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Fast or regular ferries to Greek islands, Naxos and Santorini.

We are going by ferry from Athens to Naxos and then ferry to Santorini in late September. Flying back. Trying to decide between the regular or fast ferries. We would have numbered seats on the regular ferry and have small suitcases. Has anyone had any experience on these ferries? The fast ones are 20 to 40 more per person. We are 2 middle aged women. Thanks for any input.

Posted by
7991 posts

In the fast ferries we took you stayed inside and could hardly see outside with the water splashing on the windows. It is a faster way to get there but not pleasant.

Posted by
11447 posts

I took a fast ferry from Crete to Santorini last month. It was very nice and it was a little bumpy due to the speed. I only felt it when I was trying to walk. Seated it was fine.

Since you're on open water you don't see much except when close to one of the islands.

Posted by
366 posts

If you travel with fast ferries such as Seajets you will have assigned seats, from experience I can tell you that you will not always be seated together. These ferries have no deck to walk around and look at the scenery (the two "World Champion" of SeaJets have a terrace but no place to sit and it is not sheltered from the wind and sun .

With traditional ferries like Blue Star / Golden Star, the trip will be a little longer (and much cheaper) but much nicer, you do not need to have assigned seats, in late September you can choose to sit where you want, in economy class there are indoor lounges, sheltered outdoor areas with tables and chairs. There are lounge "luxury" but there are usually almost empty.

For the end of September you can book your tickets a few days in advance, or even when you are in Athens.

Posted by
2898 posts

It really depends on the length of your Greece visit. If it's cruelly short like 7-8 days, every hour is precious. The regular BLue Star ferry leaves about 7:25 - arrives 12:30-12:45 , 5 to 5 1/4 hours. The Fast-Ferries are 7 - 10:30 or 9-12:55... 3 1/2 or 4 hours ... not very much faster for the €€ increase.. Furthermore, on the fast-ferry, you are pretty much confined to your seat, not much room to walk around, no corridors, only a snack counter to stand to order something. In the larger ferries you can roam corridors or go to various cafes with seating.

On the fast-ferries, which are smaller, your suitcases are stowed for you on racks at entry to the seating area(s). Perfectly safe; you will of course take to your seats your travel shoulder-bags with valuables, ID, wallet phone, camera and/or laptop. On the large Blue Star ferries, you will pile your bigger luggage on racks on the first (the vehicle) deck, in area the guard tells u are Naxos racks.

On the large ferry you say you have numbered seats -- that would be for "reserved economy" sometimes called "aircraft seating." These are NOT like the cramped uncomfortable seats of modern airplanes!! They are "aircraft TYPE" but large, with leanback, lots of legroom, headrest & footrest, big tray-table.. ideal for a snooze. If you DO purchase these seats (which are about €5 - 6 more than "plain-vanilla" Economy tickets... it does not mean you must sit there the whole time. You are free to go out on the open rear decks on the top 2 levels, where there are plastic chairs & benches, available to Economy AND reserved-economy on a first-come-first-served basis. Since u are traveling in late september, the ferry probably will be only 1/3 full, 1/2 at most... so there will be deck seating for all who wish.

The plus of the Reserved-E ticket comes in to play during the busy season, when the ferry is nearly fully booked. It means if you sit on deck, and want to go indoors to read/snooze, your numbered seat is secure... if you find a "squatter" in it, you simply show your ticket -- or ask a Blue Star steward to have the person move. Again -- since you're travelling when the ferry will probably be no more than 1/2 full... you really don't have to pay the extra €5-6 Reserve charge at all.... you would have plenty of empty seats to choose from, as a plain-Economy passenger ... No staff will raise any objection when there are so many vacancies.

BTW, if you DO choose to buy the reserve version, do it at a ticket agency, where you can request location -- and I recommend asking for seats in "SIde compartments". These are the smaller (formerly nonsmoking) compartments with windows, and a central aisle, maybe 50-60 seats per compartment. The Big Central Area is really like a big Movie theatre with many hundreds of seats, and at least 2 - 3 aisles; brightly lit, with overhead TV sets always on.

When ferry approaches Naxos (its 1 hr after Paros), it will be announced. It would be nice to ostay on outside deck to see the approach... but the ferry doesnt stay all t hat long in port ... just enough to get vehicles & psgrs off... and you don't want to rush. So u need to go to the vehicle level to retrieve your bags. You'll stand with other Naxos psgrs, in the gloom, right next to big huge trucks, waiting for the docking... the bump-bump against the pier, then the ramp slams down --- and the lovely port town appears. Your Naxos adventure begins!

Posted by
2898 posts

Wow, I see that jolui beat me to it with a recommend, much more briefly. My wordy version was to explain all the ins & outs - what I wish I'd known the first of my Blue Star trips as a "MIddle aged woman"(22 years ago).

Posted by
366 posts

LOL Janet, I beat you a little bit with my first Blue Star trip... it was in May 1992.

(I' m not so old..I was a young traveler in 1992)

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you for all the great information. We are staying 3 nights in Naxos so not that worried about saving a bit of time. I think we will take the regular Blue Star ferry, economy. I live in Washington State and go to Ketchikan lots, so I am used to ferries. In my mind the fast ferry being more expensive sounded more of a luxury experience. Our first trip to Greece, so this will be great fun. We are 60s and not even sure what I meant by middle age, probably extremely optimistic. Maybe we are considered "active seniors". ha ha. Our trip is 2 weeks and going to Lake Como too.