Traveling to Greece is always an exciting adventure… but, be sure to check 0ut the ferries’ schedule first! You wouldn’t be the first to arrive at the Naxos port in time just to find out that your Greek ferry will be delayed several hours for unforeseen reasons. Traveling by ferry around the Greek islands is often the only way to get from island to island. That’s why, if you aren’t prepared for a few commonplace practices, the Greek ferry system can seem as complicated and confusing as the Greek language. Luckily, we’ve got a few useful tips for traveling on Greek ferries you should definitely take advantage of!
Bring the Right Travel Documents
There is nothing worse than setting out for a day of fun and adventure… only to find that you forgot important travel documents. As with most travel services, Greek island ferries require passengers to provide certain documents before embarkation. Among the key documents needed to travel on a ferry are identification and tickets. So, even before booking those cheap international flights to Greece, start by downloading any necessary documentation onto your phone. This can be especially useful if you’re in a hurry, as ferry companies usually prioritize passengers with electronic documentation during boarding… enabling you to conveniently expedite the whole process!
First of All… Know Your Boat!
In Greece, there are plenty of different ferry companies that can take you from island to island. However, not all of these boats are created equally. When you’re researching a route to take, be sure to get the name of the company and the type of boat you’ll be taking. Some boats are high speed, cutting back on your travel time. Other boats are slower with lengthy journeys and frequent stops. And if you’re prone to seasickness, you’ll want to avoid any of the smaller ferries that don’t always have smooth rides on rough seas!
Select Your Seat Wisely
Here’s some good advice: don’t wait for too long to purchase your tickets. Many of the best seats on the high-speed ferries might be booked up by the time you got around. If you’re taking a high-speed ferry, most likely your seat is already assigned to you. If you don’t want to be in the middle of the boat wedged in between two other people, select your seat well in advance to avoid the hassle.
As most of the island ports are nothing more than concrete benches, you don’t want to arrive at the port too early. On windy days when the seas are rough, it’s also a good idea to check with the port police or a travel agency to see just how delayed your boat may be. The ferries in the Greek islands tend to make several stops a day. If one stop gets off on time, your boat will most likely be later than the time listed on your ticket.
Come Prepared For Seasickness
Island hopping in Greece sounds quite idyllic… until seasickness comes barging in! The travel time between stops is often quite lengthy, so, if you do get sick, there’s no way out for a few hours. Even if you’ve never had trouble with seasickness, it’s best to come prepared on each ferry ride you take just in case. Medication, motion sickness wristbands, and ginger products can help with nausea. It also helps to gaze at the horizon if you can. Just try to keep your mind off of those rough waters!
Keep in Mind That Ferry Schedules Change When Off-Season
Traveling to Greece right at the end of tourist season can prove to be beneficial in many regards. There are fewer crowds than in June, and lines are definitely shorter. But, at the same time, you may encounter issues when traveling by ferry during off-season months. Many routes change are scaled back beginning in September. Therefore, while you might read that a ferry route connects two islands, it’s best to confirm that this is actually the case out of the high season.
Premium Class Might Not Be Worth It
By and large, there’s very little difference between economy class and premium class seating on Greek island ferries. Most travelers have found that economy class seating on the three Greek ferry companies, which include Hellenic Seaways, SeaJets, and Blue Star Ferries, to be spacious enough to be comfortable for almost any passenger. Some tourists note, however, that of the three, SeaJets’ premium option offers the most bang for your buck. Among the many amenities in SeaJets’ premium class are reclining chairs, tables with lamps, and food and drink services. Those who have decided to upgrade say that premium class is ideal for travelers who suffer from seasickness, so that might be something to think about…
Pack Some Snacks
The price of food on Greek island ferries is typically expensive, so we suggest you pack your own snacks for the journey. Although everyone has different preferences, those who have taken the ferries before suggest avoiding chocolate snacks as they can sometimes melt if it’s an especially hot day. Generally, it’s a good idea to bring dry snacks with you, such as crackers and pretzels. In addition to being easier to manage and store in your luggage, bites like these can ease nausea if you suffer from seasickness. Travelers with limited luggage space need not worry about packing water bottles, as ferry operators charge less than one euro for a .75-liter bottle.
Book Your Tickets Through the Proper Website
Although it’s possible to buy ferry tickets the same day you travel, experts suggest that it’s far easier to buy tickets online before your trip. Each ferry company has its own website that allows you to book tickets months in advance. The websites have the added benefit of not charging any additional fees, meaning that travelers pay the exact same price for advanced tickets as they do for tickets bought on the day of travel. You can also buy tickets with your phone using the Ferryhopper app, which acts similarly to the airport online check-in.
While the summer months are usually very hot in Greece, passengers taking the island ferries report that their journey can sometimes be a little chilly. The upper decks of ferry boats can be very windy, while the constant running of air conditioning in the cabins below deck can sometimes make them even chillier than upper deck temperatures. To make sure that your trip is as enjoyable as possible, be sure to pack a sweater or light-weight jacket for the ferry ride. Some travelers who are especially sensitive to cold temperatures even report bringing scarves and blankets for their journey. Better safe than sorry!
Do you know of any other tips for traveling on Greek ferries? Let us know in the comments!