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, the seaport handled ~3,67 million TEU-containers - compared to 2015's 3,32 million TEUs. By containership capacity, in 2016 the cargo port is ranked world's 39th largest, Europe's 8th largest, Mediterranean's 3rd largest and Greece's largest and busiest. For growth comparison, in 2007 the port handled a total of 1,373 million TEUs.
In 2002 was signed an agreement for concession, Piraeus Port Authority leased from the government of Greece all seaport'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 (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 privatization deal with Greece, the Chinese corporation will invest ~EUR 300 million in a 5-year period (through 2021) before buying an additional 16% stake in Port Piraeus. COSCO announced that additional investments would be used for upgrading seaport's ship repair, logistics and cruise shipping operations.
The arrival of China's largest shipping company was met with protests organized by Greek 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 ~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 subsidiary company "Piraeus Container Terminal PCT") has annual capacity ~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 mi2) with annual capacity around 25 million tons of cargo.
- Three car terminals - total length 1,4 km (0,9 mi), land area 0,18 km2 (0,07 mi2), 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 Piraeus 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 9 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 seaport is located Piraeus Train Station, which has two buildings - one is the terminus of Athens Metro Line 1, the other - terminus for standard trains. Inside Port Piraeus 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.
Port Piraeus cruise shipping traffic statistics showed handled 625 ship calls with 1,09 million passengers (2016), 576 calls with 1,05 million pax (2017), 524 calls with 961,000 pax (2018) and 622 calls with 1,1 million pax (2019, of which 410,512 cruisers).
On February 25, 2020, was held the opening ceremony for the "Piraeus Cruise Terminal Expansion" project. The port development project (Pier 3 Cruise Terminal) is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (through ROP Attica 2014-2020 program). By this project (budgeted ~EUR 120 million / ~USD 132 million) is planned the construction of a 2-berth pier with capacity to handle two vessels simultaneously (each with max LOA length 400 m / 1312 ft). The project is scheduled for completion in December 2022 (within 32 months).
In mid-July 2020, the European Commission approved a new cruiseferry service Piraeus-Cyprus, state-funded annually with EUR 6,7 million (~USD 7,6 M). The new (passenger and car ferryboat) service will include either Limassol or Larnaca, with a possible intermediate Greek Island stop along the route.
Piraeus cruise terminal
Port Piraeus was initially named “Porto Leone” - after the large marble-made lion statue standing in front of the harbor. The statue was stolen during the middle ages and moved to Venice Italy. The cruise port is located on the Saronic Gulf (part of Aegan Sea) and was initially used as a terminus for passenger ferries connecting to the largest Greek islands.
Port's main terminals for cruise ships are Terminal A and Terminal B. Their berths (a total of 11) are on the southern quays. Most of the visiting liners are seasonally deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean and homeported in Greece or Italy.
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 December 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 (scheduled completion in 2022-Q2). 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.
(NEW) Pier 3 Cruise Terminal
In September 2019, the Greek company Tekal SA (specializing in large-scale engineering and construction works) won the tender for the extension of Piraeus Cruise Terminal. Being the only bidder, Tekal SA's offer for the project was EUR 103 million (~USD 115 million + VAT) - down from the initial EUR 136,2 million (+ VAT). Other companies interested in the project didn't submit bids.
The new cruise terminal project is related to Pier 3 (port's southern zone). The works must be completed in 34 months (scheduled inauguration in December 2022). The new passenger terminal's creation was approved in July 2019, as part of COSCO's planned investments into the seaport. In 2019, COSCO (managing Port Piraeus under concession) committed to modernization investments worth EUR 800 million (~USD 890 million) - up from the initial EUR 612 million.
At the new cruise terminal, Piraeus will be able to handle even the world's largest passenger liners as both berths can dock vessels with LOA length 400 m (1312 ft). After completion, Port Piraeus will become one of Mediterranean's largest by capacity homeports, attracting an additional 580,000 cruise ship tourists (to a total ~1,7 million) annually.
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 (aka 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.
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.
|31 October, 2020|
|ms La Belle de l'Adriatique||12:00||09:00|
|3 November, 2020|
|Mein Schiff 6||05:00||19:00|
|4 November, 2020|
- Cruise Industry
NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line opened for sale its summer 2023 itineraries while launching a Black Friday Sale, the company’s best deal of the year...November 19, 2020
- Cruise Industry
The ultra-luxury cruise brand Seabourn announced it had experienced a strong booking volume for its “2022 World Cruise: Extraordinary Horizons...November 7, 2020
- Cruise Industry
As a result of the measures enacted by the government of Greece in response to the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases that impose restrictions on...November 6, 2020
- Cruise Industry
The small-ship cruise company Star Clippers announced the launch of its newest Sailing Collection brochure detailing the company’s authentic...November 4, 2020
- Cruise Industry
Considering the limitations in place in some European countries, and in light of the epidemiological situation due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19...October 30, 2020
- Cruise Industry
The Mystic Cruises-owned brand Atlas Ocean Voyages announced a limited-time promo offer providing travellers with a complimentary pre-cruise tour...October 29, 2020
- Cruise Industry
MSC Cruises' ship MSC Magnifica departed from Genoa, Italy on Monday, October 19, and became the second vessel of the line to welcome passengers back...October 20, 2020
- Cruise Industry
Star Clippers announced that its tall sailing ship Star Clipper will return to the Mediterranean in 2022. Star Clipper, which has been deployed in...October 14, 2020
With 922 passengers and 666 crew onboard, TUI Cruises' Mein Schiff 6 docked at the port of Piraeus (Athens), Greece early...September 29, 2020
12 crew from the first cruise ship to dock in Greece following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown have tested positive for COVID-19, the Greek...September 28, 2020
- show more news