• Alexandros Vrailas

ANDREAS KALVOS Tribute and Moments of Trip

Trip: 15 August 2021. From Zakynthos to Kyllini, with the ANDREAS KALVOS of Levante Ferries.


The ferry ANDREAS KALVOS was built in Japan in 1985 as the Ro-Ro carrier ESAN MORU No. 5 of the Japanese company Donan Jidosha Ferry, for whom she was deployed on the Aomori-Hakodate line on the Tsugaru Strait. She remained there for the first 15 years of her career, until she was sold to the Cypriot company Vourakis Shipping in 2000. She was renamed TONIA, and in 2001 she operated as a Ro-Ro carrier on the Piraeus-Limassol line. In 2002 she was bought by Zante Ferries, a Greek company based in Zakynthos and at the time a member of the Ionian Ferries joint venture, which also included Tyrogalas Ferries and ANEZ. The TONIA underwent a major conversion in Perama, whereupon she became a passenger ferry, and she was renamed ANDREAS KALVOS. She finally started service on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line on the Ionian Sea in 2003. She also spent some time on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line from late 2012 to early 2013, after Strintzis Ferries, the company operating there, ceased operations, before returning to her previous usual service. In 2015 she underwent a major conversion once again, in Keratsini, whereupon she received sponsons and a modified stern. She was later transferred to the Aegean Sea, as she was deployed on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Kimolos-Milos line, hence joining her fleetmate, the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, on the Western Cyclades. She stayed there for two years, until 2017, when she returned to the Ionian Sea, after it was decided that the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS would take over her service on the Cyclades. She resumed service on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line, this time under the Ionian Group joint venture, which included Zante Ferries and Levante Ferries. The latter had started operations on the Ionian Sea in late 2014, bringing in the spectacular ferry FIOR DI LEVANTE. The latter has so much success, that the company went on to buy the IONIAN STAR of Tyrogalas Ferries in 2015 (which became the MARE DI LEVANTE in 2016), and drove the latter company out of the Ionian Sea. After effectively competing against Kefalonian Lines, Levante Ferries became the dominant player on the Ionian Sea, to such an extent that they prevented the ANDREAS KALVOS from being sold to Kefalonian Lines in 2018. Instead, the ship joined Levante Ferries in 2019, only a few months after the company had bought the NISSOS KEFALONIA from Kefalonian Lines. Both ships began service in 2019, with the NISSOS KEFALONIA being renamed KEFALONIA and being deployed on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia, whereas the ANDREAS KALVOS (which was not renamed) was deployed on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line, this time on a full-time basis. With these moves, Levante Ferries became the only company that served the Ionian Sea from Kyllini and from Patras, while Zante Ferries is now only operating on the Aegean Sea, with the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS serving the Western Cyclades lifeline, and the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS operates on the Alexandroupolis-Samothraki-Limnos line on the Northeast Aegean Sea since 2020. During that same year, the ANDREAS KALVOS returned to the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and to the Kyllini-Kefalonia line, while the KEFALONIA was moved to the service in Patras.


Having served the Greek coastal service as a ferry for almost two decades, the ANDREAS KALVOS has become an important ship on the Ionian Sea, where she has been permanently deployed since 2002, with the exception being the two years that she operated on the Western Cyclades. Even though she is now 36 years old and far away from her early days as a new Ro-Ro carrier, the ship has provided good service and has remained a loyal ship on the Ionian Sea. Her usefulness has proven to her owners that she should continue to operate, as she underwent three major conversions since arriving in Greece. She helped cement the presence of Zante Ferries on the Ionian Sea for many years, and Levante Ferries also saw much potential in her, hence they upgraded her indoor areas to a large extent back in 2019. While she was deemed a bit too slow and too small to serve the demanding Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line during the summer, her presence on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line is more than sufficient. The summer fo 2021 marked her second consecutive season of operating to both islands of the Ionian Sea from Kyllini, together with the FIOR DI LEVANTE and the MARE DI LEVANTE.


After having stayed in Aegina between for the first five days of August 2021, I then headed to Zakynthos with my family for a few days. This was a very meaningful period for us, as it had been the first time since 2019 that we got to visit the island, after unfortunately not having the opportunity to do so in 2020. On a much sadder note, this was the first time that we headed to Zakynthos without my beloved grandmother, or Granny as I always called her, as she sadly passed away in July 2021. She has been an integral part of my life and always supported me (as well as the rest of the family) in everything we did, and she showed love, care and affection to a level that I have not seen in any other individual that I have met so far. Moreover, she made me fall in love with the island of Zakynthos, as the moments that we got to spend together there each summer were amongst the most precious ones that I would experience this year. While it was hard to be in the island that she loved so much without her, the fact that we went there was the best way to honour her and to continue to enjoy the island's beauties and traditions the same way that we did with her. As such, this Blog post is dedicated to her, as she also always shared my passion for shipping, and especially those operating in Zakynthos.


We had arrived in Zakynthos from Kyllini on 6 August 2021, having traveled onboard the MARE DI LEVANTE, for which a Tribute Post has already been written. On 15 August 2021, we started to make our way back to Athens in order to then go to Aegina for the remainder of the summer. Our return trip from Zakynthos to Kyllini was with the ANDREAS KALVOS. By traveling with her, this marked the first time that I traveled with the ship under the livery of Levante Ferries, and it was also my second-ever trip with her. Indeed, the first one had been from Kyllini to Zakynthos on 2 July 2012, hence more than nine years prior. By embarking onboard the ANDREAS KALVOS, it also meant that I had now traveled with all four current vessels of Levante Ferries, as I have also traveled with the FIOR DI LEVANTE from 2015 to 2017, as well as with the KEFALONIA during her debut season under her current owners.

A view of the ANDREAS KALVOS in Zakynthos, shortly before embarking onboard her for the second time in my life. It would mark my first trip with her after nine years.

The ANDREAS KALVOS seen in the port of Zakynthos, during her third season under Levante Ferries. This summer marked the first time that I saw the ship under the livery of Levante Ferries, as she was operating on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line in 2019, and I was unfortunately not able to visit Zakynthos during the summer of 2020.

Before I embarked onboard the ANDREAS KALVOS, I spotted the pier from which the small passenger boats of Zakynthos (with the exception of those owned by Voutirakos Cruises) depart the island in order to perform their daily cruises and excursions around the island and in Marathonisi. There, I saw two ships of Top Cruiser, the DIMOSTHENIS and the DIMOSTHENIS K, as well as the MY WAY of My Tours, which was built in 2020 and was the newest ship to be introduced on cruises around Zakynthos.

The DIMOSTHENIS K, which has been sailing around Zakynthos and Marathonisi since 1994, is seen together with the newly-built MY WAY. Next to them is the abandoned passenger boat PANAGIA ATHONITISSA of Actipis Cruises, which has been languishing in Zakynthos since 2009.

A bit further down, I also had the chance to see the two ships of Seven Islands Cruises that operate around Zakynthos and in Marathonisi. These are the IKAROS PALACE and the IONIAN SUN.

The IKAROS PALACE seen in Zakynthos together with her fleetmate, the IONIAN SUN. The IKAROS PALACE has performed this service since 2007, while from 1999 to 2006 she operated on the Kefalonia-Ithaca-Skorpios-Meganisi-Lefkada line on the Ionian Sea. The IONIAN SUN was spending her fourth season under Seven Islands Cruises, having joined them in 2018. Before that, she was the VASSILIOS A of Akliros Cruises, for whom she performed daily cruises on the Saronic Gulf from 1990 (the year during which she was built) to 2017.

While looking towards the Western pier of the port of Zakynthos, one can see the ships of Voutirakos Cruises. In this case, I saw the MENIA MARIA I and the DELFINI. Both ships have served the company on the Ionian Sea for many years, and they have been praised for their daily cruises around Zakynthos and Marathonisi.

A view of one of the two funnels of the ANDREAS KALVOS. After having carried the logo of Zante Ferries for 16 years, the ship's funnel now featured that of Levante Ferries.

A view of the passenger staircase leading to Deck 5, which is also known as the Saloon Deck. This is because it is the only deck that features the ship's indoor areas, as well as the outdoor balcony located right underneath her bridge. There is also an outdoor areas in Deck 6, located towards the aft section of the ship. The walls around the staircase feature waves and lyres which are hanged for decoration. They were added when the ship entered service for Zante Ferries back in 2003. Levante Ferries did not remove them, although they added a poster stating 'Happy to welcome you aboard our ships again' in both Greek and English, together with the company's logo. This is the sign that passenger see upon disembarking from the ship.

A view of the central indoor lounge area found on Deck 5. It features multiple dark blue chairs located around several small wooden tables.

Another view of the central indoor lounge area, which also features a small bar towards the ship's starboard side.

Towards a corner on the starboard side of the central indoor lounge area on Deck 5, a wall featured a nice picture of the Blue Caves of Zakynthos, which are located at the Northern tip of the island and are known to have some of the most precious waters of the Ionian Sea.

A view of the Safety Plan of the ANDREAS KALVOS, which depicts the emergency exits and the location of all available life jackets in each deck.

Heading towards the stern section of Deck 5, one may find several aircraft-style seats. These were fully renovated in early 2020, when more aircraft-style seats were added in order to better accommodate passengers on the Patras-Kefalonia--Ithaca line.

Another view of the new aircraft-style seats of the ANDREAS KALVOS, which were added in early 2020. Despite this addition, the passenger capacity continued to be underwhelming for the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line, therefore the KEFALONIA moved to there during the summer. For the short trip on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line, these seats are more than sufficient.

The central part of the stern section, which features more aircraft-style seats which are seen in rows of four, surrounded by small black barrier columns.

Another view of the aircraft-style seats, which are located in the stern section of Deck 5. The walls here are decorated with a nautical chart of the Ionian Sea.

A view of the stern section of Deck 5, with the ship's well-known aft windows. The chairs and tables that used to be there were also replaced by aircraft-style seats.

Another view of the aft windows, as well as the aircraft-style seats located next to them.

After having a look at the indoor area of Deck 5, I proceeded to the front section outdoor area of the ship, where one can find the front section balcony that gives a full view of the ship's surroundings. There, I could see the ship's mooring equipment, and the flag of Levante Ferries being flown right above her bow.

Another view of the front section balcony of the ANDREAS KAVLOS, with the town of Zakynthos seen in the background.

A view of the starboard side alley that leads to the front section bow of the ANDREAS KALVOS. It features a few seats that face the sea, as well as a small staircase that leads back to the indoor lounge area of the ship.

I then proceeded to Deck 6, which has an outdoor sun deck area that has more chairs and tables for passengers.

Another view of the outdoor sun deck in Deck 6, which was also renovated in 2020, during the ship's refit in Drapetsona and in Chalkida.

A further view of the outdoor sun deck, which also started to feature a few white benches attached to the floor.

While walking further down Deck 6, I almost reached the stern section, which did not have any passenger amenities.

A view of the mizzenmast of the ANDREAS KALVOS, which has been fully painted in black since the ship joined Levante Ferries in 2019.

After I had finished exploring the ship's indoor and outdoor areas, I spotted the small high speed boat SPYROS V of Voutirakos Cruises departing the port of Zakynthos. She was built in 2021, and was therefore spending the first summer of career. Like all her fleetmates, she performs one-day cruises around Zakynthos and Marathonisi.

The SPRYOS V seen departing the port of Zakynthos in the morning. She is one of the three small high speed boats that were built for Voutirakos Cruises in Greece.

The SPYROS V seen as she leaves the port of Zakynthos in order to start her cruises. She was the youngest ship operating in Zakynthos during that season, as she began service a year after the MY WAY.

The SPYROS V seen leaving and heading towards the exit of the port of Zakynthos.

One last view of the SPYROS V, just before she exited the port of Zakynthos.

Moments after the SPYROS V had left the port of Zakynthos, it was now the turn of the small high speed boat ATHANASIOS V of Voutirakos Cruises to leave the port. She is seen here ready to pass by her two fleetmates, the MENIA MARIA I and the DELFINI.

The ATHANASIOS V seen leaving the port of Zakynthos. She was the second ship of her kind to be delivered to Voutirakos Cruises, having been built in Greece in 2016. She joined the company two years after her sister ship, the STAVROULA V.

The MENIA MARIA I and the DELFINI seeing the ATHANASIOS V leaving the port of Zakynthos in order to begin her daily cruise around the island.

The ATHANASIOS V seen leaving the port of Zakynthos, during her sixth summer operating on the Ionian Sea under Voutirakos Cruises.

The ATHANASIOS V seen as she leaves the port of Zakynthos.

Another view of the ATHANASIOS V, as she heads towards the exit of the port of Zakynthos.

The small and modern ATHANASIOS V seen as she leaves Zakynthos.

The ATHANASIOS V seen exiting the port of Zakynthos.

Another view of the IKAROS PALACE alongside the IONIAN SUN.

The DIMOSTHENIS K and the MY WAY seen alongside the PANAGIA ATHONITISSA and two other abandoned and partly-submerged small passenger ships.

The DIMOSTHENIS K, the MY WAY and the PANAGIA ATHONITISSA seen together in the port of Zakynthos.

At around 08:00, the ANDREAS KALVOS departed the port of Zakynthos in order to begin her trip to Kyllini. Here is another view of the DIMOSTHENIS, alongside the DIMOSTHENIS K, the MY WAY and the abandoned passenger ships of Zakynthos. The IKAROS PALCE can also be party seen at the right corner of this picture.

The MENIA MARIA I seen alongside the DELFINI in Zakynthos. I notably traveled with the latter during the summer 2009, whereupon I sailed around Zakynthos and also headed to Marathonisi.

Another view of the DELINI in Zakynthos. She is the flagship of Voutirakos Cruises. She was built in 2001 in Greece, with the basis of her hull being taken from her predecessor, also named DELFINI, which was a small passenger ship that operated for Voutirakos Cruises from 1990 to 2001.

The DIMOSTHENIS, the DIMOSTHENIS K and the MY WAY seen together in Zakynthos.

Another view of the DIMOSTHENIS and of the DIMOSTHENIS K, which have spent their entire careers under Top Cruiser.

As I left the port of Zakynthos, I took one final picture of the Church of Agios Dionisios, who is the patron Saint of the island. This church has been an integral part of my childhood and of my summer stays in Zakynthos, and it is one of the most distinguishable landmarks of the island.

About 30 minutes after having left the port of Zakynthos, I spotted one of the fleetmates of the ANDREAS KALVOS, namely the MARE DI LEVANTE. She was seen heading to Zakynthos, after having left Kyllini.

Crossing the MARE DI LEVANTE on the Ionian Sea, as she is seen heading to Zakynthos. She was built in 1984 in Japan, hence a year before the ANDREAS KALVOS. Like the latter, she also first operated in Japan for the first years of her career, before moving to Greece during the 2000s. Both ships began their services on the Ionian Sea in 2003, as this was the year during which the MARE DI LEVANTE was introduced on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line as the IONIAN STAR of Tyrogalas Ferries. She operated for the latter company until 2015, when she was sold to Levante Ferries. She was renamed MARE DI LEVANTE in 2016.

The MARE DI LEVANTE seen sailing on the Ionian Sea, during her seventh summer under Levante Ferries, and during her sixth season under her current name.

The MARE DI LEVANTE seen on the Ionian Sea, where she has established herself just like the ANDREAS KALVOS did. Previously, both ships operated together through the Ionian Ferries joint venture, from 2003 to 2015 as well as under the Ionian Group joint venture from 2017 (when the ANDREAS KALVOS returned to the Ionian Sea) to 2019. Since then, both ships have been fleetmates.

A view of the MARE DI LEVANTE, on which I had the chance to travel during the 2021 season, after having sailed with her from Kyllini to Zakynthos on 6 August 2021. I have traveled with her several times as a result of heading to Zakynthos during the summer. Indeed, I traveled with her several times back when she was known as the IONIAN STAR during the 2000s, as well once in 2012, in 2013 and in 2014 (with all these trips being from Zakynthos to Kyllini). I traveled with her under her current name and livery for the first time on 30 July 2017, while going from Kyllini to Zakynthos. Since then, I traveled twice with her in 2018, once in 2019, and once more in 2021.

The successful MARE DI LEVANTE see as she heads towards the port of Zakynthos. She became the third and final ship to join Tyrogalas Ferries, having joined them in 2003 as the IONIAN STAR. The company had started operations on the Ionian Sea with the ferry PROTEUS, which was sold to ANES Ferries in 2006 and still operates for the latter company on the Sporades. The company acquired the Ionian Sea veteran ferry IONIS in 1993, and operated her on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line until 2015, when she moved to the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line on the Saronic Gulf. The ship was sold a year later to Leve Ferries, and she therefore marked the end of Tyrogalas Ferries, as the IONIAN STAR had been sold to Levante Ferries only a few months prior. The IONIS continues to operate today, having joined Triton Ferries in 2017 and currently serving the Lavrion-Kea-Kythnos line on the Cyclades since 2020.

The MARE DI LEVANTE seen sailing on the Ionian Sea, en route to Zakynthos. She is the second oldest ship of Levante Ferries, after the KEFALONIA which was built in 1975.

One last view of the MARE DI LEVANTE, as she sails to Zakynthos while we make our way to the port of Kyllini.

At around 09:10, the ANDREAS KALVOS had finally reached the port of Kyllini. There, another one of her fleetmates, namely the FIOR DI LEVANTE, was seen waiting for us to dock.

The FIOR DI LEVANTE seen in Kyllini. She was due to depart the port in order to head to Kefalonia. Alongside the ANDREAS KALVOS and the MARE DI LEVANTE, she serves both the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and the Kyllini-Kefalonia.

The FIOR DI LEVANTE seen docked in Kyllini. She was built in 1998 in South Korea, and she was bought by Levante Ferries in 2012. She was completely rebuilt and converted in China, and after two years, she became a completely new ship. Her indoor areas and her passenger amenities are among the most impressive in Greece. She began service on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line in late 2014, and she immediately made an impact, becoming the best ferry of the Ionian Sea and asserting the market position of Levante Ferries in the area. She became such a success, that eventually all companies based in Kyllini eventually withdrew from the area, and therefore Levante Ferries established a monopoly there.

The FIOR DI LEVANTE seen resting in Kyllini. Ever since beginning her services on the Ionian Sea, she has been the flagship of Levante Ferries.

The FIOR DI LEVANTE seen in Kyllini, during her seventh season under Levante Ferries. After having a successful first summer during the 2015 season, her company bought the IONIAN STAR from Tyrogalas Ferries, and this led to the end of the Ionian Ferries joint venture, which was replaced by the Ionian Group joint venture that included Levante Ferries and Zante Ferries. As a result of this, the FIOR DI LEVANTE also began serving the Kyllini-Kefalonia line. During the 2016 season and the 2017 season, she also performed occasional trips on the Kyllini-Kefalonia-Ithaca line.

The FIOR DI LEVANTE seen as she is docked in Kyllini, while awaiting to leave the port in order to head to Kefalonia. Despite initially competing against Zante Ferries, she did not really face the ANDREAS KALVOS, as the latter had ended her service on the Ionian Sea after the 2014 season and then underwent her second conversion in Keratsini before moving to the Western Cyclades during the 2015 season. After she returned to the Ionian Sea in 2017, it was under the Ionian Group joint venture, therefore the two ships were collaborating with one another. They eventually became fleetmates when the ANDREAS KALVOS joined Levante Ferries in 2019.

The FIOR DI LEVANTE seen docked in the port of Kyllini. Her success on the Ionian Sea did not go unnoticed by shipping enthusiasts around the world, and she eventually was awarded the prestigious title of 'The Best Ferry in the World' in 2015 by Shippax.

The impressive FIOR DI LEVANTE seen resting in Kyllini.

A view of the FIOR DI LEVANTE, which is truly a gem for the Ionian Sea and for the Greek coastal service altogether.

A view of the FIOR DI LEVANTE in Kyllini, while the ANDREAS KALVOS performs her maneuvering procedure.

The FIOR DI LEVANTE seen in Kyllini, where she has established herself as the best ship of the Ionian Sea. I traveled with her for the first time on 24 July 2015, while heading from Zakynthos to Kyllini. I also had a memorable onboard her on 26 July 2016, while heading from Zakynthos to Kyllini and then back, before again traveling with her two days later. The last time that I sailed onboard her so far was on 7 August 2017, from Zakynthos to Kyllini.

The FIOR DI LEVANTE seen in Kyllini. Many major Greek ferry companies would certainly envy her incredible amenities, and she would certainly be a major success if she ever was deployed on the Aegean Sea. But even then, I believe that her true home is on the Ionian Sea.

The ANDREAS KALVOS was performing her maneuvering procedure in order to dock next to the FIOR DI LEVANTE in Kyllini.

The beautiful FIOR DI LEVANTE seen docked in the port of Kyllini.

Another view of the FIOR DI LEVANTE, while she is resting in Kyllini shortly before departing the port in order to head to Kefalonia.

The FIOR DI LEVANTE seen in Kyllini. Before joining Levante Ferries, she was the TREASURE ISLAND of the South Korean company Dong Yang Shipping Company, which was renamed Dong Yang Express Ferry Company in 2005. In 2000 the ship was renamed HYUNDAI SEOLBONG, a name that she kept until her sale to Levante Ferries in 2012. During her spell in South Korea, she served the Busan-Jeju line.

One last view of the FIOR DI LEVANTE in Kyllini.

After about 75 minutes, the trip with the ANDREAS KALVOS had ended, as she finally docked in the port of Kyllini. Here is a view of her stern, which further displays her side sponsons, which she acquired back in 2015. Next to her port side entrance ramp, one may also see a sign displaying the logo of Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards, which specifies that Levante Ferries won the 'Passenger Line of the Year' award for 2019 (the year during which the ANDREAS KALVOS joined the company). This award was yet another major accolade that further implied that Levante Ferries was now one of the best Greek ferry operators.

One final view of the ANDREAS KALVOS in Kyllini, as we now begin to head back to Athens.


And this therefore marks the end of this post. Overall, the trip was very enjoyable, and I was pleased to be back onboard the ANDREAS KALVOS after more than nine years. She was clearly a different ship compared to the last time that I had traveled with her, as her indoor areas were fully refurbished, in addition to her stern being slightly remodeled along with the ship also having acquired sponsons. These changes have undoubtedly made her more appealing to passengers, and she can sail more comfortably even under adverse weather conditions. A unique feature of the ship is her front section balcony, which offers passengers a beautiful view across the Ionian Sea. Overall, it was nice to sail onboard this ferry, which has been a key component of the Ionian Sea for almost two decades. In addition, I was happy to see Zakynthos again after two years, and also having the chance to see the ships that serve this precious island yet again. While there is no longer any competition due to the success of Levante Ferries, the company's ships continue to provide excellent service, and will certainly continue to do so for the years that will follow.


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This Blog Post is dedicated to my beloved grandmother, Ariadni-Maria Vraila, or Granny as I called her, who sadly left us in July 2021. Apart from giving me so many precious memories and beautiful moments, she made me love with the island of Zakynthos, which is where I first started to follow the ships of the Greek coastal service. I maintain fond memories from the island, and all the summers that I had the chance to spend there with her and with the rest of my family remain deeply engraved in my heart. While it was hard to spend the summer of 2021 in Zakynthos without her, her memory lives on, and I will continue to visit the island for the rest of my life, always sailing on the Ionian Sea that she loved so deeply.

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