Where are the summer ferries?

Where are the summer ferries?

What with COVID-19 and the usual government-induced confusion, we still don’t have any idea what services will operate through Symi in summer 2021. Blue Star have published their timetables and for most of the summer the usual Monday, Wednesday and Friday calls are maintained, using either Blue Star Patmos or Blue Star Chios. But during May the Monday sailings are missing, for no clear reason, maybe due to various ships in the fleet being due their visits to the drydock for annual inspection and overhaul.

The government has put a new route out to tender – Symi-Rhodes, 7 days a week, May to the end of September, with the boat overnighting in Symi (so there will be a morning sailing from Symi, and an evening sailing from Rhodes). Now this is very similar to the timetable Sebeco ran in 2019. Whether Sebeco or some other ANES vessel will be put forward for this tender remains to be seen. But in a typical retaliatory move, Dodekanisos Seaways have loaded a timetable for the period up to the end of September which has removed all of their catamarans from Symi between June and September, though Panagia Skiadeni will reappear doing Rhodes-Symi-Panormitis-Symi-Rhodes every day. Note that this timetable is not bookable, so they’ve plenty of time to alter it if they get concessions from somewhere, without having to make refunds.

Then there’s the Stavros. This should continue, maybe with tweaks to the timetable, as it is on a 3 year contract, and this is only year 2.

So, assuming the COVID level in Rhodes is brought back under control, and a combination of vaccinations or tests allow tourists to visit Symi safely, it should be possible to get there on some sort of ferry, but do not make plans that cannot be altered just yet.

Once we have the results of the tender, and Dodekanisos Seaways actually open their summer service for booking, I will produce the usual summary timetable.

7 thoughts on “Where are the summer ferries?

  1. Informative as ever Andy.
    I’m keeping an eye out on your blog because although we’re doing a July villa in Paxos postponed from last year we’re intent on a late summer return to Symi and a first to Halki.
    You always manage to crack the Enigma code of Greek ferry timetables …

  2. I see Irish Ferries are leasing the Blue Star 1 for the Pembroke-Rosslare route and switching the Isle of Innishmore to a new Dover-Calais crossing.
    I’m a regular user of that route so it’ll be strange to see the Blue Star 1 which I’ve travelled on a number of times(I think !) plying the Irish Sea.

  3. Great article Andy. Any news for June-July ferries going Rhodes to Symi apart from Blue star?

    1. Very much depends on how the Greek government ends up opening up the country to tourism this year. You can expect the SAOS Ferries ship Stavros to operate (Mondays and Thursdays from Rhodes to Symi and onwards, Tuesdays and Fridays returning), she is subsidised, but doesn’t appear on ferry booking sites, when the timetable is confirmed, you’ll find it on this blog. If there are enough tourists, the Dodekanisos Seaways ship Panagia Skiadeni will sail daily from Rhodes to Symi each morning, returning in the afternoon. The tender for morning sailings from Symi and afternoon sailings from Rhodes hasn’t been awarded yet.

  4. Hi Andy- Useful info as always. As a pre-pandemic frequent user of the Bodrum-Symi/Bodrum-Kos-Symi crossing, do you have any intel on whether or not the crossing that connect the Turkish coast are expected to resume summer 2021?

    1. Right now the port border crossings at Kos and Symi are closed and have been for over a year, so it is impossible for these services to resume. Given the political situation between Greece and Turkey, it seems unlikely that any effort at all will be made by either country to reopen the crossings during this summer. Coronavirus control is a convenient figleaf for this, and at the moment it is genuine on the Greek side as only residents of the islands concerned and essential workers are allowed to use even domestic ferries, and then only with permission in advance.

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