Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
vinob

SANTORINI - DIDN'T DO THE HOMEWORK.

Recommended Posts

We have booked a greek isles cruise as have always wanted to see Santorini, I'm beginning to wonder if we're just going to see it from the top deck of the ship.

Can those who have visited Santorini on a cruise give me their views.

 

There will be at least 4 ships+ in Santorini on same day and I reckon at double occupancy that's around 9,000 passengers.  It appears the cable car handles 1200 passengers per hour, so assuming that's 600 each way per hour.  I've read about the horrendously long Q's for the cable car, but we don't want to use the mules and with arthritis in the hips the walk up and down the steps is out of the question.   We could do the ships tour but you are still left in Fira to make your own way back down the cable car,  just worried about been stuck in long Q's and missing the ship.   Can past cruise passengers share they experiences.  Any help greatly appreciated. Many thanks Viv.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firstly, it would help to know which day you are in port as timings of each ship can greatly impact on the experience.

 

Take a look at this thread - and particularly my response at #14 to see an alternative way to get to Oia without having to ascend and without paying for an overpriced ship's excursion.

 

However, whichever way you do it, you will always have to descend from Fira but depending on what time other ships are in port you may be able to find a time when the line is short - or even non-existent as it was for us on a recent visit to Santorini

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did the boat ferry to Oia with a return to Fira for 15€ Per person last October.

 

We caught the first tender off the Celebrity Eclipse and purchased our Ferry / bus tickets on the small dock area by the cable car station. We were in Oia by 8:30. We walked around and took plenty of photos. We were shopped out after a full day of shopping on Mykonos so we caught the 11 am bus to Fira. We walked around Fira for a short time and caught the empty cable car back to the dock. No line at all. We ate lunch on the ship and enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing at the pool overlooking Santorini. 

 

There was only two ships in port that day (Eclipse and a small Costa cruise ships). I was surprised on how many people were in Oia and Fira. Oia got crowded around 10am. So I can see how that cable car line can be large. So we made Oia a stress free destination by getting there early and leaving early. 

 

We ate dinner that night with a couple who had been to Santorini many times. They said they always walk down the donkey path thus avoiding the cable car,  They said they love that 15-20 walk down. So if you are ok walking, the donkey path is always an option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I heard from our tour operator they cap total cruise visitors at 8K.  On the day we were in port there where three cruise ships, while walking around OIA / Fira you could almost smell the cruisers ( actually so many of us wore the little cruise stickers,  LOL )

 

You could clearly see the ebb and flow, we had a later sailing and was the last ship leaving, was it evening or simply all the cruisers from the other two ships leaving, but by the end of the day the place was getting cleared out. 

 

The cable car runs pretty fast, but the line was indeed long and we waited about 45' to get down.   We saw many take the walk down, as horrible as it sounded it really didn't look that bad, but I could imagine on a "wet" day donkeys/mules and rain wouldn't be pretty.

 

The realistic option would be to secure a ship tour or a ferry to the main port, but the port was another nightmare, when we final landed their the traffic of bus and vans were backed up all the way to the top.  Luckily with our ship tour the vans/busses were already all at the bottom and only had to wait to get up, much faster than if your ride/shuttle was stuck coming down.

 

Good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, chipmaster said:

I heard from our tour operator they cap total cruise visitors at 8K. 

 

There was talk that they were going to cap the total visitors but so far nothing seems to have been done about this. We are due into Santorini in September and we've calculated there will be around 11K cruise visitors on the day we're in. We'll be staying on the ship.

 

Edited by Bobal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ques for the cable car are massive - 45 mins isn't an unusual wait.  I've seen waits up to 2 hours.   I'm in the odd position that I can walk but I can't stand still for long.  I simply could not stand in a queue for more than about 20 minutes without being in excruciating pain. (Or fainting..) But because I can walk - the rhythmic shifting of weight from side to side isn't as painful - we just walk down.  If I couldn't make the walk I wouldn't personally go up at all.  I would get too nervous about missing the ship.  But if you look at the ship departure times you might find you can time it for just after the departure rush for the departure before yours.

 

And thank you for not even considering the donkey's / mules.  The treatment they suffer is appalling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Bobal said:

 

There was talk that they were going to cap the total visitors but so far nothing seems to have been done about this. We are due into Santorini in September and we've calculated there will be around 11K cruise visitors on the day we're in. We'll be staying on the ship.

 

I've seen the same information, we are due there later this year too, 4 ships showing at present for day we are there, I reckon they total 10K+ passengers, fortunately one of them is not due til 11am, so at least we'll hopefully get a head start.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, GastroGnome said:

The ques for the cable car are massive - 45 mins isn't an unusual wait.  I've seen waits up to 2 hours.   I'm in the odd position that I can walk but I can't stand still for long.  I simply could not stand in a queue for more than about 20 minutes without being in excruciating pain. (Or fainting..) But because I can walk - the rhythmic shifting of weight from side to side isn't as painful - we just walk down.  If I couldn't make the walk I wouldn't personally go up at all.  I would get too nervous about missing the ship.  But if you look at the ship departure times you might find you can time it for just after the departure rush for the departure before yours.

 

And thank you for not even considering the donkey's / mules.  The treatment they suffer is appalling.

Totally understand re standing still for hours.  I'm the same worrying about missing the ship, I checked out ships tour, but they still leave you in Fira at the end of the tour with a ticket for the cable car to make your way down at your leisure, in other words if you don't manage to get down in time they have no obligation to wait for you even although it was a ships tour you booked.  I think for those going to walk it, they will need flat shoes with a good grip as others on CC have talked about nearly slipping in the wet donkey poo on the steps, not to mention the flies.  Some of the images of the Fira steps show the old donkey poo piled up at the side of the steps.  They should stop using the donkeys it would save their poor backs and legs and the bonus would be that the steps would be free of donkey poo, thus making a more pleasant walk for those who don't like using the cable car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The whole Santorini is indeed the sad state of the everyone having their bucket list of things to see/experience and photography ( LOL ) like everyone else we made the trek in to get that iconic picture of the white building and blue church domes, so did every other cruiser ( a good WSJ article about https://www.wsj.com/articles/instagram-turns-obscure-u-s-sights-into-social-media-destinations-11562410801 )

 

The line indeed snakes around, exposed in sun if you are doing in mid-summer and few places for those that can't stand for 45' or longer to cool their legs/back, so be prepared for that crazy situation.   For such a popular place only two ways to cruise of course is the cable car, or the bus ride to the main port and another longer tender, in some ways the beauty and isolation is what makes it a bucket list thing.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So far there are only 2 ships in port our day. I’m hoping the crowds will be more  manageable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does not say when you are going.....if it is the summer, yes you will be waiting a while in lines....and with that many ships in port, it will still take awhile....probably not the answer you wanted!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/9/2019 at 8:51 AM, shipster60 said:

So far there are only 2 ships in port our day. I’m hoping the crowds will be more  manageable.

 

Don't forget not only the number of ships but how many passengers on the ships, could be two mega ships with 3K+ , also remember that as to crowds there are those tourist that are staying on the island and come by ferry or air.  It is true that by 5pm on our day the crowds thinned out as both the land tourist and ships tourist returned to their nests.   

 

From what I remembered even with 4 ships their arrival and sailing are different as that is simple logistics of the ferry port, but there will be crowds there is no way about it!  It's Santorini, the same reason you want to visit and take pictures and take the scene in is the same reason the rest of the world wants to go there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are there restaurants and/or bars below where you don't need to take a cable car up or down?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Patrice1, on Singalots video that she posted a few days ago, it shows the guy doing the video sitting at a dockside cafe waiting for the tender back, but I think there will only be one or two cafes as the dockside doesn't appear to be very big.  When Jewel of the Seas visits Santorini on this cruise, it shows 4 ships in port that day, 3 coming in early and one at 11am.  I estimate that if each ship was just working on double occupancy there will be approx 9K passengers.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, patrice1 said:

Are there restaurants and/or bars below where you don't need to take a cable car up or down?

 

You don't want to do that there were a couple cafe's but I'd not call that a great experience at sea level, while the cliffs look grand from the ship at the base less so.

 

Plan 45' waiting and enjoy a good drink/meal at the top is my recommendation.  Don't go all the way there and sell yourself short.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/17/2019 at 5:02 PM, patrice1 said:

Are there restaurants and/or bars below where you don't need to take a cable car up or down?

Very few, and they're pretty awful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/18/2019 at 10:12 AM, chipmaster said:

 

You don't want to do that there were a couple cafe's but I'd not call that a great experience at sea level, while the cliffs look grand from the ship at the base less so.

 

Plan 45' waiting and enjoy a good drink/meal at the top is my recommendation.  Don't go all the way there and sell yourself short.

How is the view from the ship for sunset? Our room is on the 16th floor of the ship. Is it just as beautiful or should I plan on fighting the crowds?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, suprmom28 said:

How is the view from the ship for sunset? Our room is on the 16th floor of the ship. Is it just as beautiful or should I plan on fighting the crowds?

 

 

 Sunset is into the Ocean when we were there so the cliffs will be bathed in falling light, here is how it looked as we were there in the morning, YMMV

 

i would say / suggest to endure the crowds to see the wonderful views and experience.  Of course you can just enjoy the ship, download a few pictures online and say how wonderful, better yet do a staycation and save more with no fighting at all (take the last thought totally tongue in cheek  😋)

 

for prospective how it can look from up top, brave the crowds!

0E652D69-47C2-472A-8CD3-657865045B52.jpeg

1D14CA1A-C918-4272-8E11-17CF2D32CADC.jpeg

Edited by chipmaster

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, chipmaster said:

 

 

 Sunset is into the Ocean when we were there so the cliffs will be bathed in falling light, here is how it looked as we were there in the morning, YMMV

 

i would say / suggest to endure the crowds to see the wonderful views and experience.  Of course you can just enjoy the ship, download a few pictures online and say how wonderful, better yet do a staycation and save more with no fighting at all (take the last thought totally tongue in cheek  😋)

 

for prospective how it can look from up top, brave the crowds!

0E652D69-47C2-472A-8CD3-657865045B52.jpeg

1D14CA1A-C918-4272-8E11-17CF2D32CADC.jpeg

 

51 minutes ago, chipmaster said:

 

 

 Sunset is into the Ocean when we were there so the cliffs will be bathed in falling light, here is how it looked as we were there in the morning, YMMV

 

i would say / suggest to endure the crowds to see the wonderful views and experience.  Of course you can just enjoy the ship, download a few pictures online and say how wonderful, better yet do a staycation and save more with no fighting at all (take the last thought totally tongue in cheek  😋)

 

for prospective how it can look from up top, brave the crowds!

0E652D69-47C2-472A-8CD3-657865045B52.jpeg

1D14CA1A-C918-4272-8E11-17CF2D32CADC.jpeg

Looks absolutely wonderful, hope we get good weather in October.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To OP: not sure if this reply is too late already, but thought I'd share our recent experience with you.  We were the sole cruise ship in port in mid-July and there were line-ups abound for both the cable car to/from Fira and the public bus to/from Oia once it got later in the day.  That being said, Santorini was beautiful to see and experience.  It would be a shame to miss it.  Without knowing what time you arrive into port relative to the other ships, your best bet may be to join a ship tour.  You had expressed concerns that on the tour you'd still be faced with a long line at the cable car down.  That may be the case but you can take the walk down.  Be mindful as it is slippery, but we found it was so due to the nature and erosion of the steps and not the donkey poo.  Be sure to wear grippy shoes and just go slow, hold the rails and enjoy the view!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, chipmaster said:

A good read on Santorini, a bucket list gets bigger and bigger

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/world/europe/greece-santorini-wedding-photography-chinese-couples.html

 

interesting read - thanks for sharing. I loved Santorini and had been on our bucket list for years but this article outlines DH's sentiments as to why he didn't love the island as much as he thought it would.  In his words, the Instagrammers spoiled it for him. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope the OP doesn't mind me tagging on to this topic but there seem to be several on this thread with experience in Santorini. I'm confused about the different ports. If you book the ship's excursion, do they drop you off at a different port? Do you still need to take the cable car up? If you have booked a private tour, will they drop you off at the same port, or do you have to exit at the old port and take the cable car/ferry? Do you have to wait for all the ship excursion passengers to get off before anyone else can take the tender? Thanks to anyone that can clear this up for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, shipster60 said:

I hope the OP doesn't mind me tagging on to this topic but there seem to be several on this thread with experience in Santorini. I'm confused about the different ports. If you book the ship's excursion, do they drop you off at a different port? Do you still need to take the cable car up? If you have booked a private tour, will they drop you off at the same port, or do you have to exit at the old port and take the cable car/ferry? Do you have to wait for all the ship excursion passengers to get off before anyone else can take the tender? Thanks to anyone that can clear this up for me.

 

The ship will stop first at the place where ship tours are tendered off the ship.  Only those on ship tours can disembark here. They will get on buses and will not be using the cable car/steps at the second stop. Then the ship will move to a different location and will begin tendering off other passengers. (Those not taking ship tours -- possibly also some who are doing a ship tour of Thira only?)

 

I am not sure about all private tours. You should discuss with the tour provider. Some ask you to meet them at the top of the cliff in Thira. If you are headed elsewhere on the island, your private tour guide may want to meet you where the tenders drop off at the bottom of Thira to board another boat that will take you around to wherever you are headed.

 

Edited by cruisemom42
clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

The ship will stop first at the place where ship tours are tendered off the ship.  Only those on ship tours can disembark here. They will get on buses and will not be using the cable car/steps at the second stop. Then the ship will move to a different location and will begin tendering off other passengers. (Those not taking ship tours -- possibly also some who are doing a ship tour of Thira only?)

 

I am not sure about all private tours. You should discuss with the tour provider. Some ask you to meet them at the top of the cliff in Thira. If you are headed elsewhere on the island, your private tour guide may want to meet you where the tenders drop off at the bottom of Thira to board another boat that will take you around to wherever you are headed.

 

Thank you so much. That's the answer I was looking for. When I read "only those with booked tours" would be dropped off at the first port, I didn't know if that meant only ship tours, or anyone who had already booked a tour, including private ones. I'm trying to decide if I should just book the ship's tour so we can get off earlier. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards
      • Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo invites you to #CrewUpWithWomen
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...