Piraeus Morning Visit on 27 July 2019
As you have seen it throughout numerous past Blog posts, I have a particular tendency of going to the port of Piraeus during my spare time every summer that I am spending in Greece. It is always the perfect opportunity for me to see and photograph several ships of the Greek coastal service which are departing from the port to the various destinations of the Aegean Sea. Usually, these visits tend to occur in late afternoons and evenings, but during the summer of 2019 I had the idea of going to see the port during the early morning. The inspiration came from the fact that 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 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.
I decided to arrive in Piraeus very early in the morning on Saturday 27 July 2019, as I was working during weekdays as an intern with the Greek shipping company Kassian Maritime Ltd for the entire month of July. During weekends, I would usually go to an island with my sister, going to Santorini on 13-14 July and then to Aegina 20-21 July. The following weekend, I decided to go to Agistri on 27 July, and then to Spetses the next day. As the first departure for Agistri was at 08:35, I thought that it was the best opportunity for me to do my early morning visit in Piraeus right before heading towards the Saronic Gulf island. And this turned out to be a great decision, as I managed to see 14 different ships departing and 3 ships docking within a span of less than two hours! Without further ado, let's have a look at the countless pictures I took that morning, before my departure for Agistri.
I arrived in Piraeus from Central Athens at 06:30 (having woken up at 05:00). The first ship that I saw right upon exiting the Piraeus Metro Station was the highly-acclaimed BLUE STAR NAXOS of Blue Star Ferries, which was loading several passengers and vehicles as she was one of the many ships that were due to depart over the upcoming minutes for the Cyclades.
Not far away from the BLUE STAR NAXOS, I spotted the ferry KRITI II of ANEK Lines, which was resting in Piraeus as well. She operates on the Piraeus-Heraklion line, as part of the ANEK-Attica Group joint venture.
And right next to me was another ship owned by Blue Star Ferries, more precisely the cruiseferry BLUE STAR DELOS. Built in 2011, she has spent her entire career so far on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line, although she does not serve Ios during the summer.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS shortly before her departure from Piraeus. Built nine years before the BLUE STAR DELOS, back in 2002, in the exact same shipyard in South Korea, she has also spent her entire career on the Cyclades. She has also spent the bulk of her years of service on the Lesser Cyclades lifeline, being the only ship to connect the latter islands with Piraeus on a daily basis. Since 2018, she has been operating on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Irakleia-Schoinousa-Koufonisi-Donousa-Amorgos-Santorini-Astypalaia line.
The BLUE STAR DELOS seen in Piraeus, loading passengers and vehicles as well, as she was also departing the port in order to head to the Cyclades during the day.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS docked in Piraeus, shortly before her morning departure. 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 DELOS seen in Piraeus. Exactly one year and four days before taking this picture, I had traveled onboard her in order to go from Piraeus to Naxos, which I visited for the first time while spending three days there with my family. This was the first out of the two times that I have traveled with this ship so far, having also traveled onboard her 13 days before taking this picture, while I was heading from Santorini back to Piraeus with my sister.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen in Piraeus.
The BLUE STAR DELOS seen in Piraeus. She has been hailed as the best day ferry in Greece since the moment she entered service with Blue Star Ferries back in 2011.
In front of the BLUE STAR DELOS, I spotted a new ship for the first time in my life. It was the high speed ferry SUPEREXPRESS of Golden Star Ferries, which was spending her first-ever summer in Greece.
The KRITI II seen unloading vehicles, as she had returned to Piraeus from Heraklion one hour before my arrival to the port. She has been serving the Piraeus-Heraklion line since 2015, and she has also operated there from 2002 to 2008, and from 2010 to early 2011.
In front of the SUPEREXPRESS, I spotted another high speed ferry, namely the SPEEDRUNNER III of Aegean Speed Lines, which was loading passengers and vehicles as she was also due to depart the port of Piraeus.
The SUPEREXPRESS seen in Piraeus. She spent her debut season with Golden Star Ferries on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Mykonos-Tinos-Andros-Rafina line, leaving from Piraeus in the morning and arriving in Rafina during the early afternoon.
The SUPEREXPRESS, the most recent acquisition of Golden Star Ferries, seen resting in Piraeus. She was bought in late 2018 through a collaboration between Golden Star Ferries and Fast Ferries. This partnership was known as Golden Fast Ferries, and the ship was initially renamed GOLDEN EXPRESS. However, shortly before the start of the 2019 summer season, a dispute between the two operators led to the high speed ferry being fully acquired by Golden Star Ferries, and she was therefore renamed SUPEREXPRESS.
The funnel of the SUPEREXPRESS, which resembles to the typical one found in the first large high speed craft built by the well-known Incat Shipyard, which is located in Australia. It was only painted in blue, without any logo or drawing being added.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen in Piraeus at dawn, right before her departure.
The SUPEREXPRESS docked in Piraeus, during her first season in Greece.
A frontal view of the BLUE STAR DELOS, during what was her eighth summer operating in Greece.
Not far from them was the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XVII of Hellenic Seaways, which operates on the Saronic Gulf, serving the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.
As I was heading towards the South, I spotted the cruiseferry KNOSSOS PALACE of Minoan Lines having docked in Piraeus, after having arrived from Heraklion. Built in 2000, she is the flagship of Minoan Lines and has spent her entire career on the Piraeus-Heraklion line. Since 2018 she has also been on the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line.
A view of the FLYING DOLPHIN XVII, which was seen at the right side of her fleetmate, the high speed catamaran FLYINGCAT 3. The latter also serves the Saronic Gulf, as she is deployed on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, seen alongside the high speed ferry TERA JET, which is the flagship of Sea Jets.
The TERA JET docked in Piraeus. She was spending her first season on the Piraeus-Paros-Ios-Santorini line, which was a new service introduced by Sea Jets in 2019.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS seen in Piraeus shortly before her morning departure. She first began service in Greece under Zante Ferries in 2008, when she was deployed on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini. Since 2009, she has been on the Western Cyclades lifeline, and more specifically on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios-Santorini line. She is the flagship of Zante Ferries.
The KNOSSOS PALACE having docked in Piraeus at dawn. This was also her first summer operating under the new exhaust gas cleaning system which she acquired during a small conversion in Malta during the winter of 2018-2019. With this new system, she consumes less sulphur fuel and is therefore more environmentally-friendly.
The SPEEDRUNNER III is also seen in Piraeus at dawn.
Right next to her, I spotted the cruiseferry NISSOS MYKONOS of Hellenic Seaways, which was seen resting before her morning departure.
Another view of the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS alongside the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS and the TERA JET at dawn.
Towards 06:50, I finally saw the first departure of the day. It was that of the SUPEREXPRESS, which was seen leaving the port in order to head towards the Cyclades and Rafina.
The impressive SUPEREXPRESS seen leaving Piraeus at dawn.
The SUPEREXPRESS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. Before arriving in Greece, she had a very eventful career, having operated for the Argentinian company Buquebus as the CATALONIA L in Spain (1998-2004) and alternatively as the PORTSMOUTH EXPRESS for P&O Portsmouth/P&O Ferries during the summer (2000-2004, and in the winter she would return to Buquebus as the CATALONIA) on the Cherbourg-Portsmouth line on the Channel. She was then sold to P&O Ferries in 2005, was renamed EXPRESS and operated on the Troon-Cairnryan-Larne line on the Irish Sea from 2005 to 2012 and then on the Troon-Larne line from 2013 until the latter service was closed in late 2015. She was then sold in 2016 to the Swedish company Gotlandsbåten and had an unsuccessful season on the Västervik-Visby-Nynäshamn line on the Baltic Sea. She then had brief charters to Viking Line in 2017 (where she operated under the commercial name VIKING FSTR) and then to Naviera Armas in 2018, before arriving in Greece in order to continue her career.
The SUPEREXPRESS seen leaving Piraeus in the morning. At the very beginning of her career, she had a notable accolade. Indeed, she made history by capturing the Blue Riband Challenge Trophy (also known as the Hales Trophy) for having made the fastest Eastbound Atlantic Ocean crossing, while performing her delivery voyage from New York to Ceuta. Her record however lasted just six weeks, as it was then surpassed by her younger sister ship, the CAT-LINK V of Scandlines (now the FJORD CAT of the Norwegian company Fjord Line).
The SUPEREXPRESS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. Her first season on the Cyclades under Golden Star Ferries was generally deemed satsifactory. Despite encountering a few mechanical troubles which resulted in a few delays, she was praised for her indoor amenities, which were fully renovated during the conversion in Perama and in Salamina before her entry to service. Her indoor lounge areas are considered to be some of the most modern of any high speed craft in Greece.
Another view of the SUPEREXPRESS as she departs Piraeus. She became the fourth high speed craft to be acquired by Golden Star Ferries, while also being the second high speed ferry to join the company. The first one was the SUPERRUNNER, formerly the SPEEDRUNNER IV of Aegean Speed Lines (2009-2016), which entered service for Golden Star Ferries on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line in 2017.
The SUPEREXPRESS seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus in order to sail towards Paros. She is registered in Piraeus, whereas the SUPERRUNNER is registered in Andros, which is the home island of the owners of Golden Star Ferries, namely the Stefanou brothers.
The SUPEREXPRESS heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. In this picture, one can see the high speed ferry's well-known aft area glass window, which allows passengers to have a complete view of the sea from the ship's indoor areas.
The SUPEREXPRESS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus, heading towards Paros. She was the first ship to leave the port that day.
While the SUPEREXPRESS was leaving, I unexpectedly noticed the presence of a ferry which has not frequently been to Piraeus over the past few years. This ferry was the AQUA BLUE of Sea Jets (operating under the Sea Jets Ferries division), which was undergoing her final preparations before entering service for her company during the summer.
Built in 1975 in Japan and present in Greece since 1990, the AQUA BLUE was spending her second season under Sea Jets. After having spent her debut summer under the latter on a lengthy service on the Thessaloniki-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos-Andros-Syros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Santorini-Heraklion line, she operated on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Ikaria-Samos line in 2019.
The AQUA BLUE seen docked in Piraeus. Before joining Sea Jets Ferries, she was the notable IERAPETRA L of ANEK Lines (from 2009 to 2016) and of LANE Sea Lines (from 1999 to 2009). She had also operated earlier in her Greek career under ANEK Lines having served the Adriatic Sea initially as the KYDON (1991-1995) and then as the TALOS (1995-1999). Her debut season under Sea Jets Ferries marked her first summer of operations since 2014, when she had been operating on the Bari-Durrës line. After that year's summer, she suffered a severe fire incident while heading from Igoumenitsa to Perama for her annual refit, and she was badly damaged. Due to her advanced age and her damages following that fire, it was believed that she would be sold for scrap. However, miraculously, the ship was saved by Sea Jets Ferries, which bought her and repaired her in Perama and in Drapetsona in 2017, renaming her AQUA BLUE in 2018.
The AQUA BLUE seen in Piraeus. She headed to Rafina just a week after this picture was taken, and she began service on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Ikaria-Samos line, which was another new service introduced by Sea Jets in 2019.
Right after the SUPEREXPRESS had departed and exited Piraeus, I saw the BLUE STAR NAXOS leaving the port as well.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS having left Piraeus in order to perform her very long and very busy itinerary on the Lesser Cyclades.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS leaving Piraeus in order to head towards her first destination: Syros. She has been one of the best ships of the Greek coastal service since she first arrived in 2002.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus, during what was her eighteenth summer in Greece under Blue Star Ferries.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS beginning to approach the exit of the port of Piraeus.
Right behind her, I spotted the third ship departing Piraeus that day. It was the small high speed catamaran SEA JET 2 of Sea Jets, which operated for the first time on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Folegandros-Ios-Santorini-Amorgos-Koufonisi-Naxos-Paros-Mykonos line, whereupon she formed a duo with her sister ship, the SUPER JET.
The BLUE STAR NAXOS about to exit the port of Piraeus in order to begin her long journey, while the much-older AQUA BLUE is watching.
The SEA JET 2 seen leaving Piraeus as well, during what was her fourteenth summer under Sea Jets.
The SEA JET 2 having left Piraeus during the morning. Built in 1998, she began service as the MIRAGE for Strintzis Lines on the Saronic Gulf. The following year she was renamed SEA JET 2 and she was transferred to the Cyclades, where she has since been remaining. In 2000, after Strintzis Lines was taken over by Attica Group, the company Blue Star Ferries was established. She operated for them under the Blue Star Jets division, until 2006, when she was bought by Sea Jets (which had bought her sister ship in 2004). She became the second ship to join the company, and she has been one of the most reliable passenger-only high speed craft to operate in Greece.
The SEA JET 2 seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. Her sister ship, the SUPER JET, would depart from Mykonos in the morning in order to perform the opposite itinerary from the latter to Piraeus. She would then leave Piraeus the following morning, while during that same moment the other ship would be departing from Mykonos. This was done in order to allow both ships to serve all these islands without any time constraints and with less hours of work for their crews. Before that, the SEA JET 2 would perform a similar trip, on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Folegandros-Ios-Santorini-Amorgos-Koufonisi-Naxos-Mykonos line, from 2016 to 2018. She would leave Piraeus in the morning and return late at night. This tight schedule occasionally caused her to have engine troubles. After Sea Jets decided to have two ships operate on the newly-formed Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Folegandros-Ios-Santorini-Amorgos-Koufonisi-Naxos-Paros-Mykonos line, both sister ships had more time to rest and rarely had issues with their engines.
The SEA JET 2 seen leaving Piraeus and heading towards the port's exit.
The SEA JET 2 on her way out of Piraeus, following the BLUE STAR NAXOS.
Right after the SEA JET 2 had passed by me, I saw another high speed craft owned by Golden Star Ferries leaving Piraeus. It was the small high speed catamaran SUPERCAT.
The SUPERCAT having also departed Piraeus. The summer of 2019 marked her debut season in Greece under Golden Star Ferries. She was deployed on the Piraeus-Milos-Folegandros-Santorini-Ios-Naxos-Mykonos line.
The SUPERCAT seen leaving Piraeus during her first season with Golden Star Ferries. It was overall unsuccessful, as she experienced some technical issues which resulted in a few delays and some canceled trips. However, her season was far better than that of the company's other passenger-only high speed craft, the SUPERSPEED, which saw her season on the Rafina-Syros-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos-Koufonisi-Amorgos line end prematurely due to a major engine failure that she suffered in Naxos.
The SUPERCAT passing by me in Piraeus. Before arriving in Greece under Golden Star Ferries in 2018, she had operated between 2009 and 2017 on the Tallinn-Helsinki line on the Finnish Gulf as the KAROLIN of the Estonian company Linda Line, thus linking the respective capital cities of Estonia and Finland in just 90 minutes. Before her stint there, she operated between 2000 (the year during which she was built) and 2008 on the North Sea as the POLARSTERN of the German company AG Ems, where she was linking several ports of Germany and The Netherlands with the German islands of Borkum and Heligoland.
Another view of the SUPERCAT as she is seen leaving Piraeus while following one of her rivals, namely the SEA JET 2.
The SUPERCAT heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.
The next ship that was seen departing the port of Piraeus was the exceptional high speed ferry WORLDCHAMPION JET of Sea Jets, which also spent her debut season in Greece, after having been acquired by her current owners in late 2018.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus, with her fleetmate, the TERA JET, seen following her from right behind. Both high speed ferries are considered to be the best ships of Sea Jets.
The much-acclaimed WORLDCHAMPION JET passing by me while she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. In her first season under Sea Jets, she was deployed on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Naxos-Santorini line. Her introduction was a massive success, as she became the fastest ferry on the Aegean Sea, and also managed to connect Piraeus with Santorini via three other Cyclades islands in barely four hours! She did not have any technical issues and was always on schedule. Also praised for her impressive indoor areas and for the excellent service offered by the crew onboard, she cemented her company's presence on the Cyclades.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus. Just a few days ago, her impressive first year in Greece was further recognised through a prestigious accolade, as she won the much-coveted 'Ship of the Year' award given by Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards for 2019. She became the first ship of the Greek coastal service to win this award since 2007, when the then-newly-built cruiseferry NISSOS CHIOS of Hellenic Seaways won it during that year. The latter's sister ship and fleetmate, the NISSOS MYKONOS, also won that same award a year earlier, in 2006. The WORLDCHAMPION JET therefore joins the two Hellenic Seaways sister ships as the only three Greek coastal service ships to have won the prestigious award.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus during the morning in order to head towards Syros, Mykonos, Naxos and Santorini.
The WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus. Her impressive résumé also includes the fact that she was the fastest passenger ship in the world when she was completed in Australia in 2000 in order to enter service for the Danish company Bornholmer Færgen (formerly known as Bornholms Traffiken) as the VILLUM CLAUSEN. She also held the world record for the fastest-ever crossing made by a ship of her kind until 2013, when it was surpassed by the then-newly-built high speed ferry FRANCISCO of Buquebus (the former owners of the SUPEREXPRESS).
The extremely successful WORLDCHAMPION JET leaving Piraeus in order to head towards her first destination, namely the island of Syros.
The TERA JET seen leaving Piraeus right behind the WOLRDCHAMPION JET.
The TERA JET seen departing in Piraeus at dawn. Since entering service for Sea Jets in 2014, she has been the company's flagship. She notably had spells on the Heraklion-Cyclades service in 2014 and in 2015, before operating on the Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene line in 2016 in order to help transport Syrian refugees that had arrived in these two islands to Athens. In 2017 and in 2018, she had a tremendously successful service connecting Rafina with the Cyclades, which helped cement the presence of Sea Jets in the area. For 2019, she operated extremely well on the new service introduced by her company, and she has generally been a very acclaimed high speed ferry in Greece.
The TERA JET leaving Piraeus in order to head towards Paros, Ios and Santorini.
The TERA JET seen following the WORLDCHAMPION JET near the exit of the port of Piraeus. Both high speed ferries were the key contributors to the very successful 2019 season experienced by Sea Jets, and their services from Piraeus to the Cyclades were lauded by passengers.
Right behind them, I saw the SPEEDRUNNER III departing Piraeus as well.
The TERA JET and the WORLDCHAMPION JET seen leaving Piraeus, while their elder fleetmate, the AQUA BLUE, is undergoing the last stages of her preparation before her entry to service from Rafina to the Cyclades and the Northeast Aegean Sea.
The SPEEDRUNNER III leaving Piraeus, during what was her first season on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos line since 2014. She had also served that same line in 2013. She spent the summer of 2017 on the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos line (which was her first summer for Aegean Speed Lines since 2014, as she was chartered in 2015 to the Moroccan company Navline and in 2016 she operated under charter to the Greek company Levante Ferries on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line on the Ionian Sea), while in 2018 she served the Piraeus-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos line.
The SPEEDRUNNER III passing by me in Piraeus, in order to head towards the Western Cyclades.
The SPEEDRUNNER III heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. The day that I visited the port of Piraeus in the early morning marked two days shy of the second anniversary of my first-ever trip with the ship, as I had traveled onboard her from Sifnos to Piraeus on 29 July 2017.
The SPEEDRUNNER III approaching the exit of the port of Piraeus.
The next ship that I got to see was another high speed ferry, namely the great HIGHSPEED 4 of Hellenic Seaways, which was serving the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Koufonisi line.
The HIGHSPEED 4 passing by me as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. Built in 2000, she spent her twentieth summer in Greece this year. She has spent her entire career on the Cyclades, except in 2005 when she was on the Piraeus-Chania line. She was the fourth high speed ferry to join the then-newly-established company Minoan Flying Dolphins, which became Hellas Flying Dolphins in 2002 before eventually changing its corporate structure in order to become Hellenic Seaways in 2005. She was the only ship of the 'Highspeed' brand to operate under Hellenic Seaways during the summer of 2019, as the other ship, the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED, was chartered to Fast Ferries for service on the Rafina-Tinos-Mykonos-Naxos line.
The HIGHSPEED 4, one of the best ships of the Greek coastal service, seen leaving Piraeus. In 2014 and from 2016 to 2018, she operated on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Koufonisi-Amorgos line, while in 2019 the latter island was removed from her itinerary. She spent the 2015 season on the Heraklion-Santorini-Ios-Paros-Mykonos line in order to replace her fleetmate at the time, the HIGHSPEED 5, which suffered a major fire incident and had to miss that year's summer, before being repaired and returning to service in 2016 after having been renamed HIGHSPEED 7. That ship was then sold in 2018 to Minoan Lines, as part of the deal which saw Hellenic Seaways being acquired by Attica Group. She has since been known as the SANTORINI PALACE.
The HIGHSPEED 4 on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.
The much-appreciated HIGHSPEED 4 leaving Piraeus. The day that I visited the port of Piraeus in the early morning marked two days shy of the first anniversary of my first-ever trip with the ship, as I had traveled onboard her from Paros to Piraeus on 29 July 2018, exactly one year after my trip with the SPEEDRUNNER III.
The HIGHSPEED 4 leaving Piraeus in order to head towards Paros, Naxos and Koufonisi.
The next ship to depart the port of Piraeus was the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, which was due to begin her long itinerary from Piraeus to Santorini via the Western Cycaldes lslands.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS about to pass by me in Piraeus. 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 two of her fleetmates eventually joined her there as well. 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 the Indonesian company PT Munic Line, for whom she operates today as the ELYSIA.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS seen leaving Piraeus and passing by me. The first destination of her long trip was Kythnos.
The beautiful ADAMANTIOS KORAIS having passed by me and heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. This was her eleventh consecutive season operating on the Western Cyclades lifeline. Her success there prompted Zante Ferries to bring a second ferry to the area. They first deployed the ANDREAS KALVOS (now owned by Levante Ferries) on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos line in 2015 for two seasons, but then decided to replace her with the recently-converted DIONISIOS SOLOMOS.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. I had traveled onboard her exactly two years and one day before taking these pictures, as I headed with her from Piraeus to Sifnos on 26 July 2017.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS about to exit the port of Piraeus. As of December 2019, she is operating on the Alexandroupolis-Samothraki line on the Northeast Aegean Sea. She was deployed there for an indefinite period of time in order to cover the service which had been abandoned by the local company Saos Ferries, whose three ships all suffered season-ending engine failures in the middle of the summer season! The company was stripped of its operating license on the line, as Samothraki had very limited coastal service connections due to these incidents. As a result, after the end of the summer season, Zante Ferries decided to deploy the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS there. It is uncertain if she will stay there during the 2020 summer season or if she will return to her usual service on the Western Cyclades.
The HIGHSPEED 4 and the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, two completely different Cyclades-based ships, having both exited the port of Piraeus. I have traveled onboard both of them.
The ADAMANTIOS KORAIS having exited the port of Piraeus and heading towards Kythnos.
At 07:30, it was time for the BLUE STAR DELOS to leave the port of Piraeus as well.
The great BLUE STAR DELOS seen leaving Piraeus for Paros.
The BLUE STAR DELOS ready to pass by me while heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. She has always served the Cyclades in the morning and the afternoon. Since 2015, her sister ship, the BLUE STAR PATMOS, serves the main islands of the Cyclades by leaving from Piraeus during the late afternoon.
The fantastic BLUE STAR DELOS leaving Piraeus in order to head towards Paros, Naxos and Santorini.
The BLUE STAR DELOS leaving Piraeus for the Cyclades in the morning.
One last view of the BLUE STAR DELOS as she is seen about to exit the port of Piraeus.
Barely a few seconds after the BLUE STAR DELOS had exited the port of Piraeus, the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS was also on her way towards the port's exit.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS having departed the port of Piraeus in order to head towards the Western Cyclades, where she has been operating since 2017. Built in 1990 in Japan, she was bought by Zante Ferries in 1999, and she was the company's first passenger ferry. She was inserted on the Ionian Sea in 1999, serving the Kyllini-Zakynthos line and the Kyllini-Kefalonia line. She remained there every year until 2017, with the exceptions of 2013 and 2015, when she spent the majority of these years' summer seasons on the Patras-Kefalonia-Ithaca line. She underwent a major conversion in 2017 in order to be ready to serve the Western Cyclades, with the most notable change being the new bow that she received.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS leaving Piraeus, in what was her third season operating on the Aegean Sea, on the Western Cyclades. Her first two summers were spent on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios line, while in 2019 she also began to operate in Santorini. She was therefore deployed on the same line as the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS, namely on the Piraeus-Kythnos-Serifos-Sifnos-Milos-Kimolos-Folegandros-Sikinos-Ios-Santorini line.
As the DIONISIOS SOLOMOS was leaving Piraeus, I witnessed the second out of the three arrivals which I saw that morning. It was that of the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA of Aegean Flying Dolphins, which was returning from Aegina.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving Piraeus in order to head for her first destination, namely Kythnos.
The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA having returned from Aegina. She has been owned by Aegean Flying Dolphins since 2010, spending her first summer under the latter on the Piraeus-Hydra-Spetses-Porto Cheli line. Since 2011, she has been on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. Since entering service on the Western Cyclades, she has been praised for her large garage which offers significant capacity for lorries during the high season.
The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen heading towards her docking spot in Piraeus.
The hardworking DIONISIOS SOLOMOS heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.
The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA on her way towards her docking spot, during what was her tenth summer under Aegean Flying Dolphins.
The last ship to depart the port of Piraeus in order to head to the Cyclades was the NISSOS MYKONOS. Besides the aforementioned area, she primarily serves the Northeast Aegean Sea. Since 2017, she has been on the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Ikaria-Samos-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos-Kavala line.
The NISSOS MYKONOS seen leaving Piraeus at around 07:45. Built in Greece in 2005, she was the first newly-built conventional ferry to join Hellenic Seaways. She has spent the bulk of her career connecting Piraeus with Ikaria and Samos, while also adding other destinations from the Cyclades (Syros, Mykonos, Paros and Naxos) and from the Northeast Aegean Sea (Fournoi, Chios, Mytilene, Limnos and Kavala) over the years. She first served the Piraeus-Syros-Mykonos-Ikaria-Samos-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos-Kavala line in late 2014, taking over the Northeast Aegean Sea lifeline which had been abandoned by the now-defunct NEL Lines after the Greek Ministry of Shipping and Insular Policy revoked their operating license due to their ferries experiencing multiple engine troubles and numerous delays and canceled trips.
The NSISOS MYKONOS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus. As I have mentioned it previously, she won the 'Ship of the Year' award presented by Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards for 2006. She became the first-ever Greek coastal service ship to win the award, which has since been given to two other ferries: her sister ship, the NISSOS CHIOS, in 2007, and the WORLDCHAMPION JET in 2019.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen as she exits the port of Piraeus.
The DIONISIOS SOLOMOS seen leaving Piraeus, while the cruiseferry MYKONOS PALACE of Minoan Lines prepares to enter the port.
The NISSOS MYKONOS seen leaving Piraeus. She has been hailed as the best ship in the Greek coastal service by many, due to her modern and impressive amenities, her speed, the friendliness of her crew and her overall reliable service.
The NISSOS MYKONOS leaving Piraeus in order to head towards her first destination, namely the island of Syros.
The NISSOS MYKONOS ready to perform another long trip from Piraeus to Kavala via the Cyclades and the Northeast Aegean Sea Islands.
Another view of the extraordinary NISSOS MYKONOS as she leaves Piraeus.
A very particular picture, as it features two ships that are both named after the island of Mykonos. The MYKONOS PALACE meets the NISSOS MYKONOS in the middle of the lighthouses of the port of Piraeus.
The MYKONOS PALACE about to enter the port of Piraeus, while the NISSOS MYKONOS is seen exiting in order to head towards Syros.
One last view of the NISSOS MYKONOS right after she has exited the port of Piraeus.
The MYKONOS PALACE having entered the port of Piraeus. It was her second straight summer operating on the Piraeus-Chania line, and her second summer in a row operating under her current name.
The MYKONOS PALACE seen having entered the port of Piraeus after having arrived from Chania. She is the youngest of the four sister ships ordered by Minoan Lines at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy between 2000 and 2002. During her first spell under Minoan Lines, she operated as the EUROPA PALACE, and was on the Adriatic Sea. She was deployed on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona line from 2002 to 2010, and then on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Corfu-Venice line from 2010 to 2011. In 2012, Minoan Lines closed the line, and she and her sister ship, the OLYMPIA PALACE (now the CRUISE BONARIA of Grimaldi Lines), were chartered to Tirrenia Di Navigazione.
The MYKONOS PALACE during her second summer on the Piraeus-Chania line. Her introduction on the latter line in 2018 marked the return of Minoan Lines in the Cretan port since 1998. She was very successful in winning the trust of the Chania residents, who have essentially been used to traveling with the ships of the arch-rivals of Minoan Lines, namely the Chania-based company ANEK Lines.
The MYKONOS PALACE having just entered the port of Piraeus, while the AQUA BLUE is still seen docked in the port.
The MYKONOS PALACE seen in Piraeus, about to begin her maneuvering procedure. You can note her upgraded funnel, as she became the first ship in Greek coastal service history to acquire the new exhaust gas cleaning system, also known as scrubbers.
The great MYKONOS PALACE about to begin her maneuvering procedure in Piraeus, after having arrived from Chania.
The MYKONOS PALACE having just arrived in Piraeus during the morning.
The MYKONOS PALACE about to begin her maneuvering procedure in Piraeus.
The MYKONOS PALACE maneuvering in Piraeus, right in front of me.
The MYKONOS PALACE undergoing her impressive maneuvering procedure in Piraeus.
The MYKONOS PALACE seen maneuvering in the port of Piraeus.
The MYKONOS PALACE seen maneuvering in Piraeus. She is currently operating on the Adriatic Sea once again, as she is temporarily replacing her fleetmates, the CRUISE OLYMPIA and the CRUISE EUROPA, which usually operate on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona-Venice line. Both ferries are undergoing their respective minor conversions in Malta in order to acquire scrubbers as well.
The last ferry departure that I saw that morning before my trip to Agistri was that of the double-ended ferry ACHAEOS of 2way Ferries, which operates on the Saronic Gulf.
The MYKONOS PALACE still seen maneuvering in Piraeus.
The ACHAEOS leaving Piraeus. Built in Greece in 2006, she was spending her sixth consecutive season on the Piraeus-Aegina Agistri line, and seventh season overall on the Saronic Gulf. Indeed, she operated on the Piraeus-Aegina line in 2006, shortly after her construction was completed. She then headed to the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line on the Ionian Sea, where she remained up until 2013 (she also had a brief charter to the Italian company Blunavy from 2011 to 2012). She now operates under the Saronic Ferries joint venture (which includes her owners and Nova Ferries), whose logo can be seen in the white section of the hull, right above the logo of 2way Ferries.
One last view of the MYKONOS PALACE as she is seen docking in Piraeus.
The ACHAEOS seen leaving Piraeus. I had traveled onboard her six days before taking this picture, when I headed from Aegina to Piraeus. I notably had my first trip with her since my website was launched on 19 July 2016, again heading from Aegina to Piraeus.
The ACHAEOS seen leaving Piraeus for Aegina and Agistri.
Another view of the ACHAEOS as she heads towards the Saronic Gulf.
At 08:00, I saw the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA leaving the port of Piraeus in order to head towards Aegina and Agistri as well. She was therefore the only ship that I saw performing both an arrival in and a departure from Piraeus within the early morning Piraeus departure period.
The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen leaving Piraeus.
Another view of the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA, whose departure was the last one that I saw as I began to head towards the E8 gate in order to embark onboard the ship that would taking me to Agistri.
After 90 minutes, it was now the time for me to begin my trip to Agistri. Compared to 06:30, the port of Piraeus looked like it was almost empty (even though there were still several ships docked). It was truly a fantastic moment for me, as I got to see so many departures of some of the best ships of the Greek coastal service, whose work during the summer is vital for islands on the Cyclades, the Northeast Aegean Sea and the Saronic Gulf. It was really impressive to see each ship leave one after the other. I know that this is a daily routine in Piraeus, but it was exciting for me to see it for the first time in my life. It is now certain that such a visit will become a tradition over the following years, as there are always numerous changes within the Greek coastal service between two seasons. The scenery at dawn was simply wonderful, and it was a pleasure to only have to listen to the sounds of the ships' engines. It was definitely worth it to wake up at 05:00 in order to witness all these unique departures and arrivals.
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