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  • Writer's pictureAlexandros Vrailas

Piraeus Morning Visit on 1 August 2021

Following the amazing experiences that I had back in 27 July 2019, when I went to Piraeus to witness the morning departures of numerous ships of the Greek coastal service, which was something that I also went on to do on 14 August 2020, I decided to continue the tradition during the summer of 2021. I therefore headed to Piraeus in the morning of 1 August 2021, hence ensuring that I would witness the morning departures of the ships of the Greek coastal service for a third consecutive season. I had returned to Athens after having traveled to the Cyclades from 22 July 2021 to 30 July 2021, with my last trip having been from Tinos to Rafina with the FAST FERRIES ANDROS of Fast Ferries. Later that day, I would travel to Aegina with my mother, onboard the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XVII of Hellenic Seaways, for which I had written a Tribute Post when I traveled with her on 19 July 2021.


As it was the case in 2019 and in 2020, I managed to find a day where I was free to go to Piraeus in order to take as many pictures as possible. Indeed, and you saw in the relevant posts, the vast majority of the departures for areas such as the Cyclades and the Northeast Aegean Sea and the Saronic Gulf occur between 06:40 and 08:00, with ships leaving in the morning so that they can serve their respective destinations during the day and return to Piraeus during the evening. At the same time, there are ships from more distant destinations like Crete and the Dodecanese that arrive from the latter in order to be present in Athens in the early morning. For a shipping enthusiast like me, this an ideal scenery, as I can see a multitude of ships of different kinds leaving the port in order to bring passengers and/or vehicles to various islands across the Aegean Sea. Without further ado, let's have a look at the countless pictures I took that morning, which undoubtedly became a major highlight for me during the summer.

I arrived in Piraeus at about 06:15, in order to witness the first departures that would take place. I entered the port through the E8 gate, which is the area from which the ships serving the Saronic Gulf depart. There, I saw the landing craft ELENI of Kerkyra Seaways, which had been introduced on the Piraeus-Aegina line for the 2021 summer season, in order to replace the AGIOS NEKTARIOS AEGINAS of ANES Ferries, which was sent to operate on the Agios Konstantinos-Glyfa-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line on the Sporades, due to her fleetmate, the SYMI, which was serving this line, having ended her season prematurely following a major engine failure. After the summer ended, the ELENI returned to her usual service on the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line on the Ionian Sea, where she has been operating since 2007. I traveled with her three times during her short spell on the Saronic Gulf, with the first trip being on 21 July 2021, while heading from Aegina to Piraeus.

After arriving in Piraeus, I decided to walk towards the E1 gate in order to take better pictures of the ships as they would be departing the port of Piraeus. I therefore passed by the high speed ferry HIGHSPEED 4 of Hellenic Seaways, which was in the E7 gate. Built in 2000, this successful ship has spent her entire career on the Cyclades, and she was operating on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Koufonisi-Amorgos line for the first time since 2018. She had previously operated there in 2014, and from 2016 to 2018.

Besides the HIGHSPEED 4, I spotted the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XVII, also of Hellenic Seaways. Built in 1984, she has spent her entire career on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line. She was ordered by the Greek company Ceres Flying Dolphins, and operated for them until their services were taken over by the newly-established company Minoan Flying Dolphins in 1999. The latter was renamed Hellas Flying Dolphins in 2002, before being rebranded to Hellenic Seaways in 2005.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XVII seen resting in Piraeus during the early morning. I have traveled with her four times, including on 19 July 2021, while heading from Piraeus to Aegina.

I then saw the BLUE STAR DELOS of Blue Star Ferries. Built in 2011, she was deployed on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line on the Cyclades (although she does not serve Ios during the summer).

Besides the BLUE STAR DELOS, there was another ship docked in the E7 gate, namely the BLUE STAR NAXOS of Blue Star Ferries. She has spent her entire career on the Cyclades since being delivered to Blue Star Ferries in 2002. Since 2015, she has been operating on the Lesser Cyclades lifeline, and since 2018 she has been serving the demanding Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Irakleia-Schoinousa-Koufonisi-Donousa-Amorgos-Santorini-Astypalaia lifeline.

Another view of the BLUE STAR NAXOS, which has gone to become one of the most successful ships of the Greek coastal service. She is widely lauded by the residents of the Cyclades, where she has been operating with great success for almost two decades.

A bit further down, I got to see the cruiseferry ELYROS of ANEK Lines, which serves the Piraeus-Chania. She was built in Japan in 1998, and was bought by ANEK Lines in 2007. She was converted in Perama and began service on the Piraeus-Chania line in 2008. She is the flagship of the historic Cretan company.

Another view of the BLUE STAR NAXOS, moments before her morning departure for the Cyclades. Since 2020, she is the first ship to depart the port of Piraeus during the day.

Next to the BLUE STAR PAROS, I saw her fleetmate and sister ship, the BLUE STAR PAROS. She was also built in 2002, and has spent the bulk of her career on the Cyclades, where she has also become an acclaimed ferry. She has been operating on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line since 2020, while having served the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Ikaria-Fournoi-Samos line in 2018 and in 2019.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen docked in the port of Piraeus at dawn, shortly before her morning departure.

The great BLUE STAR NAXOS seen docked in the port of Piraeus at dawn.

A closer view of the BLUE STAR PAROS as she is seen docked in Piraeus. She has operated on the Cyclades for most her career, with the sole exceptions being during the 2016 season and during the 2017 season, when she operated on the Dodecanese lifeline, replacing the DIAGORAS which had been sold to Africa Morocco Link in 2016. The latter returned to Blue Star Ferries in late 2017, but the BLUE STAR PAROS was inserted on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Ikaria-Fournoi-Samos line in 2018, while the Dodecanese lifeline was assigned to the NISSOS CHIOS of Hellenic Seaways (which joined Blue Star Ferries in 2020, and is currently the BLUE STAR CHIOS).

A view of the funnel of the BLUE STAR DELOS, which was remodeled after the ship underwent a conversion during which she was equipped with an exhaust gas cleaning system which enables her to limit her sulphur consumption. The funnel was slightly heightened, but overall its appearance did not change dramatically.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen docked in the port of Piraeus. She is one of the most hardworking ships of the Cyclades and of the Aegean Sea altogether.

The BLUE STAR PAROS seen in the port of Piraeus at dawn.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen in Piraeus, in what was her tenth summer on the Cyclades, since she entered service for Blue Star Ferries.

Another view of the BLUE STAR PAROS, as she is seen resting in Piraeus at dawn.

While heading towards the E3 gate, I was able to take a better picture of the high speed ferry THUNDER of Fast Ferries. Owned by the company since late 2019, the 2021 season was her debut summer in Greece, as she was deployed on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos line on the Cyclades.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen in Piraeus at dawn. She is one of the four ships of Blue Star Ferries that provide the main operations of the company on the Cyclades, together with the BLUE STAR PAROS, the BLUE STAR DELOS and the BLUE STAR PATMOS.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen in Piraeus alongside the THUNDER. Both ships serve the Cyclades, although the BLUE STAR DELOS began service there a decade before the THUNDER was deployed on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos line.

The BLUE STAR DELOS, also one of the best ships that the Greek coastal service has seen, is spotted in Piraeus right before her usual morning departure.

Just as I was walking in the E3 gate, I saw the KRITI I of ANEK Lines maneuvering in the port of Piraeus. She had just arrived from Heraklion, during her first summer back on the Piraeus-Heraklion line since 2014.

The KRITI I was seen maneuvering next to the high speed ferry SPEEDRUNNER III of Aegean Speed Lines, which was also due to depart the port of Piraeus in the morning.

Three different ships of the Greek coastal service are seen together in Piraeus. We can see the THUNDER and the SPEEDRUNNER III docked in the port, while the KRITI I undergoes her maneuvering procedure.

Two high speed ferries operating on the Cyclades are seen together in Piraeus. These are the THUNDER and the SPEEDRUNNER III.

The THUNDER seen resting in Piraeus. She was built in 1998 in Australia, as the TURGUT ÖZAL for the Turkish company İstanbul Deniz Otobüsleri (İDO). She operated on the İstanbul-Bandırma line on the Marmara Sea for 21 years, before her sale to Fast Ferries. She was renamed THUNDER, and became the first high speed craft to be owned by the company. After two years of conversion, she was introduced on the Cyclades, and also became the first ship of Fast Ferries to be based in Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS once again seen in Piraeus at dawn.

The KRITI I seen having completed her maneuvering procedure in Piraeus, and now preparing to dock in the E3 gate. Built in Japan 1979, she joined ANEK Lines in 1996, and was introduced on the Adriatic Sea in 1997, together with her sister ship, the KRITI II. The summer of 2021 marked the ship's first one in Greece since 2016. Indeed, from 2017 to early 2020, she had been chartered to the Italian company Grandi Navi Veloci, for whom she was deployed on the Civitavecchia-Termini Imerese line on the Tyrrhenian Sea. This was not the first time that the ship had operated there, as she had also spent the summer of 2013 under charter to the Italian company Go In Sardinia. That year, she served the Livorno-Olbia-Civitavecchia line, before returning to ANEK Lines the following summer. For the 2021 season, she replaced the KRITI II, which spent the entire summer under lay-up in Perama.

In front of the KRITI I, I could see the cruiseferry KNOSSOS PALACE of Minoan Lines. This was the ship's first summer under her new name and on the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line, as well as first season under Minoan Lines in 10 years. She was originally the OLYMPIA PALACE, which was built for Minoan Lines in 2001. She was deployed on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona line on the Adriatic Sea, where she remained until 2010, when she moved to the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Venice line. Following the completion of the 2011 season, her company closed the service, and she was chartered to the Italian company Tirrenia Di Navigazione as the BONARIA. She was deployed for the latter on the Civitavecchia-Olbia-Arbatax line for six years. In 2018 she was transferred to the Italian company Grimaldi Lines, and was deployed on the Livorno-Olbia line as the CRUISE BONARIA. Following the fleet reshuffle of Minoan Lines, the ship returned to Minoan Lines and replaced the original KNOSSOS PALACE (built in 2000), which joined Grimaldi Lines and became the new CRUISE BONARIA. The new KNOSSOS PALACE was deployed in 2021 on the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line.

A view of the funnel of the KNOSSOS PALACE, which was remodeled after the ship was equipped with an exhaust gas cleaning system (also known as 'scrubbers') in 2019, back when she was operating as the CRUISE BONARIA for Grimaldi Lines.

After finally reaching the E1 gate in Piraeus, I witnessed the docking procedure of a unique ferry, namely the cruiseferry ARIADNE of Hellenic Seaways. The ship had just returned to Piraeus after having served the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.

The ARIADNE seen docking in Piraeus. This was her first summer back in Greece and with Hellenic Seaways after having spent three seasons under charter to Tirrenia Di Navigazione (the former charterers of the current KNOSSOS PALACE). Indeed, from 2018 to early 2021, the ARIADNE operated on the Naples-Cagliari-Palermo line. Therefore, it was great to see such a fantastic ferry back in Greece after such a long time.

The ARIADNE seen completing her docking procedure in Piraeus, and ready to unload her passengers and her vehicles.

The ARIADNE now seen docked in Piraeus at dawn. During her comeback season under Hellenic Seaways, she was deployed on the Cyclades and on the Dodecanese for the first time in her career. Indeed, she was inserted on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Santorini-Samos-Patmos-Leros-Kos-Symi-Rhodes line. While she was praised for her impressive amenities and her large vehicle capacity, she had a few delays when docked in Paros, Naxos or Santorini, due to the limited port infrastructure found in these islands, which made her maneuvering procedures slower. Moreover, due to her large garage, several vehicles and lorries in these islands could embark onboard her, but the small capacity of the ports meant that all adjacent roads had to stop their regular traffic as long as the ferry was docked. This caused several disruptions in the middle of the high season. Nevertheless, her service to Samos, Kos and Rhodes in particular was met with much favourable reviews.

The ARIADNE seen having docked in Piraeus, after having arrived from the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. Built in Japan in 1996, she spent her first years there, initially as the RAINBOW BELL of Kyuetsu Ferry (1996-2002), and then as the FERRY HIMUKA of Miyazaki Car Ferry (2002-2004) and later of Shuttle Highway Line (2004-2006), before being laid-up in 2006. That same year, she was acquired by Hellenic Seaways, was renamed ARIADNE, and underwent a major conversion in Perama in order to enter service in the Greek coastal service. She began service in late 2007 on the Piraeus-Chania line. However, her high operating costs soon drove her away from the plans of Hellenic Seaways, and she was chartered to Minoan Lines, ANEK Lines and Algérie Ferries between 2008 and 2013. In that same year, she had a brief, but ultimately successful, spell on the Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene line on the Northeast Aegean Sea, back when she temporarily replaced the NISSOS CHIOS, which had moved to the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Ikaria-Samos line to replace the NISSOS MYKONOS, which had been taken out of service after her funnel was damaged by a fire just before the summer of 2013 began. The good impression that she left was taken into account by Hellenic Seaways, and in 2014 she was deployed on the Piraeus-Chio-Mytilene line on a permanent basis, as the NISSOS CHIOS was chartered to the Spanish company Baleària. The ARIADNE stayed there for four seasons, while in 2015 she also operated on the Piraeus-Samos-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos-Kavala line. She was then chartered to Tirrenia Di Navigazione from 2018 to early 2021.

The ARIADNE seen docked in Piraeus at dawn, during her first season back with Hellenic Seaways, and seventh overall summer operating under the company.

A nice view of the ARIADNE in Piraeus at dawn, after she had docked in the port.

Another view of the ARIADNE in Piraeus, as the sun begins to rise.

At around 06:55, I saw the first ship departing the port of Piraeus, namely the BLUE STAR NAXOS. She was leaving Piraeus in order to begin her long trip to Paros, Naxos and the Lesser Cyclades.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. For the second consecutive year, she was the first ship departing the port during the morning. When I first started this tradition back in 2019, the first ship that left Piraeus was the high speed ferry SUPEREXPRESS of Golden Star Ferries, back when she was operating on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Mykonos-Tinos-Andros-Rafina line.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen departing the port of Piraeus in the morning. She connects Piraeus with the Lesser Cyclades on a daily basis through a very tight schedule leaving Piraeus at 06:45 every morning, and returning there the following day at 05:00. The crew only has one hour and thirty minutes to rest before her next departure there. This is why she is such an exceptional ship.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. She has been connecting Piraeus with the Lesser Cyclades for many years, namely from 2002 to 2004, from 2007 to 2011, and since 2015. From 2015 to 2017 she operated on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Irakleia-Schoinousa-Koufonisi-Amorgos-Santorini line, while from 2012 to 2014 she notably operated on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line, which is currently served by the BLUE STAR PAROS.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen as she leaves Piraeus. She performs her morning service to the Cyclades and Astypalaia (which is part of the Dodecanese) only during the summer, as Paros and Naxos are served by the BLUE STAR PATMOS during the evening. Outside of the summer season, the BLUE STAR NAXOS instead departs Piraeus at 17:30 in the late afternoon, whereupon she serves the Cyclades and Astypalaia during the night, and makes her return back to Piraeus in the afternoon of the following day.

The much-acclaimed BLUE STAR NAXOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to serve the Cyclades and Astypalaia. I had the chance to travel with her for the first time in my life back on 3 September 2020, while heading from Piraeus to Koufonisi. I was extremely impressed by her indoor areas, and I really found this trip to be very pleasant and comfortable. So far, this is the longest trip that I have done on the Aegean Sea with a ship leaving from Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen leaving Piraeus in order to head to the Cyclades and Astypalaia. For the 2021 season, a banner celebrating the 20-year anniversary of Blue Star Ferries was added on both sides of her hull, towards the aft section. Most ships of the company also received, even though the 20-year anniversary was actually in 2020, since Blue Star Ferries was established as the successor of Strintzis Lines in 2000.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. She and the BLUE STAR PAROS were built in South Korea in 2002, two years after their sister ship, the BLUE STAR ITHAKI. The latter also became a legend on the Cyclades, and operated for Blue Star Ferries from 2000 to 2014, before being sold to the Canadian company Bay Ferries Limited. She has since been operating on the St John-Digby line on the Bay of Fundy as the FUNDY ROSE.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen shortly before she exited the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen as she is about to exit the port of Piraeus, and to begin yet another successful trip on the Cyclades.

A few minutes after the departure of the BLUE STAR NAXOS, I witnessed the second ship leaving the port for the day. This was the high speed ferry CHAMPION JET 2 of Sea Jets. Owned by the company since 2015, she was spending her second consecutive season on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line.

While the CHAMPION JET 2 was seen leaving the port of Piraeus, she was being followed by another ship of Sea Jets, namely the WORLDCHAMPION JET.

The CHAMPION JET 2 is seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to head to the Western Cyclades. Her introduction there proved to be successful, and played a key role as Sea Jets further cemented their presence in the area. While she was departing the port of Piraeus in the afternoon during the 2020 season, this year she also performed morning services, so as to compete more effectively against Aegean Speed Lines and the SPEEDRUNNER III.

The CHAMPION JET 2 seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She was built in 1996 in Australia, and operated as the CONDOR VITESSE under the French company Condor Ferries on the Channel. In 2015, she was sold, together with her fleetmate and sister ship, the CONDOR EXPRESS, to Sea Jets. The CONDOR VITESSE became the CHAMPION JET 2, whereas the CONDOR EXPRESS became the CHAMPION JET 1.

The CHAMPION JET 2 seen as she leaves the port of Piraeus in the morning. During her first two seasons in Greece, she operated on the Piraeus-Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini line. In 2017 she moved to the Heraklion-Rethymnon-Santorini-Ios-Naxos-Paros-Mykonos line, where she stayed for three seasons. Since 2020, she operates on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen following the CHAMPION JET 2, as both Sea Jets high speed craft are departing the port of Piraeus in order to head to the Cyclades.

The CHAMPION JET 2 seen leaving Piraeus, during what was her seventh consecutive season in Greece and under Sea Jets.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus, right behind the CHAMPION JET 2. Built in 2000 in Australia, she was bought by Sea Jets in 2018, and was began service for the latter in 2019. For the 2021 season, she operated on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line.

Another view of the CHAMPION JET 2, as she is seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The CHAMPION JET 2 seen leaving Piraeus for Serifos, Sifnos and Milos. Since entering service on the Cyclades under Sea Jets, she has become one of the most effective vessels of her company, operating in key services such as the Piraeus-Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini line, the Heraklion-Cyclades service and the main islands of the Western Cyclades.

The CHAMPION JET 2 seen leaving Piraeus in order to head to the Western Cyclades.

The CHAMPION JET 2 seen as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. She and the CHAMPION JET 1 were part of the start of the rapid fleet growth of Sea Jets during the mid 2010s, and their acquisition meant that the company had the world's largest fleet of high speed craft built in the Incat Shipyard in Australia. The CHAMPION JET 1 operated on the Cyclades from 2015 to 2018, while in 2019 she was chartered to the Spanish company Naviera Armas for service on the Almería-Melilla-Málaga line on the Alboran Sea. She returned to Sea Jets in 2020, and in 2021 she was deployed on the Thessaloniki-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos-Mantoudi line on the Sporades, hence taking over the service that had been launched earlier that season by the newly-acquired SUPERRUNNER JET (previously the SUPERRUNNER of Golden Star Ferries).

The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus at dawn. This was her third consecutive summer in Greece and under Sea Jets. During her debut season, she operated on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini line, while in 2020 she was on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line.

The CHAMPION JET 2 seen once again, while she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

One last view of the CHAMPION JET 2 as she leaves the port of Piraeus.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET is also seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. When she began her career in 2000, as the VILLUM CLAUSEN of the Danish company Bornholms Traffiken (which became Bornholmer Færgen in 2010, before merging with Molslinjen in 2018), she was the fastest ferry in the world, appearing even on the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest speed ever recorded by a passenger vessel. Upon beginning her services on the Cyclades in 2019, she became the fastest ship of the Greek coastal service.

Another view of the WORLDCHAMPION JET, as she is seen leaving Piraeus in order to head to Syros. I have traveled with her on three occasions, with the first two trips having been from Piraeus to Syros and back on 20 September 2020, while the third trip was from Piraeus to Ios on 22 July 2021, hence 10 days before this picture was taken.

A view of the WORLDCHAMPION JET as she leaves the port of Piraeus. To further highlight the success of her services, she won the prestigious 'Ship of the Year' award given by Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards for 2019. She became the third Greek coastal service ship to win the much-coveted award, and the first one since 2007, back when the NISSOS CHIOS of Hellenic Seaways (now known as the BLUE STAR CHIOS of Blue Star Ferries since 2020) won it. The first Greek coastal service ship to have received this honour was the sister ship of the NISSOS CHIOS, namely the NISSOS MYKONOS of Hellenic Seaways (which is now the BLUE STAR MYCONOS of Blue Star Ferries, also since 2020).

The WORLCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus in order to serve the Cyclades. Thanks to her speed, she is able to return to the port of Piraeus towards 17:00, when some of her competitors serving the Cyclades only make it back to the port late at night.

Another view of the WORLDCHAMPION JET as she leaves Piraeus, in what was yet another successful summer season for her.

One last view of the WORLDCHAMPION JET, as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The next ship to leave the port of Piraeus was the conventional ferry DIONISIOS SOLOMOS of Zante Ferries, which operates on the Western Cyclades lifeline, namely on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios-Santorini line.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving Piraeus during the morning, in order to perform her long itinerary on the Western Cyclades. She was built in 1990 in Japan, and spent the first nine years of her career as the ROYAL KAWANOE of the Japanese company Shikoku Chuo Ferry. She was sold in 1999 to Zante Ferries, becoming their first-ever passenger ferry in the process. She was renamed DIONISIOS SOLOMOS and was deployed on the Ionian Sea, on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line. She stayed there until the end of the 2016 season, having also spent large portions of the summers of 2013 and of 2015 on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line. In 2017, her company decided to operate her on the Western Cyclades, and she underwent a major conversion in Keratsini, during which her bow was entirely remodeled.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus, her fifth consecutive season of operations on the Western Cyclades. She spent the first two seasons on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios line, while in 2019 her service was extended to Santorini. She is now the only ship of the company that still operates on the Western Cyclades, as her fleetmate, the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, moved to the Alexandroupolis-Samothraki-Limnos line following the completion of the 2019 season. The latter had been operating on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios-Santorini line since the 2009 season.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She is also the only conventional ferry to connect the Western Cyclades from Piraeus as of 2021, and she therefore competes against the high speed craft of Sea Jets and of Aegean Speed Lines. Due to this, she is the ship that is charged to transport lorries and most of the vehicles heading towards the Western Cyclades. As such, her service is extremely busy and demanding, but her hardworking crew always ensures that it remains efficient.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving Piraeus, a place that she has been calling home since 2017, after having previously spent 17 years on the Ionian Sea.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving Piraeus for the Western Cyclades. Back when she operated on the Ionian Sea, she was part of the Ionian Ferries joint venture, which included Zante Ferries and the now-defunct company Tyrogalas Ferries, as well as the Zakynthos-based company ANEZ on certain occasions. This joint venture ended in 2015, after Tyrogalas Ferries sold their last ship operating on the Ionian Sea, the IONIAN STAR, to the rapidly-emerging company Levante Ferries, for whom she operates today as the MARE DI LEVANTE. Following this sale, the Ionian Group joint venture was established between Zante Ferries and Levante Ferries during the summer of 2015. It remained active until 2019, when Levante Ferries became the sole operator on the Kyllini-Zakynthos line, on the Kyllini-Kefalonia line and on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line.

The loyal and hardworking DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus in the morning.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. As she was operating on the Ionian Sea throughout my entire childhood, I saw her several times in Zakynthos and in Kyllini during the 2000s and the 2010s, and I also traveled with her several times while sailing between both ports. The last time that I traveled with her was on 9 July 2013, while heading from Kyllini to Zakynthos. This was only a few days before she spent the rest of the 2013 season on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line.

The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving Piraeus, and is due to head towards the Western Cyclades.

One last view of the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS, as she is seen leaving the port of Piraeus.

Right behind the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS, there was yet another ship leaving the port of Piraeus in order to head to the Western Cyclades. This time, it was the SPEEDRUNNER III, which operates on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen leaving the port of Piraeus at dawn. Built in 1999, she joined Aegean Speed Lines in 2009, together with her sister ship, the SPEEDRUNNER IV (which is now the SUPERRUNNER JET of Sea Jets, since the summer of 2021). She spent her debut season on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line, while in 2010 she was deployed on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos line. In 2012 her company experienced financial difficulties, and only operated the SPEERDUNNER IV, while the SPEEDRUNNER III was sent for lay-up in Elefsina. She was reactivated the following year and was deployed on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line, where she stayed for two seasons. In 2015, her service on the Western Cyclades was taken over by the SPEEDRUNNER IV, and therefore she spent the summer on charter to the Moroccan company Navline, while in 2016 she was chartered to Levante Ferries and operated on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line. In 2017, following the sale of the SPEEDRUNNER IV to Golden Star Ferries the SPEEDRUNNER III returned to the Western Cyclades in 2017, being deployed on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos line. In 2018 her service was shortened to the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos line, while in 2019 it was restricted to the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen leaving the port of Piraeus, during her fifth consecutive summer on the Western Cyclades, and also her third consecutive season on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line. Altogether, this was her seventh summer on the Western Cyclades.

The SPEEDRUNNER III, which is now the only ship that is owned by Aegean Speed Lines, seen leaving the port of Piraeus.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. I have traveled with her on three different occasions. The first one was during her comeback season under Aegean Speed Lines, while heading from Sifnos to Piraeus on 29 July 2017. I then traveled with her from Piraeus to Milos on 22 June 2021, followed by a return from Milos to Piraeus on 1 July 2021, hence exactly a month before this picture was taken.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to follow the CHAMPION JET 2 and serve the ports of Serifos, Sifnos and Milos.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. Before joining Aegean Speed Lines, she was known as the SUPERSEACAT THREE, and operated for Sea Containers on the Irish Sea and on the Channel between 1999 and 2003. She then had a spell on the Tallinn-Helsinki line on the Finnish Gulf while being chartered to the Finnish company Silja Line, for whom she operated under the SuperSeaCat brandname. She remained in this service until 2008, and she subsequently joined Aegean Speed Lines.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen as she prepares to sail towards the Western Cyclades at full-speed.

The SPEEDRUNNER III seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus in order to begin her first trip of the day.

One last view of the SPEEDRUNNER III, as she prepares to exit the port of Piraeus.

After the SPEEDRUNNER III left the port of Piraeus, I got to see yet another ship departing the port. This time, it was the BLUE STAR MYCONOS of Blue Star Ferries, which was operating on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Patmos-Ikaria-Fournoi-Samos-Chios-Oinousses-Mytilene-Limnos-Kavala line.

A view of the ARIADNE and of the BLUE STAR MYCONOS together in Piraeus at dawn. This picture was quite meaningful, as it shows the ARIADNE looking at her former fleetmate as the latter leaves the port. Indeed, the BLUE STAR MYCONOS used to be the NISSOS MYKONOS of Hellenic Seaways, having operated for them from 2005 (the year during which she was built) until early 2020, when she joined Blue Star Ferries.

The BLUE STAR MYCONOS seen leaving Piraeus, during her second season under Blue Star Ferries. This was also her first summer with her remodeled funnel, which she acquired after her conversion in Perama, during which she was also equipped with an exhaust gas cleaning system, just like it was the case for the BLUE STAR DELOS. Unlike the latter, the BLUE STAR MYCONOS saw her funnel increasing significantly in size and height.

The BLUE STAR MYCONOS seen departing the port of Piraeus at dawn. She was built in 2005 in Greece, two years before her sister ship, the NISSOS CHIOS (which also joined Blue Star Ferries in 2020, and is now the BLUE STAR CHIOS). She has spent the bulk of her career on the Cyclades and on the Northeast Aegean Sea. Since late 2014, after the Greek Ministry of Shipping and Insular Policy stripped NEL Lines of its license to operate on the Northeast Aegean Sea lifeline, the BLUE STAR MYCONOS (then known as the NISSOS MYKONOS) was called to replace the latter company's ships. This enabled Hellenic Seaways to further expand their services on the Northeast Aegean Sea, with ships such as the NISSOS RODOS and the NISSOS SAMOS being introduced there during the mid 2010s.

The BLUE STAR MYCONOS seen leaving Piraeus at dawn. She is considered to be one of the best ferries of the Greek coastal service, thanks to her modern and comfortable passenger amenities, her reliable speed and her impressive outdoor sun decks.

The BLUE STAR MYCONOS seen leaving Piraeus. As stated above, she became the first ship of the Greek coastal service to receive the prestigious 'Ship of the Year' award given by Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards, which she earned in 2006, back when she was sailing as the NISSOS MYKONOS.

The BLUE STAR MYCONOS seen as she leaves the port of Piraeus in order to head to the Cyclades and the Northeast Aegean Sea. She operated on the Northeast Aegean Sea lifeline alongside the DIAGORAS, which was serving the Piraeus-Mykonos-Patmos-Ikaria-Fournoi-Samos-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos-Kavala line during the 2021 season.

The great BLUE STAR MYCONOS seen as she leaves the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR MYCONOS seen leaving Piraeus. Her new funnel undoubtedly strikes one's eye, as it has become significantly larger than before.

The BLUE STAR MYCONOS seen leaving Piraeus, during her second consecutive season under her current name.

Another picture of the BLUE STAR MYCONOS, as she is seen leaving the port of Piraeus.

One last view of the BLUE STAR MYCONOS while she leaves the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR DELOS was the next ship to leave Piraeus. She is seen here heading towards the port's exit in order to serve Paros, Naxos and Santorini.

The BLUE STAR DELOS, which is considered to be the best day ferry currently operating in the Greek coastal service, is seen leaving the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. The summer fo 2021 saw her and the BLUE STAR MYCONOS being equipped with scrubbers, something that makes them more environmentally-friendly since they are able to limit their sulphur consumption.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving the port of Piraeus in the morning. While she serves the Cyclades during the morning, the BLUE STAR PATMOS, her main summer partner, serves the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini-Anafi line and departs the port of Piraeus during the late afternoon.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving Piraeus at dawn. She was built in 2011 in South Korea, in the same shipyard where the BLUE STAR ITHAKI, the BLUE STAR PAROS, the BLUE STAR NAXOS and the BLUE STAR PATMOS were built.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. I have traveled with her three times, with the first trip occurring on 23 July 2018, when I headed from Piraeus to Naxos. I then traveled with her from Santorini to Piraeus on 14 July 2019, followed by a trip from Naxos to Piraeus on 8 September 2020.

The BLUE STAR DELOS, one of the most successful ships of the Greek coastal service, seen leaving the port of Piraeus as part of her usual daily service on the Cyclades.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR DELOS seen once more, as she makes her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

One last view of the much-acclaimed BLUE STAR DELOS, as she is about to exit the port of Piraeus.

Right after the BLUE STAR DELOS had left the port of Piraeus, I saw yet another ship of Blue Star Ferries leaving the port. This time, it was the BLUE STAR PAROS, which was beginning her daily service on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line.

The BLUE STAR PAROS seen leaving the port of Piraeus, and ready to follow her fleetmates on the Cyclades.

The BLUE STAR PAROS seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to head to Syros, Tinos and Mykonos. I have also traveled with ship, having done one trip onboard her while heading from Mykonos to Piraeus on 20 June 2018.

The BLUE STAR PAROS, one of the most successful ships to have operated on the Cyclades, seen leaving Piraeus. She spent the first four seasons of her career on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line, before moving to the Lesser Cyclades lifeline in 2006. She spent the next eight years on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Irakleia-Schoinousa-Koufonisi-Donousa-Amorgos-Santorini-Astypalaia line. After the BLUE STAR ITHAKI was sold to Bay Ferries Limited in late 2014, the BLUE STAR PAROS took over her service on the Rafina-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios line during the 2015 season. In 2016 she served the Piraeus-Astypalaia-Patmos-Leipsoi-Leros-Kalymnos-Kos-Nisyros-Tilos-Symi-Rhodes-Castellorizon line, while in 2017 she added Paros and Naxos to her itinerary, meaning that she operated on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Astypalaia-Patmos-Leipsoi-Leros-Kalymnos-Kos-Nisyros-Tilos-Symi-Rhodes-Castellorizon line. Since 2018 she has been on the Piraeus-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos line, while also extending her service to Ikaria, Fournoi and Samos in 2018 and in 2019.

The BLUE STAR PAROS seen making her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

Another picture of the BLUE STAR PAROS, which is about to approach the exit of the port of Piraeus.

One final view of the BLUE STAR PAROS, as she becomes the eighth ship to leave the port of Piraeus during that day.

Another view of the ARIADNE, which is now resting in Piraeus. This was her first summer operating for Hellenic Seaways with the latter as a member of Attica Group. Indeed, in 2018, the same year during which she was chartered to Tirrenia Di Navigazione, Minoan Lines sold their stake in Hellenic Seaways to Attica Group, which is formed of Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries.

The next ship to leave the port of Piraeus was the high speed catamaran SUPER JET of Sea Jets. She was spending her second consecutive season on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Santorini-Amorgos-Koufonisi-Naxos-Paros-Mykonos line, which she was serving together with her fleetmate and sister ship, the SEA JET 2.

The SUPER JET is seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to perform her lengthy trip on the Cyclades. She was built in 1995, and she is currently the high speed craft with the most experience in the Greek coastal service, if hydrofoils are excluded.

The SUPER JET seen leaving Piraeus in the morning. She became the first ship to join Sea Jets, having started service for them in 2004, when the company was launched. Previously she was the SEA JET 1 of Strintzis Lines (1995-2000), and then of Blue Star Ferries (2000-2002), followed by a stint under Aegean Jet Maritime as the JET ONE (2002-2004).

The SUPER JET seen as she leaves the port of Piraeus. She has spent her entire career on the Cyclades, with the sole exception being during the 2004 season (her first summer under Sea Jets), during which she was deployed on the Rafina-Samos-Ikaria-Patmos-Leipsoi-Leros line.

The SUPER JET seen as she leaves Piraeus for the Cyclades.

Behind the SUPER JET, I witnessed the first departure of a ship serving the Saronic Gulf during that day. Indeed, it was that of the APOLLON HELLAS of 2way Ferries, which was leaving Piraeus in order to head to Aegina.

The SUPER JET seen leaving Piraeus at dawn. Since 2019, she has been departing the port of Piraeus every two days, as she alternates her service with the SEA JET 2. She performs the first part of her trip during one day, and spends the night in Milos, before then making her way back to Piraeus during the following day.

Another view of the SUPER JET, as she is seen leaving the port of Piraeus. She is one of the three passenger-only high speed catamarans of Sea Jets, with the other ones being the SEA JET 2 and the SIFNOS JET. The latter spent the largest part of the 2021 summer season on the Paros-Mykonos line, on which she was providing a shuttle service.

Another picture of the SUPER JET, as she makes her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The APOLLON HELLAS was seen following right behind. Built in 1990 in Greece, she has been owned by 2way Ferries since 2016. She has been operating on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line since 2017. She was previously on the Saronic Gulf from 1990 to 1995, as the GEORGIOS of the Greek company Akouriki Shipping Company. She was then sold to the South Korean company Wing Ferry Company, for whom she operated as the SUN BEACH, before returning to Greece in 1999, after having been bought by Poseidon Consortium Shipping. She was renamed APOLLON HELLAS and was once again introduced on the Saronic Gulf. Her company was taken over by Minoan Flying Dolphins later in that same year, and the ship began operating under the Saronikos Ferries division. Her company was renamed Hellas Flying Dolphins in 2002, before being rebranded as Hellenic Seaways in 2005. The ship moved to the Sporades in 2014, being deployed on the Volos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line, while in 2015 she began service on the Agios Konstantinos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line. In 2016 she was sold to 2way Ferries, which continued to operate her on the Agios Konstantinos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line before bringing her back to the Saronic Gulf in 2017.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen leaving Piraeus, during what was her fifth straight summer on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line.

The SUPER JET seen once more, as she leaves Piraeus and heads to the Cyclades.

I also got to see the high speed ferry TERA JET of Sea Jets, which was however spending the whole summer in Piraeus as she was not reactivated by her company following the 2019 season. This had been her last summer of operations, as she had been deployed on the Piraeus-Paros-Ios-Santorini line on the Cyclades.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. Since joining 2way Ferries, I have traveled with her several times, with the first time having been on 7 August 2017, while heading from Piraeus to Aegina. She then notably underwent an extensive refit in 2020, during which her indoor areas were completely renovated and upgraded beyond recognition. As a result, they made the ship look more appealing, and passengers praised these changes. I got to see them in depth when I traveled with the ship on 13 August 2020, while heading from Aegina to Piraeus.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen leaving Piraeus in the morning. She became a major part of my childhood, as I saw her many times during the 2000s and early 2010s when she was operating on the Saronic Gulf, and I also had the chance to travel with her many times.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen leaving the port of Piraeus for Aegina. She operates under the Saronic Ferries joint venture, which includes her owners and Nova Ferries.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

One last view of the APOLLON HELLAS, as she makes her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

After the APOLLON HELLAS had left, I saw the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XIX of Hellenic Seaways leaving the port of Piraeus and passing by the TERA JET.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen leaving the port of Piraeus. Just like all the hydrofoils of Hellenic Seaways, she operates on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line on the Saronic Gulf.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen leaving Piraeus during the morning, being the first hydrofoil of Hellenic Seaways to depart the port for the day. This was her second season back on the Saronic Gulf, as she returned there for the 2020 season, following eight years of inactivity. This was due to her running aground in the islet of Metopi while sailing between Aegina and Agistri in 2012. She was declared a constructive total loss and remained laid-up in Perama. No one thought that she would return to service, however she was given a second chance after the FLYING DOLPHIN XVIII was destroyed by a fire in 2019 and was later scrapped at the end of that same year. The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX was repaired and refurbished, and she resumed service in 2020.

The FLYINF DOLPHIN XIX seen as she leaves Piraeus in order to head to Aegina.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen leaving Piraeus in the morning. She is the lead ship of the Kolkhida-class, as she was its first-ever ship to enter service back in 1983, when she operated on the Odessa-Yalta line under Black Sea Shipping Company-Noroflot. She was bought by Ceres Flying Dolphins in 1986, and was deployed on the Sporades. She moved to the Saronic Gulf in 2004, just a year before her company at the time, Hellas Flying Dolphins, was rebranded as Hellenic Seaways.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX, one of the three hydrofoils of Hellenic Seaways, seen leaving the port of Piraeus.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen once again, as she departs the port of Piraeus.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen once more, as she leaves Piraeus in order to head to Aegina.

One final view of the FLYING DOLPHIN XIX, whose departure was the the last one that I witnessed at 08:00.

After witnessing all these departures, I started walking back towards the E7 gate. There, I once again had the chance to see the THUNDER, which had a departure at 12:00.

The THUNDER seen in Piraeus, during her first season under Fast Ferries.

Another view of the THUNDER, which is seen resting in Piraeus. She had a decent first season in Greece, and she was widely praised for her impressive indoor areas.

The THUNDER seen docked in Piraeus. While she is the first high speed craft to be owned by Fast Ferries, she was however the second ship of her kind to operate for the company. Indeed, the latter had chartered the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED of Hellenic Seaways, which replaced the EKATERINI P on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line during the summer of 2019, as a result of the latter having her season cut short after suffering an engine failure.

Another view of the THUNDER, as she is seen resting in the port of Piraeus. She belongs to the Austal Auto Express 86-class, which is composed of seven high speed ferries built between 1998 and 2004 in Austal Shipyard in Australia. This class also includes the WORLDCHAMPION JET, which therefore makes her a sister ship of the THUNDER, even though they have several differences in terms of ship design.

I then got to see the two ferries of ANEK Lines that were performing the direct connection from Piraeus to Crete during the 2021 season. Indeed, the KRITI I was on the Piraeus-Heraklion line, while the ELYROS was on the Piraeus-Chania line.

Another picture of the THUNDER, whose presence I really got to appreciate as I frequently saw her in the port of Piraeus.

The THUNDER seen alongside the KRITI I in Piraeus.

The ELYROS seen in the port of Piraeus.

Another view of the ELYROS in Piraeus. This was her second consecutive summer on the Piraeus-Chania line, following her permanent return there. Indeed, between 2015 and 2019, she spent the summer under charter to Algérie Ferries, for whom she operated on the Marseille-Oran line (which connects France with Algeria). She would then return to the Piraeus-Chania line during the winter. The charter agreement ended before the 2020 season, and this enabled the ship to stay on the line on which she has been much-acclaimed.

Another view of the impressive ELYROS, which has become one of the most appreciated ships in Crete.

I then proceeded to head to the E8 gate, where I was due to travel with the FLYING DOLPHIN XVII. There, I happened to see the high speed catamaran FLYINGCAT 5 of Hellenic Seaways.

I then saw the ELENI undergoing her maneuvering procedure, as she was departing Piraeus in order to head to Aegina.

The ELENI seen departing the port of Piraeus, during her lone season on the Piraeus-Aegina line.

A view of the FLYINGCAT 5 as she is seen resting in Piraeus. She was spending her second consecutive summer on the Saronic Gulf, on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line. Altogether, this was her fourth season on the Saronic Gulf, as she also operated there in 2014 and in 2016. She first began operations in Greece in 2005, and she has spent all her career under Hellenic Seaways on the Sporades, except for the four aforementioned seasons that she spent on the Saronic Gulf.

The ELENI completing her maneuvering procedure in order to begin her trip to Aegina. She was built in 1993 in Greece, and first operated on the Rion-Antirrion line as the ELENE B for Elene B Shipping. She was sold in 2005 to Gerontakis Shipping, and was renamed ELENI. She stayed on the Rion-Antirrion line until 2007, when she moved to the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line.

The ELENI is almost done with her maneuvering procedure, and is now ready to leave the port of Piraeus in order to head to Aegina.

Another view of the KNOSSOS PALACE, which was spending her first summer on the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line.

After having seen the FLYINGCAT 5 and the ELENI, I then had the chance to take a picture of the conventional double-ended ferry POSIDON HELLAS of 2way Ferries. She also operates on the Saronic Gulf, and more specifically on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Methana-Poros line.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen resting in the port of Piraeus. She was built in 1998 in Greece, and she became the first-ever double-ended ferry to operate in the Greek coastal service. She has spent her entire career on the Saronic Gulf, having operated under Poseidon Consortium Shipping (1998-1999), before the latter was taken over by Minoan Flying Dolphins in 1999, after which the ship served the Saronikos Ferries division. In 2002 Minoan Flying Dolphins became Hellas Flying Dolphins, and in 2005 the company was rebranded as Hellenic Seaways. In 2015, after serving ten years under Hellenic Seaways, the ship was sold to 2way Ferries, for whom she continues to operate on the Saronic Gulf.

The ELENI now seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The TERA JET seen docked in Piraeus. Built in 1999 in Italy, she was bought by Sea Jets in 2012, and first began service in Greece during the 2014 season. Overall, since the start of her Greek coastal service career, she has operated for only five seasons, as she remained in active during the summers of 2016, of 2020 and of 2021.

A view of the bow of the POSIDON HELLAS, which usually keeps her ramp open while being docked in Piraeus.

A bit further down, I spotted the high speed catamaran SPEED CAT I of Alpha Lines. She was a new introduction in Greece for the 2021 season. Indeed, she was bought by the newly-established company Alpha Lines (which is under the management of the iconic Agapitos family, which used to operate Agapitos Lines from 1965 to 1999) in late 2020, in order to enter service on the Saronic Gulf. This became a reality during the spring of 2021, when she began service on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Spetses line. She therefore ended the monopoly of Hellenic Seaways in these islands, and proved to be a very worthy competitor.

Another view of the SPEED CAT I in Piraeus, during her debut season in Greece and under Alpha Lines. Her service was very successful, and eventually her company's efforts were recognised by the shipping community, as Alpha Lines won the 'Passenger Line of the Year' award during the Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards for 2021, which were held a few days ago. As a result, Alpha Lines became the first-ever company to win this prestigious award during the first year of operations.

Another view of the impressive TERA JET, which has been the flagship of Sea Jets since 2014. Her most successful season so far remains the one that she had on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos line in 2017, when she successfully competed against the ships of Golden Star Ferries and of Fast Ferries. Her speed and her low ticket fares won her much acclaim. She also spent the 2018 season in Rafina, as she operated on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos line.

I also had the chance to take a picture of the PHIVOS of Nova Ferries, which serves the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line. Built in 1980 in Spain, she was bought by her current owners in 2004, and, following an extensive conversion in Drapetsona, she has been serving the Saronic Gulf since 2005.

Another view of the POSIDON HELLAS, during her seventh season under 2way Ferries.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen docked in the port of Piraeus. For the summer of 2021, the ship proved to be a frequent place for me to stay, as I traveled with her on six different occasions. This is the largest number of trips that I had done with a single ship in Greece during a given calendar year.

At about 08:30, I saw a familiar face for the first time in two years. Indeed, I spotted the small passenger ship AGIA MARINA AEGINIS of Aqua Vera NE departing the port of Piraeus. She was heading to the ports of Souvala and Agia Marina in Northern Aegina. This was her first summer under her current owners, who had purchased the ship from ANES Ferries in 2020.

The AGIA MARINA AEGINIS seen leaving Piraeus in order to head to Souvala and Agia Marina in Aegina. She was built in Greece in 2000, as the ALEXANDROS for Alexandros Shipping. She first performed one-day cruises on the the Zakynthos-Kefalonia-Ithaca-Lefkada line on the Ionian Sea for seven seasons, before then spending the summer of 2007 on the Ierapetra-Chryssi line on the Libyan Sea. In 2008 she began operations on the Piraeus-Northern Aegina, where she remained for the next 12 years (while also serving Agistri in 2010), despite many ownership changes. Indeed, in 2015 she joined My Ways, before being acquired the following year by Evoïkos Lines, which renamed her AGIA MARINA AEGINIS. She was bought by ANES Ferries in 2019, and served the Piraeus-Northern Aegina-Hydra line. The following year, she joined Aqua Vera NE, and resumed service in 2021 on the Piraeus-Northern Aegina line.

Another view of the AGIA MARINA AEGINIS, whose summer was not very successful as she operated for barely a month, and also had several engine troubles.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XVII was now seen docked in the E8 gate, after having shifted from the E7 gate where I had seen her when I had arrived in Piraeus at 06:15.

Another view of the veteran hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XVII, which has been serving the Saronic Gulf for almost four decades.

The SPEED CAT I seen resting during her debut season on the Saronic Gulf. Before joining Alpha Lines, she was the ADRIATIC JET of the Croatian company Adriatic Lines, and had operated on the Venice-Umag-Poreč-Rovinj-Pula line on the Adriatic Sea from 2009 to 2020. Prior to this stint, she had started her career in 2002 as the LYON for the Swiss government, operating across three major Swiss lakes on the Neuchâtel-Bienne-Morat-Yverdon line. She remained in this service until 2008, after which she joined Adriatic Lines.

A view of the FLYING DOLPHIN XVII, on which I was about to embark for the second time during the 2021 season, and for the third time in my life (as I had traveled with her for the first time on 7 August 2019).

Besides the POSIDON HELLAS and the PHIVOS, the E8 gate also featured the double-ended ferry ACHAEOS of 2way Ferries, which also operates on the Saronic Gulf.

The ACHAEOS seen resting in Piraeus. She was built in 2006 in Greece for 2way Ferries. She spent her debut season on the Piraeus-Aegina line, before then moving to the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line. She stayed there until 2013. She was also chartered between 2011 and 2012 to the Italian company Blunavy, for whom she was deployed on the Piombino-Elba line. In 2014, she made her comeback on the Saronic Gulf, and was deployed on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line under the Saronic Ferries joint venture.

Another view of the ACHAEOS in Piraeus, during her eighth consecutive season on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line.

Another view of the KNOSSOS PALACE as she is docked in Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS is seen resting in the port of Piraeus, right next to the PHIVOS.

Another view of the FLYING DOLPHIN XVII, shortly before I embarked onboard her.


After a bit more than two hours, my morning visit to Piraeus came to an end. Just like it was the case in 2019 and in 2020, this feeling of going very early to the port in order to witness the departures of countless ferries is something that I have enjoyed immensely. I am able to see photograph many of the best ships of the Greek costal service, and I also get to experience the busy morning hours of the port, at a time during which ships begin their long journeys in order to bring passengers and vehicles to the islands of the Aegean Sea at the heart of the summer. They play a crucial role in the tourist season and in the local economy of all these islands. And I always enjoy witnessing these departures, as they indicate the strong competition level of the Greek coastal service, and in particular on the Cyclades. I was also very happy to see several ships performing their debut seasons in Greece, as well as seeing many of them making their returns to Greece, after having spent several years abroad, such as the KRITI I , the ARIADNE and the new KNOSSOS PALACE. Altogether, this is a day that I will hardly forget, and it further confirmed that this tradition that I began in 2019 is worth continuing over the summers that will follow.


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