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Greece Ports Athens, Corfu, Crete, Katakolon, Limassol, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Volos

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  #41  
Old October 19th, 2011, 07:58 PM
OCruisers OCruisers is offline
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This is of interest to many of us.

Thanks to all who post and keep us updated!
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  #42  
Old October 20th, 2011, 01:19 AM
nick_arch nick_arch is offline
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FBlack, sorry, i was not clear.

What i meant was that the atc's participation in the strike has been called off, while the strike was / is still 48 hrs for all the rest of the unions.

So, we had people that based on the general frame of the 48hrs thought their flight was cancelled, while their flight was flying.

Strike is still 48hrs for most of the unions, with flights operating normally though and transportation operating pretty normally.

----------------

Updated on the on-ground situation.

Yesterday it was the start of the 48 hrs strike that continues today too.
All sites and museums were closed, except the private museums. This was the first time through the last 20 years i remember, that the big majority of commercial shops closed too, as cafeterias too, at least in the very center. Tourist shops and restuarants were open.

A massive peaceful demonstration took place from 11.00am till appx. 6pm. This was a demonstration aginast a new austerity bill, the 5th in a row, that shrinks salaries in public AND private sector another 25% and raises taxation appx. 10% - 40% more.

Very intense clashes took place in limited parts of the square, between far leftist groups and the police.

You can see a map with Athens attractions, the area where the demostration sprawled ( red ), the area which police cordonned off ( light red ) and where the clashes took place ( purple, zoom in please ) here:

Click here for map please - Link to Google Maps

The area around Syndagma Square looked pretty rough but if you walked 5 minutes away to Monastiraki area or Acropolis Museum are it was business as normal.

----------------------

Today is the second day of the 48 hrs strike. Shops are expected to be open but museums and ancient sites are expected to be closed. Private museums, like the Acropolis Museum are expected to be open.
We expect a massive peaceful demonstration again, starting from 9am and completing sometime at late afternoon.

Typically we also expect clashes between police and some groups somewhere between 1pm and 4pm.

------------------------

Tommorow will be business as normal with no visible traces of the 48 hrs strike.

The bill? It will probably pass.
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  #43  
Old October 20th, 2011, 01:48 AM
nick_arch nick_arch is offline
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Default @Pacaduli - about strikes and weekends

We have two kinds of strikes:

a) First one is the "general" strike. A general strike is announced for some time, usually 24hrs or more rarely 48hrs and 5 - 6 times per year. These dates are announced as a "strike" by a large "umbrella" union that is some kind of regulatory union, above each separate one. These strikes cannot be deemed illegal and, 99% take plAce on Wednesday. Or on Thursday or evem more rarely on Tuesday.
This kind of strikes is the "general" strike you all see in the news. It is usually acoompanied by a midday march - demonstration that will typically end with some kind of clashes around Syndagma Square.
A more or less typical pattern exists for these midweek strikes. They are midweek, usually Wednesday, usually 24hrs. They affect everything public empoyees are employed, meaning public museums, ancient sites, schools, tax services etc.
They also affect at some extent public transportation ( metro for example ). On these days, weirdly enough, transportation runs normally, so demostrators can commute to the center and back.
Since the start of the year, we had 37 - 38 Wednesdays. If i am correct, 6 of them were a strike day.

Most disruptive thing that can take place on these days is participation of atc controllers in the strike. They consistently announce a participation that last minute is change to a limited hours work stoppage.

b) We also have all the separate unions that can go to strike on their own. This has no pattern, may be deemed illegal and postponed sometimes. No pattern on day really, but i'd say Sunday is the less likely day for some strike to take place, since it's weekend. Saturday is also weekend, so i doubt any union would go o strike, simply because when you have a strike, main aim is to go to the according demosntration. No one will go to demonstrate if it's Sunday.

During the last year, we did have some strike action on Sunday. If i am correct, taxi drivers went on strike on a Sunday, while atc's also went on strike once for 4 hours. We also saw a quite disruptive taxi strike for 12 contninuos days which naturally extended in two weekends.

I don't remember a Saturday strike as far as i can personally remember, except the recent taxi strike.

So, some patterns exist, meaning large scale strikes, 5 -6 times a year for 24 or 48hrs, on Wednesdays or Thursdays ( these being the strikes you always see on intl media ). More rarely independent strikes anywahere in the week, but i 'd dare say that statistically, it's not probable you 'll see them on a Sat or Sun.

Of course, these are only statistics. I dare say that if this kind of action continues, we can say that Saturday is the least probable day for a strike. Future, depending how things go for Greece, may reveal different kind of action, of longer duration, still present is that strikes have a vague pattern with alternatives to exist. It needs some kind of flexiblity and, when you are in ahotel, some help from the hotel reception to arrange these alternatives.
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  #44  
Old October 20th, 2011, 09:01 AM
TLCOhio TLCOhio is offline
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Originally Posted by pacaduli View Post
I think credit is due you, for posting news clips on the Greece situation. I read nick's posts and see it from a citizens perspective. Then I read your posts and see what the world news is reporting...both are intriguing and worrisome. I truly appreciate that you take your time to keep this thread updated. And I have viewed pic's from your travels on other threads! MOST enjoyable! Thanks to both!
Appreciate the nice and kind comments from our Southern California friend on my posts and pictures. Nick has done a great job in giving the important, realistic report from on the scene in Athens. That large city of around five million people in Greece is very, very large. Just like in New York City or London, what happens in one segment of town or shows on a TV news screen is not fully representative for all areas of the city. As a student of history, it is sad to these events happening. We will all hope for the best.

THANKS! Terry in Ohio


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  #45  
Old October 21st, 2011, 09:55 AM
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Default More Greek Strikes Next Week?

Look forward to learning more details from Nick and how things are recovering in Athens.

From the AP and CBS News within the past hour this morning, they have this headline: "Greek civil servants plan new strikes next week" with these highlights: "Greek unions on Friday threatened further strikes next week, a day after parliament approved new harsh cutbacks to secure international loans despite protests and riots that left one man dead and nearly 200 injured. Ilias Iliopoulos, secretary-general of the Adedy civil servant union, insisted the new law 'will not be implemented.' Greece's main private sector union, GSEE, was also planning new strikes. 'We plan long-running opposition to ensure that the crippling cutbacks imposed by our loan-shark creditors are not enforced,' said GSEE board member Stathis Anestis. European officials have already admitted that a second bailout for Greece, agreed to in July, is not enough to prevent the country from bankruptcy, and this discussions this weekend will focus on ways to increase support for Greece."

Germany and France are still trying to figure out their next steps on what they do with Greece and other "bail-outs" that might be needed for that country, plus others in Europe. Sadly, this "issue" is far from over and done.

Full story at:
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501369_162-20123661.html

THANKS! Terry in Ohio


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  #46  
Old October 21st, 2011, 01:52 PM
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Well. . . as expected, things were surreal at Syndagma Square but more calm if you walked out a bit.

Today, it's business as normal. With Happy Train running around, you had a rough time to understand this is the place where pictures all saw took place.

October 20th 2011, a very big demonstration took place in front of the Parliament, since a new austerity bill was being voted.

The crowd sprawled on Syndagma Square, roads around and perhaps two - three blocks around.

As i posted before the demonstration, clashes we were expecting to happen took place indeed, i dare say more violent from last times. Once more Syndagma square was the scene of all this mess while 10 minutes away Acropolis Museum area and Monastiraki area were relatively peaceful.

Destruction of private property was in the menu once more. I think it's the 4th time in 2011, Grande Bretagne Hotel and King George Hotel see their marble stairs stripped from marble.

--------------

Today, things in the center around Syndagma square are peaceful. It seems illogical that all this action has exhausted after 6 - 7 hours. I walked at Syndagma Square at around 11pm yesterday, where even 4 hours later, all you could see were crews cleaning the square. Despite the fact that traces of destruction of property were more than obvious, this morning was business as usual everywhere, except the ferries that are still on strike.

All tourism related businesses or services ( including ancient sites and museums ) in Athens were running normally today as if a magic wand swept the city.

Bill? It passed with 153 / 300 votes.

Spirit of people? Thinking what future holds.

Future strikes? My assumption is that we will go on a phase where some strikes will take place here and there, in sectors that don't affect tourism business. I don't think we will see another "general" strike or serious disruption for 4 - 5 weeks. Next march most probably at November 17th 2011.

Last edited by nick_arch; October 21st, 2011 at 01:54 PM.
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  #47  
Old October 22nd, 2011, 10:31 AM
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We are in Athens today and there are no strikes. All the attractions, the port, and the airport are open. There are still piles of trash on the streets, but we have had a perfectly wonderful day in Athens. We highly recommend the driver and the company we used. He could not have been prouder of his city and took us to places that were not even scheduled on our tour, including the most fabulous Greek lunch.

The company's name is Find Taxi (www.findtaxi.gr) and our driver's name was Spyros.
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  #48  
Old October 22nd, 2011, 11:59 AM
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Default Background on Long-Term Euro Challenges, Economics

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Well. . . as expected, things were surreal at Syndagma Square but more calm if you walked out a bit. Today, it's business as normal. With Happy Train running around, you had a rough time to understand this is the place where pictures all saw took place. Despite the fact that traces of destruction of property were more than obvious, this morning was business as usual everywhere, except the ferries that are still on strike. All tourism related businesses or services (including ancient sites and museums) in Athens were running normally today as if a magic wand swept the city. Future strikes? My assumption is that we will go on a phase where some strikes will take place here and there, in sectors that don't affect tourism business. I don't think we will see another "general" strike or serious disruption for 4 - 5 weeks. Next march most probably at November 17th 2011.
Great to hear the good report from Art & Ellie from being there in Athens. The detailed info from nick_arch continues to be very helpful. Now the focus is on Brussels and the Europe finance ministers trying to bail-out Greece and others.

From the Guardian this morning, they have this headline: "EU could source bailout funds from Asia and the Gulf" with these highlights: "The EU could tap sovereign wealth funds from Asia and the Gulf in order to boost the financial clout of its main vehicle to bailout eurozone countries suffering debt distress and prevent contagion spreading. Finance ministers from the 17 eurozone countries are discussing the option of creating a 'special purpose vehicle' for the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in order to boost its current €440bn (£383bn) lending capacity. A strictly confidential report from Greece's 'troika' of debt inspectors warns that the banks will have to accept 60% losses or 'haircuts' if governments were to limit their second bailout to €109bn. It says Greece could require €252bn in support between now and the end of 2020 and, in a worst case scenario, this could rise to almost €450bn."

From Reuters and a London newspaper, they have this headline: "How Europe can stave off a crisis" in a column/analysis by former UK Finance and Prime Minister Gordon Brown with these highlights: "It was said of European monarchs of a century ago that they learned nothing and forgot nothing. For three years, as a Greek debt problem has morphed into a full blown euro area crisis, European leaders have been behind the curve, consistently repeating the same mistake of doing too little too late. For three years it has suited leaders across Europe to disguise Europe’s banking problems and, citing the blatant profligacy of Greece, they have defined the European problem as simply a public sector debt problem. In 2011, no one continent on its own can reignite the world economy. Only 40 percent of manufactured goods and even less investment may come from Europe and America, but they still consume 55 percent of the world’s goods and services. So today there is a precarious balance between producers and consumers."

This is an interesting column that raises many significant questions for how these challenges get "fixed" for both the short and long term. Some will say Brown left the UK bankrupt, making his opinion worth less. Maybe he has learned some lessons from those problems. Many good questions and issues to consider.

Full stories at:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2...?newsfeed=true
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debat...-off-a-crisis/

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


Recently back from a June 7-19 Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 45,032 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:
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  #49  
Old October 23rd, 2011, 04:32 PM
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we just arrived home after 3 days in Athens. Departed 10/17. We had a very good time; stayed near Plaka. There was transit strike when we arrived - had to rely on expensive taxis. The Acropolis and other historical sites were closed but we still managed to see from outside. There was tension in the air as the protestors were marching near Parliament. No violence yet. Now it sounds awful - more than just the piled up garbage we saw. It was the end of 19 days we had in Europe so we had seen enough ruins and sites and just spent time enjoying the Plaka and talking with Greeks. We were tired with didn't have high expectations of Athens. We did love walking around the Olympic stadium and it's audiotour. So I'd advise to postpone travelling in Athens until it's safer and quieter. If that's not possible, be careful; spend lots of time in Plaka. Also the Acropolis Museum is fabulous! We did a 3 hour walking tour in Athens and liked that. Take guided tours if possible. Best wishes on your journey.
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  #50  
Old October 24th, 2011, 09:19 AM
TLCOhio TLCOhio is offline
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we just arrived home after 3 days in Athens. Departed 10/17. We had a very good time; stayed near Plaka. There was transit strike when we arrived - had to rely on expensive taxis. The Acropolis and other historical sites were closed but we still managed to see from outside.
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Hi Terry, Great info from you - try this link it is brilliant !
http://livingingreece.gr/strikes/
We are going on the 6th Nov to meet up with the QEV on the 8th so scanning those dates.As this is a changeover date Cunard must be getting nervous as there are loads of flights connected with this date!
Glad your Athens visit worked and that you were able to adapt under challenging conditions. This above noted weblink from another of these CC Boards has an amazing amount of details on what has been happening and that is upcoming. It can be very helpful to those planning visits there. I am sharing with others on this posting.

From Reuters newswire in the past half hour, they have this headline: "Sarkozy yields on ECB crisis role, pressure on Italy" with these highlights: "European Union leaders made some progress toward a strategy to fight the euro zone's sovereign debt crisis on Sunday, nearing agreement on bank recapitalization and on how to leverage their rescue fund to try to stop bond market contagion. But final decisions were deferred until a second summit on Wednesday and sharp differences remain over the size of losses private holders of Greek government bonds will have to accept. French President Nicolas Sarkozy backed down in the face of implacable German opposition to his desire to use unlimited European Central Bank funds to fight the crisis. Instead, the euro zone may turn to emerging economies such as China and Brazil for help in underpinning its sickly bond market."

Also, from an AP writer, the Christian Science Monitor has this morning this headline on this very good analysis: "Europe debt crisis: Some fixes will take years" with these highlights: "Fixes for the deeper problems that plague the monetary union will remain on their to-do calendars for years to come. The turmoil over some eurozone governments' excessive debt has exposed flaws in Europe's 13-year-old monetary union that are more complicated than Greece's admittedly disastrous decisions to spend and borrow too much during good times."

This week, things are more focused on the bigger Europe challenges and not as much about Greece, directly.

Full stories at:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...79I0IC20111024
http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/La...ill-take-years

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio


Recently back from a June 7-19 Solstice cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Enjoyed great weather and a wonderful trip. Dozens of wonderful visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc., on these postings. We are now at 45,261 views for this live/blog re-cap on our first sailing with Celebrity and much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:
http://www.boards.cruisecritic.com/s....php?t=1426474

Last edited by TLCOhio; October 24th, 2011 at 09:21 AM.
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  #51  
Old October 25th, 2011, 03:52 AM
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It's all a bit of well set up drama.

In the same time, EU claims they did not know Greece was on a course set to colission, we will finally "discover" during following months that Italy has borrowed nearly 2 trillion euros.
Then it will be the turn for France, where we will "discover" again that banks have been exposed to private loans.
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  #52  
Old October 25th, 2011, 11:41 AM
iancal iancal is online now
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From what I read, Greece, Ireland, and Portugal are 'five alarm' fires followed by Italy and Spain. The latter two having a much larger industrial and tax base- hence a better chance of moving through it.

The various lending institutions knowingly assisted some countries in camouflaging this debt from EEC over the past number of years. Hopefully these same lending instututions will be forced to bear some of the financial losses from this fiasco.

Last edited by iancal; October 25th, 2011 at 11:46 AM.
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  #53  
Old October 25th, 2011, 02:54 PM
Jade13 Jade13 is offline
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We are in Athens right now and there is a lot of traffic. The public transportation was shut down today, but fortunately the taxi's were not on strike and we made it to Delphi.

We are at the Athens Gate Hotel and there is free internet service.
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  #54  
Old November 1st, 2011, 12:04 PM
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We were in Athens off the Equinox on Oct 27th. The city appeared normal and no strikes affected us. The Acropolis is a wonderful sight and I hope the financial crisis doesn't prevent tourists from visiting.

Last edited by jmps; November 1st, 2011 at 12:10 PM.
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  #55  
Old November 2nd, 2011, 09:55 PM
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We have two kinds of strikes:
nick_arch -

We are in Greece three times in November...any insight into how the strikes/protests impact cities outside Athens? All we hear are the stories from Athens.

We are in Chania Tuesday 11/22, Rhodes Wednesday 11/23 and Athens 11/25. Sounds like a Friday in Athens should be OK. but a little concerned about Chania and Rhodes. Any insight into how the smaller cities/ports are impacted would be appreciated!
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  #56  
Old November 3rd, 2011, 03:23 AM
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Speaking generally and based on previous experience only, i 'd not worry about the islands or smaller places.
Personally i 'd not worry about Athens too.

I explain myself:

Related to the fiscal crisis things that can affect your trip are:
i) a strike of some kind. Strike itself is not a huge problem except if you have to fly from the airport. Flying on a day of strike is the only thing that really can wreck an itinerary, at its start or end. From the start of the year it happened 2 - 3 times, for varied time windows, from 4 hours to 24 hours. Other than that, a strike can affect sites openings or public transportation. This has been the ocassion 5 - 6 times this year, for 24 - 48 hours each time. In this ocassion, ramifications of the situation do not really affect you in smaller towns. Ok, in the unlikely ocasion of a sites strike in Rhodes you may not be available to visit the Castle, still town is in walkable distance, shops are open, restaurants too, so i see no problem.
Strike related situations can be more confusing in Athens though, mainly because public transportation is included in the visit, or taxi transportation etc. In this ocassion, which takes place 5 - 6 times a year, most of these ocassions on Wed - Thu, altervative plans are needed. In contradiction which what is described in the newspapers though, even this is not an often ocurrence. Site affecting strikes take place 5 - 6 times a year, at the same time they take place all around the country.

ii) Another possible scenario is this if civil order related problems. Reading the newspapers someone thinks Greece is a freaking war - zone with people riotting all over the place. Reality is not like this though. Large scale demonstrations when problems may appear are coinciding with strike days. To say it simple, we, more or less know when demonstrations will take place and these are the strike days, which are again 5 - 6 times a year. Demonstrations are peaceful but things may go out of hand, for 1 - 2 hours in a limited area, around 150 by 150 feet. That's the area most tv stations are focusing and this is a tiny particle of a huge metropolis, sprawling for miles from this point.
Is any strike planned for the immediate future? No.
Do we expect some other demonstration that could possibly trigger problems in the near future? I 'd say November 17th is a definite date when large scale demosntrations may take place.
Where this can be a problem? This can possibly be a problem in Athens. This is sensibly expected because Athens is a large urban center. No demonstraion can create a problem in a small town really, still situation in Athens is different.
Doe a demostration affect the area where visitors are heading too? Under sensibly expected circumstances, no.

All in all i 'd not worry. All you have to do is to hook on some online site like CC here or TA ( Trip Advisor ). Strike related demonstrations are announced in advance, so we make our best here or over there to spread the word for probability of problems. Usually, Athens is on the spotlight and specifically Syndagma Square, it's like Wall Str in NYC, clearly defined area and 2 - 4 bloks around it, so you just avoid this area and are done. Right now, under any sensible expectation, i 'd expect a large march - demonstration on November 17th only.

Keep in mind that Syndagma Sq. is the very center of the city. Acropolis and tourust - related area is a bit off to the South West, mainly Plaka area and Acropolis area. Syndagma is a very central, lively spot inthe city, main transportation hub, main commercial hub, full of people 24-7. It's an area we go all day - all night long. It's just these 5 - 6 times a year someone may choose to stay away. Otherwise it'd be like saying "don't go to Times Square cause Ocuppy NY went up there once" It would not make sense.

Every day, Athens is the normal fast moving mess any big metropolis in the world is.

Last edited by nick_arch; November 3rd, 2011 at 03:24 AM.
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  #57  
Old November 3rd, 2011, 01:03 PM
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We were in Athens off the Equinox on Oct 27th. The city appeared normal and no strikes affected us. The Acropolis is a wonderful sight and I hope the financial crisis doesn't prevent tourists from visiting.
We were on the same ship, Equinox, enjoyed our limited time in Athens last Thursday, and wished we had had a few more hours there. Enjoyed the Acropolis, Agora, and Plaka. Prices were reasonable, had a great souvlaki at Monastiraki Square, and really enjoyed strolling, shopping, and snacking on Adrianou St in the Plaka. When we drove by Syntagma Sq on the bus, there were no problems that we could see.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 02:33 PM
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Hi Guys.

Bob and Chris calling from AUSTRALIA...

Will be visiting ATHENS hopefully on the Norwegian Jade cruise ship in early June, 2012. Although it is a long way out ( 6 months plus ), my wife and I keep hearing these sad stories about how Greece and Italy will go into deep recession which appears to be unavoidable.. I really hope that this doesn't happen for the sake of Greece and Athens. Most of our cruise ports are in Italy and Greece ( Islands ) ard we are monitoring the situation daily and really anxious about cruising in that region. What do you think we should do, cancel or take a risk and do the 20 hour plus flight and hope for the best?????. We appreciate it's difficult to look into the future to ascetain what is going to happen in 6 months however we are really concerned about the situation and if it is a nasty recession would it adversely affect our holiday in any way...I am trying not to sound selfish however we want to see Greece and Italy at their beautiful best.
Regards Bob & Chris.

Last edited by portcbob; November 10th, 2011 at 02:34 PM.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 05:44 PM
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Hi Guys.

Bob and Chris calling from AUSTRALIA...
...
Regards Bob & Chris.
Just got back last week from 4 nights in Salerno, Italy, followed by the 11 night Celebrity Equinox cruise to Greece and Turkey.

The question is, how severely would their economic problems affect you as a cruise ship passenger? For the most part, not much. The Acropolis and Agora will still be there. Rome and Florence will still be there. These places have faced bigger problems than these over the centuries and are well worth seeing, regardless of their country's economic problems. As a traveler, you may not notice anything abnormal at all - we didn't. If you wait for things to be all hunky dory in Italy or Greece before you go, you will have a long wait. The only accommodation I made for our visit to Arthens exactly 2 weeks ago was to change our original plan to use public transportation and sign up for the cruise ships "Athens on your own" excursion, just in case of public transportation strikes that day. As it turned out, that was not necessary. The metro was running normally. In Mykonos and Santorini economic problems are not really visible. Go, see, enjoy. Life is short.
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Old November 10th, 2011, 08:23 PM
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Hi AUSTINLW.

You are most probably right in what you are saying. I suppose if I cancel our cruise and sit back for the next 6 months thinking about it without going I may miss a lifetime opportunity. I suppose I have to think like that. I suppose if it gets really bad in some of the ports they will just close them and the ship most probably will go to other ports?????
Thanks and Regards .

Bob.
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