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Cruises to Santorini

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Santorini (Photo:PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock)

About Santorini

Spectacular Santorini -- scene of one of the world's most violent volcanic eruptions around 1450 B.C. -- is inarguably the most scenically dramatic of all the Greek Islands. Officially the island is Thira, yet the Latin name of Santorini persists. With its pitch-black beaches, rugged landscape and stunning caldera (volcanic crater), it's more akin to one of the Canary Islands than the Cyclades, though its whitewashed churches and clifftop houses score highly in the charm stakes.

This is the island for lovers of natural beauty, though sun seekers may not fancy its beaches. Best views are from the cliffs bordering the caldera, which was formed when the center of the island basically collapsed into itself. Geologists marvel at the cliffs' multi-hued strata of rock, lava and pumice, so take your camera and be prepared to feel the earth move (perhaps even literally -- Santorini's most recent major earthquake was in 1956, although there was one nearby in 2009).

It's worth remembering that the bay surrounding Santorini is actually the world's largest volcanic crater, created 3,500 years ago by a massive eruption of the Thera volcano (which is still active). The bay is also believed by some to conceal the legendary lost city of Atlantis. There's plenty here to set your imagination working, even though the modern-day city of Thira, officially Fira, was completely rebuilt after an earthquake in 1956.


If you're happy to enjoy a browse around the shops and a lazy lunch with a view, Fira will fit the bill perfectly -- and it even has some 9th-century clifftop ruins to explore. But to see the best of Santorini, you should take a shore excursion, via bus or taxi, further afield.

  • More about Santorini

  • Why go to Santorini?

  • Santorini Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Gem
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2,515 Reviews
Leaving:Venice
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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Norwegian Epic
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Greek Isles & ItalyDetails

4,223 Reviews
Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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Norwegian Breakaway
Norwegian Breakaway

10 Night
Greek Isles & ItalyDetails

3,725 Reviews
Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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3,725 Reviews
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1,591 Reviews
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Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
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3,725 Reviews
Leaving:Rome
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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3,725 Reviews
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Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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10 Night
Europe - Greek Isles & Eastern MedDetails

Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

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Europe - Greek Isles & Eastern MedDetails

2,342 Reviews
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Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
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9 Night
Greek Isles & ItalyDetails

2,515 Reviews
Leaving:Athens
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jul 26, 2023
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9 Night
Greek Isles & ItalyDetails

2,515 Reviews
Leaving:Venice
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
May 22, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Europe - Greek Isles & Eastern MedDetails

2,515 Reviews
Leaving:Istanbul
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Oct 12, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Santorini

Why go to Santorini?

Pros:

Santorini is home to one of the world's most iconic skylines and offers excellent dining and sightseeing

Cons:

To see much of anything beyond the main town of Fira, you'll need to book an organized shore excursion or tour

Bottom Line:

Santorini is scenic spot to soak up Grecian culture and enjoy some sunshine and shopping

Santorini Cruise Port Facilities?

Tenders shuttle passengers right to the base of Fira; you must ride the funicular (or a donkey) up to the town itself.

Good to Know?

Ubiquitous -- and noisy -- Greek motorcycles.

Getting Around?

Fira can easily be explored on foot, and buses run hourly to Akrotiri and Oia from the bus station at the end of Gold Street. Taxis also abound (negotiate a rate in advance) and are a more reliable option if time is at a premium.

A lot of people hire quad bikes now, just for the day. It's a massive new industry, and you can't miss the hire shops in Fira.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Euro. There are banks and exchange bureaus in Fira.

Language?

Greek, but virtually everybody speaks English.

Where You're Docked?

There are actually two ports within caldera, Fira and Athinos. Ships have to anchor off Santorini and tender passengers into Skala Fira, the small port below the capital, Fira (also known as Thira). Thira dates from the 9th century and lies atop 1,000-foot cliffs at the edge of the caldera. You can reach it by funicular, bus or go up the steep, winding steps the fun way -- by donkey! Some ships transfer their passengers direct to Athinos from where there are bus transfers to the top.


Santorini Cruise Reviews
We loved Santorini. We did the Ultimate Santorini tour through NCL. I would recommend this one. Akrotiri was really cool but our time was cut short b/c the tour didn't start on time . We loved Oia and they give yRead More
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cruisinSD123
Santorini was underwhelming, but it is one of those iconic locations on most everyone's "must visit" list. Santorini was hot and crowded. There were not that many "blue domed" buildings, but we did the tourist thing Read More
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Spyder49
Beautiful but you have to take a tender in and pay for a lift to go to/from santorini.Read More
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canadiancruiser221
Akrotiri was interesting. Santorini was Ok; VERY crowded. The tram line was super long and people kept cutting in line.Read More
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TravellerSC

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