(6 p.m. EDT) -- On Thursday, Greek workers filled the streets of Athens for the second time this month to protest the government's proposed budget cuts, prompting two cruise lines to alter scheduled itineraries calling on Piraeus, the gateway port for the Greek capital.
The earlier protest, which took place on May 5, actually turned violent and resulted in the deaths of three bank workers. With authorities fully expecting a similar scene during yesterday's 24-hour demonstration, both MSC Cruises and Princess Cruises canceled calls.
MSC Musica and MSC Armonia did not call in the port of Piraeus but were redirected to Nafplion and Mykonos, respectively.
Additionally, Ruby Princess forewent its call in the port. According to a statement released by the cruise line, the ship's call in Venice was extended because there was not another port nearby that could accommodate its capacity. Princess also noted that many shops, attractions and local transportation were not open for business.
A representative from Crystal Cruises noted that, although Crystal Serenity ended a cruise in Piraeus on May 18, the cruise itself was not affected. Some passengers chose to cancel their post-cruise packages in Athens, while others chose to stay on in the city.
Fortunately, the demonstration was relatively peaceful and did not lead to any violence.
Although there are no known plans for continued protests, representatives from MSC, Princess, Crystal and a number of other cruise lines including, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea Cruises, Windstar Cruises and the Yachts of Seabourn -- all of which make regular calls to the area -- maintain that they are keeping close tabs on the situation. Royal Caribbean also has calls to Piraeus scheduled in the near future but did not respond to our request for comment by press time.
As of now, these lines have no plans to alter upcoming itineraries, but we'll keep you posted.
--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer
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Two Cruise Ships Skip Athens Due to Protests
May 21, 2010