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Celebrity Cruise Destinations: Santorini

Last Updated

August 2, 2023

Santorini, Greece's ineffable beauty and rich history are made accessible to the world through its captivating cruises. Despite its increasing popularity, Santorini never fails to impress with its vibrant buildings clad in a myriad of colors that contrast against the blue and white structures and the turquoise shades of the Aegean Sea. Compared to Athens' scholarly character and Mykonos' vivacious parties, Santorini's charm remains unparalleled as one of the most sought-after destinations in various Mediterranean cruises.

Santorini, Greece's ineffable beauty and rich history are made accessible to the world through its captivating cruises. Despite its increasing popularity, Santorini never fails to impress with its vibrant buildings clad in a myriad of colors that contrast against the blue and white structures and the turquoise shades of the Aegean Sea. Compared to Athens' scholarly character and Mykonos' vivacious parties, Santorini's charm remains unparalleled as one of the most sought-after destinations in various Mediterranean cruises.


The creation of Santorini's cruise port dates back to 1650 BC, when the island's volcano erupted. It is situated at the base of the capital city, Fira. Upon arriving at Fira, you can take a small boat to reach the shore and then continue your journey to the top of the island, either on a cable car, a donkey or by foot- a classic Greek experience.


During your Santorini cruise, the island's serene and romantic character will unveil itself to you. You can take a relaxing stroll through the village of Oia, witness the sunset from Amoudi Bay, or indulge in a revitalizing experience by taking a half-day excursion to Nea Kameni and Palia Kameni, two islands formed by volcanic eruptions and soak in their therapeutic hot springs.

Exploring the Culture and History of the Santorini Cruise Port


Greece is a country steeped in culture, history, and ancient civilizations. The Santorini Cruise Port, situated in the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea, is no exception. This island is situated in a caldera, or a large crater formed by a volcanic eruption, and is rich in cultural and historical significance.


The island's first settlement dates back to the Neolithic period and has since influenced significant migrations throughout Greece. During the Hellenistic period, the Santorini port became a vital naval base and trading center. Today, the island's cuisine remains unique due to its volcanic soil and sparse rainfall, reflecting the Mediterranean environment.


The port of Skala, also known as the old port, is at the base of the Caldera Cliffs in Fira, the capital of Santorini. Although it doesn't have a large cruise terminal, passengers experience a unique and unforgettable journey to shore via small boats. From here, visitors can explore duty-free shops and restaurants while experiencing picturesque views. During the summer season, guests can also take tours of the nearby volcano and hot springs.


To reach the top of the island, guests have a choice of three unique options. They can take a cable car available from the pier, mule ride for approximately €8, or hike up around 600 steps for visitors seeking a little exercise. Whether you choose the cable car, mule ride, or hike, the views at the top are breathtaking and offer visitors unparalleled vistas of the island.


In conclusion, Santorini is an island full of culture and history that has attracted people from all over the world for years. With its unique volcanic soil and sparse rainfall, it offers visitors an exclusive culinary experience entirely unique from anywhere else in the world. The island's port offers a unique experience when arriving via small boats, along with picturesque views of the island. Whether you choose to take the cable car, mule ride, or hike, the journey to the top of the island offers visitors a chance to take in the stunning views, making it a destination trip for travelers seeking the ultimate cultural and historical experience.

The Best Sights and Attractions to Experience on Cruises to Santorini: Overview

Santorini is an idyllic Greek island known for its caldera, picturesque villages, and stunning beaches. A cruise to Santorini is the perfect way to experience the beauty of this island. Here are some of the best sights and attractions to experience on your cruise to Santorini:


Amoudi Bay


Amoudi Bay is a tiny port on the northwest side of Santorini that offers a romantic atmosphere for tourists and locals alike. The rocky shores of the bay provide a perfect setting for an evening walk, and there are plenty of waterfront restaurants where you can enjoy fresh seafood and drinks. Grilled octopus and saganaki, a fried cheese dish, are popular options.


Oia Village


The village of Oia is situated atop a sizable cliff and offers a spectacular view of the island of Thirassia in the distance. You'll find plenty of shops, taverns, restaurants, and attractions in Oia, including art galleries and the Maritime Museum, which memorializes the naval history of the region. Oia offers a glimpse into traditional Greek village culture and is a great place to enjoy fresh fish while taking in an unbeatable island view.


Kamari Beach


Kamari Beach is unique because of its black sand. During the summer season, it's an incredibly popular destination for tourists because of its vibrant resort nightlife and watersports activities. You can enjoy the convenience of being right at the waterfront while surrounded by bars, nightclubs, and cafes.


Venetsanos Winery


Venetsanos Winery is a must-visit for wine lovers. The winery was literally carved into the cliffs just above the port of Athinios and was designed and built in 1947. After a 47-year hiatus, it began operating again in 2014. Because of the incredibly steep cliffside, the winery was built to adapt to Santorini's unique environment, with four levels for each phase of the wine-making process. The incline of the soil creates a natural flow of wine from one level to the next, making it one of the most unique wineries you'll ever visit.


In conclusion, a cruise to Santorini is an excellent way to experience the island's stunning beauty and unique culture. Be sure to visit Amoudi Bay, Oia Village, Kamari Beach, and Venetsanos Winery to make the most of your trip.

The Top-Rated Activities You Can't Miss in Santorini


If you're planning to visit one of Greece's most beautiful islands, Santorini, there are plenty of fun activities you can't miss. From visiting ancient ruins to seeking adventure on a hike or a sail, here are three top-rated activities to add to your itinerary.


See the Akrotiri Ruins in Oia Village


If you're a fan of ancient history, taking a trip to the Akrotiri Ruins in Oia Village will be a treat. The ancient Minoan site of Akrotiri was buried in volcanic ash during the 16th century B.C., similar to how Pompeii in Italy was preserved. As a result, many of the objects and frescoes found in the ruins are well-preserved and offer a fascinating look into Santorini's past. Make sure you visit around sunset as the vantage point from Oia's hilltop is an excellent one where you can witness the beautiful Santorini sunset.


Hike to Skaros Rock


For those who enjoy hiking, Skaros Rock is not to be missed. Located north of Fira, Skaros was the capital of Santorini until the 18th century. Today it's a popular site for hikers and photographers. With the proper hiking shoes, you can reach Skaros summit easily for an unforgettable view of Santorini.


Sail Over to Nea Kameni


For travelers who crave a bit of adventure, take a short sail to Nea Kameni. Nea Kameni translates to "new burnt island" in Greek). Visitors witness scorched earth and famous hot springs. While it's uninhabited, it's a protected scientific site. Take a quick dip and climb the gravel path to reach the summit of the crater - it's an experience you won't forget.


So if you're ready for an exciting adventure full of history, hiking, and sailing, make sure you add these top-rated activities to your Santorini itinerary.

Top Dining Locations Near the Santorini Cruise Port


Santorini is a haven for food lovers, with countless restaurants and taverns that serve local dishes and delicacies. Foodies can try out the classic comfort food fava or the sweet cheese pie called melitinia. The island's volcanic soil produces a unique variety of eggplant called white eggplant, which is commonly used in many dishes. If you're planning a trip to Santorini, here are some of the best dining locations near the cruise port:



Address: Santorini, Greece, 84700, P.O. 87

Located just 20 minutes away from Athinios Port, Selene is an award-winning restaurant known for its unique menu that changes with the seasons. The restaurant offers not only delicious food but also cooking classes and wine tastings. Selene is perfect for those who want to learn about the region's culinary culture while enjoying a delectable meal.



 Address: Oia (Ia), 84702, Santorini

Situated in an authentic Santorini captain's house in Oia, 1800 is a small and intimate restaurant that boasts a roof garden perfect for a romantic date. The restaurant features a diverse wine cellar that accommodates all palates. Whether you're in the mood for a relaxed evening or a fine dining experience, 1800 can satisfy all your cravings.


Santa Irini Bakery

 Address: Main Road Perissa, Perissa 84703, Greece

A must-visit for those with a sweet tooth, Santa Irini Bakery is a highly-rated bakery known for its traditional Greek sweets. Located in Perissa, this bakery offers coffee and pastries as well as tantalizing chocolate-filled croissants. Stop by for a treat or two, or enjoy a leisurely breakfast at this wonderful bakery.


In conclusion, Santorini has an array of dining options that cater to all tastes and preferences. If you're in the cruise port area, be sure to visit Selene, 1800, and Santa Irini Bakery for a truly unforgettable dining experience.

A Guide to Transportation in Santorini


Santorini is a famous Greek island often visited by tourists via cruise ships. While on the island, you may want to explore the charming towns and villages, dazzling beaches, historic monuments, and of course, the famous Santorini volcano. It's essential to know the available transportation methods. Let's talk about the different transportation options that will help you make the most of your visit to Santorini.




Donkeys have been used as a mode of transportation on Santorini since ancient times. Due to the unique landscape of the island, donkeys are still employed in the routes from the port of Ammoudi to Oia and from the old port of Fira to the town. Riding a donkey is a unique experience that will take you back in time, and you'll have the opportunity to witness their remarkable strength and agility. Plus, it's an eco-friendly option.




The central bus station is in the island's capital, Fira, is the most affordable way to get around Santorini. The buses offer routes around the island and to most tourist destinations. Buses are reliable and efficient, making them the preferred method of transportation for budget-conscious travelers. You don't need to worry about finding parking spots or getting lost since the buses follow a fixed route.




If you're in need of a ride, taxis can be found near the port and in the central squares of Fira and Oia. While they may be a faster option, keep in mind that taxis are generally pricier than public transportation. Nevertheless, they can be beneficial when traveling with several individuals or carrying heavy bags. As a precaution, it's advisable to agree on a price beforehand to prevent falling prey to any fraudulent activity.


Car, four-wheeler or bike rental

If you're looking for an adventure, renting a car, four-wheeler or motorbike is a thrilling way to discover the island on your terms. There are numerous rental agencies located throughout Santorini, and it is advisable to book in advance, particularly during peak season when demand is high. Renting a car or motorbike provides you with the liberty to travel at your leisure and venture off the beaten path to explore lesser-traveled areas of Santorini.


Boat or ferry

There's a lot to explore in Santorini, from the island's famous volcano, Palea Kameni, to the tranquil hot springs and quaint Thirassia. To get to these destinations, you can take an excursion boat from the charming old port of Fira. Alternatively, if you're looking to venture further out, ferries depart from the port of Athinios, about five miles south of Fira. Either way, sailing off into the crystal-clear waters surrounding Santorini offers breathtaking views of the island and its surroundings that you won't want to miss.


In summary, there are different transportation options in Santorini, and the choice depends on your budget, traveling style, group size, and destination. Whether you choose to ride a donkey, take the bus, rent a car or bike, or hop on a boat, Santorini has something for everyone. So, go ahead and explore the breathtaking island at your own pace.

Local Currency and Tipping

If you're headed to Santorini, one of Greece's most popular tourist destinations, it's important to know a few things about the local currency and tipping.


The primary form of currency in Greece is the Euro. While credit cards are widely accepted, it is always a good idea to double-check before using a credit card, especially at smaller establishments. In general, it's always best to carry some cash with you, as many local vendors only accept cash.


When it comes to tipping, it's important to know the customs in Greece. Tipping taxi drivers isn't common, but it's polite to do so when given great customer service. A typical percentage would be 10% of your fare.


It's also customary to leave some Euros behind at a restaurant if the service or meal is very satisfactory. If there is no service charge included in your bill, a 10% tip is customary. It's important to note that tipping excessively is not expected or required in Greece, so don't feel obligated to leave large amounts of money.


Finally, if you're taking a tour in Greece, it is common to leave an additional tip for your tour guide. The recommended amount is between €5-€10 per person, depending on the length of the tour and the quality of the guide's service.


In summary, understanding the local currency and tipping customs in Santorini can make your trip more enjoyable for both you and the locals. Always carry some cash, tip appropriately, and enjoy the beautiful scenery and culture of this amazing Greek Island.

Ready to Cruise to Santorini?

Want the next steps on how to plan your celebrity cruise to Greece? It's simple, become a LuxRally Travel client. We charge zero service and membership fees and can guarantee the lowest rates, and often can throw in special perks like extra onboard credit. Beyond monetary value, your travel agent will ensure your trips goes smoothly. From planning spa appointments, dinner reservations, and setting up excursions to booking flights and taking care of hotels pre/post cruise, your dedicated travel agent will conveniently make your life easier. 

For the most opulent Greek Cruise Experience, ask your travel agent about Celebrity Cruise's The Retreat.

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