AMSTERDAM — It's not just airlines adding seats and flights to Athens with a general opening of tourism on May 15, but cruise ships too, with a virtual caravan of them wanting to get in on the action as vaccinations slow the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following Carnival, Silversea, Norwegian, Celestyal, Holland America Line is back and will start cruising again with the Eurodam from Greece in August. Guests will be required to have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Carnival-owned brand announced it had received approval to restart cruising from Piraeus (Athens) in August with four departures aboard the Eurodam. Bookings for these cruises will open May 6, said Cruise Industry News.
Departing Aug. 15 and 29, the Idyllic Greek Isles itinerary features Kotor, Montenegro, plus the Greek isles of Kékira (Corfu), Thíra (Santorini) and also Mykonos.
Ancient Wonders departs on Aug. 22 to explore Haifa, Israel, as well as Náfplion, Mykonos and Rhodes in Greece. Both options can be combined to form a longer, back-to-back 14-day Collectors' Voyage.
A seven-day Adriatic Allure itinerary departing Sept. 5 will sail from Piraeus to Venice, Italy, with calls at Mykonos, Katakolon (Olympia) and Crete (Chania), Greece, and Sarandë, Albania.
Additional Mediterranean cruises aboardthe Eurodam through the fall will be announced in the coming weeks and include ports in Italy and Greece, according to a company statement.
"Everyone at Holland America Line has been preparing for our return to service, and we are grateful to the government of Greece for allowing us to show that we can safely operate our cruises," said Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line. "The beautiful islands of Greece have been a highlight of our Mediterranean itineraries for decades, and we are honored to be able to restart out of Athens and give our guests a memorable vacation after all this time without cruise travel."
Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said that, "The Greek Islands have been welcoming Holland America Line ships for many years, and we are proud to work together to welcome the cruise line back this summer,.”
Holland America Line cruises from Greece are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the cruise and have proof of vaccination.
With people eager to travel again, even on cruise ships that were said to be super-spreaders of COVID-19 when the pandemic broke out early in 2020, the industry is betting people will be willing to board again this summer.