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Cruises to Santorini

Santorini (Photo:PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/Shutterstock)
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.

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DAY 1: Barcelona

12 Night
Cruise to Santorini

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

9 Night
Cruise to Santorini

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

7 Night
Cruise to Santorini

Leaving:
Istanbul
Visiting:
Mykonos, Kusadasi ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Miami

117 Night
Cruise to Santorini

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Antigua, St. Lucia ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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164 Night
Cruise to Santorini

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

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

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

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Kotor, Corfu ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Santorini

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Kotor, Mykonos ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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7 Night
Cruise to Santorini

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Catania, Santorini ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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Cruise Critic Favorite

15 Night
Cruise to Santorini

Leaving:
Haifa
Visiting:
Jerusalem, Limassol ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Santorini

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Dubrovnik, Kotor ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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9 Night
Cruise to Santorini

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

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

9 Night
Cruise to Santorini

Leaving:
Barcelona
Visiting:
Marseille, Monaco ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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12 Night
Cruise to Santorini

Leaving:
Venice
Visiting:
Corfu, Chania ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Santorini

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

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Santorini, Athens ...
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Cruise Line:
Royal Caribbean International
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11 Night
Cruise to Santorini

Leaving:
Rome
Visiting:
Monaco, Florence ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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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. Also, be prepared to be hustled onto a donkey at the port.

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.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2017 Top-Rated Eastern Mediterranean Destinations

Santorini Cruise Reviews

Crystal Serenity
mountainclimber1
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Our 3rd time with a cruise on Santorini this year. Did again the hike up the Donkey trail to Thira, on over the crater rim to Oía and all the way back to Thira and down the Donkey trail. Total walking distance 25... Read More
Jewel of the Seas
cbutera
Sail Date: Oct 2019
Oct 8- Santorini 7am-6pm - [ ] The key will get you escorted off the ship any time you want between 7:30-9:3am. We did breakfast in the dining room at 8:30 and went off the boat by 9:30/10. Was very handy and... Read More
Celebrity Edge
Albeback
Sail Date: May 2019
Had previously spent a week on Santorini, had visited all the major sites including Akotiri excellent... Read More
Norwegian Pearl
lildarling74
Sail Date: Sep 2019
Loved Santorini! Don't ride the donkeys or walk up the steps. As you will step in donkey poo. Instead take the cable cars up the hill and back. Be prepared to walk very steep streets. Overall very beautiful.... Read More
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