Any advice on doing the ship tours in athens or going the private route?
We almost always go our own tours. We find that most of the ship tours are pricey with a lot of hurry up and wait. There are exceptions, of course. But Athens is easy to do on your own and convenience since the metro now goes to the harbor. We were very please with the Athens Walking tour.
Thanks for the advice! That is exactly what I was thinking. I will check with the Walking Tours!
Dawn - When you arrive in Piraeus you can walk along the street bordering the port to the train station and take the single line train up to La Plaka. Monesteraki market, lots of shops and restaurants are there AND , from there it is a pleasant 15 minute walk up to the entrance to The Acropolis. All of this costs a fraction of a ship's tour, where you will be herded onto a bus and end up at the entrance to The Acropolis for several hundred dollars each. Your choice.
Dawn, Greg is right; getting to the central area is easy. Just have a good map for when you get there. You can print one off the internet; here's one to use (Tip: put printer on Horizontal setup, print P. 2 only, in color, good quality) http://www.athensguide.com/map/athens.htm
Only one precaution about taking the fast (25 minutes) and cheap (1 Euro) Metro. Last season this train was targeted by pickpockets (mainly illegal albanians). THey mainly target tourists off Cruise ships &ferries who are newcomers, and not aware of their surroundings and are careless. They'll bump into people in the crowd and in the confusion -- whoops! there goes wallet, camera, whatever. So DO NOT keep any money/passports etc, in your Pants or jacket pockets. Keep them in a money belt or in your day bag held in front of you, with hand on Zip.NOTE: the main people who seem to be victims are Men, who think, nobody can get into my pocket it has a velcro closing or, it has a zip. No, guys, NOT right..
Other than that, it's a great way to get to the sights fast.