Changes for 2023

Changes for 2023

People planning to travel to or from Symi in summer 2023 should take note of several ferry service changes.
First of all, Sebeco has been cloned. The sister ship Sebeco 2 which for the last couple of years has been sailing between Kamiros Skala and Chalki will be operating on the Rhodes- Symi route alongside the original Sebeco, now known as Sebeco 1. As a result there will be more sailings than last year, at least 3 a day during the tourist season From May.

Secondly, Dodekanisos Seaways has won a temporary contract to operate a route from Kalymnos to Leros, Lipsi, Patmos, Agathonisi and Samos (Pythagorio). This is the route that Nissos Kalymnos sailed for many years, until she ran onto rocks at the year end. It is a subsidised route, and the Nissos Kalymnos has been excluded from the contract renewal, which is due to be announced later this month. Dodekanisos Seaways are using the Panagia Skiadeni on this route, which means she now only appears at Symi on Saturdays and Sundays, they seem to expect this will continue all summer – so they must have been given the tip they they will get the contract. As part compensation there are more calls by the Dodekanisos Express.

Panagia Skiadeni in 2019, she’ll look at lot less orange by the time she gets to Symi this year.

Thirdly, during the winter, the quayside at the new port area in Symi has been modified to allow the Stavros and the Panagia Skiadeni to load and unload vehicles there, just as Blue Star have been able to do all along with their bigger ships. This modification came into use at the beginning of April, and now the Stavros uses the new port rather than the Clock Tower. Panagia Skiadeni will also load and unload vehicles there, but has been also calling at the Clock Tower to deliver and collect passengers on journeys that terminate at Symi.

I’ve started building the combined ferry timetables, May’s is linked below and the other months will appear shortly.
May 2023 Ferry Timetable

June 2023 Ferry Timetable
Already the timetables are out of date. SAOS Ferries ship Stavros will be out of service in weeks commencing 22 May and 29 May, apparently for annual safety inspection and dry docking. There is a legal dispute over the award of a contract to Dodekanisos Seaways’ Panagia Skiadeni, which has now been resolved, so the sailings shown in the summary timetables will operate as advertised, having been suspended in the early part of May. It also seems likely that Blue Star will change their ships round yet again, which also affects the timetables as they have different speeds. More very shortly.

10 thoughts on “Changes for 2023

  1. Hi Andy just reading your update, I have already booked and payed for my ferry crossing Monday 10th July with panagia skiadeni , do you think the express is taking it’s place as this is different port also, any feed back would be grateful
    Regards jacquie

    1. It is too early to be certain of anything. Each year there are sudden changes to Greek ferry services in the couple of weeks after Greek Easter, when those in authority suddenly realise that the tourist season has started but there are still decisions to be made. In the past it has been other island groups that have been affected, but this year it looks like being the Dodecanese.
      If the timetable that Dodekanisos Seaways are now advertising on their website for July (as opposed to the one when you booked) actually happens, then you’ll get your money refunded. That’s all Greek law entitles you to as long as you get reasonable notice (at least a couple of weeks). It’s then up to you to make alternative arrangements. Now if you phone or email Dodekanisos Seaways (their office staff’s English is excellent by the way) they may offer to move you to a different ferry in their fleet. But the cost of travel on the Dodekanisos Express is higher than the Panagia Skiadeni and you might be asked to pay the difference. So make contact and see what they say.
      If they aren’t as helpful as you want, bear in mind that Sebecco Lines are offering 5 sailings each way on the 10th, Sea Dreams have 3, and Blue Star one each way, and if you’re departing from the Rhodes end that day, there’s also a morning sailing on SAOS Ferries.

  2. Hi!
    We are visiting Symi This summer, as we also did last summer!:)
    After one week on Symi we have rented a house in Karapthos! I have seen that it might be easier to go back to Rhodes for one night, before travelling to Karpathos, but it is almost impossible to see wich week days there are boats to Karpathos! Do you know what web plage to Search?
    I have almost giving up searching!
    Best regards Line

  3. Hi Andy,

    Looking to catch the Blue Star ferry from Rhodes to Symi on 05/06 at 1600. Your super planner shows it running but I am unable to book it on Blue Star site and a check of other Greek travel sites shows 50/50 running /not running. Any ideas if it is running. Regards, Dave,

    1. I’m afraid that the Blue Star timetable changes so frequently at the moment that I can’t keep pace, especially since I’m on Symi at the moment and out enjoying myself rather than checking ferry timetables as often as I ought.Some agency websites show a sailing by the Blue Galaxy on 05 June, but crucially, Blue Star’s own site does not. I have met someone who is booked on this sailing to board at Symi and go north who will be very unhappy. As far as I can see the Diagoras has taken the place of the Blue Galaxy on 5 June and is not stopping at Symi, and as some kind of compensation, the Blue Star 2 is making an additional call at Symi on its Rhodes -Piraeus journey on 6 June. Which doesn’t help you.
      Assuming you aren’t bringing a vehicle, the Sebeco at 17:30 is your best alternative, given the subsidised fare of €10.80 per person on this sailing.
      I’ll try and update the master timetable this afternoon, it’s looking cloudy so I won’t be missing out on suntans.

  4. Andy, Many thanks for your detailed reply. Have a good holiday, at least there is never a dull moment on the Greek ferry scene.


  5. Hi Andy

    Just read that on Tuesdays only Sebeco depart Symi from “the tourist harbour of Rhodes.”

    Is it possible to take an airport bus directly there, or do I have to go into the Rhodes terminus and taxi to the tourist harbour?

    Many thanks in advance.

    1. In previous years some of the Sebeco sailings departed from the Tourist Port quay, as Dodekanisos Seaways and Sebeco were both timed to occupy a berth at the same time on Tuesday afternoons. This year they all depart from Kolonna quay, as the two operators timetables no longer clash.
      There is no direct bus service from the airport to any of the ferry departure points. The buses will drop you at the town terminus in Averoff street, behind the Nea Agora/New Market building. This is a one-way street. Walk along the street in the direction the bus has come from, turn left at the end. The central taxi station is a little way along, just past the petrol station on the other side of the road.
      Alternatively, go past the taxi station, cross the main coast road and walk along the sea shore side of the road to the right, keeping right, through the archway in the Old Town outer walls, and you’ll find yourself on a fairly new coastal boardwalk. Kolonna quay is the next bit of harbour infrastructure you come to. About 15 minutes from the bus terminus, as the suitcase trundles. Of course if your suitcase doesn’t trundle, get a taxi!

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