Iwill have 8hr in Athens as I arrive via a cruise ship. All walking tours etc are quite expensive & I am wondering if it is necessary. Should I take a taxi to the Acropolis & then to back to the city?
The tours offerd by the cruise ships are expensive and not really necessary if you're willing to do the legwork yourself. The Parthenon is in the center of Athens. If you take a taxi there you will be within easy walking distance to the Plaka at the base of the Acropolis, and from the Monastiraki Metro Station on the edge of the Plaka or from Syntagma Square you can catch a taxi to take you to the National Archaeological Museum or wherever else you want to go.
Also consider the Metro. The staion is just across the ferry docks (down aways from the Cruise ship docks) in Piraeus. For a few Euro you can be in the shadow of the Parthenon easily and quickly. Most everything (Plaka, Parthenon, the Agora) are right there. The Arch. Museum is a good walk or a short taxi ride from the center. You may be able to pick up a guide at the Acropolis to add to your personal tour.
When we were at the Acropolis, it was packed with cruise ship tours AND the entourage that was with the president of Albania. It was so crowded that we left before we desired. We went back in the afternoon and it was rather empty. (I don't believe that in-and-out privileges are the norm, just that we lucked out with a sympathetic ticket-taker, when we went back.) Point being, go on your own. See something else in the morning, then see the Acropolis later in the day. And wear shoes with a good rubber sole. Many of the walking surfaces are slippery marble.
ACROPOLIS ADMISSION -- There is a 12 Euro ticket to Acropolis PLUS 5 other Ancient sites, which alas u will not have time for. Ticket is good for three days but only once per site (former poster DID get a sympathetic ticket-taker).
Agree on the metro thing; if your ship docks at 7 and you act speedily, you can be climbing the acropolis by shortly after 8, and the big tour-bus crowds only arrive at 9:30 or so.
As a D-I-Y guide tip, I don't usually go for the Rick stuff, but his Destination Athens online stuff is VERY good for the newcomer, and has pix & site map; print it out to take along... I think it also give some on the Agora. After being atop the acropolis walk down through the Agora; wonderful intact Temple of Hephaistos to visit. With a good map of Central Athens showing the Plaka district surrounding the Acropolis, you can orient yourself, have a snack or meal in a nice cafe, then get the Metro back. Here's a printable map (color is best, for legibility) http://www.athensguide.com/map/athens.htm
Thats to everybody who responded....very helpful info!