wondering about Athens

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Crystal Cruises
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 03:30 PM.
#1
Canada
23 Posts
Joined May 2009
Were scheduled to disembark in Athens (Serenity V1321) on Oct 24th and very much looking forward to being back on board the Serenity, we were nevertheless just wondering that if October 24th turned out to be a day much like today in Athen's, (civil unrest with transportation unavailable to and from the port in Piraeus as well as the airport, the airport closed down not only because transportation not available but a wildcat strike by the air traffic controllers, thus flights consequently unavailable), how would Crystal likely deal with passengers disembarking 1321 as well as those intending to embark onto V1322?
#2
4,581 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by avidtrav
Were scheduled to disembark in Athens (Serenity V1321) on Oct 24th and very much looking forward to being back on board the Serenity, we were nevertheless just wondering that if October 24th turned out to be a day much like today in Athen's, (civil unrest with transportation unavailable to and from the port in Piraeus as well as the airport, the airport closed down not only because transportation not available but a wildcat strike by the air traffic controllers, thus flights consequently unavailable), how would Crystal likely deal with passengers disembarking 1321 as well as those intending to embark onto V1322?
I would strongly suggest that you have your TA contact Crystal and ask these same questions. Anything you may get on this board, as well informed as many of the regulars are, would be "informed speculation" while what you need are the facts. If you have already purchased travel insurance, you might also contact your carrier and ask what you may be covered for. If you DON'T already have insurance, it will probably be too late now to purchase it as the labour situation is now an "existing condition" so to speak.

You would be doing a service for others if you would come back and let us know what Crystal has to say.
#3
Canada
23 Posts
Joined May 2009
Thank you Roland4 for your sound advice.

I will definitely speak with my TA tomorrow and will be delighted to report back what Crystal would/will suggest. As for insurance, the cruise was purchased with my AMEX platinum card 6 months ago, well before any upset in Athens and will definitely check with them as well, but my business class airtickets were purchased with points from the airline. Not sure if that would be covered but likely it being business class seating, the tickets would be honoured on other flights on other days the airline would obviously rebook. Obviously I'd have to arrange for lodging but assuming that would be a matter of extending my stay at the hotel.
The other real dilemna, assuming the airlines are still flying, is figuring out how we (my wife and I) would get to our hotel (booked independently) on the 24th and then out to the airport on the 25th, if there were no taxis or other forms of transportation, as was the situation today and likely tomorrow again.
#4
2,941 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Millions of Athenians and hundreds of thousands of travelers pass through the great city every day. Watch the news leading up to your arrival (Crystal will) and check State Department warning (unlikely).

Otherwise Athens is about as reliable and safe as NYC or LA. You can bet that plenty of foreign tourists are worried about some pasty-faced dread-locked wanna-be bloggers trying to take over Wall Street .

Rule of thumb: What it comes to travel safety, pay attention to those more experienced than you, not those less experienced.

Life is too short to worry, unless there is a darn good reason to.

And even if there is a serious crisis, remember that the vast majority of witnesses survive to annoy their friends for generations with their re-tellable story.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
--"All too soon..."

19 and counting...
#5
Canada
23 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by All too soon...

Otherwise Athens is about as reliable and safe as NYC or LA. You can bet that plenty of foreign tourists are worried about some pasty-faced dread-locked wanna-be bloggers trying to take over Wall Street .

Hello All Too Soon
I'm not at all worried about safety. I certainly agree. Athenians and the Greeks have a sincere respect for democratic values and civil order. After all, we're talking of the Greeks. And "Civil disobedience" (strikes, orderly protests etc, certainly are amongst the tools that democratic peoples have to express their disatisfaction(s) with governments. And that is exactly what they are doing. The issue for my wife and I really is getting out of the port area of Athens. For some it might be getting to the airport for a flight that morning concerned that if there were strikes, traffic tie ups or wildcat strikes, it might cause some difficulties. Worried about my safety, no. Somehow things do get dealt with. I'd just like to know how and whether Crystal has given this any consideration.
#6
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
avidtrav, you have asked excellent questions as it's always good to be thinking ahead and I too recommend doing what Roland mentioned. Have your TA contact Crystal.

Out of curiosity, is your air booked with Crystal? If you do, that is a benefit in the event things goes astray whether it is due to something that you mentioned, a volcanic eruption such as the one that happened in Iceland in 2010, an earthquake and tsumanim like the one that happened in Japan last March, a strike in a place such as Lisbon, or a variety of other problems. It's not the end of the world if you don't have your air booked through Crystal but just wondering.

Over the years Crystal has had to take action when a number of these items has happened and has also had to develop plans from time to time in advance of not knowing how long a particular item might continue to be a problem.

Keith
#7
Canada
23 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Keith1010
avidtrav, you have asked excellent questions as it's always good to be thinking ahead and I too recommend doing what Roland mentioned. Have your TA contact Crystal.

Out of curiosity, is your air booked with Crystal? If you do, that is a benefit in the event things goes astray whether it is due to something that you mentioned, a volcanic eruption such as the one that happened in Iceland in 2010, an earthquake and tsumanim like the one that happened in Japan last March, a strike in a place such as Lisbon, or a variety of other problems. It's not the end of the world if you don't have your air booked through Crystal but just wondering.

Over the years Crystal has had to take action when a number of these items has happened and has also had to develop plans from time to time in advance of not knowing how long a particular item might continue to be a problem.

Keith

Hello Keith.

I didn't realize that Crystal would book the airline seats with my frequent flyer points. Is that the instance? i.e., does Crystal do that?

In any event (no pun intended) and as I suggested, we're not going to lose our airline flights back home because of no show. As we are using frequent flyer points for business class seats, as long as we notify them, (the airline) of our inability to get to the airport because of delays or other obstacles, in sufficient advance, I'm trusting that the airline will be able to either reroute us with either other carriers through their Star Allliance network, or in the event of delay because of an airport shutdown, find us other seats on another day.

My concern has more to do with mitigating any inconvenience we may have in disembarking V1321 (Athen's) and wondering, at the same time how Crystal would serve that end, if indeed there were strikes of both taxis, public transportation, as well as possible airport shutdown as there was on October 5th (yesterday). I do realize and appreciate that Crystal would likely find solutions for those who booked airport or hotel transfers in Athens although I'm doubtful they could find concrete solutions in the event of strikes by bus drivers, taxi's etc but nevertheless am wondering what consideration they may give to those who chose other options.
#8
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by avidtrav
Hello Keith.

I didn't realize that Crystal would book the airline seats with my frequent flyer points. Is that the instance? i.e., does Crystal do that?

In any event (no pun intended) and as I suggested, we're not going to lose our airline flights back home because of no show. As we are using frequent flyer points for business class seats, as long as we notify them, (the airline) of our inability to get to the airport because of delays or other obstacles, in sufficient advance, I'm trusting that the airline will be able to either reroute us with either other carriers through their Star Allliance network, or in the event of delay because of an airport shutdown, find us other seats on another day.

My concern has more to do with mitigating any inconvenience we may have in disembarking V1321 (Athen's) and wondering, at the same time how Crystal would serve that end, if indeed there were strikes of both taxis, public transportation, as well as possible airport shutdown as there was on October 5th (yesterday). I do realize and appreciate that Crystal would likely find solutions for those who booked airport or hotel transfers in Athens although I'm doubtful they could find concrete solutions in the event of strikes by bus drivers, taxi's etc but nevertheless am wondering what consideration they may give to those who chose other options.
Hi Avidtrav, my question about the air was if you took the Crystal provided air. There are pros and cons about cruise provided air. One of the positives is in a situation where flights are cancelled such as the examples I provided above Crystal will work to get flights rescheduled and that applies to flights getting to the cruise and flights returning from the cruise. For example, when we were on the Serenity earlier this and the catastrophic event hit Japan Crystal worked right away to revise flights that had connections thru Tokyo for those travelers arriving to the next cruise in Singapore or those passengers flying home from Singapore.

Crystal would not book airline seats using your airline frequent flyer miles.

Again, I would direct other questions by your TA to Crystal. Honestly I think it would be very premature to get much in the way of specific feedback as each event can be very different from one another. Hopefully October 24 will not be a repeat. I think if a port was a complete disaster with no way to disembark if everyone was on strike (including shoreside personnel) the ship would either have to spend additional time at sea or dock someplace else.

You are fortunate that their will be no penalties for you. I think your challenge would be if there was an airport shutdown for a day or more that it might be a few days until you could get on another flight and you would be further challenged with business class versus coach.

Hopefully this will be a non-event for you on 10/24.

Keith
#9
4,581 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by Keith1010
I think if a port was a complete disaster with no way to disembark if everyone was on strike (including shoreside personnel) the ship would either have to spend additional time at sea or dock someplace else.
Keith
As happened to Serenity with the Portuguese (?) fishermens' strike a few years ago. As I recall, they diverted to another port and had to bus the disembarking and embarking passengers to/from the original port. Of course if all of Greece is shut down I'm not sure where they would divert to.
#10
Canada
23 Posts
Joined May 2009
Hi Keith.

Thanks for your thoughts. Im trusting too that this turns out to be a non event but forwarned is forarmed. I'm just lining up my ducks. And I'll report back to all who may have an equal concern what I will have learned through my TA.

Avidtrav
#11
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Avidtrav, you are doing the right thing. Being prepared is always important.

One suggestion regardless of how this turns out. Have a contact at home or a TA who if you need reservations revised, etc. can help you. This is a good idea to do before any cruise because if some big event happened it would be easier for them to make phone calls and send e mails on your behalf given that the ships internet would likely be slow and phone calls could get very costly.

Keith
#12
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Roland4
As happened to Serenity with the Portuguese (?) fishermens' strike a few years ago. As I recall, they diverted to another port and had to bus the disembarking and embarking passengers to/from the original port. Of course if all of Greece is shut down I'm not sure where they would divert to.
Portugal took place late in 2010 only a few months after the famous Volcanic incident which also caused havoc with folks getting to an from Europe. Then there was Barcelona a few years earlier and Japan earlier this year.

If all of Greece was shutdown, if for the day you wait till the next day. If not, you head somewhere else such as Istanbul.

The Cruise Lines certainly would have contingency plans or would develop them as appropriate.

Keith
#13
Canada
23 Posts
Joined May 2009
Just got off the phone with our TA who agreed with both Roland's and Keith's thinking (no I did not reference them in my discussion with the TA - only referenced their views) that other than those folks who have arrangements for transfers with Crystal, you are essentially on your own, with one caveat. If passengers were left to their own defences because of a general strike or no means of transport for anyone once people have disembarked, and people were literally stranded, it's unlikely Crystal would sit idly by. They would likely be supportive in some capacity.

My TA suggested that we nevertheless make prior private arrangements. The concierge at our Athen's hotel suggested that they could arrange for a private transfer (not a taxi) for 100 Euro between the port and the hotel and a similar fee for the transfer from the hotel to the airport the next day. Thats likely what we will do although the fee does seem excessive. However even that is not foolproof as a general strike is just that, generally widespread so as to cause havoc.

I'd welcome anyone's thoughts.

Avidtrav
#14
674 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
We used Dennis at http://www.athens-limo.com for transfers as well as private tours. He was always on time and we thought reasonable in price and a great value overall. He father is the famous George the Taxi Driver. Both lived in the US and speak perfect English. Good luck.

BTW, where are you staying? We stayed in the Electra Palace - off the main drag but an easy walk to the Plaka and Syntagma Square.

Enjoy. We has a glorious four days in Athens and the surrounding countryside.
#15
90,023 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
avidtav, I am not sure how many days you are staying in Athens and what time of day your flight is. If I was worried that a strike would play havoc and I had a flight where I was leaving the city late in the morning to get out to the airport, the only other thing I could think of would be the night before my flight to stay at the airport area hotel which if memory serves me right is the Sofitel Hotel. So as a contingency you could make a reservation there for the night before your return flight and if it turned out there are no issues you could cancel the reservation. Just check what their cancellation policy is.

I would check out Dick's recommendation for the other car service company to compare prices.

We will all keep our fingers crossed that you are not impacted at all.

Between these events, other strikes such as what seems to be those weekly strikes in places such as Italy, volcanoes, earthquakes, and a myriad of other items the most challenging aspect of cruising mainly seems to be getting from home to embarkation city and from disembarkation city to home.

Keith
#16
Memphis, Tennessee
547 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Last November we were staying in Lisbon before a Crystal cruise and didn't realize until we were watching Brian Williams from home the day before we left that the NATO convention was there and that there were protest marches on the street of our hotel!

We frantically called the hotel and they arranged a private car for us. It was money well spent. Sure enough, the street was blocked and our driver really worked hard at getting us to our hotel. Before we left, we were so afraid we would be hauling luggage down the street full of protesters. but not to worry, WE HAD NO LUGGAGE! (Came the next day). But it was very reassuring to have someone there for us.
#17
Canada
23 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by almostretired
We used Dennis at http://www.athens-limo.com for transfers as well as private tours. He was always on time and we thought reasonable in price and a great value overall. He father is the famous George the Taxi Driver. Both lived in the US and speak perfect English. Good luck.

BTW, where are you staying? We stayed in the Electra Palace - off the main drag but an easy walk to the Plaka and Syntagma Square.

Enjoy. We has a glorious four days in Athens and the surrounding countryside.

Thank you Almostretired for the reference to athens-limo.
I did send them a request for information but not sure if the email address listed on their website actually works as I have not recieved an acknowledgement of my email. I did ask for such and I do realize the time differences, so will wait til tomorrow AM to express serious concern for their limited response.

We are staying at the Hilton Athens. We have stayed there before and found the hotel, the location, the service and the views of the Acropolis to be fantastic. (Now you know who quoted that 100Euro fee for the transfers. Unfortunately only 1 and half days stay there this time as our flight leaves evening of the 25th to Frankfurt.
In speaking with my TA, she thought she could do better than the 100Euro fee. Actually she quoted 55Euros to the hotel from Piraeus and 75Euros to the airport from the hotel via a taxi service that they have used and recommended. However, the number of pieces of luggage affects rates as taxis are limited to two pieces of luggage in the trunk and one carryon inside with you in the cab. Anything else (we will have 4 pieces of luggage) by Athenian regulations requires a bigger vehicle ( a van) and that cost would have exceeded the 100Euro quote from the hotel. In any event, she too felt uneasy with a taxi given the affinity of Athenian Taxi drivers to go on strike. The hotel does not use a taxi.

Keith, Thank you for your crossed fingers. Regardless, it is always an adventure (Isn't that why we travel?) and I'm only trying to mitigate the inconveniences.

Avidtrav
#18
Berkeley CA
1,137 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
[almostretired;30867660]We used Dennis at http://www.athens-limo.com for transfers as well as private tours. He was always on time and we thought reasonable in price and a great value overall. He father is the famous George the Taxi Driver. Both lived in the US and speak perfect English.]
I used Dennis a couple of years ago. Initially I booked them for transfers from airport to hotel and the next day for hotel to port. There was a medical emergency on the flight resulting in a day's + delay in arrival in Athens. I contacted Dennis while in route and they were able to accommodate a change in date and pick up times and take me straight from the airport to the port. Excellent service.
#19
674 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Try
[email protected]

I know this email works since I exchange emails with Dennis every so often to ask how he and his fmaily are doing.

I think he charged 75-100 euros but we had six passenegrs and luggage -- and we used his larger limo. Something smaller will work. He can arrange for that also.
#20
Canada
23 Posts
Joined May 2009
Once again, thanks Almostretired.
I'll wait til tomorrow AM to see if there was an initial response and if not, I'll use the email address you have suggested. And a nice reference from Ter777 which provides for increased confidence.

Avidtrav