Greece ferries/speed boats?

Mar 1st, 2015, 01:10 PM
  #1  
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Greece ferries/speed boats?

Hi guys!

My friend and I are traveling this summer for 5 weeks starting in Athens heading to Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, and Crete. We then have a flight from Crete to Milan to explore Italy/Switzerland. However, I'm extremely confused by all these ferry options!! Ferry vs. the faster ones vs pricing. We land in Athens May 20th at 9am and our flight to Milan is on June 9th. I would really like some advice on companies or types of boats or if there's some kind of Ferry pass that would be smart to buy?
cholce is offline  
Mar 1st, 2015, 02:16 PM
  #2  
 
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First of all, the order you have put the islands in your post (Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, and Crete) would make a sensible itinerary.

There are basically two types of ferries on the routes you are travelling: conventional car ferries, and high speed catamarans. Catamarans are summer only, while most car ferries operate year-round on routes to and from the Athens ports of Piraeus and Rafina.

It's best to use conventional car ferries whenever possible, because their larger size make them smoother sailing in rough seas. The modern car ferries are almost like cruise liners, with restaurants, comfortable seating, and outside decks where you can sit or stand to take photos and look at the scenery.

Some high speed catamarans are small passenger-only vessels, while others are large enough to carry cars and trucks. The high speeds are faster than conventional ferries, but tickets are about twice the price. All seating is inside the cabin, and there is not much room to move around. The smaller ones pitch and yaw in rough seas, making some passengers seasick.

One good website for ferry timetables is www.gtp.gr. For the period you are travelling it isn't necessary to pre-book tickets, so you can wait until you get to Greece and buy them at the ports. There is no such thing as a ferry pass — you buy individual tickets for each sailing.
Heimdall is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 04:28 AM
  #3  
 
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I second Heimdall: rides on conventional (slow) ferries are much more pleasant than high speed transport (where you often sit in a catamaran like a sardine in it's tin).
But there are (almost) NO slow ferries between Mykonos - Santorini - Crete.
I suppose you know that Milan Malpensa airport is close to the Swiss border. If you plan to visit Italy first, a flight from Chania (Crete) to Venice or Pisa might make more sense.
neckervd is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 05:07 AM
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Good point from neckervd: you will almost certainly need to take a catamaran between Mykonos & Paros, and again from Santorini to Crete. My suggestion here is to avoid the small passenger-only catamarans and use a larger one, e.g. Hellenic Seaways Highspeed 5, which is almost as large as some of the conventional ferries.

You will be able to use a conventional ferry on the Athens > Mykonos leg, and again for Paros > Santorini. Piraeus is the best port to use from central Athens. Rafina has more ferries to Mykonos, but is the other side of the airport from central Athens.

There is a Blue Star ferry that leaves at 07:30 every morning from Piraeus to Mykonos. Another Blue Star leaves Paros every day around noon for Santorini. The latter is Blue Star Delos, one of the newest and largest ferries in the Greek fleet. The route between Paros and Santorini has great scenery, so you will probably want to spend your time on the outside deck.
Heimdall is online now  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 07:11 AM
  #5  
 
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"The route between Paros and Santorini has great scenery, so you will probably want to spend your time on the outside deck....."

ESPECIALLY as the ship enters the Santorini Caldera!! For first-timers it's a memory of a lifetime.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 08:12 PM
  #6  
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Thanks guys! I had no idea the high-speed ones were not as comfortable so we will definitely consider that.

Also, does anyone know about europass? We only need a train to get from Venice to Interlaken, possibly another stop in Switzerland then to Milan to Florence to Rome and Amalfi coast.

Is it worth it to buy a pass or purchase individual train tickets?
cholce is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 09:46 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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I am not an expert on trains but the usual advice we see here is that if you know your dates and you can book point to point train tickets more than 90 days in advance you will get very good deals and a pass might be pricier in comparison.
mariha2912 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2015, 09:45 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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It is not entirely he case that high speed ferries are uncomfortable that applies only to the small catamarans like Seajet 2, Superjet, Flyingcat 4 etc, not the large catamarans like the Highspeed 5 or the high speed monohulls like the SpeedRunner III/IV used by Aegean Speed lines. These have roomy lounges much like the conventional ferries, however they are roughly twice the price....

The direction you are heading ferries are simple and daily, you just buy tickets as you go.

Mykonos > Paros, and Santorini > Crete(Heraklion) you will be stuck with a highpeed catamaran for these links however the first is only 45 min so the cost is not so much.
For Santorini > Crete(Heraklion) only around 17:00-18:00 departure times as well, however you should have the choice of a larger one like the Highspeed 5.
All the travel agencies selling ferry tickets will be able to tell you which are the larger ones.
Retsina is offline  

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