Holland America sets a restart date for cruises

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The Eurodam will offer four seven-day intineraries from Athens starting Aug. 15. Holland America hopes to add Italy cruises on the ship in the fall.
The Eurodam will offer four seven-day intineraries from Athens starting Aug. 15. Holland America hopes to add Italy cruises on the ship in the fall.

Holland America Line became the latest cruise brand to plan its restart from Greece this summer, with cruises on the Eurodam starting Aug. 15.

The line also plans to offer cruises to and from Italy in the fall aboard the ship. Holland America will require all Eurodam passengers to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The ship will launch from Athens with four seven-day itineraries. Two Idyllic Greek Isles sailings will visit the islands as well as Kotor, Montenegro; the Ancient Wonders cruise will visit Haifa, Israel, as well as Nafplion, Mykonos and Rhodes in Greece; while the Adriatic Allure itinerary departing Sept. 5 will sail from Piraeus to Venice, calling at Mykonos, Katakolon (Olympia) and Crete (Chania), Greece, and Sarand, Albania.

The Eurodam's additional fall cruises will be announced in the coming weeks and include ports in Italy and Greece. The ship will then return to the U.S. to begin sailing its published Caribbean cruises in mid-November.

Bookings for the cruises open May 6.

Gus Antorcha
Gus Antorcha

"We're back, we're back," said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line, during a press call.

Some details of the sailings need to be ironed out, he said, such as whether or not the ship will require "bubble excursions."

"I'd like guests to be able to get off the tender in Santorini and just walk around and have lunch," he said. "I think that's generally what everybody wants. The requirements may vary by port."

Holland America was able to plan on launching cruises from Italy by leveraging the relationships its Italian sister line, Costa Cruises, has there.

As to why the Eurodam was chosen for its relaunch, Antorcha said it is because the ship is in Europe.

"As we return to service, we may have these tweaks," he said. "We have to be practical as to where the ship is located."

Antorcha said the first cruise would likely sail at 50% capacity and would work its way up to the 80% range fairly quickly due to the ship's vaccine mandate. He said the vaccine requirement only applied to the Eurodam's Europe itineraries and was not a fleetwide policy.

"It will be very specific and dependent on the discussions with government in other geographies and what's happening in the world," Antorcha said. "We'll take it one ship, one geography at a time."

Antorcha said the Eurodam restart does not impact any possible restart in others places, such as Alaska, if policy changes in those destinations.

"Don't draw the implication that we would not open another ship up before then," he said. "That's what we're aiming for in Alaska. Our intent is to try and sail in July, which is what the CDC communicated a few weeks ago."

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