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oxfordgirl20

Norwegian Star - last minute change of itinerary

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On 8/26/2019 at 8:24 PM, MNcruisingcouple said:

My wife and I just got off the Star on Sunday.  We missed Kotor and were looking forward to it.  The explanation given to us, directly from the captain of the ship, was that NCL finds out 4 days in advance of sailing where they are in the rotation to leave Venice.  Those that book directly with NCL get an email with the adjustment.  We booked with a travel agent so we found out on CC.  The previous posters who said they use 3 tugboats are correct. I watched them from the pool deck escort us around the edge of Venice.  It took close to an hour which is what they schedule that much time between ship leaving.  Just a note for others on this cruise, Santorini is crazy busy and we heard directly from a NCL person that they tried to suggest to the officials of Santorini to regulate the number of ships in port but so far they have refused.  So when the lines are long for the cable car to come back to the ship, be mad at the officials of Santorini rather than NCL.

I was on the same cruise as you - and completely agree.  The sailaway from Venice was magical.  I was on port side, pool deck, forward, and got some great shots of the canals, lights etc.  And Santorini was - in my opinion - pretty awful.  Far, far too crowded, and the line for the cable car was 90 minutes, mainly due to a huge numbers of people ignoring the queue and pushing in ahead.  Interesting to hear that it's officials of Santorini who control the numbers - or don't.  I thought NCL were super-efficient and superb on this cruise - the freezing face cloths and cold drinks at the tender station were a lovely touch.

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On 8/19/2019 at 7:27 PM, ppcox said:

I am sailing 1st September and I’m disappointed that I’m going to miss Kotor as I was looking forward to the sail into the port and the day there. This close to sailing plans are made and independent plans will need cancelling as always its the not knowing that will annoy most people.

I know now so will act accordingly but for the 2000 others not on cruise critic it seems unfair that they will not be informed by NCL before boarding.

This lack of communication from NCL is disappointing and makes me feel that my custom is undervalued. I understand the contract and have missed ports before and after the initially disappointment still had a fab cruise I guess i just like to know ahead of time so glad I’m on this board.

Does anyone know if the return into Venice time is effected ?

No, we came back a couple of hours early if anything.  Apart from Kotor, everything else ran to time.

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On 8/19/2019 at 6:55 PM, nona0541 said:

I do not understand why people feel they need to be "compensated" for everything.  Read your cruise contract!!!  S--t happens and not everything in life requires compensation.  Always looking for something for nothing.  JMHO  And btw I have been on 20+ cruises.

 

No, not everything does.  But it's not "something for nothing" is it.  It's a lot of money, already paid.

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19 hours ago, oxfordgirl20 said:

Santorini was - in my opinion - pretty awful.  Far, far too crowded, and the line for the cable car was 90 minutes, mainly due to a huge numbers of people ignoring the queue and pushing in ahead. 

 

Was that the queue up or back down? or both?

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44 minutes ago, Diarmuid05 said:

 

Was that the queue up or back down? or both?

 

We didn’t go up that way when we arrived -  there were a few (five?) Cruise ships in port so to avoid the queues the tenders took us along the coast to the commercial port (which is tiny) and the coach took us from there to Oia. Later returned us to Fira so we could make our own way down vis the cable car. The guide said she thought it would be better on the way back as two of the ships had left or were about to, so their guests would be on board already, but it was still a huge queue snaking along the lane. I was a solo traveller so had to stand there the whole time but if I’d had my family with me, we would have taken it in turns to hold the place in the queue while the others went to find a cold drink or shade. NCL staff at the tender station were superb.

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20 hours ago, oxfordgirl20 said:

I was on the same cruise as you - and completely agree.  The sailaway from Venice was magical.  I was on port side, pool deck, forward, and got some great shots of the canals, lights etc.  And Santorini was - in my opinion - pretty awful.  Far, far too crowded, and the line for the cable car was 90 minutes, mainly due to a huge numbers of people ignoring the queue and pushing in ahead.  Interesting to hear that it's officials of Santorini who control the numbers - or don't.  I thought NCL were super-efficient and superb on this cruise - the freezing face cloths and cold drinks at the tender station were a lovely touch.

 

I don’t think that we would wait 90 minutes for the cable car - we will be walking up the donkey steps (we live in Gibraltar and are not big car users!!). However I will wait until next week to see how bad Santorini is, but part of me wonders if the next time I travel in the Greek Islands (there will be a next time), it might not be better just to fly to Athens and then take the ferry service and island hop - something like Milos, Paros and Santorini.  As long as we pack light and go in early June or late September I think it might be better than only having port stop times and so being restricted to Fira and Oia when you get to Santorini.  

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Most of the queue issues at Santorini occur on the downward leg.  That is because the tender operation throttles the up queues quite a bit more than the free-for-all down by delivering lumps of people who have queued on the ship to get on a tender.  It is worth doing a bit of planning when you visit to check what times the other ships that are there on your day are the are leaving.  It is safe to assume that the period from two hours before the last tender for each one (normally half an hour before departure) to the last tender time will have the most people wanting to go down and onto each ship.  Most people do not want to leave it too late, so the queue will probably peak at around 60-90 minutes before departure time. 

 

The trick to plan for the best time to down is to draw a timeline showing each ship's departure and track back about 2 hours  from when it is due to leave. If any blocks of time in the 2 hours before departure overlap there will be potential for serious congestion at the top that will peak about 60-90 minutes before departure of the first one that overlaps.

 

Assuming there is no overlap in any of the 2 hour time blocks on the timeline, just avoid the period about 60-90 minutes before each ship departs because the queue will be at it's longest then.  The best time to plan to go down is probably around 30 minutes before each ship departs because everyone for that ship should have got to the bottom and away by then.

 

By way of an example, when we next go, there will be three other ships there on the day.  The first to leave goes at 1500, the second at 1800, the third at 2030 and we leave at 2200.  The timeline doesn't have any major 2 hour blocks overlapping apart from a little between the last two, so the queue down will probably be at it worst at 1330, 1630, 1900 and 2030.  We will do our best to avoid around 30 minutes either side of those times those times, avoiding the periods between 1300 and 1400, 1600 and 1700, and 1800 and 1900.

 

It sounds complicated, but doing a bit of planning to avoid those afternoon down queues if you can is pretty fundamental to enjoying Santorini, especially when it it very hot.

 

 

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4 hours ago, ollienbertsmum said:

 

I don’t think that we would wait 90 minutes for the cable car - we will be walking up the donkey steps (we live in Gibraltar and are not big car users!!). However I will wait until next week to see how bad Santorini is, but part of me wonders if the next time I travel in the Greek Islands (there will be a next time), it might not be better just to fly to Athens and then take the ferry service and island hop - something like Milos, Paros and Santorini.  As long as we pack light and go in early June or late September I think it might be better than only having port stop times and so being restricted to Fira and Oia when you get to Santorini.  

I wouldn't recommend the steps … several people (including the local guide) warned us off them as they are slippery, very steep and covered in donkey poo.  Before going, I read a comment from a lady who had walked down the steps and she said - more or less - never again.  I gather it's pretty treacherous, particularly when the donkeys pass you and there isn't much space.    I agree about flying - all but one of my previous trips to Greece have been for full holidays on particular islands - Spetses, Kefalonia, Zante, Crete (several times) and I've flown, stayed on the island and taken the hydrofoil etc to other islands.  (Crete, of course, has a good airport of its own.)  I've never had any problems with crowds - that's definitely the cruise ship phenomenon.  The weather would be lovely in June or September. 

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Does anyone know if the ship made it to Kotor this week? Trying to gauge if it truly is every other week or if they have found a solution to get there every trip. 

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5 hours ago, Diarmuid05 said:

Star did go to Kotor this week, I am watching closely as we sail on the 22nd

 

Thank you! That's good news to hear. Crossing my fingers!

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We are boarding on Sunday and have been informed that we do not go to Kotor, instead we have a technical stop inBar.  

 

Does anyone know if we get a refund for port taxes? 

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6 minutes ago, ollienbertsmum said:

We are boarding on Sunday and have been informed that we do not go to Kotor, instead we have a technical stop inBar.  

 

Does anyone know if we get a refund for port taxes? 

 

We did get refunded when we missed Kotor about 3 weeks ago.

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Thanks for that.  I don’t want to go to guest services and ask about it if the “technical stop” counts as a port in the eyes of the cruise line.  I know that it is not much but every little helps in the kitty for our next trip 😀

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Does anyone have any updates on this POC?  Cruise mapper shows NCL Star in Kotor today.  we are scheduled on the 10/20 departure from Venice, but were informed last week that Kotor was cancelled.   Do they know that far in advance what their timetable leaving Venice will be, or are they just changing the schedule just in case.  It seems like some people are notified they are not going, then the ship actually goes to Kotor. 

 

Thanks

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They know that far in advance.  The Venice port authorities have slowed down the rate of departure from the port to reduce the environmental damage being caused by the ships.  

 

Star is leaving last on alternate weeks and this does not give time to reach Kotor.  It is a shame, you basically get a day at sea.  It is not a deal breaker, the cruise is still lovely. 

 

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10 hours ago, ollienbertsmum said:

They know that far in advance.  The Venice port authorities have slowed down the rate of departure from the port to reduce the environmental damage being caused by the ships.  

 

Star is leaving last on alternate weeks and this does not give time to reach Kotor.  It is a shame, you basically get a day at sea.  It is not a deal breaker, the cruise is still lovely. 

 

So, if they went this week 10/7, they will not got next week, but should go on 10/21?  The notice we got said Kotor was cancelled on 10/13 and 10/20 sailings, but maybe we still have a chance as we are sailing on the 20th.  We will keep our fingers crossed.  They did cancel our excursions though.

 

Thanks

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So, if they went this week 10/7, they will not got next week, but should go on 10/21?  The notice we got said Kotor was cancelled on 10/13 and 10/20 sailings, but maybe we still have a chance as we are sailing on the 20th.  We will keep our fingers crossed.  They did cancel our excursions though.

 

The email I received from our booking agent, states that for both the October 13 and 20th sailings, the stop in Kotor is canceled . Since it is the Port of Venice that controls the departures and arrivals, I would not think that anything would change. I had read in an earlier thread on this site as well as on the sister site Trip Advisor/Venice Forum, that all this is a result of the 'incident' in Venice between a large cruise liner and an excursion tourist boat. There is a lot of ship traffic there. So, the port authorities determined that they needed to slow down the  traffic using what ever methods they are now using.

Yes , it is a bummer that Kotor will not happen, however, but I think safety rules in this matter.  

Best to go with the flow... ! (no pun intended)

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It sounds to me like the cruise lines really need to just stop using Venice.  Based on all the mainstream media reports, plus what people are posting on CC, it is definitely apparent that both the government officials and the residents of Venice do not want the revenue generated by these ships due to the overcrowding/environmental impact.  The business owners in that area probably feel differently, but I think they will lose the battle in the long run.  I wonder if other cities such as Trieste, Ancona or Messina would be willing to take on some of these ships.

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22 minutes ago, GA Dave said:

It sounds to me like the cruise lines really need to just stop using Venice.  Based on all the mainstream media reports, plus what people are posting on CC, it is definitely apparent that both the government officials and the residents of Venice do not want the revenue generated by these ships due to the overcrowding/environmental impact.  The business owners in that area probably feel differently, but I think they will lose the battle in the long run.  I wonder if other cities such as Trieste, Ancona or Messina would be willing to take on some of these ships.

 

To be honest, if I lived in Venice I would want the ships to leave.  The place was like Oxford street the week before Christmas.  It was not jolly though.  Even the gondolas were stuck in traffic jams 

5C73B570-4BB6-4905-B95C-CF8004F69D0B.thumb.jpeg.d9c47df68450bed389c7dc66ff97bb71.jpeg

 

 

But the act of moving the port is probably more complex than it sounds.  What about all the people who at present work at the very busy cruise port.  What about the investors in the very busy people mover?  What about all the taxi drivers?  What about the many small hotels and restaurants that rely on people staying  overnight before their cruise?  

 

Venice is lovely and will always have visitors, but it seems to me that moving the cruise ships away from the city to prevent any more environmental damage is going to take a lot of planning.  

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47 minutes ago, GA Dave said:

It sounds to me like the cruise lines really need to just stop using Venice.  Based on all the mainstream media reports, plus what people are posting on CC, it is definitely apparent that both the government officials and the residents of Venice do not want the revenue generated by these ships due to the overcrowding/environmental impact.  The business owners in that area probably feel differently, but I think they will lose the battle in the long run.  I wonder if other cities such as Trieste, Ancona or Messina would be willing to take on some of these ships.

I agree.  I spoke with NCL, and questioned why they are still selling Kotor as a port if they cannot reasonably leave Venice in a timely manner on a regular basis for several months now.  They told me that they were thinking of building a new port in Venice, but I said that does not help people that are booking now.  I understand if ports are changed/cancelled due to weather, etc., and it happens, but this is an ongoing problem, (since the end of July) but they are still selling this itinerary and exursions.  Of course CS has no answer, only that they can pass that on.

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20 minutes ago, ollienbertsmum said:

 

To be honest, if I lived in Venice I would want the ships to leave.  The place was like Oxford street the week before Christmas.  It was not jolly though.  Even the gondolas were stuck in traffic jams 

5C73B570-4BB6-4905-B95C-CF8004F69D0B.thumb.jpeg.d9c47df68450bed389c7dc66ff97bb71.jpeg

 

 

But the act of moving the port is probably more complex than it sounds.  What about all the people who at present work at the very busy cruise port.  What about the investors in the very busy people mover?  What about all the taxi drivers?  What about the many small hotels and restaurants that rely on people staying  overnight before their cruise?  

 

Venice is lovely and will always have visitors, but it seems to me that moving the cruise ships away from the city to prevent any more environmental damage is going to take a lot of planning.  

I agree with this also.  Maybe they should not actually come into port, but tender and limit the number of ships at one time.  There is also growing evidence that the cruise ships are damaging small ports such as Kotor, so maybe these ports should just not be available to large cruise ships - maybe only smaller luxury ships live Viking.

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2 hours ago, imwmn913 said:

So, if they went this week 10/7, they will not got next week, but should go on 10/21?  The notice we got said Kotor was cancelled on 10/13 and 10/20 sailings, but maybe we still have a chance as we are sailing on the 20th.  We will keep our fingers crossed.  They did cancel our excursions though.

 

The email I received from our booking agent, states that for both the October 13 and 20th sailings, the stop in Kotor is canceled . Since it is the Port of Venice that controls the departures and arrivals, I would not think that anything would change. I had read in an earlier thread on this site as well as on the sister site Trip Advisor/Venice Forum, that all this is a result of the 'incident' in Venice between a large cruise liner and an excursion tourist boat. There is a lot of ship traffic there. So, the port authorities determined that they needed to slow down the  traffic using what ever methods they are now using.

Yes , it is a bummer that Kotor will not happen, however, but I think safety rules in this matter.  

Best to go with the flow... ! (no pun intended)

I spoke with someone on the 10/6 sailing that were notified that Kotor was cancelled, but the Star was in port there yesterday, 10/7 according to cruisemapper, so not sure if the notifications are just in case

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53 minutes ago, klcardella said:

I agree with this also.  Maybe they should not actually come into port, but tender and limit the number of ships at one time.  There is also growing evidence that the cruise ships are damaging small ports such as Kotor, so maybe these ports should just not be available to large cruise ships - maybe only smaller luxury ships live Viking.

Really Kotor too?   Maybe we should all be going on cruises to nowhere and leaving these lovely places to land trips?????

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Posted (edited)

https://www.dw.com/en/cruise-ship-crisis-in-montenegro/av-49343531

 

Well Kotor does look beautiful.  I had not realised the amount of damage being done.  Damage to marine life is probably not all due to the cruise ships but.....       Is there an environmentally friendly way to cruise.  I am quite happy to use paper straws.  That argument is well past its sell-by date.  But fish...  hmm 

 

In Gibraltar we would like more cruise ships.  I am pretty sure that Malaga is happy too.  Lots of ships going up and down the costa del sol perhaps?

Edited by ollienbertsmum

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