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At least 4,000 cruise passengers were notified that their upcoming cruise will be facing some itinerary changes.

Sun Princess is cancelling a cruise port in Greece, changing to a new destination. Photo Credit: Cruise Fever

Princess Cruises ship, Sun Princess, is canceling a visit to Santorini, Greece on a cruise scheduled in June of this year.  The original date for visiting the popular port was June 11, 2024.

According to news reports, the cruise line sent an email notification to impacted guests, citing overcrowding and congestion as the reason for the change.

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

A New Port to Replace Santorini

The port of call at Santorini will be replaced with a visit to Chania, a city located in the northwestern region of Crete with a population around 54,000.  Santorini’s population is estimated to be around 15,000 residents.

Chania is known for its Venetian harbor that was built during the 1500’s.  Cruise travelers will have the chance to explore some of the best beaches in Crete and explore some Roman history that is embedded in this quaint cruise port.

Cause of Congestion

According to Cruisemapper there are four other cruise ships scheduled to dock in Santorini on June 11.  These ships include:

Star Clipper
Costa Fascinosa
MSC Divina
Odyssey of the Seas

While Star Clipper is a smaller vessel with only 170 passengers, the other ships combine for a passenger total that rivals the population of Santorini.

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At double capacity the total passenger count of these four ships is about 11,727.  If Sun Princess were to call on this port that would put the passenger count at 16,000+, more than the population of Santorini.

Itinerary changes often happen when ships have not confirmed plans until later dates and by that time other ships have to rearrange their schedule.

While cruise ports like Santorini partially rely on tourism, overcrowding can negatively impact the port’s infrastructure and flow of traffic.  In short, with so many cruisers visiting a small port at once the result can be chaotic, frustrating both tourists and locals.

According to Greek Reporter the process of passengers getting of the ships in Santorini can take up to 3 hours.   Many visitors are usually scheduled on excursions to see Oia, a quant picturesque village 30 minutes away from the port.

And while the village is free to see, tour operators make money by transporting guests back and forth, causing congestion on the roads during peak season.

Read more: Skipping port: 8 reasons your cruise ship might change the itinerary

Sun Princess

Cruise Fever recently had the chance to sail on Sun Princess, the cruise line’s newest in the fleet of 16 ships.

The new Sphere-class ship is 177,882 gross tons, has a length of 1,133 feet, and at double capacity can carry 4,314 guests.

Sun Princess is the first LNG-powered ship for Princess and is the largest ship commissioned for the cruise line.  Sister ship, Star Princess, is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

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