Greek Ferry booking

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Can anyone help us please?

We have flights booked to Athens in May and had planned to get the ferry to one of the smaller islands for 2 weeks after a couple of nights in Athens. The timetable came out last week and we have been trying to book on the website for GA Ferries. However the message keeps coming up that the ferry is in effect full, even for deck tickets. Hard to believe. Tried to ring but they keep telling us to use the internet or mail! One guy told us to turn up at the port and we'd be able to get on ok.

It's tempting to just go to Athens and attempt to book once we are there. What do you think our chances are of getting sorted in Athens?

Any advice gratefully received, I'm beginning to panic.

Sal
you can't take it with you...

Comments

  • julesgr
    julesgr Posts: 657 Forumite
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    In my experience it's always been quite easy to just got to the port and buy the tickets you need
    Weight loss since 01/08/07 - 72 lbs:j
  • saveapenny
    saveapenny Posts: 6,773 Forumite
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    my aunty uses the ferry's like that all the while she lived in Corfu for many years and still got a home there. She just books a cheap flight to Athens goes to the port and gets on they are like bus's ...lol dont worry

    If you feel better by doing it before you leave try https://www.ferries.gr
    If you look anything like your passport photo....Your too ill to travel
  • davidlizard
    davidlizard Posts: 1,582 Forumite
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    There are one or two boats, particularly the fast catermerans (the Hellenic Highspeed 1-5 boats) that may fill up at certain times of the year to certain islands, typically on Fridays/public holidays from Athens and the return trip on Sunday as Greeks leave the capital for a few days.

    However, GA ferries fleet is largely made up of "tubs" (think of cross channel ferries from the 1980s), and they are usually 5-10 kts slower than the competition, and consequently less popular. In almost 10 years of spending a summer in the Aegean, we have never had difficulty getting a ticket on a GA ferry (except overnight cabins).

    If you are going to Athens first for a couple of nights, I would suggest the following:

    a) For peace of mind, buy the ferry tickets when you get to Athens - for all but the smallest boats, its a computerised system and there are plenty of ticket agents in Pireaus and central Athens itself. Note that not all agents do all tickets for all boats, and have been known to say the boat you want is full, when it is not, to get you to buy a ticket on one they do sell tickets for, but that seems to be less common these days.

    b) Have a plan B - in the extremely unlikely event of not being able to get a ticket for your intended boat, then have an alternative plan lined up to avoid standing around in Pireaus wondering what to do next. Unless you are going somewhere well off the beaten track, the many of islands in the Aegean have more than 1 boat from Pireaus/Rafina per day.

    In case you do not have a copy, Thomas Cook do a good book called "Greek Island Hopping" which is about a tenner on Amazon, which has descriptions of most of the ferries and example itineries (not bang up to date, but give good indications of who sails to where and how often).

    Unless you are travelling on a popular ship (which GA ferries usually aint) on a Friday evening or public holiday weekend, I will be surprised if you are unable to get a ticket. May is not exactly high season either. Buy them in Athens.

    Dave
  • fairylights_2
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    I'd also suggest when you get to Athens DON'T get fooled into buying tickets at a travel agents. There are kiosks dock side in Piraeus which are the easiest (and most MSE!) way of buying. Although don't expect them to speak much English - or to spell your name right!
    Official DFW Nerd Club - Member no. 002 :rotfl:
  • sal
    sal Posts: 161 Forumite
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    Thanks for all your replies.

    We have finally found a site that talks to people! Made a call this am and have sorted out our ferry crossing to Fourni.

    The company is Danae, very helpful and confirmation sent asap. It is blatently obvious that other agents are saying the ferry is full, as you say, so that we book alternative crossings with them.

    Thanks again,

    Roll on the ouzo.

    Sal
    you can't take it with you...
  • davidlizard
    davidlizard Posts: 1,582 Forumite
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    Have a good holiday Sal.

    A final bit of advice - food and drink on most ferries are fairly (but not hideously) expensive, so can be worth buying suitable provisions (and ouzo) before you sail. Fourni I think is a fair old hop from Athens - must be the best part of 10 hours I guess, but you should see a fair few other islands on the way to break the journey.

    Also, if you have a "deck" class ticket, this usually entitles you to sit inside on the vast majority of the boats. However, on some, the crew seem to have a policy to direct tourists to the outside plastic seating, therefore reserving the comfy seats inside for Greeks (not that you will want to sit inside unless you love cigarette smoke).

    Have a good time !

    Dave
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