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Greece - Ship Excursions Only Or DIY Allowed Also?


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We are spending a few days in Athens before and after the cruise. We will stroll the streets and dine out. But once on board we are not allowed off unless we are on a ships tour? 
How does that make sense 🤷‍♀️

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2 hours ago, little britain said:

We are spending a few days in Athens before and after the cruise. We will stroll the streets and dine out. But once on board we are not allowed off unless we are on a ships tour? 
How does that make sense 🤷‍♀️

 

It makes or better made sense because when the regulation was implemented late summer 2020 the only cruise line allowed to sail there was TUI Cruises. Their cruises started from Crete and ended in Crete. From the moment passengers (from Germany) boarded a chartered plane until the moment they arrived back home it was a closed bubble.

Now it´s seems to be only about liability. 

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5 hours ago, BigAl94 said:

It's very hard to imagine how excursions are going to work if guests are kept in a bubble and allowed no contact with locals. Sounds to me like a bus tour where you are only allowed out at remote viewpoints!

 

Not really... if you are interested in how such a tour goes look at the review I posted here when we did such a tour.

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2 hours ago, Miaminice said:

 

It makes or better made sense because when the regulation was implemented late summer 2020 the only cruise line allowed to sail there was TUI Cruises. Their cruises started from Crete and ended in Crete. From the moment passengers (from Germany) boarded a chartered plane until the moment they arrived back home it was a closed bubble.

Now it´s seems to be only about liability. 

This is what RCI are doing with their cruises from Cyprus. Flights and transfers included so you are in a bubble. 

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Updated comments:

 

First, I scoured the Celebrity website for this issue and found one current mention:

"While Ashore

Initially, guests will only be allowed off the ship in all ports on one of our curated shore excursions. These curated experiences will extend the highest health and safety standards. Most experiences are outdoors and guests will be encouraged to stay with their group. Buses will be at reduced capacity and will be sanitized frequently. Small Group Discoveries will be available and for those who would prefer to tour with their family or group, Private Journeys will be available."

 

Of course, key here is the word "initially".  Basically, it is all subject to change...and they anticipate it to change, they just can't tell us exactly when.  So, prepare for the idea it may be shorexes only.  Of course, for us, it matters little.  We have so much OBC, it's really the only logical way to handle it anyway.

 

The question becomes one about the quality and selection of those shorexes.  I have been speaking with people at Celebrity about those Haifa shorexes (they are up to six offerings now, but five of them are virtually identical and all are, basically Christian/religious oriented--basically "Life of Jesus" sort of theme).  The word is that they are working on more...but it's a more difficult than usual process.  They need to "vet" the providers and make sure the sites listed will actually be open.  They also promised me that, if they offer no additional shorexes, they would put together a "Private Journeys" tour for me--but, of course, that also requires specific vetting.  They said to be patient for another couple of weeks.

 

Of course, the difficult parts for those of us booked on these cruises are that time before sailing is growing short and one might be spinning their wheels trying to work something out other than shorexes in times of uncertainty.  So, to keep things as easy as possible, it is probably best for anyone on these cruises to plan on using the shorexes.  One, perhaps, should resign oneself to the fact that anything one does now may not exactly be a completely normal experience.  For me, I'm okay with that, though I am aware some people are not.  I also hope that, with over three months until I actually head out that way, things may, hopefully, change a little for the better.

 

It may be easier to keep Caribbean cruise passengers in a "bubble" as many of the shorexes there are snorkeling or beach trips or party boats...but, for example, the Santorini tours are typically about a 3.5 hour tour ending in "free time" in Thira with a return to the tender on your own by cable car...Sort of hard to do "in a bubble".  And Ii am sure Greek authorities WANT those cruise tourists walking around Thira or Mykonos or Rhodes contributing dollars/Euros to the local businesses.

 

It will be very interesting to hear reports on how all this is done from those on the first few Apex cruises...and see how the policy evolves over time.

 

 

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Given our usual activity is stroll off, buy a beer 🍻 (or 2), eat some meze and get back onboard again; it is a shame the bars and restaurant owners will miss out on much needed business.  I hope the rules change by September. 

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6 hours ago, little britain said:

Given our usual activity is stroll off, buy a beer 🍻 (or 2), eat some meze and get back onboard again; it is a shame the bars and restaurant owners will miss out on much needed business.  I hope the rules change by September. 

Will be interested to see how Celebrity handles this.  Greece is re-opening w/o the need to quarantine, just need proof of the vaccine.  I wonder if Celebrity will allow folks to wander on their own or make then use their charters.

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21 hours ago, Bruin Steve said:

Updated comments:

 

I have been speaking with people at Celebrity about those Haifa shorexes

 

I don't know when are you cruising, but for those of you cruising the Holy Land in September, check the Jewish Holidays and plan accordingly:

 

Jewish New Year -- Sept. 6-8

Yom Kippur -- Sept. 15-16 (EVERYTHING will be closed, it's a fasting day).

Sukkot -- Sept. 20-27 (work places and schools closed -- lots of traffic and people every where).

 

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17 minutes ago, dani negreanu said:

 

I don't know when are you cruising, but for those of you cruising the Holy Land in September, check the Jewish Holidays and plan accordingly:

 

Jewish New Year -- Sept. 6-8

Yom Kippur -- Sept. 15-16 (EVERYTHING will be closed, it's a fasting day).

Sukkot -- Sept. 20-27 (work places and schools closed -- lots of traffic and people every where).

 

Sukkot -- Sept. 20-27 (work places and schools closed -- lots of traffic and people every where).  I have a cruise to Israel, Oct 2022, and Sukkot falls during that time.  I realize the traffic etc, but are the major sites still open?  

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9 minutes ago, LGW59 said:

Sukkot -- Sept. 20-27 (work places and schools closed -- lots of traffic and people every where).  I have a cruise to Israel, Oct 2022, and Sukkot falls during that time.  I realize the traffic etc, but are the major sites still open?  

 

It depends if you arrive on the eve of / or during the holiday itself.

At least you're in luck, since Sukkot is less "strict" than the other holidays.

OTOH, Jerusalem will be mobbed...

 

What exactly are your dates for Haifa and for Ashdod? Or which cruise on which ship? 

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16 minutes ago, dani negreanu said:

 

It depends if you arrive on the eve of / or during the holiday itself.

At least you're in luck, since Sukkot is less "strict" than the other holidays.

OTOH, Jerusalem will be mobbed...

 

What exactly are your dates for Haifa and for Ashdod? Or which cruise on which ship? 

Apex, 2022, Oct 11 Haifa, 6am-7pm and Jerusalem Oct 12 7am & 13 8pm 

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That's great -- you'll be just in between -- 9&10 and 14-16 will be the "difficult" days...

 

Still, as I've mentioned, it's a popular holiday, it's part of the tradition for religious Jews to visit Jerusalem during this holiday.

 

Traffic will be the main problem.

 

A professional guide is recommended.

 

Also, I would check if you could disembark in Haifa, spend the 2 nights in hotels, and return to the ship on the 13.

 

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3 hours ago, dani negreanu said:

That's great -- you'll be just in between -- 9&10 and 14-16 will be the "difficult" days...

 

Still, as I've mentioned, it's a popular holiday, it's part of the tradition for religious Jews to visit Jerusalem during this holiday.

 

Traffic will be the main problem.

 

A professional guide is recommended.

 

Also, I would check if you could disembark in Haifa, spend the 2 nights in hotels, and return to the ship on the 13.

 

When we venture beyond the port, we have always used a professional guide.  Am so hoping that by Oct 2022, that will be an option.  Thank you!!

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5 hours ago, Miaminice said:

We were in Jerusalem during the Sukkot holidays - it was a fabulous experience.
We stayed in town over night and got to see the partying and dancing in the streets,

We wrote about the cruise and Jerusalem here:
http://www.travelandcruise.net/travellove_en/Our-Trips/Holy-Land-Cruise-01/holy-land-cruise-01.html

 

 

this is wonderful!!  Thank you

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6 hours ago, Miaminice said:

We were in Jerusalem during the Sukkot holidays - it was a fabulous experience.
We stayed in town over night and got to see the partying and dancing in the streets,

We wrote about the cruise and Jerusalem here:
http://www.travelandcruise.net/travellove_en/Our-Trips/Holy-Land-Cruise-01/holy-land-cruise-01.html

 

 

And like you, this cruise, in particular the 3 days that we get to spend in Israel are truly bucket list items for us.  Will give us a small taste to better plan our 2023 land trip.  Just prior to the pandemic shut everything down for the world, I planned an event in our office with a very special guest speaker.  Her name is Rena Finder and she is now 93 years old and she and her mother were Schindler's List survivors.  Her story was so compelling and moving, she has found a way to discuss this with such a positive outlook, truly a remarkable woman.  Every single person in our office feel blessed to have met her and heard her story.  If you would like to read more of her journey, www.facinghistory.org  

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