We are taking the ferry on July 26th, and are wondering if we can wait until we get to Santorini to buy tickets (as I read here), or if we should do that now. We were looking at the 15:30: Blue Star Ferries (H.Q.) (ST) BLUE STAR DELOS (BDE) Car & Passenger Ferry (cf). I also think there is another company that goes earlier. Wondering about the difference, and about the "rush" to get on the Ferry. Any advice, as always, greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
We always wait until we are on an island before we buy our tickets for the next ferry hop. You can buy tickets from almost every travel agent on an island. By waiting to purchase you can get the very latest weather and strike information which makes planning much easier.
Thanks! The fact that it is summer is not a problem? Enough ferries and tickets?
As stanbr told you, you can buy your tickets when you are in Santorini.
It's possible to go on the "Blue Star Ferries" website. With the "Web Checkin" option you will receive your ticket on your smartphone.
In case, due to bad weather conditons, there are ferry departure cancellations on the day or days before your departure, it is in this situation that you must worry about the available places because all the canceled trips will be transferred to other ferries the day you want to travel.
Plan to leave for the port quite early before the ferry departs.
There is only one road to get to the port, it is narrow and winding. In summer it is used by many tourist buses coming down to the port or going up from the port (and cars, taxis, trucks transporting goods), this causes traffic jams.
It can take 30 minutes to cover the last 4km.
It is dangerous and forbidden to get off the bus or taxi to walk in order to get there faster.
Globules - we waited until the day of to purchase ferry tickets (Hieraklion to Santorini) last July and they were sold out. If you have committed to non refundable hotel reservations I would purchase the tickets ahead of your departure date.
One thing to be aware of is the possibility of a one day strike which may impact your travel plans. It happened to us and was not what I wanted to deal with on vacation. I always register our trips with STEP and they were the ones who alerted us to a strike which would be occurring the following day when we were scheduled to take the ferry. I called the ferry company twice and also went to a ticketing office and they assured me that the information was erroneous and they would be sailing. Upon arrival at the port that morning, lo and behold, STEP was correct and there were NO ferries that day. The ensuing scramble to find a flight that day not to mention the last minute expense was something I would not want to repeat. I had purchased our tickets and advance, and the ferry company did provide a refund several weeks later.
To be sure to have a seat you can reserve a week or more in advance.
But it will not change anything in case of cancellation due to strike or bad weather.
It's always a good idea to check the weather forecast when you're in the Greek Islands.
And to have a plan B if high winds and bad seas are forecast.
The problem christschieder mentions with the Heraklion-Santorini route is that there is often only 1 ferry per day (3 at most). Last year, because of the Covid, the number of passengers on the ferries was limited to 50% of the total capacity.
For a Santorini-Naxos there are at least 6 ferries a day in July and the ferries are now allowed to accept 100% of their passenger capacity.
Thanks! This is great information!!
If you want to be informed of the latest news concerning strikes, weather problems, transport, health measures, etc.
in Greece and in Athens:
Save this address in your bookmarks, it could be very useful
(it's in English)
Have done that trip many many times, and here are the basics I"Ve learned:
• BLUE STAR gives you an enjoyable 2+ hour "mini-cruise" on deck (if you strategize) that's one of the big plusses... the alternative CHAMPIONJET does have small back deck open at departure but not same full-view of cilffs, & soon u must go inside.
• July will be busy, but Blue Star has 1800 psgr capacity, so if you buy Economy (no reserved seat) tix on 1st day on Santorini you should be just fine, just go to any ticket agency. There's also a port office on Santorini Square iif u r a worry-wort, for latest news. IF u are super-Worrier, u can buy ahead at ticket agency in ATH Airport.
The crowds & the hustling u mentioned are the challenge, so herewith from learned experience --
• The road down to Port, and pier itself, will be a ZOO - early start, to arrive no later than 2:30.
• Immediately enter bldg, hurry to Exit Area at front end & Grab Seats by Door - be alert for big unsupervised student crowds who may push a la Tokyo subway; stand fast (or sit). Be ready as soon as boat empties & Guards drop exit rope - the Rush begins!
• On vehicle level, leave BIg Bags at NAxos area (Ask!). If u r 2, have One wrangle bags while other zips up elevator & then up 1-2 flights of steps to reach 2 top levels (which have back decks) and seize 2 chairs. The bag-wrangler can follow & find.
• Enjoy view & sun; IOS will be 1st stop, then NAXOS. When LOudspeaker says Naxos, do not linger for port-approach view, no matter how lovely;l you need to get downstairs; boat makes only BRIEF stop (15 mins?) & you don't want to be caught.
• At Vehicle level, retrieve baggage, stand in near-dark until ferry bumps pier, ramp slams down -- & the fun & beauty begins!
Thanks again! Janet, what if you buy a reserved seat? Does that help? Is it only for inside?
A BLUE STAR reserved economy seat is only 4 or 5€ more than the Plain Vanilla economy... and yes, it only applies to inside seats. They are also called "aircraft seats" but I hate that label, because it makes you think of the awful cramped Agony Seats in today's jets. These reserved seats almost like first-class airline seats -- good lean-back, LOTs of leg room, foot rests etc. When they ARE useful is when you're taking the BLUE Star from Naxos to Athens, for instance, that's almost 6 hours. One thing people don't understand about a reserved seat is -- you don't HAVE To sit in it... you can do the hustle-hustle and grab a deck seat, just as the Unreserved folks do... if you want sun & a view for awhile. Then after you've had enough, or the sun sets, you can come indoors and there's your reserved seat, waiting for you. (Off season, when a ferry is only 1/3 to 1/2 full, people with Plain Vanilla tickets actually can come indoors and just pick an unoccupied seat from the many many available -- but in July, going all he way to Athens, you'd be out of luck with this ploy).
So, sorry to tell you, but paying extra won't get you a deck seat guarantee ... however, the trip STARTS At Santorini, so the whole boat is empty when the Ferry- Gate opens... so you're better off than the passengers that board at Naxos or Paros. And now that I've given you the Drill, you're more prepared than others who also are Blue Star Newcomers.
Sometimes you have to be patient with ferry trips.
Today in Naxos, due to bad weather, the Blue Star Delos tried 7 docking attempts before being able to disembark the passengers. It took him 2 hours
Thanks to everyone again, so helpful!!