Hydrofoil from Athens to Santorini.

Old Mar 11th, 2003, 04:09 PM
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Hydrofoil from Athens to Santorini.

Can anyone give their view about this trip, how long, was it rough, were the facilities OK, what time did it leave/arrive etc.
Cost is not really an issue, more convenience.
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Old Mar 11th, 2003, 06:48 PM
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We took the hydrofoil from Athens to Santorini in 1999. Can't recall how long, or when it left or arrived, so that is a testament to its "uneventfulness" -- maybe 3 hrs? Only recall how crowded the port was when we disembarked -- a bit disconcerting but concerns alleviated once our travel coordinator met us and accompanied us to the hotel. The ride was not rough at all, facilities fine. As compared to regular ferry, hands down the better choice.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 01:41 AM
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Flying Dolphins serving the route are very comfortable. More like a plane in terms of seats etc - you get specific seat numbers. May wish to book tickets in advance if you do not smoke as these seats go first, and smoking section can be pretty unpleasant for non-smoker. Boats are large so very smooth ride.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 03:00 AM
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You mean highspeed (catamaran) ferries, not hydrofoils, which are small, noisy boats used only on the shorter routes. I often take the highspeed to Paros, and much prefer it to conventional ferries. They are twice the speed, but are so smooth and quiet, you hardly know you are moving.

I couldn't find a reference to a highspeed route from Piraeus to Santorini in the Greek Island Hopping Guide, though, only conventional ferries. Check out http://www.greekislandhopping.com/ for more info.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 03:26 AM
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The fast craft are run by Hellas Flying Dolphins (www.dolphins.gr) who also run ships to Santorini. Blue Star Ferries also run daily services to Santorini (www.bluestarferries.com). In bad weather, fast craft are more likely to be disrupted than ships, and the weather in the Aegean can change quickly.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 03:01 AM
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Geoff is correct in the last post, but there are other companies running highspeed ferries these days besides Hellas Flying Dolphins. Seajet 1 & 2 are Blue Star ferries, for example, but they don't run to Santorini (Thira). According to Lonely Planet Greek Islands guide, the Hellas highspeeds calling in at Paros sometimes continue on to Santorini, but I can't find anything in the schedules. My experience is that they go from Paros to Naxos, and then return to Piraeus with another stop in Paros on the way.

You might also post your query on http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/in the Eastern European branch. There are several Greek experts who will be happy to help you with your question.

Why not consider flying to Santorini? Olympic Airways at http://www.olympic-airways.gr/ and Aegean Airlines at http://www.aegeanair.com/aegeanen/home/index.asp both have flights to Santorini, which take less than an hour.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 03:59 AM
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Heimdall is correct in saying that other companies run fast craft, but they don't run from Pireas to Santorini, so are irrelevant to this question.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 01:42 AM
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Well none of us has really answered Marko's questions, so I guess all our replies are irrelevant.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 02:55 AM
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Thanks heimdall, what I want to work out is would it be quicker to go to Piraeus from Athens grab a ferry with a longer travel time or get a taxi to the airport,an hour before flight time (at least)and have a shorter travel time. Do I want to sit on my arse on a ferry or in an airport lounge ???
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 03:39 AM
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The Greek government's web site www.yen.gr shows that today, there are three sailings from Pireas to Santorini, none of them by fast craft: the BLUE STAR NAXOS at 0725; ROMILDA at 1500; EXPRESS AFRODITE at 2000. The schedule on Blue Star Ferries' web site shows that their ship calls at Paros, Naxos and Ios, and gets to Santorini at 1450. The BLUE STAR NAXOS was built last year but the other ships are older and slower. The EXPRESS APHRODITE would offer an overnight service, and has cabins. The ferries are still running winter services, but in summer there would be more sailings. Whether you prefer to fly is a matter of personal taste. I'd go by sea because I enjoy travelling that way. The approach to Santorini is really impressive.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 11:54 PM
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Thanks Geoff, Overnight sounds OK to me . I will investigate further.
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 03:35 AM
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A lot of varying opinions about how long this journeytakes anywhere from 3 to 24 hours ?
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 06:37 AM
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Hellas Ferries run most of the overnight ships and their website, www.dolphins.gr, gives schedules and fares. You need to remember that Santorini is officially called Thira. The overnight ship arrives very early (before 0600) but I'm not sure what time they throw people off the ship - Thira is usually the end of the line so the ship stays there a while.
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 03:30 PM
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Thanks Geoff !
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Old Mar 18th, 2003, 10:02 PM
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Greek Travel Pages (http://www.gtp.gr/) lets you search for ferry schedules by destination, company, etc. Very useful.

There are no direct routes from Piraeus to Thira (calls at Paros, Naxos and/or Ios), so trip time is 6-12+ hrs, depending number of stops and whether you take Hellas Flying Dolphin or Blue Star Ferries. You leave Piraeus very early (~7am) and arrive mid-afternoon or leave afternoon and arrive Thira late at night, etc.

That said, you might consider spending extra $40-60 by flying and save 6+ hrs of travel time. While transit time from Athens to Piraeus is shorter than to airport (by 30 min or so), Venizelos is much nicer than sketchy Port Piraeus. As L Planet writes 'not a place many visitors want to linger.'

By boat, you arrive into Athinios Port at Thira (then 15-min bus to Fira). By plane, it's 7 euro cab ride from airport to Fira.
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Old Mar 19th, 2003, 01:48 AM
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thank you CindyN
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Old Mar 24th, 2003, 03:17 PM
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any other thoughts ?
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Old Mar 25th, 2003, 01:40 AM
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Speaking from experience and a couple of bad decisions, last year I regretted not just flying Athens to Santorini. The reason being was that it was not that much more expensive than the ferry, the travel time was so much shorter and it is less of a hassle to bus to the airport from Athens than to train down to Piraeus. Of course having said all that there is nothing like approaching Santorini from the sea, it's a magical sight for the first time visitor.
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Old Mar 25th, 2003, 04:15 PM
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Thanks K.
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Old Mar 25th, 2003, 04:29 PM
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Hi,

I have taken the overnight ferry twice to Santorini. the ferries are ok, not particularly new. the rooms were clean and we had our own bath with shower. It was not luxurious but it was great arriving by boat. The ferry left Parieus in the evening around 10 and arrived the next morning around 7. It was suppose to arrive at 6. We were happy it was late. I would not take the ferry again. I have done it and the age of the ferries make me nervous.I would fly or take a hydrofoil. Also, I am not sure when you are going to Greece, but the ferry schedules change in late June. I think they add more ferries. Have a fabulous time.
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