We caught the City Bus between the cruise ship port at Souda and the nearby harbour town of Chania during a Royal Caribbean cruise in October 2012.
The following information was correct as of that date and may be useful for any travellers who find themselves on a ship that docks at Souda and who want to avoid the costly excursions offered by their cruise company. Independent travel between Souda and Chania is very, very easy...and very, very cheap!
Souda port to Chania
The distance from Souda port to the centre of Chania is around 7 km.
Buses depart from right outside the port terminal building; little more than 100m walk from the cruise ship.
When a ship is in port, buses depart every 5 minutes or so.
Tickets are purchased from a small kiosk next to the bus stop and cost 1.50 Euros one-way / 3.00 Euros return. As you board the bus, give your ticket to the inspector and he will tear it in half to show that it has been used.
The bus that we caught was rather full (we didn't manage to get seats, and there were almost as many passengers standing as there were sitting) and was a little uncomfortable in the heat.
The journey to Chania was around 15 minutes. The bus dropped us off outside the market building on Sof. Venizelou Square. From there, it was a 10 minute walk or so (via shopping streets and cafes) to the port.
Chania to Souda port
The bus departed from the same spot that it had dropped us off outside the front of the market building on Sof. Venizelou Square.
We had purchased return tickets in Souda, otherwise we'd have had to purchase tickets as we boarded the bus. I'm glad that we had purchased tickets in Souda as boarding the bus on the return journey was a bit of a free-for-all; passengers boarded en masse rather than in an orderly queue. There was another bus directly behind the one that we boarded, so there was no need for the panic with which people were boarding the bus.
The return journey to Souda was even less comfortable than the journey into Chania. The bus was busier than the one we came on and we found ourselves standing in a crowded aisle. The heat was more intense (it was early afternoon) and the bus wasn't very well air conditioned. The heavy traffic in the centre of Chania also meant that the journey was a significantly longer one; it took nearly 30 minutes to get back to Souda port. Factor in the possibility of heavy traffic when planning your return to your cruise ship.
While we were waiting for the City Bus back to Souda, I noticed a local bus (#13) which had Souda (in Greek) as its destination. The bus was almost empty and the passengers were locals. I considered boarding that bus, but I'm not sure where it would have dropped us off or whether it would have taken a less direct route (we were pressed for time). It almost certainly wouldn't have dropped us off at the cruise terminal building like the City Bus did; it would perhaps have dropped us off on the main road outside instead (a 5-10 minute walk from the port building).
City Bus: an easy and cheap way to travel independently between Souda port and Chania town centre. But, prepare yourself for hot and crowded buses!