Piraeus, Greece makes the cut


Protests, demonstrations and strikes in Greece have been significantly affecting Mediterranean cruise itineraries for the past week.

Government austerity measures and reforms, passed in parliament on October 20, will see thousands of people losing their jobs, pay cuts, tax increases and reduced pensions. The package demanded by eurozone and the IMF before further loan instalments are granted has caused a state of unrest, which is not likely to dissipate soon.

Strike action by maritime workers, which started on October 19, has blocked ports with docked and unmoving ferries, and ship provisions are not being delivered.  But the problem for cruising is even more widespread.

“The disruption to taxi services and generally the difficulty in circulating in Athens because of the strikes and the associated protests and demonstrations is the problem for tourists and the main concern for cruise lines,” said Christos Makrialeas, managing director of Inchape Shipping Services, Greece.

At the height of the action last week some 11 cruise ships carrying an estimated 16,000 passengers dropped Piraeus calls and in the main headed to Turkey.

Ships affected so far include AIDAdiva, Amadea, Artania, Costa Romantica, Costa Victoria, MSC Melody, Navigator of the Seas, Nieuw Amsterdam and Thomson Spirit.