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Day 8 – Santorini

Another very hot day, this time at Santorini. We went in search of a tender ticket at just after 9am, got one straight away, and were immediately directed down to the tender station on deck 3. It was probably only 5 minutes later that we were sitting in the tender, and another 5 minutes after that we were climbing ashore at the small dock below Fira port. We queued for just 5 minutes for tickets and then for another few minutes before the cable car arrived. Then we walked to the bus station for the bus to Oia, discovered that we would have to wait for 20 minutes and took a taxi instead (€12 on that occasion). And then we just wandered around Oia for a couple of hours, then had a leisurely lunch, eventually got a taxi back to Fira (€15 this time), had a beer in Fira, and were back on the ship by about 3 o’clock. It took about 35 minutes from arriving at the cable-car station on the top to boarding the ship, with several short (5 minutes or so) hold ups at various monents, plus actual travelling times. All in all a really good time ashore.

Now for some calculations about the cable car capacity. I made a few timings. It was about 2 minutes 40 seconds between one set of cars leaving and the other set arriving at the startion, so that’s how long an actual trip lasts. Each car holds a max of 6 people, and there are 6 cars in each train, so that’s 36 people per trip. Then you need to add some time for loading/unloading & supervision. I estimated that with that a complete trip (loading, travelling & unloading) would take 3 minutes. So 20 trips in one direction would mean 20 x 36 = 720. Yikes! – what happened to ‘1200 people an hour’, the stated capacity? Well, of course, while those 720 are going up, another 720 people could be coming down in the other train. That’s actually just over 1400 an hour so perhaps my timings are a bit short: a trip every 3 and a half minutes would be 17 trips in an hour which is just over 600 people. So my conclusion is that the rate at which the cable cars can move people in any one direction is between 600 and 720 an hour, not 1200. This is a crucial point for cruise passengers – there aren’t equal numbers of them wanting to go in either direction at any given time. In the morning they all want to go up, and in the afternoon they all want to come back down. This explains the congestion. So that’s a serious bottle-neck. Get used to the idea of the donkeys, folks!

4 Responses to “Day 8 – Santorini”

  1. cinzia says:

    Excuse me, what do you mean with .. get used to the idea of donkeys…?

  2. tomtotley says:

    What I meant was that as the size and number of ships calling at Santorini increases, the cable car will be increasingly overwhelmed. The only other choices are via the donkey-track – either walk up it, or ride a donkey up it.

  3. Dana says:

    I was in Santorini on the sailing before yours — the line to go back down to the ship and hour and a half before sailing was unbelievable. I couldn’t condone the poor donkeys’ treatment though so my husband, friends and I chose to walk down. It was a terrifying descent with people slipping and falling, and a frantic rush to avoid being stampeded by the roped-together donkeys. Something really has to be done … I would not visit via cruise ship again.

  4. […] the queue, including asking non-MSC passengers if they wouldn’t mind being queue-jumped. I did a post after one of these earlier visits in which I calculated that the cablecar can handle a maximum of […]

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