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kellymccrea

Santorini Plan

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Ok, so this is pretty early planning, but I'll be in Santorini on the Norwegian Getaway June 2020 and I'm trying to come up with a plan.  We'll be there from 1:00-10:00.  I'd like to visit Oia, maybe the Santo Winery, and have dinner at a good Greek restaurant where I can watch the sunset.  Part of the reason I chose this itinerary was the late departure time and the possibility of seeing the sunset.  I've done a lot of reading on this board, and I'm pretty aware of the potential difficulties with cable cars, etc.  I'm open to taking a short ship excursion that does Oia and the winery (if they even do this) if it gets me off this ship in a pretty timely manner.  I suppose if I take this route, I'd have to do dinner in Fira after being dropped off from the excursion.  I'm also open to booking a private tour operator for the daytime, then having them drop us at dinner.  Will a sunset dinner be possible in either Fira or Oia at like 7ish and still make it back to the ship?  I'm open to any guidance on ship tours, tour operators, and restaurants from anyone.  Thank you!

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HI, 

We are on the same cruise with you and I was wondering the same thing. I was looking for a restaurant near the cable car station. However, sunset is not until 8:37 pm, and there is only 1 other small ship in port the same day.  I'm still not sure that will leave us enough time to take a cable car back down to the port. I've read multiple reviews that say the cable car line is still very long even with only 1 other ship in port. 

Please, let me know if you have any new information.

Thanks

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Try looking at the tour operator we just used May 26th ..."Greek Traveling" their Oia Experience tour that includes a jet boat to get to Oia from the tender ... a winery visit and drop off at Fira. We paid 82 Euros pp.

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We sailed the Star this year June 23, the two tours we considered were Ultimate Santorini and the the Wine tour one.   We decided too late and the only one left was the Ultimate but the Wine tour / dinner did sound to have been the better fit for us.   The scheduled arrival was similar 1:00-22:00, but we arrived early 11am and were starting tendering by 12:00am.   

 

We also fretted the whole DIY and the lines at the cable car.  I'm reading there are independent tours that take speedboats / ferryies from the ferrying tendering port to the other docks, but we didnt' look at this opting for the ship tour.

 

Here is what happened on our tour Ultimate:  

All Cruise tours checked in to the theater and got assigned a # based on their tour.  They are then called and board a different tendering boarding area on the other side of the ship ( different than all the DIY ).   It is a bit of a circus in the theater as they call each tour down to get their #s and wait their turn, probably started boarding tenders about 20' after the process started.   As we made our way to the tendering we encountered several "confused" DIY that also tried to join us and were herded back to their respect DIY tendering.  No question that the pace and time of leaving the boat gained me an hour and half ahead of my DIY at Kotor where I had tendering ticket #3 where all the privates and elites got off before us.       SUMMARY:  Ship tour does get you off early and faster, they take you to the main port, a zoo but avoids the cable car issue.

 

Tour:  I am mixed about any big ship tour, you are always slowed by the slowest, we had a few really slow people in our group, shopping, restrooms, sightseeing

 

Stops in OIA was too short, as the end was a set dinner in Fira.  At both places it was pretty standard ship tour, all follow the guide as he tells us some story and history then freed up for a bit, too short a time in Oia, and lots of ree time in Fira.  The good, you got off and no worries.   The dinner was a very average meal/service, decent location of the cliffs.

 

You were given a ticket and free time in Fira, the issue is even with the end in Fira and late ship leaving 10pm, you really need to be on the ship 30' at a minimum earlier, means you get in line for the cable car ( we waited more than 45' ), the sunset happened while we were waiting in line.

 

No question dinner views of setting sun were beautiful, but timing sunset while having dinner even with late sailing is dicey, probably later August would be better.   But then again timing is that, unless you DIY the sunset will be hit or miss regardless.

 

S.JPG

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On 7/13/2019 at 7:01 PM, Ashland said:

Try looking at the tour operator we just used May 26th ..."Greek Traveling" their Oia Experience tour that includes a jet boat to get to Oia from the tender ... a winery visit and drop off at Fira. We paid 82 Euros pp.

 Sorry it took me FOREVER to respond to this, but I did indeed see this and followed up by communicating with the company about changes they are going to make to this tour starting Jan 2020.  They are apparently going to arrange private boat transportation instead of using the ferries because they've noticed that waiting on the ferry to fill up cuts into their tour time.  The price is going to go up slightly, but I think that's worth it.  ANYthing that helps me avoid the cable cars would be worth it.  So, my questions are:

Which winery did you go to and were you there a long time?

Do you remember what time you were dropped off in Fira?  I'd like to make dinner reservations at Argo at 7ish , but I'm feeling panicky about having enough time.  My husband and I are in shape and might be willing to walk down the path instead of worrying about cable cars.

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Thanks for the tip about the Oia Experience.  I have been in contact with the company and they have been prompt with replies.  We will arrive in Santorini at 10am and the company indicates the tour gathers at the old port area from 1115 to 1130, with tour starting at 1130.  I have contacted the company again with the following question:  in their experience, will those people on private tours be able to make that meet up time?  I’m wondering what those of you who have taken private tours experienced.  I know ships are different in how they manage the tenders, but I’ve also read that the ship’s tours get priority tender boarding.  I had been thinking of taking the ship’s (Holland America Veendam) transfer only option to Oia, but after reading about the Oia Experience tour,  I am now reconsidering, sounds like a great tour.   Would appreciate time with tenders in Santorini!  Thanks! 

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On 7/13/2019 at 7:22 PM, suprmom28 said:

 I've read multiple reviews that say the cable car line is still very long even with only 1 other ship in port. 
 

What do you mean by long lines? More than half an hour?  We actually planed DIY tours …. Santorini is in my waiting list and now it’s already on the very top of the list 😊 We actually thought to go and see it on our own. We prefer DIY if only it’s possible. Another option is an independent tour. We definitely want to visit Oia & Fira.

Jess

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On 11/8/2019 at 1:14 PM, CrazyJess said:

What do you mean by long lines? More than half an hour? 

 

Depends when you get there. The cable car can move 600 people an hour in each direction. So get there on the first tender off the first ship and there will be no queue. Get there after 2,000 or 3,000 people have got off three or four ships before you...

 

On 11/8/2019 at 1:14 PM, CrazyJess said:

 We actually thought to go and see it on our own. We prefer DIY if only it’s possible. 

 

Certainly possible, but if you though the cable car was busy, just wait until you see the bus between Fira and Oia!

 

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On 11/8/2019 at 1:14 PM, CrazyJess said:

What do you mean by long lines? More than half an hour?  We actually planed DIY tours …. Santorini is in my waiting list and now it’s already on the very top of the list 😊 We actually thought to go and see it on our own. We prefer DIY if only it’s possible. Another option is an independent tour. We definitely want to visit Oia & Fira.

 

Jess

 

 

 

I wouldn't worry, Santorini is like nowhere else on earth and worth the visit and is easily DIY. Depends of course when you go and your schedule, rather than repeat myself, did you follow this thread, follow to the end for my thoughts on crowd beating and site seeing.

 

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On 7/13/2019 at 8:01 PM, Ashland said:

Try looking at the tour operator we just used May 26th ..."Greek Traveling" their Oia Experience tour that includes a jet boat to get to Oia from the tender ... a winery visit and drop off at Fira. We paid 82 Euros pp.

 

Which tour operator did you use?

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