While it sometimes might be the most comfortable and convenient way to reach your ship by cruise line transfer, this little extra can add up to quite an amount to your onboard bill (depending on the cruise line and the distance to/from the airport). Sure, your luggage will be delivered automatically to your stateroom upon arrival at the pier, the buses are air-conditioned and comfortable and you don´t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic and therefore possibly missing the ship, but everyone has to decide for him/herself wherever the additional 50 to 80 USD pp are worth spending.
For me, the 59 USD pp (Windstar Cruises) transfer from Athens airport to Piraeus one-way were not making up for all the convenience, considering that you can buy a bottle of Jacquart champagne for 48 USD (plus 15% surcharge) onboard. But like I said, this is where everyone sets his/her own priorities.
Taxis are not a considerable alternative either. Athens airport lies approximately 45 to 60 minutes by car (depending on traffic) away from the port, and why would you want to ruin your vacation right from the beginning when you watch the meter running while your car is stuck in traffic? The average fare is around 100 to 120 EUR one-way!
What most people don´t know is that Athens has quite an impressive network of airport buses going to all kinds of destinations within the metropolitan area of Athens. Twenty-four hours a day and at an unbeatable price!
X96 serves the Airport – Piraeus route. The cost is 6 EUR pp one-way and the bus stop is located right outside the arrivals hall at the level of Exit 5. At the airport, you will have to obtain the tickets from the little ticket booth located just off the stop. When you return to the airport, tickets are sold from the driver directly.
All buses feature luggage racks and air-conditioning and are equipped with a moving map showing the exact location of the bus and the names of the upcoming bus stops also in English. The travel time lies between 45 and 60 minutes, always depending on traffic. Surprisingly, we used the service on Saturdays and it was absolutely seamless!
If you need to go to the cruise terminal in Piraeus, don´t wait to exit the bus at the final bus stop. This lies on the other side of the port and is quite distant to it. Try to leave either at Piraeus Metro Station or one stop before (if you´re unsure when to exit, talk to the driver and ask him to tell you when to get off).
From here, it is a 15 to 20 minutes walk along the road down to the terminal. It´s managable (depending on how much luggage you carry with you). Otherwise, you can still take a taxi from here if you feel like it.
The only thing that you want to keep in mind when traveling on public transport in Greece is that their worker unions are likely to go on strike spontaneously. This strike alert webpage is always good to check prior to your arrival to be on the safe side!
If you try this form of transportation due to my suggestion, please let me know what you think of it. Safe travels, folks! Enjoy a marvelous time in Greece!!!!