Summer ferries 2022 – more news

Summer ferries 2022 – more news

First of all, many thanks to Hans Gsottbauer who managed to get hold of a draft timetable for Sebeco for 2022 and post it on social media. He also found that there is a new website which will show the timetable from next week (at the moment it only shows a picture of Yialos.

Assuming that the draft timetable is unaltered, there will be a daily service leaving Symi at 07:45 and 1530 for Rhodes and leaving Rhodes at 10:30 and 17:30 for Symi starting 27 April, up to 2 October. In high season there will be a third round trip in the middle of the day.

Once the definitive timetable appears, I’ll produce summary ferry times showing all operators, as we’re only otherwise waiting for SAOS Ferries, and they have only two sailings per week in each direction.

Some notes on booking:
There’s no need to book weeks or months in advance unless you feel making interest-free loans to Greek ferry companies is the best way to use your available funds. Greeks certainly don’t work this way. Now if you are travelling with a vehicle, it might be a good idea to book ahead as space can be limited, if you want a cabin on one of the overnight services to and from Athens/Piraeus the same applies. But just travelling locally in the Dodecanese (so Rhodes-Symi; Symi-Kos etc) you will be fine booking just a few days ahead, or even on the day itself (except in August when things can fill up fast). Blue Star and Dodekanisos Seaways have online booking systems and can accept tickets on mobile phones this year. We should know next week what Sebeco will do. Port ticket agents such as Symi Tours (support Symi businesses if you can) can also do online bookings. What I’d avoid is booking on line with companies who don’t operate ferries themselves and don’t have a physical office in any of the ports you’re using. Events of the past few years have shown that it can be difficult to get rebooked or refunded if you’re putting a third party between yourself and the ferry company, and that is one you can only contact by email and not by phone or in person. The official port agents on each island are well able to do this for you, as well as the ferry company itself.

Dodekanisos Seaways have a “frequent sailor” plan called Bonusways. You can join this on line before you book, and then use the membership number to get discounts right away. Blue Star have a slightly different system called Sea Smiles – here you buy the first ticket at the normal price, enter the details into a special kiosk onboard ship as you are sailing, and the kiosk issues a membership card you can use for discounts on future bookings. Both well worth joining, and you also accrue points that eventually entitle you to free travel – I got a free ticket to Kos from Dodekanisos Seaways in 2020.

Sebeco arriving at Yialos 2018

22 thoughts on “Summer ferries 2022 – more news

  1. Hi Andy, as always thanks for these updates. Have you heard anything about the reopening of the line between Bodrum and Symi?

    1. There’s no news at all. Symi is now open again as an entry point for Greece and it is possible for yachts etc to arrive there from Turkey. The ferry route between Bodrum and Symi was spasmodic at best, and survived, in those odd years it did run, on day excursion traffic from the Bodrum end. People could buy one-way tickets, but hardly any did, it wasn’t really a ferry service in the normal sense. So it all depends on the shipping company’s estimate of how many people might use it this summer. Given that Turkey’s economy is in freefall, domestic tourism within Turkey isn’t looking good. On the other hand the exchange rate is very favourable for foreign tourists coming to Bodrum. Then there’s the dramatically rising fuel price to consider. I would not build any travel plans based on this route running – if it does it will be a pleasant surprise.

      1. Thanks Andy. I actually live in Istanbul so the Bodrum connection has always been the easiest way (40 min flight, 1.5 hour ferry, easy peasy) for my family to get to our home on Symi. The last few years have been rough travel– especially since there are no flights from Istanbul to Rhodes (why?!?!). I’ll try to keep my eye also on the Bodrum/Kos connection and the Ayvalik/Lesbos connection as alternatives. Hoping that at least one of those lines opens.

        1. Hi Rachel,
          I too am trying too get to Symi from Turkey. I emailed Bodrumexpress and a few others direct so waiting on response. Also looks like you can go from Fethiye & Marmaris to Rhodes and than too Symi thou the times are not favourable. If you see any changes please post.

  2. Hi Andy Ive just been looking at the Express and Pride sailings in Sept and find most weekdays there is no itinerary for either boat. Are they being used elsewhere or do you think the finalised timetables are yet to be published ? Seems strange ??

    1. Biddy, I take it you searched by putting Rhodes and Symi into the Dodekanisos Seaways search screen. If you leave the place names blank, you’ll see exactly where these two ferries are each day, could be as far north as Samos or as far south as Kastellorizo. Since the Panagia Skiadeni is back sailing daily between Rhodes and Symi, Dodekanisos Seaways save time and fuel by missing out calls at Symi on the fast catamarans most days. Then there’s the competition – Sebeco at least twice and sometimes three times a day, Blue Star between 3 and 5 days a week, SAOS Ferries twice a week.

      1. Thanks Andy, I did that. Clearly there are plenty of ferries between Rhodes and Symi and the change in routes will make it easier to travel to Halki, Tilos and Nissyros. If I could trust this, I might try and plan a holiday to those islands, but who knows what the ferries will do next year !!

  3. Andy,
    Thank you for your very helpful and informative site. Do you have any information as to which harbor on Rhodes Sebeco departs from in September to Symi? Thank you!

    1. At the moment she is using the inland end of the Tourist Port quay, which is the spot she’s been using ever since she arrived on the route. Confusingly the Sebeco Lines website shows departure from Kolonna! I’ll be travelling on her on Monday and will be able to confirm where she leaves from. But September is a long way away….

  4. Hi Andy, I was hoping that Dodekanisos Seaways would have released an early morning ferry from Symi to Rhodes on the morning of the 22June but they’re still just showing a late afternoon one which will be too late for my flight. Do you reckon there’ll be an update in the next month or is there another boat I could get that morning?

    1. Dodekanisos Seaways hasn’t done early morning departures from Symi to Rhodes for quite a few years now. But on 22 June there is a sailing at 05:40 on Blue Star Chios (of Blue Star Ferries) and at 07:45 on Sebeco (of Sebeco Lines). Both of these sailings are in fact government subsidised to provide the link you need, partly because Dodekanisos Seaways gave up operating ferries that overnighted in Symi, and as a result will be way cheaper than any Dodekanisos Seaways service.

  5. Hi, do you have any information when will Saos publish schedules for June 2002? P

    1. They are advertising schedules up to 30 May and from 20 June to 11 September (and these are identical). There’s a gap between 31 May and 19 June, which I suspect is the time for the annual dry docking and inspection of the ship.

  6. I am sorry for the typos in my previous post. I found the schedules now, thank you. But still, it is not possible to buy a ticket for 20.6 and onwards. You think that it might get postponed, does this happen?

    1. It is possible. There are only a few shipyards capable of handling drydocking and inspection of a ship this size and if one with an earlier booking finds a problem, it delays the date ships with later bookings can start their drydocking. But it is more likely that SAOS simply hasn’t got round to loading the June dates into the booking system yet. They really aren’t that interested in advance passenger bookings as most of their business is transporting cars and trucks, and they receive a hefty subsidy from the government for doing this whether there are any passengers or not.

  7. Hi Andy, After the pandemic gap we are thinking of returning to Symi later in the year. However, the last couple of times we came, we decided to arrive via Kos, rather than the usual Rhodes route, as frankly, for whatever reason, fights from Scotland to Rhodes always seem to be much more expensive than Kos. I know a number of Symi regulars who also use the Kos rather than Rhodes route. We sailed down from Kos and back on the Dodekanisos Pride/ Express and there seemed no lack of daily sailings to accommodate. However, on going onto the usual ferry search engines this year it seems that some days have no sailings, and what few there are have awkward times. Have the Kos ferries been cut , and does it now look like Rhodes is the only realistic option?

    1. Dodekanisos Seaways have been steadily reducing their service between Kos and Symi for several years now, the diversion via Symi costs a lot of fuel for very little additional passengers, and on the high season 2022 timetable they now have none at all. Certainly even in 2019 they only had 3 or 4 sailings a week, and now that the government subsidised Stavros is on the route the demand is even less. However there are still 3 services in the opposite direction, Symi to Kos. Basically there are 4 sailings a week by Blue Star, and two by Stavros (SAOS ferries) in each direction. Rhodes on the other hand has between 4 and 6 sailings a day!
      Have you ever looked at flying into one airport and out from another. I’ve certainly done this and it works well if you fly into Rhodes and return from Kos.

  8. Dear Andy, thank you for this very useful information. I have found a sailing to symi ( from Rhodes on 26 September on sebeco, But can’t find one for my return from Symi to Rhodes on 6 October for 8 am. The time table does not go that far for sebeco. Have done the same journey for the last three years. Do you think they will add more dates. Starting to panic now.

  9. Dear Andy,
    is the line between Symi and Bodrum still closed or will there be a possibility to start a daytrip to Turkey in september?

    1. It doesn’t appear to be operating yet this year, which probably means it won’t. This route was always run from the Bodrum end, and a day trip was never possible from Symi. It made whatever money it did from day trip tickets sold to tourists staying in Bodrum. Last time it ran was in 2019 using the Turkish ferry Kartepe, this is now sailing on the Marmaris-Rhodes route.
      There have been day trips from Symi to Datca (Turkey) on Saturdays in most summers – market day in Datca is a SAturday. Indeed a couple ran in May while I was on Symi. But these days they are really private charters with left over seats being sold to the public, and so unless you want to be the one to put the charter together and stand the financial risk, it is pure chance whether or not you will be able to find one on any given date in September.

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