Princess Cruises Ship Cancels Port Visits Due to Congestion

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Princess Cruises has reached out to guests on multiple upcoming sailings for the new Sun Princess to alert them to an itinerary change.

Rather than visiting Santorini as scheduled, the ship will be visiting an alternative port of call. While this switch may be disappointing to some travelers, it can actually lead to a better overall experience for a more fulfilling visit.

Sun Princess Itinerary Changes

Guests booked on several upcoming sailings of Princess Cruises’ new Sun Princess have been notified of an itinerary change, that they will not be visiting Santorini, Greece, as originally planned.

“Please note that there is a change to our scheduled itinerary. Due to cruise ship congestion, we will no longer call to Santorini Greece,” the notification email said. “We apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment this change may cause.”

For some sailings, the email goes on to explain that the ship will instead visit Chania, Greece as an alternative, though the port times have been adjusted slightly. The reason given for these changes is “cruise ship congestion,” which would indicate a very crowded and less enjoyable experience for visitors.

For example, Sun Princess was originally scheduled to visit Santorini on June 11, 2024. On that date, four other ships are also scheduled for the port – Star Clipper, Costa Fascinosa, MSC Divina, and Odyssey of the Seas.

When combined with Sun Princess‘ capacity of 4,300 guests, this could mean more than 17,000 cruise travelers visiting the island in a single day. Santorini itself only has a resident population of roughly 15,500.

Sun Princess at Sea
Sun Princess at Sea

Chania on the island of Crete, however, only has one other ship – Azamara Pursuit – scheduled for June 11, 2024. This means the community with a population of 111,000 will have a total of roughly 5,000 cruise guests with Sun Princess‘ arrival.

Smaller crowds mean cruise visitors can have their pick of shore excursions without worry that tour operators will be quickly booked, and there will be more opportunities to enjoy the local sites, attractions, restaurants, and more without feeling overcrowded.

When cruise guests have an unpleasant port experience, they may blame the cruise line for the crowds, but such an itinerary change can alleviate that issue and ensure a more enjoyable port day for all travelers.

Why Such Changes for the Sun Princess?

Some travelers question why an itinerary may be originally planned only to be changed just weeks before sailing, when cruise lines may have known all along what ships are scheduled for a port on what date.

Read Also: Godmother Named for Sun Princess

While cruise lines do plan itineraries far in advance, not every cruise line confirms visits at the same time. It may be that when Sun Princess was originally scheduled for the now-impacted itineraries, fewer ships were confirmed for Santorini.

As schedules are tweaked, however, cruise lines can reconsider ports of call and make adjustments to ensure the best possible experiences for their guests.

Cruise Ships Visiting Santorini, Greece.
Cruise Ships Visiting Santorini, Greece. (Photo Credit: LouieLea / Shutterstock)

Other factors could also be part of such itinerary change decisions. Pier or cruise terminal maintenance or repairs, shifting availability of local tours, changes in the local economy, and other considerations could affect itinerary changes. Even things like roadwork that will cancel popular shore tours could be a part of such adjustments.

When an itinerary is changed, cruise lines seek to give travelers as much notice as possible so they can adjust their travel plans if preferred. It must be noted, however, that guests are not due any compensation for these type of itinerary changes.

Princess Cruises’ Passage Contract, Section 8, specifically states that the cruise line “may, for any reason, without prior notice, cancel the cruise; deviate from the scheduled ports of call, route and timetable; call or omit to call at any port or place or cancel or modify any activity on or off the vessel.”

Only if these changes are due to a mechanical failure are guests entitled to any type of compensation. As this is not the case with Sun Princess, travelers should no expect onboard credit or refunds due to missing Santorini, or if any other itinerary changes are made.

Sun Princess debuted in late February, and has already had several itinerary changes. In fact, the ship did not visit Santorini on her maiden voyage as planned, though that deviation was due to maintenance on the Santorini Cable Car rather than ship congestion.

The 175,500-gross-ton ship will remain sailing the Mediterranean through mid-September before making her first transatlantic crossing that will bring her to Fort Lauderdale, where she will homeport through March 2025 with a variety of Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

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