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We just learned today that our September Empires of the Mediterranean cruise was canceled. We rebooked a different cruise. Since we had already paid for our airfare on British Airways, we are stuck sticking with BA. Our cruise ends in Athens. The itinerary shows disembarkation at 7:00 AM. Viking says not to schedule any flights before noon. We had few choices. If we didn’t book the 10:00 flight, we’d have to wait until 6:00 PM and have a 14 hour layover in London. This is our first Viking cruise although we are experienced cruisers. I know other cruise lines always get into port early and start getting people off as soon as possible. What has been your experience with Viking? If we can get off the ship by 7:00 AM, we should be fine. Is that possible?

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2 hours ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

We just learned today that our September Empires of the Mediterranean cruise was canceled. We rebooked a different cruise. Since we had already paid for our airfare on British Airways, we are stuck sticking with BA. Our cruise ends in Athens. The itinerary shows disembarkation at 7:00 AM. Viking says not to schedule any flights before noon. We had few choices. If we didn’t book the 10:00 flight, we’d have to wait until 6:00 PM and have a 14 hour layover in London. This is our first Viking cruise although we are experienced cruisers. I know other cruise lines always get into port early and start getting people off as soon as possible. What has been your experience with Viking? If we can get off the ship by 7:00 AM, we should be fine. Is that possible?

 

Assuming that you rebooked the same Empires itinerary - I noted that they overnight in Piraeus, before disembarkation on the final day. If this is correct, other pax have been able to disembark early to catch early flights. The ship's crew are really helpful with early disembarkation.

 

If you do not overnight before disembarkation, I note many ships will endeavour to dock early, especially on TAR days. However, many situations outside the control of the cruise line can prevent an early arrival. Piraeus is a really busy port, with cruise ships and lots of local ferries. If multiple ships are due in, there is no way of knowing the docking priorities. Personally, I wouldn't make flight arrangement hoping the ship docked early.

 

If the ship does get alongside and is cleared early, the ship's crew will assist in early disembarkation. Piraeus & Athens traffic is also crazy and if memory is correct the airport is about 30 miles from the port.

 

Another thing to confirm is the LHR terminals, as BA now use both 3 & 5. A few years ago they moved our Vancouver flight to Terminal 3, so when connecting we need to have additional time for the "Connections". Hopefully both the Athens flight and your TA will use T5. If flying First or Business, the Lounges at T5 are reasonable, as we have spent up to 12 hrs waiting for our next flight.

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12 hours ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Viking says not to schedule any flights before noon.

 

Viking says allow five hours? Viking knows something we don't know --  about how long it will take to disembark, about how long it will take to get to the airport, about how long check in and security will take once you get to the airport. I would trust their judgement.

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Viking is also setting times based on tour bus leaving from the port to the airport.  It will be a quicker trip if you have Viking call private transfer for you. You may find the private transfer cost is about same cost as the Viking transfer.  Also you will need  time to go through customs and any other checks.  From the port I would allow 1 hour to reach the airport.

When we departed from Bergen, the flight left at 6:10 am.  Almost all of the passengers on the flight were from the ship.  There were 5 tour buses that departed from the port for the airport at 4:45 AM.

The check in started opened at 5:45 am.  The pilot actually announced that take off was delayed until all passengers were able to board the plane.  We were delayed by 20 minutes.

Good Luck

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Hi - our Dec. '21 Venus trip ends Athens, port arrival scheduled 3am. 

When doing V-AirPlus, the agent said not allowed to book before 8am (missing chance for 6-7am connections to international hubs).  A roll-call pollster later said he was allowed to book 7am ATH departure on Feb. trip.

So, since we hate to be time-squeezed, we're considering staying another day to allow for wider choice of early departures.  Is Piraeus itself accommodating for DIY day stay??  (We already will have had 5 days in Athens).  THANKS

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2 hours ago, MSEm said:

Viking is also setting times based on tour bus leaving from the port to the airport.  It will be a quicker trip if you have Viking call private transfer for you. You may find the private transfer cost is about same cost as the Viking transfer.  Also you will need  time to go through customs and any other checks.  From the port I would allow 1 hour to reach the airport.

When we departed from Bergen, the flight left at 6:10 am.  Almost all of the passengers on the flight were from the ship.  There were 5 tour buses that departed from the port for the airport at 4:45 AM.

The check in started opened at 5:45 am.  The pilot actually announced that take off was delayed until all passengers were able to board the plane.  We were delayed by 20 minutes.

Good Luck

 

I'll suggest this isn't exactly comparing apples to apples with respect to the OP situation. The OP noted disembarkation at 07:00, whereas in Bergen you noted Viking buses already departing at 04:45.

 

Yes, Viking are excellent at accommodating early departures, but the pre-requisite is the ship is alongside and the local authorities are accepting disembarking pax. If Viking state disembarkation starts at 07:00 and not arrival at 07:00, I suggest they could be basing that on information from the local authorities.

 

Although I've never sailed or flown into Bergen, the trip to the airport is significantly shorter and I suspect way more rural than the congested traffic around Athens.

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My suggestion if you don’t want to stress about this , then change your departure to the next day. If , however, you want to stick with the same flight, then make sure that you arrange for your own transport to the airport ( Viking will not let you buy their transfer for that 10am flight ) and make sure your request an early departure once on board the ship. We had that situation 2 years ago and they had us bring our passports to the front desk the night before so that they could clear us with customs before the standard disembarkation time.  Keep in mind that all of this is subject to the port authorities .

Also pray fro a schedule change that has your flight leaving later and that not one that has the flight leaving earlier 😬

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vslparis is correct.  Your departure time will depend on the local customs officials.  After living in Metro Athens for 14 month I would not plan on the custom officials arriving early.

In regards to our Bergen departure, I was worried about our "late" departure from the ship. Remember the airlines, "arrive 3 hours before departure" advice. We were arriving only 45 minutes before departure and had to wait for airline personnel to begin the check in process that started 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

Enjoy your cruise.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

I'll suggest this isn't exactly comparing apples to apples with respect to the OP situation. The OP noted disembarkation at 07:00, whereas in Bergen you noted Viking buses already departing at 04:45.

 

Yes, Viking are excellent at accommodating early departures, but the pre-requisite is the ship is alongside and the local authorities are accepting disembarking pax. If Viking state disembarkation starts at 07:00 and not arrival at 07:00, I suggest they could be basing that on information from the local authorities.

 

Although I've never sailed or flown into Bergen, the trip to the airport is significantly shorter and I suspect way more rural than the congested traffic around Athens.

Bergen airport to the dock is about a 40-50 min cab ride.  As I remember, most highway.  We flew in early afternoon, a few days before our cruise and I don’t remember a lot of traffic, it was a Thursday afternoon.  Our hotel was about 10 min from the dock.

Edited by Mich3554
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6 minutes ago, Mich3554 said:

Bergen airport to the dock is about a 40-50 min cab ride.  As I remember, most highway.  We flew in early afternoon, a few days before our cruise and I don’t remember a lot of traffic, it was a Thursday afternoon.  Our hotel was about 10 min from the dock.

 

That's what I recall when I researched Bergen when we booked a combined Grand European and Midnight Sun. Checked the options of flying into Oslo and Bergen. Although the conditions around Athens have traffic issues, you can probably make it to the airport in about the same time frame. However in rush hour, or crashes, that time can increase significantly.

 

Piraeus used to be a TAR port for us, with flights coming in from UK and at times we experienced delays awaiting the arrival of buses.

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Thanks for all of the responses. When we had this same flight for the Empires cruise, we weren’t concerned as the ship was overnighting in Athens. We are now considering changing our flights to the next day and staying in a hotel in Athens to alleviate the stress. I guess since I saw disembarkation shown as 7:00 AM, I assumed the ship would be in port and clear customs much earlier than that. The ship leaves Katakolon at 2:00 PM the prior day. 

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We have had the same timing problem with flights from Athens and what we have done is taken a BA flight latter in the day that arrives in LHR early evening with a late morning connection to US. There is a shuttle bus to the airport hotels and your luggage can be held and transferred at the airport.  Much more relaxing then a 3AM wake up call and dealing with tight connections and terminal changes.

We also heard of customs not opening in Piraeus until after 7AM

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1 hour ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

Thanks for all of the responses. When we had this same flight for the Empires cruise, we weren’t concerned as the ship was overnighting in Athens. We are now considering changing our flights to the next day and staying in a hotel in Athens to alleviate the stress. I guess since I saw disembarkation shown as 7:00 AM, I assumed the ship would be in port and clear customs much earlier than that. The ship leaves Katakolon at 2:00 PM the prior day. 

 

The Viking ship's beam is wider than the Corinth Canal, so the route should be around the headland. Even departing at 14:00, it will be a reasonably high speed transit to Piraeus, so only a remote chance that the ship will dock much before 07:00.

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1 hour ago, Poulsbo Cruisers said:

We decided to alleviate any stress and booked a later flight even though it means overnighting in a Heathrow hotel. Thanks again for all the timely and helpful responses. 

 

A great decision. If landing at T5, the Sofitel is right across from the terminal. Comfortable and convenient, but pricy. We used it a few times until BA moved our flight to T3.

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21 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

 

A great decision. If landing at T5, the Sofitel is right across from the terminal. Comfortable and convenient, but pricy. We used it a few times until BA moved our flight to T3.

That’s the one we booked. 

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We have had a few nice relaxing evenings in the T-5 Sofitel before carrying on the next day.  Surely makes for a more civilized trip home.

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And if you have more than a bit of luggage and want a better way to get to T-3 than the corridors/escalators/trams way, Sofitel has a car service door to door.  Cost us 20 Pounds Sterling in 2019.  🍸

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1 hour ago, Jim Avery said:

We have had a few nice relaxing evenings in the T-5 Sofitel before carrying on the next day.  Surely makes for a more civilized trip home.

 

We have also enjoyed a few pleasant evenings at the Sofitel, followed by a leisurely breakfast in the morning. About mid-morning we set off across the walkway to T5 check-in and within 20 to 30 minutes are relaxing in the Concord Room or Business Lounge.

 

Needless to say, we were a trifle peeved when BA moved the Vancouver flight to T3, my least favourite LHR terminal.

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1 hour ago, Jim Avery said:

And if you have more than a bit of luggage and want a better way to get to T-3 than the corridors/escalators/trams way, Sofitel has a car service door to door.  Cost us 20 Pounds Sterling in 2019.  🍸

 

Thanks - will definitely check it out next time we stay at LHR.

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