Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Taxi Strike Blocks Athens Port

Cruise Lines Unable
to Make Athens Calls As
Taxi Drivers Blockade Piraeus

Several cruise ships were forced to skip planned calls at Piraeus, the port for Athens, Monday, July 18, and again on Tuesday as striking taxi drivers blockaded the port, preventing passengers from getting to their sightseeing coaches.

Yellow Cabs in Athens Traffic on a Normal Day
Reuters reported today that taxi drivers in Athens walked off the job for 24 hours in the latest protest against the Greek government's EU-driven austerity program, which protesters said would hurt only the poor.  The yellow cab drivers are protesting against deregulation of their industry as part of the economic reforms demanded by Greece's international creditors. They join the ranks of the customs officials who are also on strike which is causing a shortage of gasoline at some Athens filling stations.

Four ships were due in Piraeus yesterday: Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, Seabourn Odyssey, Ruby Princess and Pullmantur's Zenith.

According to a report on Cruise Critic, Royal Caribbean had arranged shuttle transportation for guests in anticipation of the strike, but due to the blockade, guests were unable to disembark the ship and the passengers on Voyager of the Seas had a day at sea instead.

Cruise Critic reports that Seabourn Odyssey did, however, manage to disembark and embark passengers in Athens with all guests back on board in Piraeus and the itinerary unaffected.

MSC Armonia and Celebrity Solstice were due in port today.  Solstice is spending the day in Crete today instead.   The impact of the strike on MSC Armonia is not know at this time.

Piraeus is the port city for Athens and has been Athens' port of entry for over two millennia. It is the gateway to the historic temples of the Acropolis,  the famed Plaka shopping district, the scenic drive to Cape Sounion, and the stunning 5th-century B.C. Temple of Poseidon, overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Timing for these industrial actions in Greece couldn't be worse, as it's the height of the cruise season, with three or more ships calling at Piraeus every day. In fact, most of the cruise lines have expanded their European presence this year in response to the increasing demand.

The strike is scheduled to be over in time for Wednesday's anticipated  arrival of Regent's Seven Seas Mariner and two more Royal Caribbean vessels, Splendour of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas.  We will continue to monitor the various events in Greece that can impact cruise vacations to that nation.

We have just completed our own adventure to Greece in June this year, as part of a 12-Night Greek Isles & Mediterranean Cruise on Star Princess.   For the passengers that missed their port of call in Athens, we know they must be disappointed, as we would have been.   We can only offer our images in future columns and on our Facebook Fan page as a substitute for the real thing.

This is a very trying time for the people of Greece.  We wish them well as the government tries to make changes to stabilize the economy and protect the future for generations to come.

1 comment:

Savvas said...

Ragkoysis it is to blaim as minister of transports for the situation in Greece that has as result the strike TAXI.

lymperopoylos they is chairman of association and gives fight for the workers taxi

The strike the taxi is continued who fighting with closure of harbours and airports.

The fight TAXI it should they is who dynamic should this government fall resign Ragkoysis that is responsibility as minister of transports and brought the sector in impass