I have used Athens as an embarkation port three times and have been there on two other occassions. While Athens is a better city when economy booming (first trip in 1980), it is still a great city when economy not doing as well (second trip in 1982).
Athens, and all have Greece, has some historic and architectural sites that should not be missed; you need to make the effort. As embarkation port, each time we came a little early so I could show my wife one of my favorite cities. It was great that we were introduced to a wonderful cab driver/guide for our first cruise embarkation; in our three trips, he has shown us so much of Greece (including the Peloponese [sp] on a vist to Napflion).
No matter the economy - GO TO ATHENS. It is not to be missed. Of course, if the Greeks would get of their archaic law that limits embarkation/debarkation in Athens (you can do one or the other, not both), it would be easier.