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seating choices - blue star ferries

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Who knew - so many choices! We will be on a 5 hour ferry in the evening. Not sure we really want a berth. Can anyone comment on the different seating choices. Is there usually some half way decent food and adult beverage choices? Do people mingle in a lounge area? out on the deck? When we took a ferry over to Capri, there were no choices but it was a shorter trip!

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    Me again! also if we arrive early at Pireaus, is there an comfortable /shady area close to the embarcation to hang out for an hour or two - don't want to wander around dragging my bags.

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    Sue, for a log Blue Star trip, I usually get a "reserved economy" ticket. Plain Vanilla Economy means you can sit out on deck, or in any of the 2 Economy-level cafes, or in chairs along the Corridors. With Reserved-economy (somtimes called "Aircraft Seats) you can ALSO sit on deck, enjoy sunset there etc. The difference is, when you're tired & want a nice upholstered lean-back seat w. headrest, to read or snooze, u can go inside and there's a numbered seat reserved for you. If u wish, u can buy snack, sandwich, beverages etc, to take back to your seat-- there are tray tables (but NOT like airplanes! these seats are wide & have lots of legroom). Costs about €4 more than regular economy. If u are going in High Season, or on Sunday night (when Blue star fills up w. Greeks who must get back for Monday), definitely buy this head. Off-season, when the boat is 1/2 full, u can just wander around & find an empty seat ... or get on, and find an attendant & upgrade your economy ticket to economy reserved. However u may not get the location u want.

    Now, for location: I always ask for seat in side compartments by the windows. THese are smaller compartments (used to be the no-smoking areas, before all indoor smoking was banned), and they are quieter -- tho a TV is always on at the front, so seats near the back of a compartment are quietest. The central seating area is more like a theatre ... seats hundreds, divided by 2 aisles, and of course noisier, brighter lights.

    Many TA regulars recommend paying the extra for Business Class -- small round tables surrounded by club chairs, and some banquettes; waiters to take your drink orders. I agree very peaceful ... but If I want to snooze, the club chairs have no head-rest, and at my age, lying on a banquette, even if I could snare one! Is a bit agen-inappropriate, LOL. But it's your call. Unless your sailing is booked solid, when u get on, u can find a staffer & upgrade.

    The key for deck seating of course, is to be among the first on board... so alas, that means getting to the gate early and standing out on the dock or in line inside, in one of those "boarding pen" buildings. THere ARE seats there, but they go fast. Once the ferry-staff opens the exit gate, crowds throng up the gangway, and it's a melee. One good strategy is to have 1 of your party assigned to stash your rolling bags on the steel racks at the car level (yes yes yes they will be safe!) while the rest scramble up the steps or escalator to claim a good table or banquette on the rear deck(s). Ferry travel is not for the slow-ambling economy traveler!

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    A PS: In Paragraph #1, I meant "definitely buy Ahead". In Paragraph #2 - I usually buy tickets on arrival in Greece, at any handy agency or at Blue star ticket office. Many people buy online from home -- but I hear that if you buy online u cannot request a location from a seat-map; this may have changed. If you are taking the evening ferry on your day of arrival, for maximum convenience u can stop at one of the ticket agencies in the airport & buy (or even buy online and arrange to pick up there). OR buy/or pick up tickets in Pireaus; depends on time of year/ day of week.

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    Wow, thank you travelerjan! I think over 5 years ago I "chatted" with you about a Greek island trip - it never happened for me but now, it is!

    We will be going to Naxos near the end of May. We are first going to Istanbul, then on a Wed. we fly from Istanbul to Athens, mid-morning. So...I can wait until we land in Athens and buy the ferry tickets at the aiport for the ferry that evening?

    If we land in Athens about 1pm, I am thinking that is enough time to buy the ferry ticket and take the bus to Pireaus for a 17:30 ferry. (I'd just rather not deal with the metro or a taxi driver) And I like your suggestion about paying a bit more for the reserved, airline type seat for when we tire of being out on deck. I don't want to sprawl out on a banquette either.

    Decent snacks available on board or bring a baggie of goodies?
    Thank you for your earlier, detailed response! so helpful. And thank you for all your Greek island posting over the years - it helped to keep a Greek island trip near the top of my bucket list!

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    Yes, you can wait to get your ferry ticket -- in fact, you can get them at Piraeus, no need to buy in Airport where there's a convenienc fee. I agree with you about the Bus from Airport to Piraeus (X96) ... The metro would require a line change in the crowds of Central Athens & you are in no hurry. Bus takes 75 minutes or so in mid afternoon ... it stops right outside arrivals door 4-5. By day, you purchase your €5 ticket at a kiosk by the door - don't forget to punch (validate) it, in a pole-mounted box inside the bus (failure to validate = risk hefty fine). Inside the bus is a central "pen" where u pile luggage. Nobody gets on bus between dpearture & Piraeus, thus, no need to stay alert for pickpockets. Just drowse or read, not much to sightsee on this route, mainly boring traffic and commercial buildings, but you Might spot Acropolis along the way.

    Yes there are decent snacks on board, there are a number of cafes on board -- one is a Mcdonald type place but better than Mickey D ... otheres have pre-made sandwiches and pastries, ice cream etc. AND the only coffee bargain in greece (because of citizen demand) -- Ferry coffee price fixed at €1.50, lowest in Greece. Sandwiches on ferry starting from mainland should be fresh, but check out the various "take-out" places iining the harbor street across from the gates... you may see something you like better. Also, don't miss my favorite street food -- "koulouri" -- sesame covered "bread loops" sold from carts.

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