Piraeus is the biggest seaport in Greece and among the largest Mediterranean ports. The port also serves the country's capital city - Athens. Port Piraeus is operated by the Greek company Piraeus Port Authority SA.
Piraeus-Athens cruise port is both departure (turnaround) port and also port of call on numerous Eastern Mediterranean itineraries to Italy, Greece and Turkey. In Aegean Sea are operated Athens roundtrip cruises to the largest Greek Isles - Crete, Santorini, Rhodes, Lesbos, Chíos, Cephalonia, Samos, Naxos, Zakynthos. Most cruise itineraries are one-ways between Athens and Istanbul (Turkey) and Venice (Italy). Athens is also among the ports included in Holy Land cruises to Israel, Egypt, Greece and Turkey, mainly with departures from Rome.
Piraeus port (Athens)
In 2014, Piraeus port was ranked Europe's busiest passenger port - handling over 18,6 million passengers (including on ferries and cruise ships). Port's container cargo handling is also growing rapidly.
- In 2016 it handled around 3,67 million TEUs (containers) compared to 2015's 3,32 million TEUs.
- By containership capacity, the port is ranked Europe's 8th largest and Mediterranean's 3rd largest.
- In 2016, in terms of container capacity, the Piraeus port was ranked world's 39th largest.
- Port's statistics show for 2007 a total of 1,373 million TEUs (containers) handled, ranking it Greece's largest and busiest cargo port.
In 2002 was signed an agreement for concession, Piraeus Port Authority leased from the government of Greece all the port's lands, facilities and buildings for a period of 40 years (until 2042). In 2008, the concession was extended to 2052.
- Following the country's debt crisis (2009) the government was forced to privatize state-owned assets (estimated worth around EUR 50 billion), among which was port Piraeus.
- In October 2009, half of the container port was leased to the Chinese largest container shipping company COSCO for a period of 35 years (until 2044). By the 2009 contract, COSCO pays the port (Greek government) EUR 100 million per year. being the port's largest shareholder, COSCO owns 51%. The other major shareholders are "Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund" (23,14%) and 25,86% are the shares of other investors.
- In 2016, COSCO Shipping (the world's 4th-largest containership fleet) bought the 51% stake for EUR 280 million (USD 315 million). Immediately, COSCO started planning port extension projects to allow berthing of larger cruise vessels. In 2015, the cruise port was served around 5 million passengers, accounting for approx 12% of the port's total revenues for 2015 of EUR 100 million.
- Under COSCO's privatisation deal with Greece, the Chinese corporation will make investments of around EUR 300 million in a 5-years period (through 2021) before buying an additional 16% stake in Port Piraeus. COSCO announced that an additional investment would be used for upgrading the port's ship repair, logistics and cruise shipping operations.
The arrival of China's largest shipping company was met with protests organized by trade unionists, as COSCO started its port operations with significant reductions in staff and salaries, exclusion of trade union members, increased time and performance pressures. However, since 2009 the port's container handling performance was hugely improved - from about 1,5 million TEUs (2009) to about 3,58 million TEUs (2014).
Piraeus port terminals
Port Piraeus' facilities include 3 containership terminals, 1 cargo terminal, 3 car terminals and 1 passenger (ferry and cruise) terminal.
- Container Terminal 1 (operated by ) has annual capacity of around 1 million TEUs (containers).
- Container Terminal 2 '(operated by the COSCO's subsidiarycompany "Piraeus Container Terminal PCT") has annual capacity around 3 million TEUs.
- In 2013 was opened Container Terminal 3 (also operated by COSCO) with annual capacity around 2,7 million TEUs.
- Piraeus port's combined container cargo capacity is 6,7 million TEUs (containers) annually.
- Cargo terminal (storage area of approx 0,18 km2 (0,07 ml2) with annual capacity around 25 million tons of cargo.
- Three car terminals - total length 1,4 km (0,9 ml), land area 0,18 km2 (0,07 ml2), car storage / parking area (capacity 12,000 cars). Port's statistics for 2007 show the terminal handled over 260,000 trucks, over 612,000 cars and nearly 10,000 buses.
- Passenger terminal - Piraeus port is ranked Europe's largest passenger shipping port and one of the world's largest. In 2007, the number of handled passengers was over 21,522 million, of which domestic (11,572 million), ferry (8,395 million) and international (1,554 million).
- In 2017, during the "Seatrade Cruise Global" conference in Fort Lauderdale (Florida USA), major cruise shipping companies (including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and MSC) expressed their interests in re-development Piraes cruise port's infrastructures and upgrading the cruise services offered by Piraeus Port Authority. Talks also centered on reception facilities, upgrading of passenger terminals and COSCO's planned LNG cruise ship refueling facility.
- In 2017, the cruise port started an expansion project for building 2 new berths plus 4 mooring slots for very large-sized vessels and for upgrading the existing berths (including the new one near Aghios Nikolaos). The new docking points are at port's southern side and will allow handling vessels with LOA length up to 390 m (1280 ft). In this new "terminal" area will also be built a luxury hotel, shopping mall, entertainment and dining venues. It is obvious that the new COSCO management plans to make Port Piraeus a major Mediterranean cruise hub serving the booming Chinese market.
Next to the port is located Piraeus train station, which has two buildings - one is terminus of Athens Metro Line 1, the other - terminus for standard trains.
Inside the Piraeus port run complimentary bus shuttles - from Metro Line 1 Station to the passenger terminal serving ships going to Crete Island, and the Greek Islands in Aegean Sea. A 24-7 direct Port-Airport Express bus operates between Port Piraeus and Athens Airport.
Highlights: Athens, Acropolis, Parthenon
Piraeus cruise terminal
Piraeus cruise port is the port near Athens, an important port since the Greek Golden Age. In Greece the spelling of the name is “Pireas” and it is shown on all the signs like this. The best way to arrive is by plane, landing in Athens, and then there is an easy transfer to the Piraeus cruise port. In the Renaissance, the port name was “Porto Leone”. It was named after the stunning lion, made of marble,who stood in front of the harbor until it was stolen. Currently the lion in moved to Venice.
The Piraeus cruise port is located on the Saronic Gulf coastline. It is part of the Aegan Sea and it is on the southern end of Piraeus. Its first service was a terminus for ferries.
The terminals for cruise ships are Terminal A and Terminal B. the berths are located on the southern quays.
Between Xaveris and Mioulis docks, at the harbor’s middle is located cruise terminal Miaoulis (A). It can be reached by gate E11. Enter E12 leads to cruise terminal Themistocles (B). It is situated into the Termistokleous breakwater but is not open so often. If it is closed, the passengers from cruise terminal B are transferred to cruise terminal B by a shuttle bus.
- In the end of 2015, the cruise port started an EUR 156 million expansion project in order to allow docking of larger-sized vessels. Construction works included 2 new berths. Piraeus-Athens is a key Eastern Mediterranean cruise port. The cruise ship terminals is a walking distance from a Metro station.
- Port Piraeus also started an initiative to attract passenger shipping traffic during winter months too. The port authority established a 30% discount for cruise ships docking here during winter months. These are additional to the port's other price cuts for winter ship calls. Must be pointed out, that weather conditions in Piraeus in the winter are very good.
Piraeus tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
You can visit either Athens or Piraeus.
- The Acropolis: the most famous place to see. The place dates since 400 BC and it combines beautiful ancient monuments. Here you can see the stunning Parthenon. It is located at the top of the Acropolis and can be seen almost everywhere in Athens. In the Acropolis you will also find the Erechtheion.
- Syntagma Square: here is located the Greek parliament. At the front of it you can watch the ceremony of guards’ changing. They are dressed is skirts, which are very distinctive, and tights in white.
- Plaka: situated down from the world-famous Acropolis. This district is very beautiful, with narrow streets for pedestrians. You can find variety of cafes, bars, restaurants and shops.
- Roman Forum: situated at the west part of Plaka district. Horologion of Andronikos is located here.
- Marina Zea: or Pasalimani. You can go to the the Saronic Gulf by a Flying Dolphin. You can see breathtaking yachts at the marina. Also along the shore are located cafes, shops, tavernas and restaurants.
- Hellenic Maritime Museum: naval and nautical exhibition. You can see ancient and modern Greek vessels, ship models, paintings, ship paraphernalia, maps and flags, including items from the yacht of Aristotle Onassis.
- Archaeological Museum: ancient times exhibition. You can see statues dated from 400 BC, grave markers, large funeral monument, Piraeus treasures, Classical and Roman sculptures. Here are the bronze statues of Artemis, Apollo and Athena.
The Piraeus cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Piraeus, Athens, Greece.
If you lose the Piraeus location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
Port Piraeus cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Piraeus, Athens, Greece. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
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