Thinking about visiting one of Greece’s gorgeous islands? (Santorini is a stunner.) You’ll probably be taking the ferry, in which case there are a few things you should know…
Greek ferries are frequently late
Do not be surprised if your ferry doesn’t show up until an hour after it’s supposed to depart. And obviously this only compounds as the day wears on – a late ferry in the morning has a domino effect.
I would recommend leaving plenty of leeway if you have, say, a flight to catch soon after. There’s nothing like the eruption of a boatload of people sprinting from the port to the train station in a desperate bid to make the last subway back to Athens for the night.
Sometimes the schedules are horrendous
I did a double take when I saw that an 8am arrival on Santorini necessitated a 1am departure from Athens. Super early or super late departures are inconvenient, to say the least. Book early to make sure the best ferry seats aren’t sold out.
Delicate stomachs, watch out
Perhaps like me, you get motion sick on cars, buses, and ferries (though for some reason trains never pose a problem for me). A friend recommended we take the slower Blue Star ferries as I get seasick. Bonus: they’re also the cheapest ferry line. But due to my own procrastination, we ended up buying tickets for one fast and expensive ferry to Santorini, and one slow, cheap ferry back. To be honest, although the turbulence was definitely less noticeable than on the faster Hellenic Seaways ferry, I didn’t feel all that much less sick (how’s that for terrible English?) and the trip took twice as long.
But at least the ferries are comfortable
Indoor arcade? Multiple restaurant options? Escalator onboard? It’s all part of the package at Blue Star. Choose from the wicker-type chairs outdoors on the deck (there are also some padded bench seats) though you’ll have to contend with the smokers, or an indoor cabin, with couches and padded chairs, little tables, power points and communal TVs.
With that done and dusted, and last year’s seasickness still fresh in my memory, I can officially say long distance sea travel is not for me, even though Greek ferries far exceeded my expectations for comfort.