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Cruises to Athens

Athens (Piraeus) (Photo:Anastasios71/Shutterstock)
Athens (Piraeus) (Photo:Anastasios71/Shutterstock)

About Athens

Named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom, Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world -- built around its namesake deity's temple, the Parthenon, which still stands today.

But Athens feels far from an ancient city. While it has done an excellent job at preserving sites like the Acropolis (where the Parthenon is located) and Greek Orthodox churches, it has evolved into a hip and modern metropolis and homeport for ships sailing the Greek Islands. The city's recently overhauled Metro system also provides a cheap, safe and easy way to get around for sightseeing if you have extra time before or after your cruise.

Aside from major landmarks, even once-dingy neighborhoods like Plaka and Thissio have been restored, boasting fresh pastel-colored painted facades and chic restaurants, bars and shops.

Syntagma Square -- Athens' central square -- also has been reborn as a tree-filled haven from which to take in the city's gorgeous neoclassical Parliament building and catch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Yes, that means you get to watch those men in frilly skirts, elaborate waistcoats and bobbled shoes do their high-kicking thing.)

Athens, once (in some parts, still) one of the most frenetic and traffic-polluted cities in the world, now owns a real buzz and is well worth spending a few days in if your cruise starts or ends there.

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DAY 1: Dubai

18 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Dubai
Visiting:
Abu Dhabi, Fujairah ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Barcelona

12 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Santorini, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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DAY 1: Venice

9 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Split, Korcula ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Athens

19 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Haifa ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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15 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Haifa, Cairo ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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18 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Haifa, Jerusalem ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Istanbul
Visiting:
Mykonos, Kusadasi ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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164 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Kotor, Dubrovnik ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Katakolon, Santorini ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Katakolon, Athens ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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21 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Athens, Kusadasi ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Patmos ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Taormina, Santorini ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Santorini, Athens ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Istanbul ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Patmos ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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12 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Santorini, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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11 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Catania, Santorini ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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18 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Monaco, Florence ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Istanbul ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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20 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Athens
Visiting:
Kusadasi, Rhodes ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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9 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Split, Dubrovnik ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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8 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Dubrovnik, Corfu ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

12 Night
Cruise to Athens

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Limassol, Haifa ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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Why go to Athens?

Pros:

Extraordinary ancient history, World Heritage monuments, great museums, stunning setting

Cons:

The city center can take more than an hour to reach from port

Bottom Line:

An absolute must-see in the Western Med, but tends to feel overcrowded during high season

Athens Cruise Port Facilities?

Your cruise ship will dock at the Port of Piraeus, a large seafront area about 7 miles outside Athens, which, with its three natural harbors (Megas Limani, Zea Limani and Mikrolimano) has been an important Mediterranean port since the fourth century BC.

The Megas Limani harbor, reserved for cruise ships, has 11 berths and two terminals. Terminal A (Miaoulis) sits near Gate E11 in the center of the harbor and handles small to medium cruise vessels, while Terminal B (Themistocles) is located closer to the harbor entrance and gate E12, where bigger ships berth.

Terminal B was extensively expanded in 2013, and further expansion plans aim to invest more than $500 million toward a larger port that could accommodate six cruise ships and the addition of four hotels on the premises, from now through 2023.

Both cruise terminals are close to the center of Piraeus, and there are easy train and bus links both to Downtown Athens and the airport.

Good to Know?

Steep sales tax can tack on 25 percent to the cost of your purchases. The value-added tax is called FPA in Greece. Non-EU citizens may be able to reclaim some of this when you leave the country; the bad news is that this takes ages and is barely worth the bother unless you've bought something mega-expensive. Look for shop window signs saying, "VAT Refund" or "Tax Free Shopping Network," and be prepared to produce your passport to get a VAT refund form.

Afternoon siestas affect both shop and museum opening hours. Might as well do as the locals do and head for a snooze between 2 and 5:30 p.m.; after that, the city comes to life again.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The euro is the currency in Greece. ATMs are easy to find. They are located in banks, on the streets and in some hotels and restaurants. Currency can be exchanged in most banks and at currency-exchange services.

ATMs can sometimes run out of cash on weekends. Carry enough cash for emergencies.

Language?

The old saying, "It's all Greek to me" can ring all too true in Athens. The Greek capital is not quite as tourist-aware as the islands, and English is less commonly spoken. So, if you're staying in the city, it's a good idea to take a good phrasebook or language app along. Here are a few basics to help.

Good morning/Good day: Kalimera /Kalispera
My name is: Me lene
Thank you: efcharisto
Do you speak English?: Milate Anglika?
How much is this?: Posa kostizi afto?
Where's the bathroom?: pu ine i tualetta?

In an emergency, dial 112 for toll-free, English-speaking assistance, or 171 to contact the (English-speaking) tourist police. Other emergency numbers worth knowing: 100 for police, 199 for fire and 166 for ambulance.


Athens Cruise Reviews

Jewel of the Seas
Noble724
Sail Date: Nov 2019
Good for an overview of Pireaus and Athens. We visited Athens before and did not want more than an overview.... Read More
DaroldG
Sail Date: Dec 2019
City tour was okay. Saw some interesting sites and gave you an insight into Athens the city.... Read More
Celestyal Crystal
Jantheman132
Sail Date: Dec 2019
We were only in Athens for a few hours after leaving the ship and waiting for a 6pm flight home. Easy journey to the centre from Pireus on the metro, and left our bags at a bag b'n'b near Monistiriki station. Toured... Read More
Costa Deliziosa
Craigcruises4u
Sail Date: Nov 2019
Great time exploring on our own best way to see athens and all it sights... Read More
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