If you have traveled to the Greek islands or if you are trying to book Greek ferry tickets, you have probably noticed that there are many Greek ferry types that run the routes between the islands and mainland ports. There are normal ferries, high-speed ferries, catamarans, and flying dolphins that have different features and run in specific routes. Here is a brief description of these Greek ferry types.
The normal ferry is the classic ferry type. This is a large vessel with the slowest speed of all types. However, it provides a very fun ferry ride to the Greek islands as travelers can stay at the deck and enjoy the vast blue sea. These conventional ferries have open decks, semi-enclosed decks, indoor salons, air type seats as well as cabins for 2-4 passengers, cabins for pets and disabled, and car garages. Cabins are very convenient for long or overnight trips to the Greek islands.
These simple ferries are the cheapest option for Greek ferry trips, which is why they are largely preferred by passengers who travel on a budget or by passengers who do not mind spending more time on board. Ferry companies with conventional ferries are Blue Star which runs schedules to the Cyclades islands, the Dodecanese and Eastern Aegean, as well as Minoan Lines which operates routes to Crete and Italy.
High speed ferry
High speed ferry is usually smaller than the normal ferry, which is why their speed is faster. They are newly-constructed, modern and comfortable with open decks, indoor salons, air type seats, cabins and car garages. As high speeds are faster than normal ferries, their price is more expensive. These Greek ferries are ideal for passengers who do not like traveling in the sea. The ferry company Hellenic Seaways operates such high speed ferries.
Flying dolphins (also called hydrofoils) are the smallest vessels that travel in the Greek seas. Their shape is oblong and they have only air seats. When reaching a certain velocity, they lift up from the sea and get inclined, achieving this way faster speed. These small vessels may carry 200-1000 passengers and operate short routes, such as the routes from Athens to Aegina, Hydra, Poros, and other Saronic islands, from Volos to Skiathos and Skopelos, from Corfu to Paxi, and the routes between the islands of Dodecanese.
Due to their small size, they are the first vessels to get affected by bad weather in Greece. Trips with such vessels are operated, for example, by the ferry companies Aegean Flying Dolphins and Hellenic Seaways.
Catamarans are smaller than normal vessels and larger than flying dolphins. It is easy to spot a catamaran (cat for short), as they are multihulled vessels with parallel hulls of equal size. They have only air type seats and some catamarans also have car garages. As their speed is fast, they are also called flying cats. Hellenic Seaways and Sea Jets are two Greek ferry companies that run ferry trips with catamarans.