Yes, no one can agree more regarding the time discipline that the cruise ship passengers must follow! This is of course to ensure that they get back in time for the last tender back to the ship!
Keeping that in mind, once you reach the Tender Port from your cruise-ship, you have two options to go to Oia.
1) Go to Fira and then to Oia
Read how you can get to Fira –
Take the Cable Car from the Port up to Fira or take a donkey ride to Fira or just take a hike to Fira. Cable car (I prefer this) and Donkey one-way would be EUR 5. Once you are up, walk right for about 200 meters and then turn left towards the bus stop.
Take a bus from here to Oia which is EUR 1.5 one way.
This option is the most economical one and the best one if you can plan well. Bus route from Fira to Oia is an experience in itself.
Tip – Busses in Santorini are orderly and are also commonly used by locals. This worked well with us! Do read my inputs on why you should use buses in Santorini –
2) Take a water taxi/speedboat from the port to Amoudi Bay and then go up to Oia by Shuttle
There is a Speedboat package that is often sold! This includes a speed-Boat ride to Amoudi Bay. This will be around 20 mins. From here, you can use their free Shuttle to Oia which is another 20 mins. The package will also include an open Bus ticket to Fira from where you can walk down to the port. The whole package is EUR 15 per person. This combo can be purchased online or at the port.
From Fira, you can take a cable car down for an extra EUR 5 or walk down for free. Coming down would be less stressful as you will be taking breaks and watching the beautiful sea.
If you are unsure about the above two options, you can make a choice on the day you reach. The Water Taxi (speed boat) ticket can be purchased after reaching the tender port too. You will see several tour vendors coming to you suggesting the speedboat route to Oia. This is a good option when you are really short of time and if you are sure that the water taxi will leave immediately because on low tourism days the water taxi would wait till they have enough passengers for them to start! It would be wise to ask when they plan to start even before you board.
What did we choose to do?
We did the first option – We took the Cable Car to Fira first (5 EUR) and walked to the bus stop to take the bus (1.5 EUR) to Oia. The drive took about 20 minutes and was beautiful.
Tip – The buses are particular about not eating anything inside and they are very strict about it. There was this American tourist who picked up an expensive ice-cream just before the bus started and the driver was hell bent that she couldn’t board the bus with it! The argument went on for 5 minutes delaying our ride.
There are several other things you can do in Santorini as a cruise-ship passenger. You can do most of it on your own without having to spend on guided tours! Do check out more –
Read on how we spent our day in Santorini with our DIY excursion –