Jump to content

Santorini Excursions


Jap724
 Share

Recommended Posts

Perhaps ask this in the roll call threads for your particular sailing date?  You can also get info in the port of call threads.  Let people know what activities you like so they can provide appropriate responses.

 

When we cruised the Greek Isles we used ship excursions only, but that was just for our piece of mind.  Santorini is a wonderful isle to experience however you decide to do it!

Edited by evandbob
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Jap724 said:

Hi,

 

I will be in Santorini in July 2020, On a Royal Caribbean Cruise. Is it better to book a cruise excursion, or venture out. Can someone please help with the planning of this.  

if you do a bit of reading on the sub forum for 'Greece Ports' you will find a lot of relevant information.

here: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/463-greece-ports/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember that Santorini is a tender port, so a ship's tour will have priority for tenders.

Private tours are good and many are mentioned in the thread mentioned above.

If you take a private tour then it will be necessary to ascend to the upper level where the tours meet.  This needs to be done by cable car, donkey ride or walking the poop covered walkway up from sea level to the town.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, evandbob said:

Santorini is a wonderful isle to experience however you decide to do it!

Whereas we found it so overcrowded that we would never go back.  Other islands, yes; Santorni, no.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, VMax1700 said:

Remember that Santorini is a tender port, so a ship's tour will have priority for tenders.

Private tours are good and many are mentioned in the thread mentioned above.

If you take a private tour then it will be necessary to ascend to the upper level where the tours meet.  This needs to be done by cable car, donkey ride or walking the poop covered walkway up from sea level to the town.

 

On Santorini I think priority for tenders is rather different for most cruise lines - incl RCI with whom we sailed there. 

 

Tenders are either a mix of ship's and local operators' or all local operators', and they go to two different points on Santorini - ship's tours are tendered down the coast to the little ferry harbour at Athinios where they transfer to tour buses, independents are tendered to a little pier at the foot of the cliffs under Fira as per VMax's post.

Because of the two tender arrangements we independents didn't have to wait until ship's tour groups had gone, we disembarked at the same time.

From that tender pier under Fira you can go up the cliff by cablecar. or by donkey up the zig-zag path (only the super-fit would walk up). The "donkeys" are actually mules, so capable of carrying the weight of most folk, but I'll not get embroiled in any argument about cruelty.

 

Image result for Santorini zig-zag path

 

Or to avoid going up the cliff from that tender pier you can take a ferry to the little harbour at Oia, a few miles up the coast, where a local bus up to the village is included in the fare..

 

So ships' excursion passengers score over independents on the transfers to Santorini.

But the big problem is the return to the ship.

Most cruise line tours end at Fira & passengers have to make their own way down to the tender pier at the foot of the cliff, same as everyone else (no priorities).

Add to that there's no ferry from Oia back to that pier.

Add to that other ships visiting from the same tender pier and the line to go down on the cablecar can be ridiculous - sometimes literally hours. :classic_ohmy:

 

If you're tolerably fit you can skip the cablecar line & walk down the zig-zag path. 

Takes about 25 minutes - the slopes & steps aren't steep, & there's a waist-high wall. Yes, there's no shortage of donkey-poo but by that time of day there a very few donkeys (going down by donkey is a little hazardous) and in dry weather it's"only"( :classic_wink: ) dry poo-dust. Some stones are smooth & slippery (slippery cos they're smooth, nothing to do with donkeys) but they're obvious.

 

If you learn that there'll be half-a-dozen ships in on the same day, don't panic.

Check their arrival times and especially their departure times -  cruise lines & captains are aware of the problem and do their best to avoid clashes = some are in just for the morning, some til around 5 - 6 pm, some til 9pm.

If they're all scheduled to leave at the same time, feel free to panic. :classic_biggrin:

 

Bear in mind that "last tender time" is the time that you have to be at the tender pier, not the time you have to be back on the ship. If the line at the tender pier is still there at last-tender-time the tenders will continue to operate until they've mopped-up the line.

 

Last summer Celebrity were experimenting with bringing back their ships' tours via the harbour at Athinios, same as the outbound.

That makes a whole lot of sense !!!!!

It might be worth checking if RCI plan to follow suit. 

 

The real "crowding" problem on Santorini is from tender pier to Fira, and especially from Fira back down to the tender pier.

Yes, it also gets crowded in Fira itself, Oia etc too, but I've seen a lot worse elsewhere in the world.

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

 

Edited by John Bull
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I cannot tell you which might be better, but will share our experience.   When we went this past spring it was on an RCI excursion which left in the morning.  Like JB explained, it was tender in, catch a bus to Oia where we were given a sufficient amount of time to see the place, visit various establishments, and take the mandatory pic's.   Then back to the same bus for a drop off in Fira.  From there we were on our own to get back down to the tender place below Fira.  

 

There were no crowds at Oia.  The place was literally wide open.   There were a pretty good number of people in Fira but not like super crowded.  We walked right on to the cable car down.  I think we were one of two cruise ships that day.  I suspect that the morning tour as well as it being early spring had something to do with the lack of crowds.  After hearing all of the horror stories we were very pleased with the experience.   

 

So, I guess my only advice might be to go as early in the morning as you can to stay ahead of the crowds and fingers crossed.

 

Enjoy!   

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, clo said:

Whereas we found it so overcrowded that we would never go back.  Other islands, yes; Santorni, no.

 

We were there with 220 passengers, only ship in port until an hour before we were leaving when a couple of mega-loaders heaved into the caldera.  No crowds at all until they showed up.

 

To the OP--We took the aerial up and walked a few blocks to the bus depot. A couple Euro each for a r/t ticket got us to Oia and back on the public bus.  It runs in a circle around the island, so we got to see quite a bit in each direction.

 

You can also walk the footpath to Oia if that is of interest.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, ducklite said:

 

We were there with 220 passengers, only ship in port until an hour before we were leaving when a couple of mega-loaders heaved into the caldera.  No crowds at all until they showed up.

 

To the OP--We took the aerial up and walked a few blocks to the bus depot. A couple Euro each for a r/t ticket got us to Oia and back on the public bus.  It runs in a circle around the island, so we got to see quite a bit in each direction.

 

You can also walk the footpath to Oia if that is of interest.

We came on the ferry and IIRC there was one cruise ship in port.  This was in the spring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, clo said:

We came on the ferry and IIRC there was one cruise ship in port.  This was in the spring.

 

I could see if the cruise ship in port was huge.  We were on a small ship. We were there in late May / early June.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First time was on Marco Polo in 1996 — only ship in, but the 800 passengers pretty much overwhelmed. I went back by ferry a few years later and spent two nights - and found it best to just hunker down during cruise passenger hours. 

 

 Because of tendering, you probably should take ships tour - priority tendering will give you a lot more time on Island.  I see that on July 16 there will be two Royal Caribbean ships and an MSC - possibly others - that 7,000+ load will mob things.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Jap724 said:

Hi,

 

I will be in Santorini in July 2020, On a Royal Caribbean Cruise. Is it better to book a cruise excursion, or venture out. Can someone please help with the planning of this.  

 

There is a forum on Greek Ports  You will find lots of tips about Santorini. The four times we ehave been there we have never taken an organized tour. It's easy to get a cab to Oia (a must see) and to the beach. There are also vinyards, and some historical sites. Don't forget to wander Thira, the views of the caldera are beautiful

IMG_1433.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We did a private tour--or I should say I did, as my husband had to cancel due to not feeling well that day, that another passenger arranged--about 16 or so on a small bus.  We visited the archaeological site, a winery and had plenty of free time in Oia and stopped for sunset views before heading back to Fira.

 

It was a great day; we were off the ship quite early because we got early tender tickets and the wait for the funicular was not too bad.  We were in port late.

 

We always try to do independent tours if possible, but I can see that a ship tour would perhaps make things easier here, although we had no trouble getting to our tour.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Howdy @Jap724! emo22.gif

 

Thank you for your post on the Ask a Cruise Question forum! 👍 

 

However since your inquiry concerns one particular port, I have moved your thread to the Greece Ports forum where it will be on-topic. 

 

I sincerely hope this will be helpful and glad to have you aboard Cruise Critic! emo35.gif

 

Happy sails,

 

Host Kat emo32.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/20/2019 at 10:32 AM, John Bull said:

 

 

But the big problem is the return to the ship.

Most cruise line tours end at Fira & passengers have to make their own way down to the tender pier at the foot of the cliff, same as everyone else (no priorities).

Add to that there's no ferry from Oia back to that pier.

Add to that other ships visiting from the same tender pier and the line to go down on the cablecar can be ridiculous - sometimes literally hours. :classic_ohmy:

 

 

This is what I am afraid of, and we have small kids in the party. Wish there were return ferries from Oia. 

How are the taxis? Is it possible to go from Oia to the port by land? Will taxis take a family of 5 into a car?

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/20/2019 at 11:10 AM, ldubs said:

So, I guess my only advice might be to go as early in the morning as you can to stay ahead of the crowds and fingers crossed.

 

 

There will be 5 ships (including 3 big ones) docking at 7am on the day we arrive. 😞

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/22/2019 at 10:40 AM, jennyumaa said:

 

This is what I am afraid of, and we have small kids in the party. Wish there were return ferries from Oia. 

How are the taxis? Is it possible to go from Oia to the port by land? Will taxis take a family of 5 into a car?

Thanks!

You cannot get to the tender pier (where you get the tender back to the ship) via any kind of vehicle.  You can certainly try to get a taxi from Oia back to Fira (they usually charge 20-25 Euros) but there are not always taxis waiting around for fares.  Some (not all) taxis can hold 5 but you cannot count on finding one in Oia.  There is also a public bus that will take you back to Fira.   If you decide to take a boat from Fira (by the tender pier) to Oia, the boat fare will usually include return bus to Fira.  Those buses are separate from the public buses and run on a specific schedule (they will tell you the return times when you buy the ticket).  We recently did just that (last month) and  the bus dropped us at a rather distant location (as you near Fira) which left a multi block walk back into the heart of Fira (and to the Cable Car Station).  Speaking of the boats to Oia, once you get off the bus you do need to walk about a 100 yards (uphill) to where you can get a shuttle bus that takes you up the steep hill to Oia.  While it is possible to walk up that hill to Oia we do recommend taking the bus (included in the boat fare).   Once you see the steepness of that hill you will likely agree :).

 

Once back in Fira  you would need to either use the cable car, the donkeys, or your feet to get down to the tender pier.  Keep in mind that there can be some very long queues for the cable car (to get down) when it gets near the time when folks must be back on the ship.

 

I should add that there is a lot more to Santorini then just Fira and Oia.  There are wineries, beaches, ruins, etc.  We have previously enjoyed renting a car on the island and it is also possible to get to many places on the local buses...although the schedules are often too darn infrequent for most folks.

 

Hank

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Hlitner said:

You cannot get to the tender pier (where you get the tender back to the ship) via any kind of vehicle.  You can certainly try to get a taxi from Oia back to Fira (they usually charge 20-25 Euros) but there are not always taxis waiting around for fares.  Some (not all) taxis can hold 5 but you cannot count on finding one in Oia.  There is also a public bus that will take you back to Fira.   If you decide to take a boat from Fira (by the tender pier) to Oia, the boat fare will usually include return bus to Fira.  Those buses are separate from the public buses and run on a specific schedule (they will tell you the return times when you buy the ticket).  We recently did just that (last month) and  the bus dropped us at a rather distant location (as you near Fira) which left a multi block walk back into the heart of Fira (and to the Cable Car Station).  Speaking of the boats to Oia, once you get off the bus you do need to walk about a 100 yards (uphill) to where you can get a shuttle bus that takes you up the steep hill to Oia.  While it is possible to walk up that hill to Oia we do recommend taking the bus (included in the boat fare).   Once you see the steepness of that hill you will likely agree :).

 

Once back in Fira  you would need to either use the cable car, the donkeys, or your feet to get down to the tender pier.  Keep in mind that there can be some very long queues for the cable car (to get down) when it gets near the time when folks must be back on the ship.

 

I should add that there is a lot more to Santorini then just Fira and Oia.  There are wineries, beaches, ruins, etc.  We have previously enjoyed renting a car on the island and it is also possible to get to many places on the local buses...although the schedules are often too darn infrequent for most folks.

 

Hank

 

 

 

Thank you so much for your detailed answer! It seems that in order to see Oia, we have to go through the whole ritual? Now I am wondering if we should split the family, and leave the little one somewhere...

 

Edited by jennyumaa
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

We booked a 4-6 hour private tour with Vicky of Santorini Skyline travel and she customized the tour to what we wanted to see. We told. her we didn't want to stop at the winery.

 

You will have to take the tender from the ship  to  the dock below Fira and then the cable car to the top of Fira. We arranged to meet Vicky at 9am. So we were on the first or second tender from the ship (for the DIY passengers)

Vicky's tour company met us outside the cable car terminal with a sign and walked us over to where the car was parked.

 

She took us first to Oia to avoid the crowds, then to Akrotiri ruins and then around the island to Red Beach and Black Beach where we had lunch. Then she dropped us off in Fira, where we had time to walk the pedestrian path with shops  in Fira to the cable car terminal.

 

There isn't any way to avoid the cable car back down to the tender dock, unless you want to walk. It took about an hour in line to get back down.

 

The cost was  worth the private tour. Since Vicky knew the shortcuts, she saved us time. We didn't have to figure out how to use the bus to get from Oia to Fira, the Fira to Akirotiri and back to Fira.

 

If you have a large group or family  the price becomes cost-effective. 

 

The company advertises on Trip Advisor but we just emailed her at santoriniskylinetravel@gmail.com and inquired.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 12/6/2019 at 4:15 PM, dkata said:

There isn't any way to avoid the cable car back down to the tender dock, unless you want to walk. It took about an hour in line to get back down.

 

One hour line in the off-season? That's a lot! How long would it take to walk?

Edited by jennyumaa
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, jennyumaa said:

 

One hour line in the off-season? That's a lot! How long would it take to walk?

25-35 minutes or longer depending on how fast you walk and how hot it is and how much donkey dung you need to avoid.

When we were there, another couple from our ship, decided to walk down at the same time we got in line, and maybe they beat us to the bottom by 10-15 minutes, but we were both on the same tender back to the ship.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
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
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • ANNOUNCEMENT: PONANT Cruises & Expeditions
      • Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Q&A with American Queen Voyages
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...