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where/how to go from here???

Princeton, New...
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where/how to go from here???

Hello all! I'm planning my honeymoon for very late May/ early June 2007. I'm thinking Santorini would be a dramatic way to kick things off. After that, I'm a little confused. Right now, I'm leaning towards going to two of these three islands: Naxos; Milos; Sifnos. I'm definitely interested in great snorkeling, scenic walks, and tasty Greek food. Any recommendations?

Also, I'm having trouble figuring out how to get around. The ferry to Sifnos is extremely long and sounds like a waste of precious time. The ferry to Naxos is much shorter and regularly running, but then I can't figure out how to get to Milos or Sifnos after that. Is there a place for me reference when and how often the fast boats run? I think I'd prefer taking those. And just in case, is there also a good reference for the ferries? I can't seem to understand how the transportion works. Milos and Sifnos seem equidistant to Thira, and yet I'm reading that the Milos-Thira connection is 2 hours whereas the Sifnos-Thira connection is 7 hours! Very strange. Any help would be extremely appreciated.

Thank you.

Oregon
Destination Expert
for Santorini
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21. Re: where/how to go from here???

Phillyrx, I've never seen a ferry website where you could 'backtrack' to see previous timetables. If you find one I'd appreciate being notified.

http://www.gtp.gr is the most comprehensive ferry website on the net but it's only good about a month before needed, so next May's schedules won't be available until April.

King of Prussia...
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22. Re: where/how to go from here???

Thanks brotherleelove... If I ever find one that lets you look back in time, I'll be sure to post it...

Princeton, New...
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23. Re: where/how to go from here???

I went back to www.openseas.gr and tested it again. On the upper right hand part of the home page under "search for a trip," I selected Santorini as my "from" location and Milos as my "to" location, and experimented with many dates in early summer 2006 (making sure to use the European format of entering dates). The results page either listed a boat connection on that particular day or told me of a ferry route that was closest to the date I selected.

I'm assuming that since the dates I chose were in mid-2006 that this was effective backchecking. Perhaps I assume too much.

Milos, Greece
Destination Expert
for Milos
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870 posts
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24. Re: where/how to go from here???

I haven't used openseas.gr for backchecking myself, but the way you described it is pretty much the way this website works.

BTW, I have read a couple of users recommend gtp.gr. I do not mean to denigrate their opinions, but in my experience, gtp.gr just plain doesn't cut it.

1) You have to search for a departure point as opposed to pick it from a list, which is more work and more guesswork on your part. Searching for a departure point, say Milos, returns a multitude of choices: Milos (port), Milos (bay), Milos (municipality) all of which should have been reduced to one (Milos) plus a few other totally irrelevant (and possibly confusing) choices. I believe that's a totally unnecessary burden on the user.

2) Once you select Milos, you may be able to see the timetable of the various departures on a given day. However, the list does NOT include the name of the vessel! How unbelievable is that? Only the name of the shipping company is listed, and that is only a 2-letter abbreviation, which is utterly uninformative and confusing.

For example, the first one of the choices on December 5, 2006 from Milos to Piraeus is "GA" at 09:30. I happen to know this stands for "GA Ferries", but how many potential visitors do? And what is the name of the actual vessel?

The second choice is "LA" at 00:20. I assume this means "LANE" but that's an educated guess on my part. How are first time visitors supposed to know that? And again, what is the name of the vessel?

The third choice is "PO" at 11:00. Folks, for the life of me, I cannot figure out this shipping company, let alone the name of the vessel this entry represents. It doesn't sound like Aegean Speed Lines, or Hellenic Seaways, or Ventouris Ferries, or any shipping line on the Milos route that I am familiar with. Again, the user is left guessing against the odds.

3) Links are included for the various destinations, which presumably take you to a page with more info (i.e., paid advertising for lodging choices) about the various ports of call, not very useful to the visitor at this particular point. However, the 2-letter abbreviation for the name of the shipping company is not a link even though it should be, as it could hyperlink to information more relevant to the user, i.e., the actual NAME of the shipping company and/or the actual VESSEL, for instance.

4) As if the above were not enough, the page is riddled with incomprehensible and superfluous titles/subtitles such as: "ARRIVAL PORT Click on any port to highlight identicals" or "MILOS (Port) KYKLADES Extended to MILOS (Municipality) KYKLADES". Either my English or theirs is sub par.

But I am glad some people find gtg.gr helpful.

:)

On another note, gtp.gr engages in what is arguably SPAM (they call it Direct E-mail, themselves) as they keep on sending emails to hotel owners en masse including offers from various suppliers and they advertise on their own site about being able to reach by e-mail "thousands of prospects in the travel and hospitality industry". I find their practices questionable at best, but that's an entirely different issue.

Milos, Greece
Destination Expert
for Milos
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870 posts
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25. Re: where/how to go from here???

> i was trying that openseas.gr website you recommended to figure out approximate # of ferries, but the site is not working. <

Hiccups on the information superhighway (or country roads) do happen. A large number of sites were down a few days ago all over Greece. You may try again. Openseas.gr is fully functional last time I checked, which is a few seconds ago.

- Andreas

Oregon
Destination Expert
for Santorini
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21,473 posts
2 reviews
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26. Re: where/how to go from here???

I agree that using www.gtp.gr can be confusing, but only if you do not take the time to learn how to navigate through it's pages. Once you do, everything you say you couldn't find is there, including the name of the company AND the vessel. Yes, it takes time to figure it all out, but it's all there.

That being said, I didn't know about www.openseas.gr until I read this post and I agree that it's much easier to use, although I couldn't find a booking function. Did I miss it? I will definitely start to recommend it to others as an alternative to gtp.gr.

Milos, Greece
Destination Expert
for Milos
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870 posts
5 reviews
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27. Re: where/how to go from here???

Brotherlee,

I am not going to go easy on gtp.gr, perhaps because I am fed up with poorly designed sites on the web that frustrate as opposed to help visitors.

I did take the time to navigate through that site. I certainly spent more time on gtp.gr than the average user would, ever. It is not only confusing and full of superfluous/incomprehensible information, it sorely lacks vital info such as the name of the vessel and the FULL name of the shipping company.

This information is just not where it is supposed to be. If it is meticulously hidden somewhere else, I am sorry, but it is just not acceptable. I am an experienced computer/internet user but haven't been able to locate it. This means the vast majority of users won't find it, either. And I do not think anyone is inclined to go on a wild goose chase on gtp.gr trying to navigate the site in the hope of locating info that isn't where it is supposed to be.

gtp.gr is just a badly designed site, and certainly can't earn the distinction of being remotely useful.

Oregon
Destination Expert
for Santorini
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21,473 posts
2 reviews
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28. Re: where/how to go from here???

All the information you mention is there, you just couldn't find it. That speaks volumes about the complex nature of the website, doesn't it? If you as an experienced user have difficulty, then those with less skill will certainly be confused.

For any of those of you who are interested, when using www.gtp.gr, once you have entered your departure and destination ("from" and "to") and have clicked "go", on the next page you can select a travel date-or not-and then click "search". On the next page appears those timetables that apply to your selection. Under the headings "Company" and "ship type" hold your cursor over these and a small popup will appear with the translation of the abbreviation. You can also click on the Company Name and a small window will pop up with more detailed information including phone numbers, email and url if they are available. Choose one of these timetables and click on "more information and reservations" and you will see even more details including a small map with red lines connecting the islands serviced along that particular route. It's all there if you want to find it. And if you'd like to see which islands you can reach from any location served by the ferry system, first enter an island or port name in the "from" box on the first page, but do not put a destination in the "to" box. Click "go". On the next page click "search" without entering any information. On the third page you will see a dropdown menu under the "destination" heading that shows you all the places you can reach from your chosen port or island.

I learned to use www.gtp.gr because I didn't know about openseas.gr. Now it's automatic for me to go through the steps mentioned above when I need to find a ferry schedule. But as I said, openseas.gr is much easier to use.

Milos, Greece
Destination Expert
for Milos
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870 posts
5 reviews
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29. Re: where/how to go from here???

We are talking about 2 different interfaces within the same site. You just described the "Ferry schedules (domestic)" section with a "from:" and "to:" fields", whereas I chose the "GTP FERRY DEPARTURES" section which only includes a "From" field.

Why GTP would offer 2 separate interfaces is beyond me. In any case, if you were to follow the "GTP FERRY DEPARTURES" section, the information you mentioned isn't provided in the dynamic page that shows up. The abbreviations are not links (not clickable) , and therefore no pop-ups show up offering additional info.

If, however, you follow the "Ferry schedules (domestic)" section, in the resulting dynamic page there are indeed pop-up menus over the abbreviations that provide additional info. This way you'll discover, for example, that the cryptic "PO" means "Ventouris Sea Lines".

30. Re: where/how to go from here???

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