Greek Island Athens to Santorini Ferry

Greek Island Athens to Santorini Ferry

water from ferry boat that reads Greek Islands, Overnight Ferry Tips

Taking a ferry to an island in Greece is one of the greatest pleasures of a Greek holiday. Sun, islands in the distance and salty wind in your hair are things that soothe the soul. Sometimes the ferry is the only way to get to an island – not all of them are big enough for an airport. So, get a ticket, sit back and relax, while the Mediterranean passes by!

Avoid possible problems and irritations with these Greek Island Overnight Ferry tips.

Greek Island Athens to Santorini Ferry – Bring Snacks

Since passengers are a captive audience, the food options are meager and expensive. Consider saving money by stopping at a market before you board the ship for snacks and drinks.

You can expect to find several snack counters that sell pizza and sandwich type snacks. At some point in your Greek holiday you simply MUST try the spinach pie. Soo delicious! We ate the spinach pie and the cheese pizza. Drinks are plentiful with all sorts of juices and sodas. They are available but the cost for a soda is twice what it is in port.

Our boat had a cafeteria, too. One kiddo had french fries as a bedtime snack. 🙂

cafeteria style food on Greek ferry

Fun Greek snacks that travel well are sesame seed covered nuts, olive bread, and dried figs. They are all delicious, keep well, are easy to find. Toss a few in your bag! If you are dying to try these before you go…I’ve found these on amazon! I’m delighted to be able to find them here. I bought some to bring home, but…..we ate them all before we got back!

Kalamata figs Greek figs
Greek figs taste better, like a lot of the produce to be honest, and if you want something really heavenly while you daydream of your Greek adventure – try this fig nectar syrup over ice-cream. Ah….Greece daydreams.Fig nectar, Greek figs,

Greek Island Athens to Santorini ferry – Pack Carefully

When you board the ferry up the same ramp the cars use, you’ll be shown where to leave your bags. These will NOT be delivered to your room but will spend the entire journey here. No tags, no numbers, no system it seems – just stick your own bags wherever the crew suggest. If that gives you pause, and you rented a cabin, you can certainly lug them up to your room. Our room was much bigger in person than it seemed to be in photos. We would have had plenty of room, but we left them in storage for ease and had no problems

Since you will leave the large bags behind you’ll want to be sure you have everything you need with you. The night before our ferry journey began I put pjs, toiletries, and a change of clothes for everyone in a small bag to keep with us. I never EVER leave home without a sleep machine noise maker and an electronic device docking station. This had us all refreshed and recharged for the next day!

Using a sleep machine noise maker makes every single room anywhere in the world sound like home. Birds chirping or vespas vesping outside? Didn’t notice. Sheer utter loud silence? No biggie! With the noise maker it all sounds the same. We sleep very well because we use them at home also. This travel machine is our favorite. It even comes with different plugs so you don’t have to worry about an adapter AND it will handle 110 and 220-240 so you don’t need a converter either! Easy squeezy!

Marpac Zohne Portable Sound Conditioner – I have one of these in every bedroom at home and we take them on every trip! SOO worth the money and space in the suitcase.

Belkin Family Rockstar 4 port USB charging station – This is absolutely priceless on a vacation. It requires only one plug and yet you can charge 4 devices. With multiple phones, cameras, laptops, etc. in a family this is a GREAT use of money and space. We use the same one at home. It does not require a converter but it does require an adapter.

Need a refresher on adapter vs converter? (Don’t worry – so did I!)

Adapter VS converter 101

OK – an adapter adapts the shape of the little prongs that go in the wall. You can’t put a round peg in a square hole – or vice versa, so you need to have a plug that will adapt the shape of the prongs on YOUR device to the shape of the holes in the outlet on the wall of the country you are visiting.

A converter, on the other hand, coverts the amount of electricity in the wall to the amount of electricity your device can handle. In the US we use 110. In Europe they use 220. Your converter changes the amount of electricity coming out of the wall into the lesser amount your device can handle. Otherwise the 220 coming out of the wall will FRY your device that can only handle 110. READ the device because some can handle both 110 AND 220- some phones and electronic devices can handle both, some hairdryers and shavers can, too.

Do NOT travel without these!

Voltage Converter 220 – 110 I love a product that will do both…this one has different sized prongs on the back for different countries.  BUT do NOT leave home without adapters anyway…sometimes the hole in the wall is sunken in and this won’t work. (Been there…done that.)

Travel Plug Adapters – These are even labeled to help you figure out which one you need to pack! You MUST have these little ones with you. Sometimes the outlet is recessed into a hole. The large converter/adapters like the one picture above will NOT fit in the hole.

Greek Island Athens to Santorini ferry – Seats/ Rooms

Considering the amount of time you’ll spend on an overnight ferry (the same is true of trains) it is well worth the money to purchase the highest class of ticket you can. Unlike on airplanes, the price difference between 1st, 2nd and 3rd class isn’t very much and the extra space and comfort are REALLY worth the money!

We saw people bedding down all over the ship who had clearly paid the lowest amount. This meant that they didn’t have an assigned seat. One woman put down a blanket and claimed a corner in the hallway. Another guy put a sleeping bag across two chairs in the lounge. I guess it is possible to catch a few Zzz’s that way, but only if you are really young! LOL! More power to them for seeing the world anyway they can!

You can also purchase a ticket for an airplane type seat. This might be a little more comfortable than the floor, but keep in mind the lights stay on that bright all night so be sure to pack an eye mask.

airplane type seating on Greek ferry

We chose a berth cabin for 4 people and here we are chilling in it! Truthfully it was a lot of fun and a unique experience for the kids! The room is a lot bigger than it looks so we really could have had all our luggage with us. Yes, it has a bathroom that even has a shower.

Greek ferries bedroom with bunks

Greek Island Athens to Santorini ferry – Sea Sickness

I’m a little more susceptible to sea sickness that the next person because I’ve had inner ear problems so I was holding my breath about an overnight ferry. I was planning on taking benadryl and just sleeping off the sea sickness BUT….I was totally OK! Turns out that the slow ferries are much smoother than the fast ones. The boat did not sway (no worries about sleeping on the top bunk!) or rock at all.

Be prepared for unexpected seasickness just in case. I like these solutions – small, cheap and if you need them they are life savers!

Sea-band wristbands  These come in sizes for adults and children. These work by pressing on an acupressure point on your wrist. They come in kid sizes, too!

MQ Motion Sickness Patch This patch is all natural and uses herbs to soothe the vagal nerve behind your ear. This nerve is the one that gets all freaky with motion and makes you feel sick. Safe for kids OVER the age of 4.

Dramamine – This is a NON drowsy formula with ginger. I don’t personally like the taste but it beats feeling horrible.

Note – the bed did vibrate, I guess from the engines? But, we all slept fine and it really wasn’t a big deal.

Greek Island Athens to Santorini ferry – Wake UP!

With just a short time in port to let everyone off and then reload the new passengers there is no room for people to oversleep. We set the alarm and were up and going – excited to start our adventure in Santorini when, to my great surprise, the door opened and a crew member said “GOOD MORNING”. LOL! Well, there you go. You get your very own personal Greek wake up call on the overnight ferries.

Then, with 10 minutes left until we were to arrive, I was standing at the mirror in the room putting on mascara when the door opened again. Since I was not expecting the door to open, LOL, I turned to see a very stern looking sea captain standing there frowning and gesturing for me to get out of the cabin. It was clearly time to prepare to debark the ship! LOL! I felt like a little kid who had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar.

Greek Island Athens to Santorini ferry – Collect your Luggage

OK..this part reminded me of a cattle car. Everyone walks down to the level where the baggage and the cars are stored. You all stand in a clump waiting for the wall of the ship to lower like a runway. I so wanted to ‘moo’ at this moment.

crowd of people waiting to get off Greek ferry in Athens

In spite of the fact that it looks like utter chaos, there were ZERO problems. The luggage was right where we left it. When the door opened everyone flooded off sanely – no stampede. It was quick and easy.

Greek Island Athens to Santorini ferry – Buying your Tickets

To be completely honest, I have always had fun booking every part of my trip by myself. I love the research and the information and the struggle to figure things out. I can count (like 2) how many times I’ve used a travel agent in my travels over the years. BUT, if you ever, ever choose to use a travel agent. NOW is the time.

Ferries don’t always run on time. Sometimes they are canceled altogether. Worse – sometimes the ferry workers go on strike and ferries stop completely. This could really make a mess of the logistics of your trip – especially if you need to get back to Athens to catch your international flight.

If you DON’T use a travel agent and one of the above happens – you are on your own for figuring out how to reschedule your trip – on your phone with sketchy wifi – at the same time everyone else has to reschedule their trip.

If you DO use a travel agent, and for the love of all that is good in the world, use a travel agent for ferry tickets in Greece, then they take care of everything for you.

AND…contrary to the worries of customers…travel agents do NOT charge you extra. They get their money from the companies like hotels and ferries as a thank you for bringing the customer to them. So don’t feel like you aren’t getting your money’s worth. You are getting MORE for using a travel agent – not less.

For Athens to Santorini Ferry USE A TRAVEL AGENT.

I used these two travel agencies and highly recommend them both (for anything you need – not just athens to santorini ferry tickets)

Aegean Thesaurus Travel

Fantasy Travel

Greek ferries are an easy, cheap and fun way to get to the Greek islands. I can’t wait to go back and see more of them!

The Educational Tourist and family in Oia, Santorini Greece

If you are headed to Greece, be sure to check out these related posts for planning your adventure!

Taxis – How to get around Athens

Know before you go – Learning about Greek food

Prepare the kids – Books about Greece

Happy Travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

The Educational Tourist logo, ,












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11 Responses

  1. Mel says:

    We took a ferry from Italy to Croatia and the kids loved it. No berth rooms, though. This looks like a great way to travel. And love the packing list and suggestion to use a travel agent– I had never thought of going that route, but I can see why you’d want to in this case.

  2. Zainab says:

    Thanks, these are really useful tips – sometimes I get mildly seasick so this is great. Also good hints for the electrics especially the charger! I would get a cabin to myself too.

  3. Bee says:

    great travel tips! this is so concise and i felt you covered the REAL essentials on taking a trip like this. I guess a ferry trip is def not something to budget on, especially if you don’t want your comfort compromised

  4. Kevin Wagar says:

    I had no idea that the Greek islands offered an overnight ferry. This seems like a great way to travel between the islands. For a boat, i’m surprised at the size of those cabins!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      We were, too, even though we had seen photos! I should have stood in the hallway so I could get a photo of the entire room…it is much larger than it looks.

  5. These tips are very helpful! I also agree that having some snacks anywhere you go is always a good idea as sometimes there is nowhere to get them when you need them! I also agree having a multi adapter of some kind is important so you can always have communication with your loved ones!

  6. Yukti says:

    We did Greek islands trip just 4months before but I was not aware of these overnight ferries and so did by day ones. You have given nice tips on overnight ferries as they are time savers because our day is not wasted in doing long journeys. I also loved Spinach Pie after Greek vacations. Buying tickets from travel agent is also a better option suggested by you as it covers all the last minute surprises.

  7. asoulwindow says:

    I have never taken a overnight ferry trip. It’s interesting to see so many classes within the ferry. I have mostly traveled overnight in chair cars in Trains and buses and I know they are uncomfortable. I would anyday prefer a berth. Since you have mentioned that the difference ain’t much, so makes sense to opt for berth.

  8. Cat says:

    These are all great things to keep in mind! I also found USB charging station especially helpful when traveling. I will definitely remember to use a travel agent when booking tickets in Greece!

  9. Swati Sam says:

    Some really brilliant tips. I have never used that noise maker, maybe its worth a try. I ensure that I have convertibles for every plug.

  1. October 5, 2017

    […] Visit the Greek Islands – Ferry or Airplane? […]

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