Ferry Schedules Note: Since the sinking on October 26th, 2000 of the overloaded and 34 year old C/F Express Samina off Naxos with a loss of 80 passengers, official ferry schedules NOW only come out 2 weeks before the sailing date.
The Saminas' currently incarcerated captain and crew were inattentive and watching a football match at night during cold, windy, rough weather and ran into a known navigational hazard: the huge rock formation left.
The ferry schedules available on this site replicate the more straightforward way ferry schedules (since the law changed) used to be listed i.e., IN - A - LIST and in general are easier to read and give a very good indication or near approximation of the ferry service available in the summer months even years later.
Just so you dont get the wrong idea, up until the accident mentioned above, Greece had a very good safety record. With over 30,000 ferry schedules and over 7,000,000 ferry departures a year you could even call Greece's record excellent today.
Market forces, including E.U. rules, will alter the fabric of entirely Greek owned domestic ferry fleet in the next year or two as foreign ferry companies may set up shop if deregulations really do go into affect. They may not too, as Greek Labor Laws, after Portugals, are the least competative in Europe and a free market isnt even a campaign promise. However, other changes have recently occured that directly affect travelers on Greek Ferry Boats.
'Government set' ferry ticket prices abolished
As of June 2006 'government set' ferry tickets prices were abolished and a bewildering array ferry ticket discounts do apply for Greek University students, many toursits, people with 85% disability, frequent travellers and children. Each company sets its own policy and you have to wade through them all if you want to be thorough or do you?
Go ahead and visit some ferry boat sites to your hearts content but wait until 2 weeks before the sailing date to do so. Database sites aren't much help when trying to plan an itinerary months in advance are they? You can waste many hours and add to your frustration level trying to get a simple answer out of them and an answer that, in the final analysis, is, among others, subject to the whims of the Meltemi wind and therefore not something you want to plan important aspects of your journey around.
Greek ferry boat departures and arrivals, just as flights and city buses all over the world, are often slightly delayed and that will be the extent of your discomfort here in Greece more often than not. Occasionally however, delays of up to 3 days may be encountered so allow extra time in your schedule. 90% of the time you don't really have to worry about ferry schedules because there are over 7,000 departures a month and plenty of opportunities to reach your Greek island destination weather permitting.
Did I tell you about the eight hour departure delay I had with a Tower Air Charter? How about my Swissair story of a day lost in the Zurich airport? I had missed a connection by ten minutes. Good thing I hadnt bought my ferry tickets already on those Greece travel occasions. Another time I got three, free, 4 star nights in Morroco because I was flying Royal Air Morocco who put you up in Cassablanca as they reach capacity for USA bound departures. I was flexible. Are you? If you arent, the bigger carriers may be the safe way to go. Allow extra time if you are making en route connections.
Depending on your island destination, and how off the beaten track it is, and the time of year you want to travel in the Greek islands the schedules listed within will let you know if you have a potential transportation problem looming or not. These ferry schedules are for the summer and not the middle of January when its freezing in Greece!
Its important to remember that the weather could care less about your finely timed itinerary and that every summer some percentage of unfortunate travelers miss flights home because they didn't allow enough time to return to Athens and the airport.
Ferries are a lot like buses and deserve as much attention. There are some differences however, especially if you are in a hurry, are traveling during a major Greek Holiday like August 15th, have a vehicle to transport and/or need an overnight cabin which, with the advent of the faster boats you will read about below, is less advantageous than it used to be. The differences you will notice in the schedules used here and the new schedules include but are not limited to:
There are three kinds of Ferry boats today whereas in the past there was basically only one, i.e., the older slower boats. These include: