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HAL Update - Greece and Alaska


Mary229
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This showed up over night on the HAL advisories page:      https://www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/news/impacted-cruises.html

 

Snippets: 

 

Last updated: May 13, 2021

Working in close coordination with the government of Greece, Holland America Line has received approval to restart cruising from Piraeus (Athens) in August with four departures aboard Eurodam.  Bookings for these cruises are now open.......

 

To accommodate the new Greece sailings, guests sailing on Eurodam’s published Seattle roundtrip Alaska cruises will be moved to similar accommodations on sister ship Nieuw Amsterdam, which is scheduled to sail on the same departure dates. In addition, European cruises departing from July 1 through July 25 on Volendam and July 1 through Aug. 31 on Westerdam will be canceled........

 

Guests who prefer a 100% refund of monies paid to Holland America Line can visit the Cancellation Preferences Form to indicate their preference no later than June 15, 2021.   .......

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

The pieces on the chessboard are now moving...

Agreed but I get the feeling that the Eurodam sales are not on fire.  I did a fake booking and you can only book verandas and suites yet there appear to be plenty available.

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36 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

Agreed but I get the feeling that the Eurodam sales are not on fire.  I did a fake booking and you can only book verandas and suites yet there appear to be plenty available.

AFAIK none of the planned cruises around Eastern Med, are 'on fire'.  I have received numerous emails this week from TA's and cruise lines with special offers/reduced prices for their sailings.  Also including the sailing around UK by Princess, Cunard and P&O.

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The problem with closing sales on the Med cruises from ATH has been, and continues to be, the cost of flights.  Many of my clients travelling to Europe prefer to fly business class or redeem FF miles (or both).  Doing either in/out of ATH is expensive or just not available on many dates.  I also find many not interested in flying 10+hrs each way for a 7 day cruise with many onboard restrictions.  

 

The cruise pricing is also giving folks a bit of sticker shock as well.  They are looking for "restart bargains" and not getting them.

 

The newly announced Caribbean Sailings on Royal, Celebrity and NCL are facing similar issues.

 

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4 hours ago, KirkNC said:

Agreed but I get the feeling that the Eurodam sales are not on fire.  I did a fake booking and you can only book verandas and suites yet there appear to be plenty available.

Have to agree. We are not travelling to Europe for a 7 day cruise. A TATL flight for us generally means at least a 2 week trip in addition to the travel time. Also we are not interested in being the guinea pigs for this experiment in cruising. We anticipate reading the reports from those that are willing to try out this new cruise experience post COVID. We wish them well and hope they have a wonderful cruise.

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1 hour ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

The problem with closing sales on the Med cruises from ATH has been, and continues to be, the cost of flights.  Many of my clients travelling to Europe prefer to fly business class or redeem FF miles (or both).  Doing either in/out of ATH is expensive or just not available on many dates.  I also find many not interested in flying 10+hrs each way for a 7 day cruise with many onboard restrictions.  

 

The cruise pricing is also giving folks a bit of sticker shock as well.  They are looking for "restart bargains" and not getting them.

 

The newly announced Caribbean Sailings on Royal, Celebrity and NCL are facing similar issues.

 

 

Completely agree on the flying biz to cross the pond 😉 

And no way would I go to Europe for 7 days.  It’s 3 weeks at a minimum 😉  and now way in August - it’s Spring or Fall for us.

And, since we don’t have our 2nd jab and don’t know when it will be, we’re not eligible nor want to risk it.



 

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3 hours ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

The problem with closing sales on the Med cruises from ATH has been, and continues to be, the cost of flights.  Many of my clients travelling to Europe prefer to fly business class or redeem FF miles (or both).  Doing either in/out of ATH is expensive or just not available on many dates.  I also find many not interested in flying 10+hrs each way for a 7 day cruise with many onboard restrictions.  

 

The cruise pricing is also giving folks a bit of sticker shock as well.  They are looking for "restart bargains" and not getting them.

 

The newly announced Caribbean Sailings on Royal, Celebrity and NCL are facing similar issues.

 

Flights from the western half of the US to Athens can often require 2 layovers and with intl flight schedules still lagging, it can be more than 24 hours if you don't get a good connection.

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1 hour ago, cruisingrob21 said:

Flights from the western half of the US to Athens can often require 2 layovers and with intl flight schedules still lagging, it can be more than 24 hours if you don't get a good connection.

United has two flights a day to ATH, one from EWR, and the other is either Dulles or ORD. You can't get to those without a connection?

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3 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

United has two flights a day to ATH, one from EWR, and the other is either Dulles or ORD. You can't get to those without a connection?

If the timing of those flights is at night it's possible to do it from the west coast, but it's hard if it's an early morning flight because it's potentially two red eye flights or there are long layovers.  Domestic flight schedules are still rebuilding.

 

To your example, the Dulles flight would work assuming leaving PDX at 8am, a 1 hr. layover in IAD.  The flight thru EWR requires a red-eye from PDX to EWR which is a 25+ hr sojourn since the flight from EWR is also a redeye.  Delta has a flight via ATL which is similar to the IAD flight, with a pretty short layover...on the side of "too close for comfort".  Recall that Athens isn't LHR, AMS, FRA, or CDG and if you miss the flight over the pond, you've missed a day usually.  The other options require a second layover in Europe and are 20+ hrs with layovers.

 

My point is yes it can be done but options are limited until intl flights rebound.  Athens can be a tough airport to get to if your home airport isn't an eastern US hub and partially just due to the time changes when flying cross country.  It's easier to get to some Asian ports than eastern Europe for us.

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We sometimes use London as a gateway.  If one can, fly direct to LHR.  Then take an Aegean or BA flight direct to ATH.   We have a,so connected through CDG to ATH.  LHR is probably a better bet for a number of reasons.

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4 minutes ago, KirkNC said:

It would not let me book insides or ocean view. 

Aug 15 

 

Ocean View Fully Obstructed View
  • Guest 1$2,249
  •  
  • Guest 2$2,249
  •  
 
 
BEST PRICE
Included
Minimum Deposit
(Remainder of$4,363.34due on June 16)
$600
Total$4,963.34
CONTINUE
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1 hour ago, Gail & Marty sailing away said:

Aug 15 

 

Ocean View Fully Obstructed View
  • Guest 1$2,249
  •  
  • Guest 2$2,249
  •  
 
 
BEST PRICE
Included
Minimum Deposit
(Remainder of$4,363.34due on June 16)
$600
Total$4,963.34
CONTINUE

It wasn’t available on the booking I checked yesterday.

 

look at that price for seven days.  One could probably sail on a luxury line for that price.

Edited by KirkNC
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My problem with having ONLY Greece departures available in August (September for some), besides it being HOT,  is that there could be a “fleet” of big cruise ships all heading to mostly the same islands.  Right now we are booked on Rotterdam 8/22 to Norway.... then on Windstar 9/13 -21 from Athens to Venice.  A few weeks ago I checked a port /harbor site for Santorini  for our September week and found only one other ship there on our day (9/14) BUT there were other days that same week with multiple cruise ships calling on Santorini .  I did read that Santorini has had a specific ceiling each year as to how many cruise ship passengers can visit on any given day.  

THIS link lets you see what ships will be in port on specific days.  Although this is for Santorini, you can vary and search the same cruise ship schedule for other ports  https://www.cruisetimetables.com/cruises-to-santorini-greece.html

 

 

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We booked Eurodam for 14 Nites for 8/29 from Athens to Venice.   

 

All Passengers and Crew must be Vaccinated (we all had our 2nd Jab end of March).  The Ship will be at Reduced Capacity.  We will be tested at the Port and then again on Debark Day.  They are working with the Greece Government for us to be able to do non-Ship Excursions in at least some of the Ports.  It's a strong  possibility because of how welcoming the Greece Government has been.  We will know more in a couple of weeks according to my PCC.

 

Reading some of the comments posted.  We booked our Air through FlightEase and was able to get a very good fare flying United to ATH and Delta home from VCE.  The flight times are great for us and no different than our Pre-Covid Europe travels in the past. 

 

My Daughter is coming along with us (her Hubby isn't able to make it) and initially we booked a Suite for the three of us.  When O/V's opened up she went into an O/V and we went into a Verandah on Deck 4 that has the extended Balcony.  Is the fare pricey? Yes, but checking Carib and other European Cruises with HAL the fare for a 14 Nite with the Have It All is on par.  Until Cruises get back to normal in the future higher fares are probably going to be a reality for sometime.  We had some FCC left to apply so that was a plus.

 

We'll be going from 100 - 110 F Heat Index all Summer so the heat won't be an issue for us.  Our Summers are very hot and humid here in the Carolinas. 

 

We love Greece and Venice and haven't been to Greece since 2016 and we're very much looking forward to getting back onboard a "Dam" Ship.  We'll go-with-the-flow and enjoy!   

 

 

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