Our family of 7 + 2 (grandparents), Embarked from our home town Limassol, Cyprus for our last full family trip as 4 of my children are graduates this year. The embarkation process was swift and easy. Then to the customer service desk to connect my visa card to the sea pass cards. Tip 1: Use a revolute type card to exchange Euro to USD to save bank and ship charges. Tip 2: virtual cards are not accepted. Tip 3: Set a daily spending limit for your teenage kids sea pass cards, for peace of mind.
F&B: For some reason Dinner at the main dining room was much, much better than lunch at the Windjammer. Better off having lunch at a taverna on shore. Don't rely on the water dispensing machines or the coffee machines...Tip 4: opt for the water or coffee or even drinks package. Stock you refrigerator with canned water and enjoy decent coffees at the cafe Late-tutes. Mind you, complimentary sandwiches and cakes were not so good.
Ship walks and land excursions: Tip 5: Comfortable walking sports shoes is a must, and also take foot bandages for the odd shoes. Tip 6: try to make the most out of your time ashore, by confirming or even booking excursions before your trip whether organized by Royal Caribbean or by locals. The only setback here is if the ship is forced to change itinerary due to bad weather conditions.
As a family of 7+2 (grand parents) we had to occupy 3 rooms. 2 on deck 7& 1 at 8. Avoid deck 8, it's right below the swimming pools, the bars and windjammer and it could get noisy. I believe deck 7 is the best, it's mid ship, close to everything (above and below) and quiet too. If you can upgrade to a balcony cabin do it! It's magnificent to sit on the balcony, while leaving a port or at night to see and listen to the sea. Tip: Take a picture of your cabin number, (1st digit is missing on the sea pass card) and any other number of a venue you frequent. Use the internal phones to contact your family from these venues, or from your cabin. Have in mind your mobile will not work when at sea.
Take the X80 bus from just outside the terminal. It will take you directly to Syntagma in the center of Athens. Visit the Acropolis and the new museum, stroll through the shops in Ermou street, or Plaka, go for luch at traditional restaurants in Monastiraki area.
The simultaneous landing of several thousands of cruisers from 3-4 ships create a chaos under the burning sun while waiting for the wire carts to take us up to Fyra. Once up there we were compensated by the stunning views, but had to suffer another 2 hours in the que on the way down. It's best to take a bus tour or a boat tour instead.
This was the embarkation and disembarkation port for 95% of the cruisers, with a small time frame and no excursions offered (we thought we could visit Jerusalem, but that excursion is offered from Ashod port), so we opted to stay on the empty ship, and we enjoyed the pool and jacuzzies, until the new passengers came aboard.