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Some Ferry Advice, Please!

I would like to book tickets for a ferry for my family of 4 on Wednesday, July 8, 2015 going from Naxos to Santorini, leaving before 1pm. Using the website http://www.gtp.gr/RoutesForm.asp (thank you, Julie!) I see that there are three options.
1. Champion Jet1 (catamaran-car ferry) from company Sea Jets Consortium (takes about 1 hour with 0 stops)
2. Flying Cat IV (catamaran-passenger only) from Hellenic Seaways (takes about 1.5 hours with 1 stop)
3. Blue Star Delos (car passenger ferry) from Blue Star Ferries (takes 2 hours with 0 stops)

My concerns are (1) avoiding seasickness/smoother ride and (2) reliability. I don't really care about the time it takes to get there. I assume there are decisions to be made about what type of ticket to buy and when to buy them, but I'd like to figure out which ferry to focus on first.

Thanks so much!

Posted by
2863 posts

In July the Meltemi winds are at their strongest. It's certain to be very windy, which means the smaller catamaran ferries will be rough-riding with lots of seasickness. If the seas are too rough the cats won't even leave port. The Blue Star Delos is a very large conventional car ferry with auxiliary computerized side-thrusting stabilizing engines that make for a very smooth ride. It's only 2 hours to Santorini so you can relax and enjoy yourself in a lounge or out on the deck. Be sure to be out on the deck for the spectacular entrance into Santorini's famous caldera. It's a memory for a lifetime. Just buy an economy ticket (first-come-first-served seating inside and out) and maybe spend a couple of extra euro more for an aircraft-style reserved lounge seat. That's all you'll need.

Posted by
16860 posts

Blue Star is a nice, reputable brand of ferry and I agree with Lee's reasons for choosing that.

Posted by
4605 posts

Dawn,

I tend to get seasick but we took the Blue Star Ferry from Piraeus to Santorini a few years ago & I didn't have any problems.

Santorini is a gem!

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
60 posts

Could someone please explain the seating options on the Blue Star Ferry?

Deck/Economy lounge for 20 euro
Airplane type seat/lounge 1 (there are 5 choices, lounge 1 thru lounge 5) for 22 euro
Business lounge for 29 euro

What are the differences with the different categories?

Thanks!
Dawn

Posted by
2863 posts

Deck/Economy seating is all first-come-first-served in specific lounges and on the decks. All "classes" of tickets have access to these areas.

Airplane type seat/lounge is a reserved, reclining seat in a designated lounge area. No one can take your seat because you "bought" it. It doesn't matter which of the 5 lounges you choose, they're basicall the same.

Business lounges are a separate area, including food services, reserved for those who paid the extra money.

You should be able to find some photos of the lounges on the Blue Star website.

For the short trip between Naxos and Santorini Economy or Airplane seating is all you need.

Posted by
60 posts

Thanks, Lee. If you buy an airplane seat, can you still go out on the deck and look around? Just not sit down out there?

Posted by
60 posts

Do you keep your suitcase with you on the ferry or do you check it?

Posted by
2568 posts

Hello Dawn!

SEATING -- YES, if you get the Airplane seating (that's also called REserved Economy-- they cost bout 4€ more than the Economy) you don't have to sit inside at all... you can spend all your time on deck. Frankly, I would not bother with 4 inside seats. Depending on what the "family of 4" consists of, you might want to buy 2 economy & 2 of the reserved-economy... In case there's a fretful child, or if the family includes an elderly person who wants to sit down/lean back/rest ... for most, the deck is the fun part on a sunny day, to watch the wake, and sea gulls and of course the Santorini vista as you enter the caldera. (NOTE: if deck seating is quite full, there are still lots of Economy seating inside at various cafes and along the corridors).

LUGGAGE -- No u don't have to lug your heavy big bags up steps or elevator to the 2nd or 3rd level (economy). Right as u enter the main (vehicle) level, there are steel "warehouse shelves" filled with passengers' luggage. You will of course take with you your smallish day-bags with all valuables, camera, laptop, snacks etc... but your big bags are perfectly OK, perfectly safe on or beside this shelving. TIP: Stack your family's bags vertically, so they won't be buried beneath those of others.

STRATEGY -- The aim of course, is to score good deck seating together or 2 & 2,... a challenge since since it's first-come-first served, it's High Season & pretty full on arrival at Naxos, since its the last stop before the route terminates at Santorini. The strategy will be: (1) Arrive EARLY at Ferry PIer & position your group as close as allowed, behind rope, by BOat Officieals, and when they dropthe rope -- HURRY, it's a crowd scene. (2) Inside, have Paterfamlias deal with the suitcase stacking, while Mama heads upstairs with kiddies or Grandpa, to snare seats -- if kids are speedy Teens send Them ahead to snare & save seats.

ARRIVAL -- the view of Santorini from open deck farries is rightfully praised ... so take time to enjoy... no need to rush down steps, because ferry won't rush away, leaving you on board; this is the terminus; turn-around port.

Posted by
2863 posts

The decks are open and available to everyone all the time.
And be sure to be out on deck portside to experience entering the caldera.

Posted by
60 posts

Perfect! I understand. I am going to go with 4 Economy tickets (my "kids" are 18 and 21 so don't think we will need the airplane seats).
Should I just book directly with Blue Star Ferries on their website?

Posted by
2568 posts

Glad to be helpful, Dawn! Now you see why giving full details is helpful. Knowing "kids age 18-21" rather than "family of 4", we don't have to waste time/effort covering all possible scenarios. You can let them BOTH race up topside to snag seats for the Grown-ups.

No, u don't have to book tickets ahead ... Sometimes can be a hassle for pick-up, it's not like airlines, where you just show a computer print-out at the boat gate. and IF by chance your plans change just a bit -- going a day earlier, or even the 2nd ferry that day rather than the first, exchange is a bother. And you don't need to. Though u ARE talking High Season, you're going mid-week, not Friday or Sat AM. Also, those ferries hold 1500-1800 passengers! Thusi buying the tickets in Greece a few days in advance would be just fine. You don't say when u arrive in Greece; July what?? If you want to be super-cautious, you could stop right in the Airport on yur arrival day, and buy them at one of the 2 agencies in the airport -- Amphitrion or Pacific Travel. OR, if u are staying first in Athens, at any Agency around your hotel. OR IF u will be in Naxos for 4-5 days before that Wed. sailing, at any Naxos portside agency.

Posted by
60 posts

Thanks Janet. We will be flying to Naxos on Sunday, July 5 (morning) after our RS Greece tour ends. Is it possible to buy ferry tickets at the Naxos airport?