BLUE STAR DELOS Tribute and Moments of Trip
Trip: 23 July 2018. From Piraeus to Naxos, via Paros, with the BLUE STAR DELOS of Blue Star Ferries.
The cruiseferry BLUE STAR DELOS was ordered by Blue Star Ferries, along with her sister ship, the BLUE STAR PATMOS, at the Daewoo Shipyards in South Korea for construction and service on the Aegean Sea. The two ships were built in the same shipyards where Blue Star Ferries had ordered ferries in the past, namely the BLUE STAR ITHAKI (now the FUNDY ROSE of Canadian company Bay Ferries Limited) in 2000 and the BLUE STAR PAROS and the BLUE STAR NAXOS in 2002. The BLUE STAR DELOS was completed in 2011 (after several delays which caused her to miss the 2011 summer season), and began service on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line, while the BLUE STAR PATMOS was completed in 2012 and was deployed on the Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene line (though she was also inserted on the Cyclades since late 2014). Among the youngest and most reliable ferries in the Greek coastal service today, the BLUE STAR DELOS has been hailed as, ever since she began her operations, the best day ferry in Greece.
Over the past seven years, the BLUE STAR DELOS found herself to be permanently operating on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line (though she does not serve Ios during the summer), and operates throughout almost the entire year, despite her having a smaller vehicle capacity and a smaller amount of cabins compared to her sister ship. She leaves Piraeus in the early morning, arrives in Santorini in the afternoon, and returns to Athens' main port during the late evening. Her service is widely acclaimed and has practically never been halted due to technical issues.
The BLUE STAR DELOS seen departing the port of Paros, in late July 2018.
After having already traveled with her sister ship in two different occasions, I finally had the opportunity to travel with her for the first time ever. Indeed, when my parents arrived in Greece for the summer (I had already been there since early June as I had an internship with the shipping company V-Ships Greece), we had planned to spend a six-day trip together with my siblings before our annual stays in Zakynthos and in Aegina, as you are now very familiar. The previous summer had seen us in Sifnos, while the summer of 2018 was marked by a visit to the islands of Naxos and Paros. Indeed, we were in Naxos between 23 July and 26 July, and then in Paros from 26 July to 29 July. Hence, we were due to leave Athens very early in the morning in order to reach Naxos before the afternoon. This trip marked my first-ever trip with this ship, my first-ever trip from Piraeus to Naxos, the third ferry from Blue Star Ferries on which I have traveled (after the BLUE STAR PATMOS and the BLUE STAR PAROS), my first-ever early morning trip from Piraeus to the Cyclades (and the second-ever from the Attica region to the Cyclades, as I had done a trip from Rafina to Ios with the SUPERFERRY of Golden Star Ferries over a month prior to this trip). Moreover, I had now officially traveled with both the two Daewoo sister ships that were the last cruiseferries to have been delivered to a Greek coastal service company to date.
The trip began in an unconventional manner. Indeed, while we were heading from Central Athens to the port of Piraeus, there was a huge traffic on the road between Phaliron and Piraeus (mainly due to useless the construction of the tram in that area, which has made one lane out of three unavailable, and due to the many ship departures from the port occurring between 06:30 and 08:30). Luckily, my father managed to find a shortcut which allowed us to pass by all vehicles waiting on the line. We managed to board the ship just one minute before her departure, which was at 07:25! I am not joking when I am saying that, as soon, as our car entered the ship, her ramp closed and we began to leave Piraeus! As a result of this, I was unable to take pictures from the ships that were in the port at the time of our departure, as it took time for us to have the car maneuvered in the garage and then to find seats inside the ship's indoor areas.
Hence, I could only take pictures after we had exited the port.
As soon as I headed towards the ship's outdoor area in her stern section, I saw that we had left Piraeus, and that we were being followed by her fleetmate, the BLUE STAR PAROS, which had departed Piraeus in order to begin her daily service on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Ikaria-Fournoi-Samos line. Behind her is the NISSOS MYKONOS of Hellenic Seaways, also preparing to exit the port.
We then immediately passed by the cruise ship CELESTYAL CRYSTAL of Celestyal Cruises (formerly known as Louis Hellenic Cruises, or just Louis Cruises), which had also exited Piraeus and was heading towards her usual destinations, which include the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and the Turkish coast.
As there were not any other ships to see for the time being, I decided to explore the ship's indoor areas and amenities.
The crowded sun deck outdoor area in Deck 6, which is the first deck used for passenger amenities. The other ones are Deck 7 and Deck 8. The area has several modern chairs and even a few lounges. It is under the exact same structure as the BLUE STAR PATMOS.
The area also features, as it is the case with the BLUE STAR PATMOS, an outdoor bar and café area, operated by Flocafé Espresso Room. It offers coffee, water, soft drinks and small snacks.
The ship's deckplan. It follows the same pattern as the BLUE STAR PATMOS. She has 9 decks: Decks 1 to 5 are dedicated to the ship's garage and engine rooms, Decks 6, 7 and 8 to passenger areas, and Deck 9 to the ship's bridge.
Like her sister ship, the BLUE STAR DELOS has aircraft-style seats occupying the sides of each passenger indoor area. This part is located on the narrow starboard side of the ship, and is located on Deck 7.
A view of the wider aircraft-style seat area at the port side of Deck 7.
The floorplan of the BLUE STAR DELOS, which is posted next to the lifts (located at the front section of the ship). This is one is also located in Deck 7. The lifts are all covered by advertisements, which are either showcasing Attica Group and Blue Star Ferries, or sunscreen brand Frezyderm, as it is the case here.
The staircase area, located near the lifts, allowing passengers to walk from deck to deck. Here, we are at the intersection of Deck 6 and Deck 7.
We are now in Deck 6, which also has aircraft-type seat areas on both sides (rooms AK1, AK2 and AK3). In the middle section, there are a few nice chairs and tables, as well as the ship's onboard store, ran by Hellenic Travel Shops. It features a wide range of products, namely clothes, bags, jewelry, beauty products and small gadgets.
Further towards the middle section of Deck 6, the ship has a large restaurant and canteen area, which is managed by Goody's Burger House, a very famous fast food chain in Greece. Very popular amongst passengers traveling with her, these restaurants are also found on other Blue Star Ferries-owned ferries, such as the day ferries BLUE STAR PAROS (as you saw it during my trip with her) and the BLUE STAR NAXOS, but also on the larger sister ships BLUE STAR 1 and BLUE STAR 2, which perform even longer trips and sail during both day and night.
Even more forward, I had the chance to take a quick picture of the Business Class Lounge area, which has more space, a wall decorated with a picture showing wood-sticks, nice-looking chairs, and a large bar. It is located right underneath the bridge. The ship's iconic front-side windows are seen at the back of the picture.
A view of the Business Class Lounge area from the ship's port side. It shows the nice chairs and lounges, and the ship's frontside windows. Moreover, the passengers sitting in the lane located around the windows are circled by rectangular glasses decorated with white straight lines.
Another view of the staircase leading to the various decks of the ship. They are very modern, as suggested by the glass and the overall design.
The alley located between the Goody's Burger House restaurant and the indoor area near the stern on Deck 6. At the side is another aircraft-style seat area, while the central part has a wall with a big and beautiful painting showing a large amount of seabirds flying next to a coast. A very modern and artistic approach to the ship.
The Economy Class Lounge area right next to the ship's reception, featuring lounges and white chairs. The walls are decorated with small white columns.
The ship's very modern reception desk, which is very similar to the one that the BLUE STAR PATMOS has.
Next to the reception desk and right before exiting the area in order to go outside, one can see another seating area, which features white chairs and tables that are the same as the ones seen in the area between the restaurant and the reception area. The wall, which is circular, has a drawing of a green frog swimming below water. This drawing is different to the one the BLUE STAR PATMOS has, as she has a goldfish instead.
Next to the reception desk, passengers are greeted by a welcome sign made out of yellow 3D letters laying on the floor. The BLUE STAR PATMOS has a similar sign as well. The BLUE STAR DELOS was the first ship in the history of the Greek coastal service to have such a welcome sign. This feature quickly became iconic and many tend to assimilate the ship with this sign.
The ship's floor welcome sign, alongside a compass drawn on the floor which covers the whole welcoming area.
Between the reception desk and the welcome sign, the BLUE STAR DELOS has a small kid's corner (the room with the windows showing red stickers of a buoy, a ship and a submarine), an online booking and Sea Smiles (Attica Group's loyalty programme offered to passengers) refill machine, as well as a telephone and an ATM machine.
The ship's indoor lounge area located near the door leading to the outdoor sun deck.
Another view of the crowded sun deck outdoor area.
The sun deck outdoor area located in Deck 7.
In Deck 8, there is an alley accessible to passengers. It is leads to a small outdoor lounge area which also has a TV screen. Next to it we can find the ship's lifeboats. Between this alley and the one located on the opposite side, there is an indoor area which has 24 cabins for passengers. These are rarely used however, as the ship operates generally throughout the day.
One of the ship's four lifeboats, located next to Deck 8.
The outdoor lounge area that I previously mentioned, located towards the front section of the ship.
This area also features a Flocafé bar, much larger than the one located in the stern sun deck area of Deck 6.
The only way I could take a picture of the ship's funnel while onboard (apologies for the bad quality of this photo). The funnel is very large and modern, and features, just like it is the case for her fleetmates, her owners' iconic blue star logo.
The passenger staircase area, at the intersection between Deck 7 and Deck 8.
As soon as I was done taking pictures of the ship's indoor and outdoor areas, I noticed that we had finally encountered a ferry while heading towards our destination. Indeed, it was the classic ferry ADAMANTIOS KORAIS of Zante Ferries, which had left Piraeus just a few minutes before the BLUE STAR DELOS and was beginning her long trip on the Western Cyclades lifeline, with her first destination being Kythnos.
The beautiful ADAMANTIOS KORAIS seen heading towards Kythnos. She was built in Japan in 1987 and was bought by Zante Ferries in 2007. After a year-long conversion, she entered service in 2008 on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line, where the BLUE STAR DELOS currently operates. But her service there lasted just one season as she was then transferred to the Western Cyclades lifeline, which is, in other words, the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios-Santorini line, in 2009. She has since been remaining there, becoming extremely successful and reliable.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS seen next to the Attica coast, heading towards Kythnos.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, among the best ships of the Cyclades and Zante Ferries' flagship, seen heading towards Kythnos.
Passing by the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS. She was the ship on which I traveled from Piraeus to Sifnos on 26 July 2017, when I went to the island with my family. The trip was very memorable and truly a nice experience, which shows how the ferry can offer a very nice trip to anyone boarding her.
Passing by the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS. Due to the BLUE STAR DELOS being faster, we did not wait for that long before we overtook her.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, in what was her tenth consecutive season on the Western Cyclades lifeline, and eleventh consecutive season in Greece overall.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS seen calmly sailing over the Aegean Sea.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS shortly after we had passed by her. She was the first ship of her company, which was traditionally operating on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line on the Ionian Sea, to be deployed on the Aegean Sea. The entry to the new market was successful, and her two fleetmates eventually joined her, each for two summer seasons. She was supposed to be joined in 2008 by her sister ship, the ODYSSEAS ELYTIS (which had also been acquired by Zante Ferries), but the large sum of money spent on her conversion did not guarantee enough funding for the latter's conversion. Ultimately, the ODYSSEAS ELYTIS remained laid-up in Zakynthos from 2007 to 2013, and never entered service for Zante Ferries. She was sold in late 2013 to Indonesian company PT Munic Line, and operates there today as the ELYSIA.
One last view of the wonderful ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, as she is seen hading towards Kythnos.
An impressive view of three ferries located near the Attica coast and sailing right behind the BLUE STAR DELOS. All are heading towards the Cyclades, though two of them are also heading towards the Northeast Aegean Sea Islands. We can see the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS in the left, the BLUE STAR PAROS in the middle, and the NISSOS MYKONOS (which had already passed by the BLUE STAR PAROS) in the right.
Barely five minutes after having passed by the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, I saw another ship owned by Zante Ferries operating on the Western Cyclades, and also a very familiar face to me. Indeed, it was the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS, which was also heading to Kythnos, having left a few minutes before her fleetmate.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS was built in 1990 in Japan and entered service in Greece in 1999 after having been bought by Zante Ferries. She was the company's first-ever conventional ferry, as they previously operated Ro-Ro carriers (the AGIOS DIONISIOS I from 1991 to 1995 and the AGIOS DIONISIOS S from 1995 to 1999). She entered service on the Ionian Sea, mainly serving the Kyllini-Zakynthos line, but also occasionally operating on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line. She remained there until 2017, when she was transferred to the Western Cyclades lifeline, joining the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen heading towards Kythnos, during her second straight summer on the Western Cyclades. She is an important part of my childhood, as I would see her every year in Zakynthos, and had also traveled onboard her multiple times. The last time was on 21 July 2013, hence exactly five years and two days before my trip with the BLUE STAR DELOS.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS has spent her first two seasons on the Cyclades operating on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios line. Hence, she serves all the islands that are part of her fleetmate's itinerary, except for Santorini. Her entry to the Western Cyclades occurred right after a major conversion that she underwent in Perama, during which her stern was upgraded and her bow was fully replaced. Having had a ramp throughout her entire career on the Ionian Sea, it was covered by a classic bow, in order to make her trips on the more aggressive Aegean Sea more comfortable and frictionless. Her introduction has been successful so far, due to her larger garage, which has been favoured in terms of freight service.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen heading towards Kythnos. Before her, Zante Ferries had added her former fleetmate, the ANDREAS KALVOS, as a partner of the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS on the Western Cyclades. The ship was also on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line, operating there from 2003 to 2014. In 2015, following a conversion in Perama, she was deployed on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos line. After two seasons, she was deemed unfit for this service, which prompted her owners to deploy the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS instead. After returning to the Ionian Sea in 2017 and operating there for two seasons, the ANDREAS KALVOS was sold to Levante Ferries. She has been operating for them since January on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS, now established on the Cyclades, heading towards Kythnos.
Passing by the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS, which is also slower than the BLUE STAR DELOS.
At the same time, the containership CMA CGM BERLIOZ of French containership giants CMA CGM was seen heading towards Piraeus.
One last view of the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS as she heads towards the island of Kythnos.
Thirty minutes after having passed by the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS, we had passed through the passage separating the islands of Kea and Kythnos.
The BLUE STAR DELOS at the stern section, seen in the middle of the Cyclades.
The NISSOS MYKONOS, in the meantime, is heading towards the North, as she is due to call at Syros, while we are heading towards Paros (which is more towards the South than Syros). Built in Greece in 2005, she spent the 2018 season on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Ikaria-Samos-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos-Kavala lifeline, and is among the best ships of the Greek coastal service, to the same extent as the BLUE STAR DELOS.
Two hours later, I was able to witness a beautiful moment, as the BLUE STAR DELOS encountered her sister ship and fleetmate, the BLUE STAR PATMOS, which had left Paros and was making her return to Piraeus.
The BLUE STAR PATMOS, a ship on which I had already traveled two times before my trip with the BLUE STAR DELOS: the first time on 7-8 July 2015 from Piraeus to Santorini, and the second time from Santorini to Ios on 10 July 2017.
Built just a few months after the BLUE STAR DELOS, the BLUE STAR PATMOS entered service during the 2012 summer season on the Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene line. She quickly dispatched NEL Lines off its historic line and was a major threat to Hellenic Seaways for several seasons. After the sale of the BLUE STAR ITHAKI to Bay Ferries Limited in late 2014, she was transferred to the Cyclades. Her first summer season there saw her conducting the same trip as the BLUE STAR DELOS, though she would be serving much more islands. Indeed, from 2015 to 2017, she was on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Donousa-Amorgos-Ios-Santorini-Anafi-Astypalaia line. Since 2018, she has been on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini-Anafi line, no longer making calls to Donousa, Amorgos and Astypalaia.
The great BLUE STAR PATMOS passing by her sister ship. Both ships ensure the daily connection of Piraeus with Paros, Naxos and Santorini (though the BLUE STAR PATMOS also serves Syros, Ios and Anafi). The BLUE STAR DELOS leaves from Piraeus to the islands in the morning, while the BLUE STAR PATMOS does so in the late afternoon, returning from the islands to Athens' main port the following morning.
The BLUE STAR PATMOS seen heading back towards Piraeus.
The moment the two sister ships met together, near the island of Paros, where they have been widely acclaimed.
The BLUE STAR PATMOS, one of Blue Star Ferries' jewels, and one of the best ships operating in Greece.
The BLUE STAR PATMOS on her way towards Piraeus. Three days after my trip with her sister ship, I would find myself traveling onboard her once again, while heading from Naxos to Paros. Therefore, it would be the third time that I would be onboard this amazing ferry, the most times out of any ferry operating on the Cyclades.
Shortly after seeing the BLUE STAR PATMOS, we were beginning to approach the port of Paros, located in the town Paroikia. There, two infamous islets were awaiting us: the 'Portes', which is where the doomed EXPRESS SAMINA of Hellas Ferries collided and sank, resulting in the tragic loss of 82 people. Therefore, these two islets are a place that Paros residents tend to forget, due to the horrible events they experienced that tragic night of 26 September 2000.
On a more positive note, I saw a nice high speed craft, the NAXOS JET of Sea Jets, leaving Paros, as she was making her return trip back Rafina.
The NAXOS JET was formerly known as the CYCLADES EXPRESS of NEL Lines, operating for them only during the 2010 season on the Heraklion-Santorini line. Afterwards, due to the company's financial problems, she was laid-up in Salamina from 2010 to 2016. That year, she was sold to Sea Jets, which went on to refit her during two years. She entered service for the first time in 8 years on the Rafina-Andros-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos line, where she operated successfully.
In her debut season under Sea Jets, the NAXOS JET would leave Rafina for the Cyclades islands in the afternoon, reaching Naxos in the evening and spending the night there. She would leave her namesake island in the morning, in order to return to Rafina in the early afternoon.
After passing by the NAXOS JET, I saw one of her fleetmates departing the port of Paros. It was the company's flagship, the TERA JET, which was collaborating with the NAXOS JET, serving the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos line. Unlike her fleetmate, however, the TERA JET leaves Rafina in the morning and returns there in the late afternoon of the same day.
The NAXOS JET seen heading towards Mykonos, her next destination.
It was almost 11:40, and we were now right next the port of Paros. Here is a nice view of Paroikia.
In the meantime, another high speed craft was departing the island. It was the SUPERRUNNER of Golden Star Ferries, which was heading from Paros to Naxos.
The SUPERRUNNER (formerly the SPEEDRUNNER IV of Aegean Speed Lines, from 2009 to 2016) seen leaving Paros. It was her second season with Golden Star Ferries, which has successfully deployed her on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line.
Her rival, the TERA JET, had also left Paros and was also heading towards Naxos. Both ships became fierce competitors in 2017, which marked the first summer of the SUPERRUNNER in Rafina under Golden Star Ferries and the first one of the TERA JET on the Rafina-Cyclades service. Due to both of them being excellent and very fast high speed craft, their owners engaged in both a price war and port racing contests in Tinos, Mykonos, Paros and Naxos (as the SUPERRUNNER then continues her trip to Ios and Santorini, while the TERA JET heads back to Rafina) in order to see which ship would moor first (with a view of impressing passengers). Despite the heated rivalry, both ships had an excellent first season, as they also did in 2018. No incidents and very rare engine failures have been reported so far. Thanks to them, their companies won the prestigious award 'Passenger Line of The Year' provided by Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards, in 2017 and 2018, respectively.