Now that at least some tourists are able to get direct flights from their home airports to Rhodes, it is probably time to show the summer ferry timetables. These are drastically cut back compared to previous years, because the ferry companies simply don’t expect anywhere near as many travellers. What is left is mostly the subsidised routes that have to run anyway.
Will there be more sailings? Well, Dodekanisos Seaways might add a Sunday sailing – they have done on an ad-hoc basis the last two weekends. To get anything more, they would need to cancel service to somewhere else, or to reactivate the Panagia Skiadeni. This is possible but unlikely – because ferry loadings are restricted to allow social distancing, it may not be possible to cover costs on non-subsidised routes. Symiferries20main
What about September? Probably more of the same, but it is really too early to tell. Once we have timings from all the ferry operators, I’ll put timetables up – SAOS Ferries are only offering up to 31 August at the moment.
What about the Sebeco? Not sailing to Symi this year, likely to appear in the Piraeus area.
The Symi II has now received a licence to operate as a ferry between Rhodes and Symi, but only on a Sunday evening! The actual ship has always met ferry standards and was used as a ferry in the Sporades last year, it is the route licence that was missing. As the Sunday evening (19:30 Rhodes to Symi, 21:30 Symi to Rhodes) sailings don’t compete with any other operator, they’ve been approved without any issues, so far just for this weekend. Note that the Symi to Rhodes departure time is 45 minutes earlier than when the bigger “Symi” operated the route earlier this month. This is because the Symi II is purely a passenger ferry so no time is needed to unload vehicles, and it has always been quicker at unloading passengers than the “Symi” because the main saloon area is level with the exit ramp – no stairs involved.
I’m in the process of updating the ferry summaries and these will appear as an update later today.
Don’t panic if you can’t book this ferry on line with Sea Dreams yet, they seem a little slow at changing their website, but the sailings are loaded into the national booking system used by travel agents.
UPDATE – Symi II operated the Sunday evening sailing again on 1 July – still no on line booking, no website information, no visibility on agency sites. Unless someone is paying them to run this service, it won’t last long as it is clearly aimed at foreign tourists coming to Symi, who won’t know it exists.
Sea Dreams have announced Sunday evening sailings between Rhodes and Symi for the rest of the season. The “Symi” will do her normal daytime sailings and then leave Rhodes again at 19:30 for Symi, leaving Symi to go back to Rhodes at 22:15. Journey time is 2 hours in each direction.
Blue Star are still sorting themselves out and it isn’t at all clear what is happening in high season. They appear to be at least one ship short to operate the timetable, which keeps changing anyway. The Wednesday and Friday sailings appear to be set in stone, but may or may not be operated by the Blue Star Patmos. The new Monday sailings aren’t bookable past the end of June at the moment.
The combined ferry timetables and the “Same Day to Symi” guide will be reissued as soon as it is certain what is sailing where and when.