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  • Writer's pictureAlexandros Vrailas

Piraeus Visit on 10 September 2021-Part II


As mentioned in last week's post, this here is the second part featuring the pictures that I took of the various ships of the Greek coastal service that I had seen on 10 September 2021. This was one day before I left Greece in order to head to London so as to begin my postgraduate studies. Due to the many pictures that I took that day (as the large majority of the ships that I saw that day consisted of ships that I got to see very often throughout my trips during the summer of 2021, it was an opportunity to bid farewell to them for the time coming, until my return to Greece for the summer of 2022), it was better to make two separate posts so as to show all these pictures in depth.


In case you did not read the first part and decided to proceed to reading this part only, here is a context regarding what I had done in the days prior to my last visit to the port of Piraeus for 2021. Indeed, my final week in Greece during the summer of 2021 proved to be extremely prolific in terms of photographing and traveling, as I visited the port of Lavrion on 6 September 2021, headed two days later to Patras and performed a trip from Rion to Antirrion and then back, before spending the following day spotting various ships in the island of Poros and then heading back to Piraeus with the high speed ferry SPEED CAT I of Alpha Lines that very same evening. My final visit to Piraeus also proved to very entertaining, as I spent the entire afternoon witnessing several ships departing the port or returning back from their services on the Aegean Sea. Without further ado, here is the second part featuring the many pictures that I took that day, as part of my last visit to the port of Piraeus for 2021. The first part had stopped right after I took the last picture of the high speed catamaran FLYINGCAT 4 of Hellenic Seaways as she was departing the port of Piraeus at 17:30.

Barely 5 minutes after the FLYINGCAT 4 had exited the port of Piraeus, the small passenger boat ELENA F of Elena F Shipping was seen having arrived from Salamina.

The ELENA F seen having just arrived in Piraeus. Built in 1998 in Greece, she has spent her entire career on the Piraeus-Salamina line, with the exception of the 2013 season when she served the Glyfa-Skiathos line on the Sporades.

The ELENA F seen during the completion of her return leg from Salamina to Piraeus.

The ELENA F seen in Piraeus. Her company has been active in the Greek coastal service since 1967, having always served the Piraeus-Salamina line. Indeed, it is run by the Filiagkos family, which also operated the double-ended ferry AGGELIS F on the Perama-Salamina line from 2019 to 2020, before selling her to the Kuwaiti company Ikarus United Marine Services. Before operating the ELENA F, the company owned two small sister ships, the ELENI F and the DIMITIRIOS F, which began service on the Piraeus-Salamina line during the 1967 season. The ELENI F was sold in 1981 to the company Panou Shipping, and since 2001 she has been known as the IONIAN DOLPHIN of the Corfu-based company Mitsoulis Cruises. The DIMITRIOS F was retired in 1998, just after the ELENA F was introduced to service.

The ELENA F seen as she is heading towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The ELENA F seen during her eighth consecutive season on the Piraeus-Salamina line, having returned there in 2014 following her single season on the Glyfa-Skiathos line.

The ELENA F seen as she has returned to Piraeus from Salamina. I had the chance to travel with her for the first time last year, having done so while heading from Piraeus to Salamina on 5 August 2021. Unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery and I was unable to take any pictures, therefore I did not have the opportunity to write a Tribute post for the ship.

The ELENA F seen in Piraeus. In addition to her regular service in Salamina, she has also made several excursions and one-day cruises to other islands of the Saronic Gulf, such as Aegina, Agistri and Poros.

The ELENA F seen once again, as she makes her way towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The ELENA F seen as she heads to her docking spot in Piraeus.

The ELENA F seen in Piraeus. When heading to Salamina, she serves the ports of Kamatero and Paloukia. This is also the case for the GEORGIOS BROUFAS of Broufas Vessels. Both ships serve the Piraeus-Salamina line under a timetable that has been agreed by both their owners.

The ELENA F making her way towards the E8 gate in Piraeus.

The ELENA F, one of the most appreciated ships of Salamina, seen as she heads to her docking spot in Piraeus.

The ELENA F seen once again in Piraeus, while she heads towards her docking spot.

The ELENA F seen once again, as she continues to maker her way towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The ELENA F seen in Piraeus, with the high speed ferry HELLENIC HIGHSPEED of Hellenic Seaways spotted in the background.

Another view of the port of Piraeus, featuring the FLYINGCAT 6 of Hellenic Seaways and her sister ship and fleetmate, namely the FLYINGCAT 5. Also there were the conventional ferry APOLLON HELLAS of 2way Ferries and her fleetmate, the POSIDON HELLAS. These two ferries notably used to be fleetmates of the two high speed catamarans, as they operated for Hellenic Seaways before their respective sales to 2way Ferries.

The FLYINGCAT 6 was seen leaving her docking spot in Piraeus in order to proceed to the E10 gate. Here she is seen along with her sister ship and fleetmate, namely the FLYINGCAT 5. Both ships were operating on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line on the Saronic Gulf during the 2021 season.

Another view of the FLYINGCAT 6 together with the FLYINGCAT 5, the APOLLON HELLAS and the POSIDON HELLAS.

The FLYINGCAT 6 seen as she shifts from the E7 gate to the E10 gate in Piraeus.

The FLYINGCAT 6 seen heading towards the E10 gate in Piraeus. This shift was performed in order to provide available space for berthing in the E7 gate, where the ship had docked (as opposed to the E8 gate where high speed craft serving the Saronic Gulf usually dock). As she had completed her services for the day, she headed to the E10 gate in order to rest.

The FLYINGCAT 6 seen passing in front of the WORLDCHAMPION JET of Sea Jets (which had returned to Piraeus from the Cyclades) and of the TERA JET (also of Sea Jets) while making her way towards the E10 gate in Piraeus.

The FLYINGCAT 6 seen once again, as she sails in front of the TERA JET.

The WORLCHAMPION JET, the TERA JET and the FLYINGCAT 6, three high speed craft frequently seen in Piraeus, spotted in the port together.

The FLYINGCAT 6 seen once more, as she proceeds to the E10 gate in Piraeus.

The FLYINGCAT 6 having almost reached the E10 gate in order to dock next to her fleetmate, namely the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED.

At about 17:50, the POSIDON HELLAS was the ship now leaving Piraeus, in order to head to Aegina. She serves the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Methana line on the Saronic Gulf, under the Saronic Ferries joint venture.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen leaving Piraeus. This was her seventh season under 2way Ferries.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. Built in 1998 in Greece, she is notably the first double-ended ferry in the history of the Greek coastal service. She has spent her entire career on the Saronic Gulf, having now operated there for 24 consecutive summers. This is the longest active run amongst all conventional ferries currently operating on the Saronic Gulf.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen once more, as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

Just as the POSIDON HELLAS was leaving the port of Piraeus, yet another ship was seen having returned from the Saronic Gulf. Indeed, this time it was the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA of Aegean Flying Dolphins.

A view of the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA upon her return to Piraeus. She has been owned by Aegean Flying Dolphins since 2010, and she has been serving the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line since 2011.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen leaving Piraeus. The 2021 season proved to be a milestone one for me, with this ship being the main protagonist. Indeed, I traveled with her six times during that summer (three times from Piraeus to Aegina and another three from Aegina to Piraeus), which makes her the ship onboard which I have traveled the most times during a single summer. She therefore eclipsed the record previously held by the PHIVOS, with which I had performed four trips in 2007 and in 2019. I am curious to see if and when this new record will be broken, and with which ship.

The POSIDON HELLAS seen passing in front of me in order to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

In the meantime, the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA was seen continuing to make her way towards her docking spot in the E8 gate in Piraeus.

One final picture of the POSIDON HELLAS for the 2021 season, as she is seen leaving the port of Piraeus in order to head towards Aegina.

At 18:00, the ELENA F was seen leaving Piraeus in order to head back to Salamina.

The ELENA F seen performing her final trip of the day, as she heads from Piraeus to Salamina.

The ELENA F seen while she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The ELENA F seen passing in front of me, while she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The ELENA F on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The ELENA F seen in Piraeus, as she heads for Salamina.

The ELENA F seen in Piraeus. This year, she will spend yet another season on the Piraeus-Salamina line, together with the GEORGIOS BROUFAS.

One last view of the ELENA F while she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

Just two minutes after the ELENA F had exited the port of Piraeus, I witnessed yet another arrival, more specifically that of the conventional ferry AQUA JEWEL of Sea Jets Ferries. She was returning to the port after having completed her service on the Peloponnese-Kythira-Antikythira lifeline, which she has been serving since 2020.

The AQUA JEWEL seen having returned to Piraeus at about 18:05 in the evening. She has been owned by Sea Jets since 2017, and she operates under the Sea Jets Ferries division, as do all conventional ferries owned by the company.

Another view of the AQUA JEWEL after she had entered the port of Piraeus. Built in 2003 for Alpha Ferries, she had a successful stint on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros-Naxos line (having started to serve the latter island in 2005 after being lengthened in Elefsina) before being chartered to NEL Lines in 2010. Under the latter, she operated on the inter-Cyclades lifeline, but her service in 2013-2014 was marred by engine troubles and the severe financial problems faced by NEL Lines. After a major engine failure ended her service in 2014 (which has since been taken over by the ARTEMIS of Hellenic Seaways), she returned to Alpha Ferries, who attempted to reactivate her over the following years. She was ultimately bought by Sea Jets in 2017, in order to deploy her back on the inter-Cyclades line, so as to replace the company's previous ferry, the AQUA SPIRIT (which was a former partner of the AQUA JEWEL on the Cyclades back when both ships operated for NEL Lines), which had been sold to the Canadian company BC Ferries (for whom she operates today as the NORTHERN SEA WOLF). After spending one season there, she spent two summers under charter to the Portuguese company Atlântico Line, being deployed on the Azores Archipelago. Afterwards, she returned to Sea Jets and began her current service on the Piraeus-Gytheion-Kythira-Antikythira-Kissamos line, replacing the IONIS of Triton Ferries which was deployed on the Lavrion-Kea-Kythnos line on the Cyclades.

The AQUA JEWEL seen having returned to the port of Piraeus. This was her second straight season on the Piraeus-Gytheion-Kythira-Antikythira-Kissamos lifeline, and her third summer operating for Sea Jets altogether, as she spent the 2018 season and the 2019 season under charter to Atlântico Line. During these two seasons, her service on the inter-Cyclades lifeline was taken over by her fleetmate, the high speed ferry ANDROS JET. Since 2020, the ship that has been assigned to the lifeline has been the CALDERA VISTA, also of Sea Jets.

The AQUA JEWEL seen as she heads towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The AQUA JEWEL seen upon her return to the port of Piraeus. She became the second conventional ferry to have been purchased by Sea Jets, following the AQUA SPIRIT which she eventually replaced after the latter was sold to BC Ferries in 2017. Since then, Sea Jets went on to acquire three more conventional ferries. These are the AQUA BLUE (previously the IERAPETRA L of ANEK Lines) which was bought in 2017 and has been operating on the Lavrion-Chios-Agios Efstratios-Limnos-Kavala lifeline since 2020, the SPORADES STAR (previously the AQUA STAR) which was bought in 2021and has started to operate on the Volos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line on the Sporades this season, and the SUPERSTAR (previously the legendary SUPERFERRY II of Golden Star Ferries) which was acquired at the end of the 2021 season and is continuing to be present in her successful service on the Rafina-Andros-Tinos-Mykonos-Paros line on the Cyclades.

The AQUA JEWEL seen as she heads towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The AQUA JEWEL seen upon her return to Piraeus. While the largest part of her career has been associated with the Cyclades, she has become a valuable vessel for the islands of Kythira and Antikythira ever since she started to serve these two islands in 2020.

The AQUA JEWEL seen in Piraeus. Even though she was built in 2003, her story dates back to 1986. Indeed, she was initially ordered that year as multi-purpose megayacht available for daily cruises under the company Perosea Shipping Company. She was due to be completed under the name NISSILIOS, but her construction was delayed and she was ultimately abandoned in Elefsina. Her unfinished hull was bought in 2001 by the then-newly-established Greek company Alpha Ferries, owned by the shipowner Perogiannakis, and she was instead built as a ferry under the name AQUA JEWEL in 2003.

As the AQUA JEWEL was arriving in Piraeus, the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA, which had returned just minutes prior, was seen leaving the port in order to head back to Aegina and Agistri.

The AQUA JEWEL seen heading towards her docking spot, with the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED spotted in the background. The high speed ferry has occasionally operated on the inter-Cyclades lifeline previously served by the AQUA JEWEL during her stint with NEL Lines, usually in order to replace the ARTEMIS whenever the latter undergoes her annual refit.

The AQUA JEWEL seen as she heads towards the E9 gate in Piraeus. The latter is known to be the principal departure spot for ships operated by Sea Jets, hence the ferry has been docking there ever since she began to operate on the Peloponnese-Kythira-Antikythira lifeline. Ships that previously served that lifeline would usually dock in the E4 gate, next to the cruiseferries that operate in Crete.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen as she departs the port of Piraeus.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen in Piraeus during what was her eleventh consecutive season on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line, as well as her twelfth consecutive season on the Saronic Gulf. Indeed, during her debut season under Aegean Flying Dolphins in 2010, she operated on the Piraeus-Hydra-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen during her departure from Piraeus. During the 2021 season, she was the only hydrofoil of Aegean Flying Dolphins that operated on the Saronic Gulf. The other two hydrofoils of the company, namely the FLYING DOLPHIN ERATO and the FLYING DOLPHIN VENUS I, operated on the Volos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line on the Sporades. The former has been operating there since 2014, whereas the latter joined her during the summer of 2021, after having spent the 2020 season under lay-up in Perama. For the 2022 season, the company will once again deploy two hydrofoils on the Saronic Gulf, as she the FLYING DOLPHIN VENUS I will also operate on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line. This will be her first season on the Saronic Gulf since 2019, back when she served the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Methana-Poros line.

The AQUA JEWEL seen once again as she heads towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen departing Piraeus in order to head to Aegina.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen again as she leaves Piraeus. During the 2021 season, I traveled twice with her, with the first time being on 2 July 2021 from Aegina to Piraeus, followed by a trip from Piraeus to Aegina ten days later.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen once again as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen proceeding towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA seen leaving Piraeus, just before she would start sailing at full-speed.

Seeing the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA as she leaves Piraeus.

The AQUA JEWEL seen almost reaching the E9 gate in order to dock in Piraeus.

One final view of the FLYING DOLPHIN ATHINA, as she is seen heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The AQUA JEWEL seen about to begin her maneuvering procedure in Piraeus.

The AQUA JEWEL preparing to begin her maneuvering procedure in the port of Piraeus.

The AQUA JEWEL now seen maneuvering in Piraeus.

The AQUA JEWEL seen undergoing her maneuvering procedure in Piraeus, in front of the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED.

The AQUA JEWEL, one of the few Greek-built ships operating in Piraeus, seen undergoing her maneuvering procedure.

The AQUA JEWEL having almost completed her maneuvering procedure in order to dock in Piraeus.

A wider view of the E9 gate, the E10 gate and the E11 gate in Piraeus. Indeed, it shows three ships owned by Sea Jets (the WORLDCHAMPION JET, the TERA JET and the AQUA JEWEL) along with the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET, the TERA JET and the AQUA JEWEL seen together in the port of Piraeus. All three vessels happen to be among the three youngest ships owned by Sea Jets.

The TERA JET seen in Piraeus along with the AQUA JEWEL, which has almost completed her maneuvering procedure.

The AQUA JEWEL about to dock in Piraeus.

The AQUA JEWEL preparing to dock in Piraeus, wit the FLYINGCAT 6 seen right behind her.

The AQUA JEWEL seen as she is about to dock in Piraeus, with the FLYINGCAT 6 spotted in the background.

The AQUA JEWEL and the FLYINGCAT 6 seen together in Piraeus.

The AQUA JEWEL having almost finished docking in Piraeus.

While the AQUA JEWEL had almost finished docking, I then got to see the PREVELIS of ANEK Lines departing the port of Piraeus, in order to begin her long itinerary along the Kasos-Karpathos lifeline.

Another picture featuring the WORLCHAMPION JET, the TERA JET and the AQUA JEWEL.

The PREVELIS seen leaving Piraeus, during her thirteenth consecutive season on the Piraeus-Milos-Santorini-Anafi-Heraklion-Siteia-Kasos-Karpathos-Chalki-Rhodes lifeline. During her first two seasons in this service, she operated alongside the IERAPETRA L, which was previously owned by LANE Sea Lines and has been known as the AQUA BLUE of Sea Jets since 2017.

The PREVELIS seen leaving Piraeus during the early evening. Before joining ANEK Lines, she operated as the PREVELI for the Rethymnon-based company Cretan Ferries from 1995 to 2000, serving the Piraeus-Rethymnon line. After her company was absorbed by ANEK Lines in 2000, the ship remained on the Piraeus-Rethymnon line for six more seasons, while also being renamed PREVELIS in 2001. She moved to the Piraeus-Chania line in 2007, followed by a spell on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini line in 2008.

The PREVELIS seen once more as she leaves Piraeus. In spite of her advanced age, she has been praised for her longevity and for having been the most efficient ship to have ever served the extremely demanding Kasos-Karpathos lifeline. Indeed, she has been operating there all year long, while serving some of the most difficult ports of the Aegean Sea under extremely adverse weather conditions. Despite having occasionally experienced a few accidents and technical issues, she has nonetheless proved to be extremely reliable and passengers continue to appreciate her and her crew for continuously connecting them with the rest of Greece.

The AQUA JEWEL seen once again as she has finished docking in Piraeus.

The PREVELIS seen as she leaves Piraeus.

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

The AQUA JEWEL seen docked in Piraeus along with the FLYINGCAT 6 and the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED.

The PREVELIS seen leavinng Piraeus, with the TERA JET spotted in the background.

The PREVELIS seen once more during her departure from Piraeus. It will be interesting to see where she will be operating this season. Indeed, after 13 years of loyal service, the Greek Ministry of Shipping and Insular Policy controversially assigned the subsidy contract of the Kasos-Karpathos lifeline to the OLYMPUS of Sea Speed Ferries, which has been known for providing very irregular services on the Cyclades and Crete since 2019. Indeed, her company has been operating under very questionable practices, heavily relying on state subsidies and only operating during the high season. Moreover, this ship has experienced several engine failures which have resulted in multiple delayed and canceled trips. Furthermore, her large size and outdated navigational abilities will undoubtedly cause major risks in some of the most difficult ports of the Aegean Sea, while potential engine troubles and canceled trips during the high season could easily harm the touristic services of Kasos, Karpathos and Chalki in the middle of the summer. Overall, this is really a very questionable move, especially as the PREVELIS was considered a perfect fit for this lifeline. She is due to be replaced by the OLYMPUS next month, and he future remains uncertain.

The PREVELIS seen as she leaves Piraeus, during what eventually proved to be, based on the current turn of events, her final full summer on the Kasos-Karpathos lifeline.

The PREVELIS spotted as she leaves the port of Piraeus, with the AQUA JEWEL seen in the background.

The PREVELIS passing in front me and heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

One last view of the PREVELIS as she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

Yet another picture featuring the three notable ships of Sea Jets, namely the WORLDCHAMPION JET, the TERA JET and the AQUA JEWEL.

Another panoramic view of the port of Piraeus, covering the Eastern section of the port. The picture shows the FLYINGCAT 5, the APOLLON HELLAS, the WORLCHAMPION JET, the TERA JET, the AQUA JEWEL, the FLYINGCAT 6 and the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED. In other words, it only features ships owned by Hellenic Seaways and by Sea Jets, with the exception of the APOLLON HELLAS, herself a ship formerly owned by Hellenic Seaways.

While looking towards the other side of the port, I saw the FESTOS PALACE of Minoan Lines along with the BLUE STAR NAXOS of Blue Star Ferries, whose turn it was to leave Piraeus.

The great BLUE STAR NAXOS seen as she performs her late afternoon departure from Piraeus to Paros, Naxos and the Lesser Cyclades. Indeed, she operates on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Irakleia-Schoinousa-Koufonisi-Donousa-Amorgos-Santorini-Astypalaia line since 2018, while having also been in this service while additionally operating in Tinos and Mykonos from 2015 to 2017.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen as she leaves the port of Piraeus, during her twentieth season on the Cyclades. This upcoming summer will mark the 20 years since she began service along with her sister ship and fleetmate, the BLUE STAR PAROS.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen while she leaves Piraeus. While the bulk of her career has been spent on the Cyclades, she has also occasionally operated on the Dodecanese, including during the 2005 season when she operated on the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini-Kalymnos line, as well during every winter from 2008 to 2014, when she would usually replace the DIAGORAS on the Dodecanese lifeline while the latter would perform her annual refit.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen as she leaves the port of Piraeus. She was ordered back in 2000 together with the BLUE STAR PAROS following the successful introduction of their older sister ship, the BLUE STAR ITHAKI, during that summer. The latter was owned by Blue Star Ferries until 2014, when she was sold to the Canadian company Bay Ferries Limited, for whom she operates as the FUNDY ROSE. All three ships have played a pivotal role in the rise of Blue Star Ferries on the Cyclades and on the Aegean Sea altogether.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen upon her afternoon departure from Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen as she makes her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen in Piraeus, as she begins her long trip to the Cyclades.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen yet again, as she leaves the port of Piraeus. During the summer her afternoon departure to Paros and Naxos is taken over by the BLUE STAR PATMOS, which has been serving the Piraeus-Syros-Paros-Naxos-Ios-Santorini-Anafi line since 2018 (while having also done extensions to Ikaria and Samos during the summer of 2020).

Seeing the BLUE STAR NAXOS during her usual late afternoon departure from Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS about to appear right in front of me as she heads out towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS spotted right in front of me, while she leaves Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS, a ship associated with the continuous reliability of the services offered by Blue Star Ferries for more than two decades, seen leaving the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS having passed in front of me and heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The BLUE STAR NAXOS seen for one last time in 2021, as she is about to exit the port of Piraeus.

After the BLUE STAR NAXOS had left, I had the chance to take a quick picture of the E2 gate, where I saw a portion of the cruiseferry KYDON PALACE of Minoan Lines. She was the original FESTOS PALACE that operated for the company on the Piraeus-Heraklion line from 2001 until she acquired her current name in 2020, following a major fleet reshuffle undertaken by Minoan Lines during that year. She began operating during on the Piraeus-Chania line, whereas in 2021 she operated on the Piraeus-Milos-Chania line. Following the departure of her sister ship, the original KNOSSOS PALACE, which moved to Grimaldi Lines in order to become the new CRUISE BONARIA, the FESTOS PALACE is now the longest-serving current ship of the fleet of Minoan Lines.

I then looked further down towards the exit of the port of Piraeus, and I had the chance to see the BLUE STAR 2 of Blue Star Ferries, which has been a mainstay of the Dodecanese since 2005. She has been operating on the Piraeus-Syros-Amorgos-Patmos-Leros-Kalymnos-Kos-Rhodes line since 2020. Built in 2000 in The Netherlands, she has been one of the most successful ships of the company, and she is widely seen as one of the best ferries to have ever operated on the Dodecanese.

Towards 18:25, I saw the GEORGIOS BROUFAS of Broufas Vessels having returned once more from Salamina, and she was heading towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS seen once again in Piraeus, in the early evening.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS seen heading back towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

Seeing the GEORGIOS BROUFAS as she heads back towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS having made her way back to Piraeus, having made her final leg of the day from Salamina.

The GEORGIOS BROUFAS seen once more, as she heads to her docking spot in the E8 gate in Piraeus.

Another view of the various high speed craft spotted in Piraeus-along with one conventional ferry-namely the SPEED CAT I of Alpha Lines, the WORLDCHAMPION JET, the TERA JET, the AQUA JEWEL, the FLYINGCAT 6 and the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED.

The NISSOS SAMOS of Hellenic Seaways was also seen docked in the E2 gate in Piraeus. Built in 1988 in Japan, she first arrived in Greece in 2004, after having been bought by Agoudimos Lines. Initially due to be named IONIAN GLORY, she was eventually acquired by Endeavor Lines and was deployed on the Adriatic Sea in 2005 as the IONIAN QUEEN. She remained with Endeavor Lines until 2012, when the company ceased operations due to financial problems. She remained laid-up in Patras for three years until she was bought in late 2015 by Hellenic Seaways. After being converted in Perama and being renamed NISSOS SAMOS, she began service on the Piraeus-Chios-Mytilene-Limnos-Thessaloniki line in 2016, following by an extremely successful spell on the Piraeus-Paros-Naxos-Santorini line during the 2017 season. After the takeover of Hellenic Seaways by Attica Group in 2018, the ship returned to the Northeast Aegean Sea and was deployed on the Piraeus-Psara-Oinousses-Chios-Mytilene line.

At about 18:30, yet another ship was seen leaving the port of Piraeus. Indeed, the high speed catamaran SPEED CAT I was now heading towards the port's exit, in order to perform her evening service on the Saronic Gulf.

The SPEED CAT I seen as she leaves the port of Piraeus.

The SPEED CAT I seen once again as she leaves Piraeus. Her company was established in 2020 by the well-known shipowner Antonios Agapitos together with his son, Vassilios. The former used to be the manager of the famous company Agapitos Lines, and was also among the top managers of Minoan Flying Dolphins, which later became Hellas Flying Dolphins before being rebranded to Hellenic Seaways. Following the latter's takeover by Attica Group in 2018, Antonios Agapitos resigned as the company's CEO and went on to form Alpha Lines two years later, thereby marking a new chapter in his famed career in the Greek coastal service.

The WORLDCHAMPION JET and the TERA JET seen once more, as both of them are docked in Piraeus.

The SPEED CAT I seen as she leaves Piraeus, during her debut season in Greece and under Alpha Lines. Her entry to service on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Spetses line proved to be a major success, as she was praised for her comfortable service and her indoor areas. Despite her unusual aesthetic appearance which has polarised shipping enthusiasts, the ship was considered to be extremely reliable and was further appreciated due to the fact that she provided competition on a demanding line of the Saronic Gulf that had previously been dominated solely by Hellenic Seaways (the former employers of Antonios Agapitos himself). Moreover, the ship introduced several innovative onboard features which made the trips even more convenient and enjoyable for passengers, and she notably had an outdoor deck area with dedicated aircraft-style seats that would enable passengers to remain outdoors throughout the whole duration of the trip, which is a rarity for a Greek high speed craft. Due to her success, Alpha Lines went on to win the prestigious 'Passenger Line of the Year' award given by Lloyd's List Greek Shipping Awards for 2021. This marked the first time that a Greek company won this award in its debut season, and it therefore implies very promising things to come in the future.

The SPEED CAT I seen as she leaves Piraeus during the evening.

Seeing the SPEED CAT I while she leaves Piraeus.

The SPEED CAT I seen departing the port of Piraeus. When she was built in 2002, she was one of six sister ships that were ordered by the Swiss government in order to perform an inland waterway service connecting three major Swiss lakes, namely Lake Neuchâtel, Lake Bienne and Lake Morat. They were all part of the Iris Catamaran-class built between 2000 and 2002. The ship began service as the LYON on the Neuchâtel-Bienne-Morat-Yverdon line, just before the start of the 2002 National Swiss Exposition. She remained in this service until 2008, and in 2009 she was sold to the Croatian company Adriatic Lines, and was renamed ADRIATIC JET. She was introduced on the Venice-Umag-Poreč-Rovinj-Pula line, thus connecting Italy with Croatia via the Adriatic Sea. She remained there for 11 years, until her sale in 2020 to Alpha Lines.

A view of the SPEED CAT I in Piraeus, as she heads towards the port's exit. Coincidentally, when she entered service, she became the first ship not owned by Hellenic Seaways to be deployed on the Piraeus-Poros-Hydra-Spetses line since the similarly-named SPEED CAT 1, also a high speed craft, which is owned by Hellas Speed Cat. Indeed, the latter ship, which was previously the PANORMITIS of ANES Ferries from 2001 to 2007, attempted to operate on the Saronic Gulf during the 2016 season. After being deployed there in March 2016, she unfortunately suffered a major engine failure after only a couple of weeks in service, and she was withdrawn from the line. She has never returned to service ever since, instead remaining laid-up in Salamina while awaiting her fate.

The SPEED CAT I seen yet again, while she makes her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The SPEED CAT I seen once again, as she performs her evening service to Poros, Hydra and Spetses.

The SPEED CAT I leaving Piraeus in order to serve the Saronic Gulf, with Poros as her first stop.

The SPEED CAT I see while she continues to make her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

One final view of the last ship onboard which I traveled in 2021, namely the SPEED CAT I. This year will be very interesting for her, as Hellenic Seaways has decided to enhance its services on the Saronic Gulf partly as a response to the arrival of Alpha Lines. Indeed, the company awaits to have three newly-built state-of-the-art aero high speed catamarans delivered to them later this summer, and plans to deploy them on the Saronic Gulf in order to replace the aging hydrofoils. Built in Norway, they are expected to arrive in Greece in August 2022. As such, the passengers of the Saronic Gulf will benefit hugely from high-quality services and different new options to choose from, especially those heading to Poros, Hydra and Spetses.

A view of the E8 gate in Piraeus, where I spotted the FLYINGCAT 5, the GEORGIOS BROUFAS and the APOLLON HELLAS, which was leaving the port for her evening service.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen passing by the WORLDCHAMPION JET, as she starts to head towards Aegina.

Another view of the GEORGIOS BROUFAS, together with the APOLLON HELLAS and the WORLDCHAMPION JET.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen leaving Piraeus and passing in front of the AQUA JEWEL.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen as she leaves Piraeus. Since her return to the Saronic Gulf in 2017, she has been serving the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen leaving the port of Piraeus. Built in 1990 in Greece, she has spent the majority of her career on the Saronic Gulf. She was originally known as the GEORGIOS of Akouriki Shipping Company, and served the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Methana-Poros-Hydra-Spetses line until she was sold to the South Korean company Wing Ferry Company, for whom she operated for two years as the SUN BEACH on the Nokdong-Jeju line on the Jeju Strait. She was laid-up in 1997, and made her comeback to Greece in 1999, after having been bought by Poseidon Consortium Shipping. She returned to the Saronic Gulf as the APOLLON HELLAS, being deployed on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros-Hydra-Spetses line. Later during that same year, her company was taken over by Minoan Flying Dolphins (which was renamed Hellas Flying Dolphins in 2002), and the ship continued to operate on the Saronic Gulf under the Saronikos Ferries division. The company was rebranded as Hellenic Seaways in 2005, and the ship began serving the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line from 2008 to 2013. She then spent her final two years with Hellenic Seaways on the Sporades, first on the Volos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line in 2014, and then on the Agios Konstantinos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line in 2015. In 2016 she was sold to 2way Ferries, and she remained on the Agios Konstantinos-Skiathos-Skopelos-Alonissos line, before making her second return to the Saronic Gulf in 2017.

The APOLLON HELLAS, one of the most prominent ships serving the Saronic Gulf over the past three decades, seen leaving Piraeus. She is one of the three ships owned by 2way Ferries that operate on the Saronic Gulf. In addition, the company operates on the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line on the Ionian Sea, with the double-ended ferry ANO CHORA II (since 2006), and also began serving the Agia Marina-Nea Styra line on the Petalioi Gulf during the summer of 2021, after having deployed the recently-refurbished landing craft KANARIS, which they had acquired in late 2020.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen once again as she passes in front of the AQUA JEWEL.

The APOLLON HELLAS now seen passing in front of her former Hellenic Seaways fleetmates, namely the FLYINGCAT 6 and the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen having left Piraeus.

Another view of the APOLLON HELLAS, as she proceeds towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The APOLLON HELLAS spotted once again, as she begins her evening trip to Aegina.

The APOLLON HELLAS about to pass in front of me while she heads towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The APOLLON HELLAS on her way towards the exit of the port of Piraeus in order to serve the Saronic Gulf.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen as she performs her evening trip from Piraeus to Aegina.

The APOLLON HELLAS seen upon her departure from Piraeus. The loud noise made by her engines is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable ones in Piraeus and on the Saronic Gulf. In fact, when I am in Aegina, there are instances in which I can hear and recognise the noise even if I do not actually see the ship!

The APOLLON HELLAS seen once more, as she is about to head towards the exit of the port of Piraeus.

The APOLLON HELLAS heading towards the exit of the port of Piraeus, during what was her sixth season under 2way Ferries. For the summer of 2022, she is due to remain in her usual service on the Piraeus-Aegina-Methana-Poros line.

One final view of the APOLLON HELLAS for the 2021 season, as she leaves Piraeus.

Another glimpse of the Eastern section of the port of Piraeus, covering from the E8 gate to the E11 gate and featuring ships of Hellenic Seaways and Sea Jets. These include the FLYINGCAT 5, the WORLDCHAMPION JET, the TERA JET, the AQUA JEWEL, the FLYINGCAT 6 and the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED.

Just 3 minutes after the APOLLON HELLAS had exited the port of Piraeus, I saw another ship having arrived, namely the double-ended ferry ACHAEOS, also of 2way Ferries. With her arrival, I had the chance to see and photograph the three ships of the company that operate on the Saronic Gulf.

The ACHAEOS seen having arrived in Piraeus. She was built in Greece in 2006, and she has spent her entire career under the ownership of 2way Ferries. Apart from a charter to the Italian company Blunavy from 2011 to 2012, she has always operated in Greece.

The ACHAEOS seen in Piraeus. During her debut season in 2006, she operated on the Piraeus-Aegina line, but she was then assigned to the Igoumenitsa-Corfu line together with her fleetmate, the ANO CHORA II. She returned to the Saronic Gulf in 2014, being deployed on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri line.

The ACHAEOS seen in Piraeus, after having arrived from Aegina. Her return to the Saronic Gulf proved to be a major success. Facilitated by the establishment of the Saronic Ferries joint venture, the ship proved to be a valuable asset for passengers heading to both Aegina and Agistri. Ultimately, 2way Ferries went on to enhance their presence on the Saronic Gulf, acquiring the POSIDON HELLAS in 2015 and the APOLLON HELLAS in 2016, although the latter first operated on the Sporades before heading back to the Saronic Gulf in 2017.

The ACHAEOS seen heading towards the E8 gate in Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS spotted in Piraeus, during what was her eighth consecutive season on the Saronic Gulf, and her ninth season there overall if we include her stint on the Piraeus-Aegina line during her debut season in 2006.

The ACHAEOS seen making her way towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS, a reliable double-ended ferry that is well-fitted to serve the Saronic Gulf, seen upon her arrival in Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS continuing to head towards her docking spot in the port of Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS seen heading towards her docking spot in Piraeus, following her arrival from Aegina.

The ACHAEOS seen in Piraeus. Since her return to the Saronic Gulf in 2014, I have traveled with her on 11 different occasions, either from Piraeus to Aegina or vice versa. My first two trips with her happened to be in her comeback season in 2014, while my third one, which consisted of a return leg from Aegina to Piraeus on 19 July 2016, was analysed more in depth. She was also the first ship onboard which I traveled during the 2020 season, having done so on 7 August 2020 while heading from Piraeus to Aegina. During the 2021 season, I traveled twice with her: on 19 July 2021 from Aegina to Piraeus, and on 25 August 2021 from Piraeus to Aegina.

The ACHAEOS seen making her way towards her docking spot in Piraeus, after having completed her return trip from Aegina.

The ACHAEOS spotted in Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS seen in Piraeus, having completed her services for the day.

Another view of the ACHAEOS, while she continues to head towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

The ACHAEOS seen as she is about to pass in front of the TERA JET while heading towards the E8 gate in Piraeus,

The ACHAEOS seen in Piraeus, with the WORLDCHAMPION JET and the TERA JET seen right behind her.

The ACHAEOS seen yet again in Piraeus, having almost reached her docking spot.

The ACHAEOS having almost arrived in the E8 gate in Piraeus.

Right behind the ACHAEOS, I had the chance to wintess yet another ship operating on the Saronic Gulf having returned to Piraeus. This time, it was the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XIX of Hellenic Seaways, which is one of the three ships of her type serving the company. All of them operate on the Piraeus-Aegina-Agistri-Poros-Hydra-Ermioni-Spetses-Porto Cheli line.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen having returned to Piraeus. This was her second consecutive season on the Saronic Gulf following her reactivation in 2020. Before that, she had been laid-up in Perama from 2012 to 2019, after having running aground in the small islet of Metopi on the Saronic Gulf, while sailing from Aegina to Agistri in June 2012. Despite being declared a constructive total loss at the time, she was eventually repaired seven years later following the fire that destroyed her fleetmate and sister ship, the FLYING DOLPHIN XVIII, in 2019. The latter ship was eventually scrapped later in that same year.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen in Piraeus, after having returned from Aegina.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen in Piraeus. She was built in 1983 in Georgia, which was at the time part of the Soviet Union. She is notably the lead ship of the well-known Kolkhida-class, which was considered the newest generation of hydrofoils upon their introduction from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s. Many ships of the class went on to operate in Greece, with all three hydrofoils of Hellenic Seaways belonging to the class (as it was also the case with the now-scrapped FLYING DOLPHIN XVIII), and Aegean Flying Dolphins also owning two vessels of that type.

The ACHAEOS seen having docked in the E8 gate, with the FLYINGCAT 5 having also shifted to the usual spot where she docks.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen about to pass right next to her fleetmates, namely the FLYINGCAT 6 and the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED. This picture is quite special, as it shows the three different types of high speed craft operated by Hellenic Seaways, This is while awaiting for the arrival of a new type, namely the new aero high speed catamarans, which are set to be deployed on the Saronic Gulf this upcoming summer.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen as she is about to pass in front of her fleetmate, namely the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen once again as she heads towards her docking spot in Piraeus.

Another view of the ACHAEOS, which is now docked right next to the GEORGIOS BROUFAS.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen once again as she heads towards her docking spot in the port of Piraeus.

Another view of the AQUA JEWEL, which is docked next to the FLYINGCAT 6 and the HELLENIC HIGHSPEED.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XIX seen as she is about to dock next to the WORLDCHAMPION JET.

Another view of the FLYING DOLPHIN XIX as she is about to dock in Piraeus, with the WORLDCHAMPION JET seen right next to her.

As my stay in the port was about to come to an end, I walked towards the E4 gate, where I once again saw the BLUE GALAXY of Blue Star Ferries, which serves the Piraeus-Chania line.

A further view of the BLUE GALAXY together with her fleetmate, the BLUE HORIZON, as the sun begins to set. Both ships connect Piraeus with Crete, although the BLUE HORIZON is on the Piraeus-Heraklion line.

Another view of the BLUE GALAXY, once known as the LEFKA ORI of ANEK Lines, as she is docked in Piraeus. She would go on to leave for Chania later in the evening.

Another view of the FESTOS PALACE, which serves the Piraeus-Milos-Heraklion line since 2020. Before that, she operated as the MYKONOS PALACE on the Piraeus-Chania line for two seasons, and was originally the EUROPA PALACE that operated on the Adriatic Sea from 2002 to 2012. She then had a six-year-long stint under charter to the Italian company Tirrenia Di Navigazione as the AMSICORA, before her return to Minoan Lines in 2018.

Just as I was about to leave, I got to witness the last ship that I saw arriving in Piraeus in 2021. That was the hydrofoil FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX of Hellenic Seaways, which had returned to the port following her departure a few hours prior (as seen in the previous Blog post).

The FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX seen having arrived in Piraeus once again. As it has been stated several times, she is the youngest active hydrofoil operating in the Greek coastal service.

The FLYING DOLPHIN XXIX seen heading towards her docking spot in Piraeus, with the much larger TERA JET seen right behind her.

And here is my final picture of a Greek coastal service ship for the 2021 season, and the FESTOS PALACE was the ferry that was given such an honour. Having taken over 3,000 pictures that year, this was the last for the summer.


And this therefore marks the end of the second part of the pictures taken during my final visit in Piraeus during the 2021 season, and it ultimately concludes all the coverage of my interactions with the Greek coastal service during that year's summer. This proved to be an extremely eventful year full of records and new experiences. Indeed, besides having taken the most pictures of Greek coastal service ships in my life so far, I also had the chance to perform 41 different trips within the span of less than three months, including onboard 11 new ships for the first time ever. That summer saw me discovering several new ships for the first time, as well as seeing others under different services, ownerships, names and liveries. I had the opportunity to explore several islands on the Cyclades (including Milos, Kimolos and Tinos for the first time) and on the Saronic Gulf, and also went on to visit new areas on my own just out of plain curiosity in order to see them with my own eyes, such as Lavrion, Patras and the Rion-Strait. Overall, I was lucky to see and photograph 157 different ships during the 2021, which is obviously an all-time record. As I am now ending my postgraduate studies in late July (it is crazy that the year went by so fast, considering that this post as well as last week's showed pictures that I took only days before I began to study in London), I am looking very much forward to returning to Greece, for what I hope will be a very exciting summer that will enable me to see many ships again, as well as new ones in other areas of the Greek coastal service that I have not seen yet, and also some familiar faces under different names, liveries and areas of service. In other words, I hope to carry on with the unique moments that I experience during the summer of 2021, and hopefully try to take even more pictures in order to then have the opportunity to share them with you on this website. Until the new pictures are published, enjoy all the ones that I have taken for far, and stay tuned for what is about to come in the next few months!


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