).

cruisemom42
April 17th, 2012, 10:11 AM
There are always going to be some who are naysayers or nervous nellies who will cancel any travel plans on the merest whiff of anything that might affect them, however remote. Some people cannot tolerate any risk or uncertainty. International travel is, I think, particularly difficult for these people. They are the ones who cannot fathom why everything isn't done as it is in the US, and who often suppose that everyone should speak English and accept US dollars wherever they go....

That aside, let me try to give you some practical information. I was in Athens twice in 2010 (when demonstrations and economic issues first began) and once in 2011. In addition, I closely follow several travel message boards, including some with local experts.

You are not crazy to plan a cruise with stops in Greece. First, it is highly unlikely that anything will occur to mar your trip. You can pretty much limit any concerns you have to Athens, as that is where demonstrations tend to occur. Only in the instance of a (rare) national strike would any other port in Greece -- such as the Greek islands -- be affected at all.

Second, most demonstrations/strikes in Athens are published in advance. Not months in advance, but at least by a week or so. Cruise lines take notice of this information and, in the past, sometimes have rescheduled their port stops in order to arrive in Piraeus (Athens port) on a day when no strikes are scheduled.

Demonstrations tend to be limited only to the area of Syntagma Square, and would not impact your ability to see the Acropolis, Plaka area, Agora, museums, etc.

IMO, you'd be more likely to be impacted by the huge crowds of people trying to visit the Acropolis during the height of the tourist season than by the chance of a strike closing it. A couple of times last year it was reported that the Acropolis entrance actually had to be closed for a while to allow the congestion of folks at the top to clear out a bit before they could allow more people up.

The one other thing to be aware of is that, due to lack of funding, some museums in Greece are on shorter hours now than they have been in the past. If you have concerns about a particular museum, I'd encourage you to look for the latest information on hours at the risk of being disappointed.

Hope this helps.

iancal
April 17th, 2012, 11:27 AM
I would say that now is the best time to go to Greece...especially on a cruise.

We were in Crete last May for a week and we took a Greek Isles/Turkey cruise in Sept/Oct. The pricing in both instances was as low as we had ever seen it.

It seems that some people -most especially Americans going on cruises-are reluctant to go because of overblown reports of civil unrest. This has reduced demand and considerably lowered the price of some tours and cruises.

We took advantage of this and had a wonderful time on both trips. Prices still appear to be down considerably from the norm. We are thinking of going again in September/October.

Matcodixon
April 17th, 2012, 11:53 AM
My cruise stops in Athens in August and I personally have no fears. I look at it like this. Tourism is one of the main sources of income and the protesters are not stupid enough to try to scare off the tourists. I would guess that the people of Athens will be even happier to see us than they might have been in better economic times.

IndyDenise
April 18th, 2012, 06:25 AM
My cruise stops in Athens in August and I personally have no fears. I look at it like this. Tourism is one of the main sources of income and the protesters are not stupid enough to try to scare off the tourists. I would guess that the people of Athens will be even happier to see us than they might have been in better economic times.
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In the past, they have staged protests in the port itself ( May 2011 and 2010 ).

Being caught in the middle of a protest can be scarey, I was stuck in one last year in London. It seemed to escalate quickly, in an area quite outside the original protest point. Thankfully I got the heck out of there...and thankfully I had done my homework so I knew how to do so.

In Greece ( Athens especially ) tempers are high, people are frustrated and violence is not uncommon.

It won't stop me for going to Athens this May though.I figure HAL will want all of us safe, and they will have the most current info as to the pulse of Athens the day we visit. However I did purchase my excursion through HAL..just as an extra insurance policy.

numbersix
April 18th, 2012, 01:38 PM
Go--spend some money....help 'em out.