Athens/Acropolis:Ship's Tour?

Old Mar 29th, 2001, 03:27 PM
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Athens/Acropolis:Ship's Tour?

We have one day in Athens. Should we take the 4.5 hour tour offered by the ship or should we try to see it on our own? Are taxis easily available at the dock? Do tour groups get off the ship before individuals? I would appreciate any advice as to what we MUST see. Thanks!
Old Mar 29th, 2001, 04:33 PM
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Janice, I don't know what your ships tour offer's but the primary areas to see in a brief stay are: the Acropolis and the Plaka. If you don't mind a bit of a hike you can get from one to the other if you are dropped off from say, the Plaka. Otherwise if your ships tour has a guide I would recommend taking it. We had a really tough time getting English speaking guides in Athens or at the Acropolis.
Old Mar 29th, 2001, 07:45 PM
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We took a Princess cruise from Athens to Dover 2 years ago. We went a day early and stayed at a hotel close to several interesting sites, which we did on our own. We did a pre-tour of Athens with Princess to the was worthwhile and we did have a little free time there. (There are tons of people/groups there from everywhere...we were there in May.) The tour allowed us to get off at the Plaka, which we did, and had to make our way back to the ship. We took the train to Piraeus. We loved the Plaka, did a lot of wonderful window shopping. The prices were kind of high. I thought it was facinating just to walk through the streets. We found a flea market type shops just a few blocks away.

At lunch we were refused service at a deli and wound up at an ourside cafe enjoying gyros instead. We discovered that Athenians do not like Americans from that experience and from the billboards and graffiti.

After we got off the train we got a taxi to the was a couple of miles still to the ship. Our taxi driver did not know English, which is unusual. We finally communicated by showing him the Princess logo on a baggage tag as we were driving around the port looking for the ship. That was one of my fondest "communication" memories!

I've been on four cruises and those who do the ports on their own are able to disembark once the ship is docked. (You are allowed to be a grown-up and be on your own.) Just be back before it leaves. We witnessed those who had to pay a hefty price to catch-up with the ship at the next port.

Some ports we did a city tour and then did the taxi thing in the afternoon.
There are usually plenty of taxi cabs at the ports. Make a deal with the driver before you get in...if you don't like their bottom price, go to the next and bargain with them. I have had the most fun at serveral ports just hiring a taxi.

Also, you can usually find a fellow passenger that has already been to that particular them out to see what they advise. Ask what they are going to do too. (They usually like to share their experiences.)

Watch your stateroom TV, or go to the travel talks about each port that the ship provides. That always helped us make up our minds. I am sure you will be well read before you go. Realize that you can't see it all...a cruise is just a taste since they are usually in a port for a day.

Happy sailing!
Old Apr 14th, 2001, 09:18 AM
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For argument's sake, not all Athenians dislike Americans. I was on my own in Athens when I was almost swept up in a horde fr cruise people who went through the Acropolis and the Plaka like a ravaging horde. They were very conscious of the their time frame and many seemed to entitle them to trample over those of us who were not quite so limited in our time. No wonder you may have had a negative encounter with a few Athenians, but I would hardly generalize for the whole city. They depend a great deal on tourism, but I didn't find most tourists particularly respectful or knowledgeable about what they were seeing, just generally looking for a photo opportunity.
Old Apr 14th, 2001, 04:53 PM
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My fondest memory of Athens was walking up and down the Acropolis, so if you don't mind walking, go on your own rather than take a tour. (Fodor's book on Greece has some good walking tours.) Go as early in the day as possible before the crowds and the heat.

My least favourite memory of Athens was the taxi drivers. There are many available but several dishonest ones. With Greek money in hand, cross the street from the dock, and step into the ill-marked train station. Take the train to the Monastiraki stop and walk through the Plaka to the Acropolis.

Later in the day you might want to head up past Syntagma Square to watch evzones and to visit the park.

Anafiotika is another area worth visiting.
Old Apr 25th, 2001, 03:27 PM
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We were in Pareus just two weeks ago on the R1. We too were faced with the same decision & opted(happily) to do it on our own. The cruise ship dock is about a twenty minute walk to the Metro (Subway/shuttel train) that leave every ten mutes & gets into the Monistiraki station in about 10 -15 minutes. A walk up the hill past the Agora & you are at the Acopolis. On the way down you follow the signs to the Plaka, sightsee, have lunch at the Platanos Restaurant & then back to the Metro station. It was fun going native. The hardest part was finding the Metro station which is hidden in a Square with two litte "cirle M"(Metro) signs about waist high.

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