Holland America Line will restart cruises from Athens in 2019 after an absence of five years. The company said it would use its 528-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam to sail a seven-day itinerary roundtrip from Athens. It will also switch the Amsterdam-based Alaska vessel from the Westerdam to the new Noordam in 2019 and replace the Westerdam with a new ship in 2020.

Holland America (HAL) will restart its passenger service to Greece beginning in May 2018; the company had previously withdrawn this service in April 2014. The new connection will be aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam, which is being moved from its current Alaska cruise, where it will be replaced by the 2016-built ms Koningsdam in the fall.

Holland America Line has received permission from the Greek government to resume cruises from Piraeus (Athens) in August with four Eurodam sailings. Reservations will be made on the 6th. May open. Gus Antorcha, president of the line, enthusiastically told reporters who attended Tuesday’s virtual meeting: We’re back. In short, we’re back.

He acknowledged that although this is one of 11 ships in the fleet (including the new Rotterdam) that are being re-commissioned, it is a positive development as the whole process begins. Antorcha also noted that when Holland America resumes service, there could be further changes to the fleet.

To accommodate these new itineraries in Greece, passengers on the Eurodam Alaska (roundtrip from Seattle) will be transferred to similar rooms on sister ship Nieuw Amsterdam, which sails on the same dates.

Mr. Antorcha emphatically reiterated what he had told Travel Agent in late April, that the shipping company had not yet given up on Alaska. The company still plans to sail in the 49th parallel waters in July. State to begin, subject to approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Don’t jump to conclusions about Alaska, he told reporters as he announced the change to Eurodam and the restart of Greece.

So why exactly was the line renewed with Eurodam? It’s very simple. It is located in Europe, Antorcha said, adding that the ship Nieuw Amsterdam is currently stationed in Alaska. Therefore, none of them should be interchanged.

Holland America has also announced the cancellation of European cruises scheduled on the Volendam from July 1 to 25 and from July 1. July to 31. The month of August will take place on the Westerdam.

Greece Restart Details

Citing its close cooperation with the Greek government, Holland America announced that the Eurodam would be sailing on August 15 and 29. August to the idyllic Greek islands, with a stopover in Kotor, Montenegro, and the Greek islands of Kekira (Corfu), Thira (Santorini) and Mykonos.

Santorini, Greece // Photo: Aetherial/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

When they left on the 22nd. In August, the Eurodam will visit Haifa in Israel and Nafplio, Mykonos and Rhodes in Greece on the Ancient Wonders itinerary. Both options can be combined for a 14-day round trip. The seven-day Adriatic Allure itinerary departs on the 5th. September from Piraeus to Venice, Italy, with stops in Mykonos, Katakolon (Olympia) and Crete (Chania), Greece, and Sarande, Albania.

Holland America said more Mediterranean cruises aboard the Eurodam will be announced in the coming weeks through the fall and will include ports in Italy and Greece.

Line said she was still working out the details with the Italian government, but expected specific details about the flight to be revealed soon. Antorcha said his brand has benefited from its relationship with Costa Group and that flights in September will be delayed by several months to give the company time to complete preparations.

The Eurodam will return to the United States in mid-November and begin published cruises in the Caribbean.

Everyone at Holland America Line has been preparing for our return to service, and we are grateful to the Greek government for allowing us to demonstrate that we can safely operate our cruises, Antorcha said. The beautiful islands of Greece have been the highlight of our Mediterranean itineraries for decades, and we are honored to have the opportunity to depart from Athens after so many years without a cruise, and offer our guests an unforgettable vacation.

Harry Theoharis, Greece’s tourism minister, added: The Greek islands have been home to Holland America Line ships for years, and we are proud to join forces to welcome the cruise line back this summer.

Holland America Line says it will continue to offer the brand’s signature onboard amenities. Meals are available in all restaurants and specialty restaurants, as well as room service. Entertainment is in full swing in the main lobby, with live music on the Lincoln Center stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club, Billboard Onboard (as pictured below on the Koningsdam) and the Rolling Stone Rock Room.

Guests can also participate in port-to-table cooking demonstrations, EXC Talks and other events. To bridge the physical distance, Holland America will add extra shows to the program if necessary.

Travel regulations and protocols

Due to Greek government and public health policies, only guests who have received the last dose of the approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before the start of the cruise and can provide proof of vaccination will be allowed to board and participate in the cruise.

As for the crew members, Antorcha said: We want everyone to be vaccinated before August [on Eurodam].

At the same time, he stressed that the shipping company follows the approach of a ship – a geography and adheres to the rules of each region in which a ship sails. These rules are subject to change, and the rules regarding other ships and the need to vaccinate passengers may change when the company resumes operations in other areas. Holland America Line guests are required to follow all health and safety protocols in effect at the time of departure for travel to and from the ship, as well as all onboard protocols and procedures during port visits.

Asked if the industry’s standard safety philosophy will apply to excursions or stays on land in Greece, Antorcha replied that the details have yet to be agreed and that requirements vary from port to port.

Holland America Line’s Travel Well program will include additional preventive health measures, including health screenings, face mask requirements, physical distance and capacity checks. The ships now have improved environmental health and air filtration through enhanced HVAC systems and ultraviolet technology. HEPA filters are used in key areas as an additional protective measure. In addition, medical centers will be equipped with research and treatment facilities for COVID-19. Holland America Line said the protocols can be changed as they continue to work with medical experts and government agencies.

The company said attractive airfares from various domestic and international ports will be available through Holland America Line’s FlightEase program.

Flexible cancellation policies, including COVID-19 protection, are available under the Book with Confidence program for bookings made before June 30, 2021 for flights through June 31, 2021. December 2021 offered. Cruise Line’s cancellation protection plan also allows you to cancel your reservation 24 hours in advance.

For more information, see www.hollandamerica.com.

HAL will enhance distribution programs, sales and digital marketing.

MSC Cruises is beginning to vaccinate its entire fleet.

UnCruise is starting the Alaska season early by transferring customers from Seattle.

NCLH allocates $10 million to support Alaskan port communities

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