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Taking a Cruise From Athens (Piraeus)

I am dreaming not of a White Xmas but of my next cruise.

I am considering taking a cruise that leaves from Piraeus and sails to Israel among other very interesting ports. One is a Mediterranean cruise and the other a Greek island. I will be sailing Norwegian.

I have read some negative reviews somewhere about the port at Piraeus. What I remember reading is that the port is confusing, signage is poor to non-existent and that it is hard to find your ship or something like that.

So for those who have sailed from Piraeus, what is your experience and opinions?

Have you taken either of the cruises that i have mentioned and I would love feedback.

Posted by
2978 posts

You would likely get more responses if you posted this on the NCL board at cruise critic. com.

Posted by
4934 posts

We have cruised the Eastern Med/Aegean Sea a couple of times and Athens was one of our stops.

You will get more information on cruising from the cruise critic.com website. There you can find posts related to Greece and/or NCL cruise lines.

Athens is a wonderful port to visit for the historical sites like the Acropolis (Parthenon) and museums like the New Acropolis Museum and Archaeological Museum.

The port at Pireaus doesn't have the greatest signs to assist tourists, but you can walk from where your ship is docketed to the Athens METRO. Many persons will be doing the same and it is not that hard to find. If you are concerned about this, find a map of the Port and you can likely locate where ships dock and the METRO.

Of course, if your cruise starts in Athens, then take a taxi from the airport to the cruise port.

Beware of pickpockets, men wear money belts and women carry a pack safe purse and/or neck wallet.
Also, you can explore the city on your own via the METRO and walking (buy a guidebook) or take a guided tour.

The Greek Islands are great, Mykonos, Santorini and more.

We have taken 7 NCL cruises, 11 on Celebrity and 2 on Royal Caribbean. We like all the cruise lines. NCL's strength is in flexible dining and entertainment.

Here are some of our cruises that included the MED.
Black Sea and E. Med
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=228545
W. Med  NCL Epic
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=103808
Spain, Canary Islands and Morocco
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=80907
E. Med and Adriatic, NCL Gem
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=70129

Posted by
51 posts

Cruise line should inform you as to what pier the ship will be docked at. Cruise terminal A or B, usually.
Take a taxi from your hotel and direct the driver to that specific pier.
Fare depends on starting point but from central Athens in the 20 to 30 euro range. Plan for heavy traffic to Piraeus.
Check map here: http://www.onlinegreekferries.com/maps/piraeus-port/

Posted by
2866 posts

It shouldn't be a problem finding one of the two Cruise Terminals (A&B), as they are in a separate part of the docks away from the ferry terminals. If you take a taxi from either the airport or downtown Athens your driver can take you right to the one you need. Easy-peasy.

Posted by
3789 posts

Alternatively, does the cruise line or your travel agent offer a driver service to the ship?

Posted by
21243 posts

It depends a little bit on the cruise ship package. If it is a total air and cruise package the ship will arrange a pick up at the airport and transfer. You don't have worry about anything other than finding the meeting point. If is a cruise only and you have arranged your own air then you have to find the ships. Cruise ships are now so big that you see them from some distance as you approach the port. That helps. And any taxi in Athens will know how to get there. We have been through Piraeus a couple of times on a cruise and terminated there once. We did not find it any more difficult than any other port. From the end of the metro line it is a bit of a hike to the port so I would take a taxi if you are in Athens.

Posted by
208 posts

I want to thank everyone for their responses.

I have not posted on this site in a very long time and have forgotten how to reply. Am I able to reply individually to posts? I thought that I could.

I will respond at a later time to some of the posts.

Posted by
208 posts

So there are only two terminals, A & B. That does not sound too difficult.

Posted by
208 posts

CJean

CruiseCritic is great for getting some information about the ports but from a professionals view not from a passenger's view.

I have a lot of difficulty with the passenger reviews. I find the site somewhat cluttered, crowded, and complicated.

I love Cruise Critic's roll calls after I have already booked a cruise.

I get a lot of information from Rick Steves but also from Norwegian Latitudes group on Facebook.

Rick Steves Forum has been very helpful.

Posted by
208 posts

geovagriffith

Thank you for your reviews and the information.

I do use cruisecritic. After booking a cruise, I sign up for my roll call which I love. I read information on ports under the Port Section that is usually written by staff. I try to read the reviews by passengers. Sometimes I can find what i want but other times it just does not work for me.

I am on the Norwegian Latitude page on Facebook groups. That is very helpful.

But I get a lot of good and helpful information from Rick Steves.

It sounds like you have done a lot of cruising and still have a lot more cruises in you.

Myself I am 75, retired and on a tight budget. I love traveling alone and stick with NCL because of the studio cabins. I have taken six cruises with NCL so I get rewards like yourself. I am only able to do one cruise a year.

I am researching cruises And am thinking of the Mediterranean from Barcelona on NCL. Your review about this one was most helpful.

I am just dreaming about my next cruise which I may do as early as Spring 2021 or Fall 2021. I do not travel during the summer season because of the crowds, the higher prices and sometimes the heat.

Posted by
21 posts

We did an NCL Rome to Rome Eastern Med that included Athens, Greece, and Israel. NCL did a great job. We didn't take any of the ship's excursions and booked our own. Send me a PM if you want more info. I have reviews and recommendations.
In Athens, we spent half the day in Corinth and the other half in Athens at the Acropolis.

The port of Piraeus, by the way is owned by China. China owns a number of ports around the world.

Posted by
208 posts

dgawell

I do not see the cruise you took currently offered by NCL. Maybe if and when COVID is controlled and the ships are sailing, more trips will be offered. I like the one that you mentioned and I may be PMing you soon.

Posted by
208 posts

To several

I always fly into my port from 2 to 4 days early. I hate last minute. I also like to relax after a long flight and then I like to explore the port from where I will be sailing.

If I book air through NCL, they will pick me up at the airport and take me to my hotel. As said, I will not do last minute where NCL picks me up at the airport and takes me to the cruise port.

Sometimes NCL offers a hotel package which does include transportation from hotel to port but I like traveling alone and the hotel room is usually pricey for just me. I do much better booking my own hotel room.

It is ironic that Norwegian was very revolutionary in offering studio cabins for one passenger but hotel rooms offered by NCL are still based on double occupancy.

I cruise on a strict budget and taxis are not in the budget. I can do shuttle services but often take public transportation.

Posted by
980 posts

Have not cruised but have taken the ferry in 2016. No problems riding the metro from Athens to Piraeus and walking to hotel and the next day to the ferry terminal. Return came in at midnight and no problems walking to hotel. Spent a little time in Piraeus the next morning before renting a car and driving across to Porto Rafti - no problems.

Posted by
101 posts

This weblink is to Piraeus Port map: https://www.ferries.gr/piraeus-athens-port/images/piraeus-port.html E5, in the upper right of the map, is at the Metro Station (train and metro line 1 from Athens). At the lower left is the Cruise Terminal B about 2 km (1.5 miles) from the station. The E numbers are Gates (terminals). The closer terminals are ferries. It's conventional wisdom that taxis won't take you to the Cruise Terminal from the station, so expect to walk with your baggage if you take the metro. That's the reason most people take a taxi or car service to the Cruise Port.

Posted by
956 posts

I've been in and out of Piraeus and spent a couple of weeks over 5 visits in Athens and recommend that you take a taxi TO the ship, as Piraeus is huge and the train station there is a good walk to your ship.
The cost of the taxi is def. more than the train, but so much easier to arrive at your ship.Likely your hotel can also arrange a driver should there be a strike or downpour causing flooding ( not likely but has happened to me); I also once had a bad experience on the train from Monastiraki to Piraeus and was followed in spite of being with a burly companion. It's a wonderful part of the world. Of course, a google map is a great tool these days.

I have enjoyed Greek Island cruises combined with stops in Istanbul and Kusadasi, and several Med cruises, and a Black Sea combo, all on Holland America. Ephesus is a terrific site and the nearby Greek and Roman ruins good but not as impressive. I prefer the ancient world to a regular Med cruise-the excursions are apples to oranges - Rome to Aix en Provence for example. OP, you deserve to see it all!