Posted April 17th, 2012, 11:11 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.
Not bound to swear allegiance to any master, wherever the wind takes me I travel as a visitor. (Horace)