Are you planning to visit Santorini on a cruise ship?

It’s going to be fun!

Just make sure you know everything about traveling and getting around on a cruise ship in Santorini for a pleasant experience. Traveling on a huge cruise ship can be great but it also means that you probably have a limited time for exploring the island – and if you don’t have any idea of what to do and what to avoid, you can get confused.

Here’s the ultimate travel guide to make sure your trip to Santorini on a cruise ship is the best and smoothest trip ever!

Important Things to Know

  • Santorini has two ports; Athinios Port and the Old Port of Fira. Both the ports are too small for the cruise ships to be docked directly. Hence, you’ll have to rely on a ship’s tender to reach the ports.
  • Generally, the cruise ship itineraries in Santorini drop some passengers off at Athinios and the others at the Old Port of Fira. Passengers who arrive at Athinios Port are supposed to book a bus tour via the cruise ship company. These tours are usually packed with many people and hence, we don’t recommend them.
  • If you don’t book a bus tour via the cruise ship company, you’ll be dropped off at the Old Port of Fira.
  • All cruise ships depart from the Old Port. Even the passengers who have booked the bus tour via their cruise ship company have to reach the Old Port to take the ship tender to get on the cruise ship.

How to Get to Fira from Old Port or Vice Versa

The easiest and most common way to reach the Old Port is by a cable car. It takes only three minutes. On the other hand, if you’re feeling adventurous and decide to walk to the port, it’ll be 587 steps. Local donkey ride is another easy way to get there.

Important note: Please note that Gialos, the Old Port is nestled at the foot of a rocky cliff below Fira. If you decide to go by a cable car or on a donkey, you’ll have to pay 6€ per side of the ride.

Where is the Meeting Point if You Book a Private Tour?

For private bus tours, the meeting point is at the top of the cable car. Once you reach the Old Port of Fira, you’ll have to take a cable car to go to the top. Depending on your tour organizer, you may find a guide waiting for you on the top with a sign that has your name or the company name on it.

For private cruise tours, the meeting point could be either at the top of the cable car or Old Port. If it’s the latter, the cruise will start there. Otherwise, you’ll have to meet the tour guide at the top of the cable car who’ll pick you up and drop you at the start port of the private cruise.

Typically, a private cruise in Santorini starts from Ammoudi Port or Vlychada Port while the drop off may be the Old Port of Fira. It’s best to book a cruise and request the organizer to arrange either the meeting point or the drop off location at the Old Port. This will allow you to witness the breathtaking views of Santorini from Caldera while helping you save some precious time by eliminating the need for arranging transportation.

An ideal itinerary is:
Old Port > cable car > port of the private cruise by a shuttle > private cruise experience > drop off at Old Port on yacht
Pickup from Old port on a yacht > private cruise experience > Fira via shuttle service > Old Port via cable car > cruise ship on a ship tender
Get in touch with us to find out about the availability of a private cruise that has its meeting point or drop-off at the Old Port.

Will You Have Time to Enjoy a Boat Tour if You Visit Santorini on a Cruise Ship?

A simple answer to this question is that it depends on the time you’re going to spend in Santorini.

If you decide to book a volcano tour that is supposed to depart from the Old Port, the arrival time of your cruise ship must be at least an hour before the departure time of the tour. Moreover, the departure time of the cruise ship must be an hour after the end time of the tour. For example, if the tour starts at 11:00 AM and finishes at 14:00, your cruise ship must arrive at 10:00 AM and depart from Santorini at 15:00.

On the other hand, if you book a catamaran cruise or a private yacht cruise, the departure port will be Ammoudi or Vlychada Port. In this case, your cruise ship must arrive at least a couple of hours before the cruise tour starts because usually, the pickup is on the nearest road just a few meters away from the cable car. You’ll need approximately one hour to reach there and another hour to reach the port through the shuttle service. The time to depart, however, should be 2.5 hours after the tour ends. This is because you’ll need an hour to reach the cable car from the port and chances are that you’ll find a long queue of passengers waiting for the cable car. You might have to wait for half an hour or so before you get a seat. Please note that the last ship’s tender departs an hour before the cruise ship’s departure time.

Recommended: It’s always best to book a private cruise in Santorini for a smooth, hassle-free experience. You can contact us and tell us about your specific requirements. We’ll be more than happy to adjust the start and end time of the private cruise tour and even change the departure port for you! Get in touch with us today to ensure a pleasant private cruise tour in Santorini.

Best Things to Do for Cruise Ship Passengers

Book a Private Bus Tour

It is best for cruise ship passengers to book a private bus tour for seeing the top sights in Santorini. Not only will it help you save money but also your time.

Have the Time of Your Life on a Private Cruise

If you are a sea lover, booking a private cruise is a must! The beauty that lies in the crystalline waters of the island cannot be described in words!

We can arrange accommodation to pick up and drop you off at Old Port of Fira where the cruise ship departs.

Admire the View of the Caldera

Before taking the cable car to Old Port, don’t forget to stop by to explore Caldera and admire the breathtaking views it offers.

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