Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Travel Agent for Booking Ferries and Inter-Island Flights ONLY??

Travel Agent for Booking Ferries and Inter-Island Flights ONLY??

Jan 16th, 2008, 08:30 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 429
Travel Agent for Booking Ferries and Inter-Island Flights ONLY??

Hi All - Is there a travel agent who can help me book just my ferries between Crete-Santorini, Santorini-Mykonos AND my inter-island flights from Athens to Chania and Mykonos back to Athens??

I was considering working with a travel agent to book my entire trip, but, the one I am speaking with doesn't work with the hotels I want to stay at, AND...I seem to be doing all of the work and planning anyway, so I may as well save myself a few dollars and do that part on my own.

However, since the ferry schedules aren't yet printed for 2008, and I am not sure the best route to book my inter-island flights, I thought I could use a travel agent for that. What do you think?? Any recommendations??

Thanks! - Laura
lmavolio is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 08:40 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,607
I don't think that travel agents are going to be willing to book only inter-island flights and ferries.

The inter-island flights are easy to book yourself. There are only a couple of airlines that work those routes - Olympic, Aegean, maybe Sky Express (?). How hard is it to check the schedules and fares yourself? (Answer: not hard.)

And the ferry routes you are looking at are very popular and there should be several daily options (depending on what time of year). Why are you afraid to book your tickets yourself when you get there?
cheryllj is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 08:47 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
Another reason why most people here are DIY. Becasue the person who cares most that I get exactly what I want is...me, and because any effort I put into my trip is not because I am getting paid, I think I can plan and tailor a trip better than any travel agent.

I've been to Paris, Ghana, and Turkey in the last 3 years. What travel agent can be an expert in those three locations?
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 08:48 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,729
Booking the ferries can be done once you're there....by you. They won't be full in June. Either book them when you first arrive at the Athens Airport in the Amphitrion Holidays travel office in the Main Hall or in a travel agency in Central Athens. You can find some in the area of Syntagma Square and the Plaka.

Flights you can book online yourself as easily as any travel agent can do. I suggest you try to make the Aegean Airlines schedule work for you since Olympic's immediate future is apparently in question.

http://www.aegean-air.gr/aegeanen/home/

If you want to see if you can enlist the assistance of a good Greek travel agency, check with Dolphin-Hellas and Fantasy Travel, both in Athens and both excellent. They deal with this sort of thing all the time.

www.dolphin-hellas.gr

www.fantasytravelofgreece.com/english/index.html
brotherleelove2004 is online now  
Jan 16th, 2008, 08:49 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 429
My travel dates aren't flexible, so I an reluctant to book while in Greece in the event that the flights and ferries fill up beforehand. Maybe they are not so crowded and that's an issue??

I assumed the same thing about travel agents not wanting to book just those specific pieces, but rather, the entire thing...Hence my post - was wondering if others on this board have found agents who would be willing...

As you said, if it's not that hard, I'm sure I could do it on my own. I also don't want to have to keep checking back for the 2008 ferry schedules. Thought it might be easier to ask a travel agent to handle that for me...
lmavolio is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 08:53 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,607
Definitely book your flights ahead of time. I booked my inter-island flights on Aegean months ago (for May). The flights are easy to book on your own.

When are you going? If you aren't going between July 15-August 30, then the ferries should not be full. Book those tickets when you get there. You are traveling on very popular routes that will have a lot of options. It's not like you're going to some far away off-the-beaten-path kind of place that only has a couple of ferries a week.
cheryllj is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:09 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
I'm sure you can find an agent happy to book these for you. the question is are you willing to pay the fees that they will have to charge to do the work. Many more modest hotels don;t pay commissions to travel agents - so they don;t book them - why waste the time?

It seems you're trying to travel on a budget - which is anithetical to the idea of all the services provided by the agent - again, unless you pay fee for service.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:53 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,729
Yes, definitely book flights ahead of time. I only meant that ferry bookings can wait until you are there.

You won't know if the agencies I mentioned can't or won't assist you until you contact them and ask for advice.
brotherleelove2004 is online now  
Jan 16th, 2008, 10:59 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,551
I see from one of your other threads that you will be traveling in early to mid June. During that period ferries need not be booked in advance, but if you wish, you can book the Crete-Santorini and Santorini-Mykonos ferries (FlyingCat 4) once the 2008 timetable comes out in a month or so. It will be shown on http://www.ferries.gr/hfd/. Travel agents will also have to wait for the timetable to be published. In the meantime, don't plan to move from Crete to Santorini or Santorini to Mykonos on a Wednesday, as that is when in the past FlyingCat 4 scheduled its no-sail days. About every other week they have a no-sail day.

Do book your flights as soon as possible. Aegean and Olympic are the only airlines that fly between Athens and the islands. I wouldn't advise booking with Olympic Airlines at the moment. It takes only minutes to book your flights on http://www.aegeanair.com/aegeanen/home/. You don't need to pay a travel agent to do that for you.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 04:51 PM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 429
Thanks everyone!! I agree, I usually never book through travel agents because I feel like noone will plan a trip with as much care as I would for myself, although for some, I'm sure they serve their purpose.

I think at this point, I will book on my own..

Heimdall - why do you suggest avoiding Olympic Airlines at this point?? Just curious...I was looking at their flights earlier today - I thought it might be easier to book all my flights through Olympic since I am flying out of NY and they offer an international direct flight. Why would you avoid them??
lmavolio is offline  
Jan 16th, 2008, 09:15 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,551
Imavolio, actually I enjoy flying with Olympic, but the airline may not exist by next June. The EU Commission has ruled that it must repay illegal subsidies paid to it by the Greek government, which it cannot do.

Predictions are that it will be replaced by a slimmed down airline, which will inherit its routes, aircraft, etc. So if you do book with Olympic you will probably get your flight next June, but right now there are too many uncertainties.

I usually fly from Athens to Paros with Olympic (no Aegean service), but this year plan to take the highspeed ferry.

This is the latest info I can find on the Olympic situation: http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/ne....asp?aid=91513
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 04:05 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 429
Wow - I was not aware of the issues related to Olympic. I am travelling this June (2008) - does that make a difference?? I know you mentioned next June, so maybe because I am travelling this coming June, it will take longer until the airline is potentially 'dissolved.'
lmavolio is offline  
Jan 17th, 2008, 10:26 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,551
Imavolio, I did mean June 2008. I don't want to be alarmist, or cause undue concern to anyone who has already booked tickets with Olympic. The aim is for the airline to continue operating as a going concern, whether it be as Olympic Airlines or under another name. Chances are that is just what will happen, and most of the flights will go as scheduled. If flights are cancelled, travelers will get their money back.

I have long been a satisfied Olympic customer, and wish everyone well who depends upon the airline. Nevertheless, if you have a choice between Aegean and Olympic, it would be prudent to choose Aegean at this time. Hopefully, when everything is settled, the new airline that replaces Olympic will be better than ever before.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 06:07 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,034
Sorry to jump in here Imavolio, but I have a question directly related to flying Olympic in June. I already have tickets for June 15th with Olympic (10 tickets to be precise as we are a group of 2 families).

We are flying Athens to Naxos which is a route that Aegean doesn't fly - heimdall/brotherleelove or any one else, what are my options here? Sure they would give me my money, but still would have to get to Naxos that day....thoughts?
fun4all4 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 07:36 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,551
Fun4all4,

At this time there is no point in worrying. My only reason for mentioning the Olympic situation in a few of my replies was to make people aware of what is happening, and to suggest that if you have a choice between Olympic and Aegean (eg flights to Santorini), until the situation is resolved it would be better to book with Aegean. Unfortunately Aegean doesn't fly to Naxos, so you don't have that as an option.

I honestly believe that there will be a seamless transition from Olympic to whatever airline replaces it. I sincerely hope so, because I often fly between Athens and Paros or Naxos with Olympic. In fact, I may still book a seat on the Paros > Athens Olympic flight for my return from the islands in June, but I am waiting to see what happens. If you already have tickets with Olympic you will most likely get the flights you booked. If not, then you will get a refund.

If the worst happens, and your flight is cancelled, you still have plenty of options for reaching Naxos the same day. There are several ferries leaving daily from both Piraeus and Rafina. The morning ferries actually arrive on Naxos before the Olympic flight, but you have to board around 0700 for them. There are also afternoon ferries in case you can't make the morning ones.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 11:07 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,034
Thanks! For now, I will sit tight and hope for the best with the flights. If not, it is good to know there are daily ferries. Is it possible the afternoon ferry could sell out before I would know about the flight being cancelled? Hopefully, if the flight is gonna fall apart, I will know with enough notice to purchase ferry tix. BTW, how long is ferry from Piraeus to Naxos?

fun4all4 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 11:58 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,551
Hi fun4all4,

No worries about the ferries selling out, even if you wait until you get to Athens. Piraeus would be your best bet, as there will be one Hellenic Seaways Highspeed, and the Blue Star Naxos, sailing in the afternoon. Hellenic Seaways hasn't released its 2008 timetable yet, but this is a regular sailing over many seasons. Last year it was Highspeed 2, which holds over 600 passengers. Blue Star Ferries has released its 2008 timetable, which you can see at: http://tinyurl.com/cj2lc. Blue Star Naxos holds over 1,400 passengers.

Actually if you were travelling on the Friday you might have trouble getting tickets at the last minute on the highspeed, because this year June 15th is Greek Pentacost, and Monday, Holy Spirit Day, a national holiday. Many Greeks travel to the islands at the beginning of the weekend, and return to Athens at the end. But you will be doing the opposite, so you shouldn't have any problems.

As you can see from the link, Blue Star Naxos takes a little over five hours to get to Naxos, the highspeed about four hours.
Heimdall is offline  
Jan 19th, 2008, 01:15 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,034
OK, thanks. Let's hope it doesn't come to that but at least we will get to Naxos.
fun4all4 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 06:34 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 59
Imavolio

We've been to Greece twice and used a Greek Travel Agent both times. The first was a trip to Athens, Paros and Santorini. The second trip was Crete, Santorini and Folegandros. We travelled in May and like you, the ferry schedules were "pending" until very close to our vacation.

I agree that you are unlikely to find a travel agent just willing to book ferry tickets.

We used Aegean Thesaurus based out of Sifnos and they provided excellent service. They were one of the agencies recommended through Matt Barrett's excellent Greece website along with Dolphin-Hellas and Fantasy (that Brotherleelove mentions).

Everything was done over the internet and via email and fax. Like you - I did a lot of the planning and organizing myself, but using our Greek Travel agent was still worthwhile. They know the ferry schedules - all of them - not just the ones that the local agents might use.

The big benefit is that if things go wrong, (weather, strikes, delays, missed flights, meltami winds, sandstorms etc) you have someone in Greece helping you. We discovered the value of this benefit first hand our second trip when the ferry schedule suddenly changed. Barbara at Aegean Thesaurus monitored everything for us and seamlessly communicated with us, and made changes to the reservations at both ends to account for the fact that we were delayed on Folegandros for an extra day. I sat and sipped my wine overlooking the sea and worried not.

We found the bottom line price for the ferry costs, inter-island air travel, hotels and all transfers to and from the airports and port to be extremely reasonable. Like you I expected that we would pay a premium for using the agent - but it seemed that the prices were not only comparable but sometimes cheaper using the travel agent. Plus, everything was pre-paid which I liked. Both trips were seamless and problem free.

Bottom line - despite the fact we could have done much of it ourselves - (and yes you can buy ferry tickets at any one of the countless travel agencies you trip over in the Greek Island ports) I liked having the itinerary and having the entire "all-inclusive" costs paid before I went out the door, but the entire vacation being tailored for us. Can only speak for our travel agent. Will always use a Greek travel agent in the future, (and almost certainly Aegean Thesaurus considering the excellent service).

As for flights - we never had a problem with Olympic but much preferred Aegean. I'll qualify that - our last experience of navigating the massive mob of Olympic passengers at Athens Airport with only five ticket agents (and everyone's flight leaving in the next 20 minutes it seemed) was nerve-wracking. If you can use Aegean - I'd pick them.

Have fun planning your trip - I'd ask Aegean or one of other agents for a quote - you've got nothing to lose. You may find the extra guidance worthwhile.

Dave
Frozen_North_Dave is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2008, 07:03 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 59
One afterthought - even though Aegean Thesaurus didnt list all the hotels we wanted, we made the request and they were able to accommodate us without any problem. Although they like to use their "tested" hotels, if you've done your own research the agent may still arrange for your choice.

Dave
Frozen_North_Dave is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
jalr13
Air Travel
11
Jul 16th, 2017 05:45 AM
MeghanInNYC
Europe
13
Nov 1st, 2013 12:13 PM
harveyjohn
United States
4
Mar 21st, 2008 01:37 AM
Maire
Europe
29
Apr 23rd, 2006 07:06 PM
Locsin
Europe
5
Mar 7th, 2003 06:11 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:55 AM.