12 Insider Tips For Cruising During The Greek Financial Crisis

July 8, 2015

You may have noticed that holidays to Greece in general and in particular the Greek financial crisis have been in the news a lot lately.

Will they stay in the E.U? Will they be kicked out?

It’s understandably a worry to many holidaymakers, especially those who have already booked to go to Greece this summer.

Below then, the www.CRUISE.co.uk team take a look at everything you might need to know if you’re traveling to Greece this year; what happens if they leave Europe; what the situation with cash machines is really like and what the likelihood of civil unrest is….


I’m worried; can’t I just cancel my holiday?

Unfortunately not.

The home office haven’t currently issued a travel warning to Greece (and are unlikely to do so unless the situation becomes much worse) so whilst you can cancel your cruise it will be deemed as your decision and you’d be subject to all the normal T&C’s, meaning you could lose some, if not all, of your money.


Is my cruise at risk?

As we’ve already said, the Home Office hasn’t currently issued any travel warnings, however….

This is where cruising really comes into its own!

If the situation in Greece does get a lot worse then the cruise lines will just change the ships route, avoiding Greece altogether (now you can’t do that in a hotel can you?)!


If Greece are kicked out of the EU will I need a visa?

At the moment nobody knows what will happen but even if Greece do leave the EU it won’t be an instantaneous transition.

It will probably take at least eighteen months so you won’t be needing a visa this summer and it’s unlikely for a country so desperate for tourism that they’ll ever institute a visa policy – especially for travellers coming from the European Union!


Should I bring Euros?

In a word… Yes!

The Greek peoples are currently limited to taking no more than €60 a day from cash points and whilst foreign cards (not issued by a Greek bank) should technically be able to withdraw up to around €600 a day there’s been reports off banks running out of money or closing. If you’re going to Greece make sure you bring enough Euro’s to last you for the duration of your stay.


Can’t I just use my credit card?

Whilst you should technically be able to use your cards anywhere in Greece, with many people desperate for cash (due to the already mentioned withdrawal limit on cashpoints) you may find may shops, hotels, restaurants and bars reluctant to accept them. Our advice is to err on the side of caution and rely on cash.


What should I do about my shore excursions?

Due to the cash flow issues you may find many local excursion operators will hike their prices sky high and/or demand cash up front.

Even booking online won’t protect you as you could get out there to find the company doesn’t exist anymore.

The safest thing you can do in the short term is to book all your excursions with the cruise line. It may cost you slightly more but you’ll benefit from their extra protection in the long run and if anything does happen and the tour doesn’t go ahead you’ll be entitled to a full refund.


So should I avoid locally run excursions completely?

Whilst booking local excursions before you go might be a bit of a bad idea there’s nothing wrong with haggling with a taxi driver one you’re there.

There’ll be a lot around the port and whilst it’s unfortunate that so many of them will be desperate for Euros in does mean you should be able to net yourself quite a bit of a bargain.

Why not hire your driver as a tour guide and get him to show you around for the day?


Do I need to worry about street crime?

Whilst Greece is normally a very safe cruise destination (especially the islands) one of the side effects to financial uncertainty is that street crime may temporarily increase.

You shouldn’t worry too much, just be extra vigilant against pickpockets and if you are concerned take a look at our guide to staying safe in port here


Will my insurance still be valid?

As the home office hasn’t issued any travel warnings your insurance should be fine (although it’s probably worth double checking). Something that’s definitely worth checking on however is the amount of currency you’re covered for if you are a victim of crime.

Many insurance policies will have a limit on the amount of cash you can claim for if it’s stolen (the assumption being you shouldn’t be carrying large amounts of cash around with you).

With the situation in Greece as it is however it’s worth double checking you’ll still be covered.


Will I told be told if the situation changes?

Whilst you’ll be notified of any major changes to your cruise it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the news, just to make sure nothing changes that the Home Office and your cruise line are comfortable with but you’re not.

Forewarned is always forearmed after all!


Are there any last-minute deals to be had?

Although most of the cruises for summer ’15 have now been booked a lot of people having been cancelling their land based holidays to Greece. This means that there’s a lot of empty hotels (that the owners are desperate to fill).

Whilst you’re not likely to get any great last minute cancellations on the cruise element to your holiday if you wanted to add a few nights in a hotel before or after your cruise you may find you’ll get some great bargains!


Is there anything else I should be doing?

Yes…. Relaxing!

This isn’t the first time there’s been situations like this in cruise ports. No one was cruising to Egypt last year and does anyone remember the ash cloud crisis of ’10?

It always works out in the end. You’re on a cruise and you’re there to relax and have a great holiday.

No matter what the situation in Greece, life on the ship will stay the same so obviously you’ll have a great time!


Are you traveling to Greece soon?

Have you just come back?

What advice would you give other travelers?

Do you have any insider tips for cruising to share?

Let us know in the comments below…