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Need ferry advice from Heraklion, Crete to Santorini

We wish to take a ferry from Heraklion to Santorini on a Tuesday in late September. The three companies that sail that day are
Sea Jets, Golden Star and Minoan Lines. Looking for recommendations from anyone who has experiences on any of these ferries, taking into consideration: on time departures & arrivals, fewer cancellations; & smoother journeys (if the seas are a bit rough that day). At this point, we are not concerned with the difference in cost if one ferry company is clearly better than the others. Also,
do we need to purchase tickets ahead of time before leaving the US, or can we do that the day of sailing? Thank you!

Posted by
2950 posts

If possible date-wise, take the Champion Jet from Sea Jets. It's fast, large and stable. You can wait until you're on Crete to buy your tickets.

Posted by
39 posts

Thank you for the response Lee. The vessel that Sea Jets is sailing that day is the Caldera Vista. (700 people & 85 vehicles) Any idea how that one is as far as stability to avoid sea sickness?

Posted by
1016 posts

Ferry hopping requires a balancing act between reliability, size,schedule and cost.
I will say I have not been on any of these three ferries. The Caldera Vista is a cat so that adds stability. It is the smallest of the three ferries but 850 passengers is not a small ship.
The superferry is a conventional hull design. Its the largest of the three with 1630 passengers. While Santorini Palace holds 1156 passengers. I have been on Hellenic seaways on what appears to be the same design as Santorini Palace. Its a fast cat with no outside seating but a safe smooth sail.

I would say unless its a rough sea that any of the three would suit you. Superferry leaves the earliest and arrives later but is the least expensive.

Caldera Vista gives you a few more minutes before departure and gets you there in under 3 hours and is just a bit more expensive.

Santorini Palace gives you and extra hour sleep and gets you to Santorini the fastest but it also get you in later than the other two and is by far the most expensive.

If this were my choice I would take Caldera Vista because it get me into Santorini the earliest. Getting to my next island early is a priority for us.

Oh yes wait until you are on the island to buy your tickets. Any local travel agent in Heraklion will have tickets as well as news about the weather and any possible strikes.

Posted by
39 posts

Thank you Stanbr; your advice is very helpful!

Posted by
6017 posts

To put it into perspective, the jet boats that are much more a risk for a rough passage or cancellation are much smaller than the three you have a choice of. They are passenger only and carry 200 to 400 passengers.

As for tickets, buy there, I like to buy the day before, or sometimes I buy tickets for my departure when I arrive at the port. In the event of a change to schedule or the very rare full ferry, I like to know a little ahead for planning. Even cancellations can be announced the day before or sooner, they have a good handle on sea conditions and prediction.

Posted by
4 posts

We are traveling to Santorini after 13 day Rick Steves tour and decided to fly from Athens to Santorini and back.

Posted by
6017 posts

Flying from Heraklion to Santorini is an option, but not sure, other than some small charter company if there is direct flights. Any flight option likely includes flying all the way back to Athens, then to Santorini. I suppose OK if you have a deathly aversion to seasickness, it can be about the same time span, but I think the ferry is preferred for this route.