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OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

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Puerto Vallarta...
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OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

We are looking at 2 options, air and ferry one-way from Naxos to Athens in September. Bluestar show a fare of 30.5 Euros tax in (so it appears at end of the last booking screen) versus the 70 Euro Full Flex Economy fare (incl all taxes) on Olympic. Of course by ferry it will take a goodly 5 plus hours versus 45 minutes by air. Given Olympic are using a Dash 8 (the site does not say which version) we are wondering (1) will the airfare start showing up at some point for cheaper economy or economy restricted fares (2) is there heavy demand on that flight from Naxos to Athens - if so and if the plane is a small Dash 8 should we book now to secure a seat? and finally (3) is 30.5 Euros (with assumed tax) about as good a ferry fare as we will get?

Hoping some Naxos posters can give us some thoughts on this.

Edited: 9:51 pm, March 16, 2010
Birmingham, United...
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1. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

Ferry fares are fixed that's it 30 €. Total journey time flying is more like 4 hours not 45 min.

No reason for cheaper fares on flights from Naxos, few flights, small aircraft means they will fill at those prices. Flights will tend to be full it's a tourist route, doubt if you'll get a seat later on.

Personally I go in the ferry ticket office and buy a ticket the day before I go and it's done in 5 min, no thought necessary.

Nanaimo, Canada
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2. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

If you want to call the ferry ride a cruise, and many people do, then it is something that will add to your experience. If so then you will not look at it as 5 hours out of your holiday.

After doing the ferry several times for us it has becomes a wasted half day and now we always try to fly back to Athens. Those Dash 8's carry 38 or 50 passengers only. if you consider 45 minutes versus 5 hours to be of value to you then flying is the way to go. If so you should book that flight right now because it is not going to be available for long.

Newmarket, United...
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3. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

Flights to Naxos are subsidized by the Greek government under the Public Service Obligation agreement. I doubt you will ever see anything but full fare tickets on that route.

The old Olympic Airlines used to fly ATR-42 aircraft to Naxos, but the new Olympic Air disposed of all but one, which it retains as a spare. The Dash 8s in it's fleet are a mixture of 100s and 400s, including the new Q400 model. From what I have seen on the Olympic website, when it says just Dash 8, it is the Dash 8-100. When they fly the Dash 8-400 on a specific route, it will be listed as Dash 8-400.

Naxos has a 2,900 ft runway, so any flight to that island will have weight restrictions. A Dash 8-100, at MTOW can carry about 30 passengers. I'm not sure that a Dash 8-400 can even take off and land on Naxos, but if so, would certainly carry a reduced load on the leg back to Athens.

Oslo, Norway
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4. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

Naxos airport takeoff:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/32580031@N06/3572658483/in/set-72157614678419763/

Naxos airport flights:

…flickr.com/3585/3325179239_a95c97405a_b.jpg

…flickr.com/3558/3326016298_bf8ef2dae0_b.jpg

Naxos airport:

…flickr.com/3590/3326016014_c5c95dc37d_b.jpg

Puerto Vallarta...
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5. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

Retired_Hippy says "Ferry fares are fixed that's it 30 €. Total journey time flying is more like 4 hours not 45 min".

I assume the 4 hrs. includes time at both airports?. But then is there not some time lost at the ports as well, getting from the port in Athens to the metro etc? In a nutshell how much time will save if we say the destination is Plaka once you arrive in Athens if we fly versus the ferry-including time at the airport/port for check-in, security etc. Anyone have a handle on this?

We are taking the ferry from Santorini to Naxos - our little cruise. So the notion of a cruise, while nice,is not what is most important. If we gain 3-4 hours extra in Athens during daylight - then flying will be worth it to us if we invest that time seeing some sights/museums etc.

Oslo, Norway
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6. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

Like you can see above Naxos Airport is very small, and check-in and security is quickly done as long as you are there within the time limit given for the check-in of your luggage.

Flight time to Athens is appr. 35 mins, and usually it is quite quick to collect your luggage and continue to the metro across the road. Metro to Athens is every half hour, and takes some 40 mins to the centre.

Some years ago I starterd to use the flights for Athens on my return from Naxos, both for convenience and for saving time compared to the ferries. This has not let me down yet.

Newmarket, United...
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7. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

With this year's earlier departure times, the Olympic flight from Naxos to Athens is a real advantage if you want to gain a few extra hours in Athens. You will arrive Athens Airport at 1050, as opposed to 1500 on the Blue Star to Piraeus. Up until last year the Olympic flight didn't return to Athens until 1420, so you would get to central Athens about the same time either way.

Retired_Hippy's point was: with a flight you have to get from town to the airport, check in an hour before the flight, then wait for your bags and transfer into town afterwards. That can add an extra 2-3 hours to overall travel time. With ferries there is no security or check-in procedure - you just hand over your ticket as you board. As the ferry is pulling into port you go down to the car deck, find your bag, and walk down the ramp when it is lowered - no waiting for anything.

In your case, Naxos Airport is only a few minutes outside of town. It takes about 20 minutes by metro to central Athens from Piraeus, and 45 minutes by metro from the airport. Take the flight, and you will probably be in central Athens around 1230-1300. Take the ferry, and you will be in central Athens around 1600.

Philadelphia
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8. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

Canada Guys, you have a number of factors to consider. Do you want/need to do substantial sightseeing on the day when you arrive back in Athens ... i.e., is this one of your only days to see the Athens ancient sites before you fly back to Loonie-land?? The flight then buys you about 5 extra hours in central Athens.

BTW, since you also seemed focussed on price, you should consider the add-on €€s. Air: taxi to Naxos Airport = 5-8€, vs 0€ for Ferry (hotel drives u or you walk or take bus) ... and in Athens, Airport Metro to PLaka area = 6€ vs 1€ for Metro from Piraeus. NOTE: Blue Star Ferry Economy @30.5 buys you a seat on deck or in cafes, or along corridors ... if you buy "Reserved Economy" @ 34€, when u want to come indoors to read or snooze, you have a reserved comfortable lean-back seat. (NOTE: on a low-traffic day these compartments are half-empty & you can "poach" one of these seats without paying the extra €3.50 ... on a high-traffic day, best to reserve.

Finally, an option #3 to ponder : If you want a total 8-5 day for sightseeing in Athens on that day, yet want to wring the most beach fun out of your final Naxos day... consider what I call the Blue Star "dinner ferry." Instead of filling up the whole center of the day, this sailing goes at about 6:30 pm.

You check out of your hotel at noon, of course, but most friendly hoteliers will stow your luggage behind the desk, and also allow you to use a spare bathroom in late afternoon for a quick clean-up & clothes-change. THus, from 12-4, do your final beach time, shop-time whatever. Sail at 6:30, enjoy sunset, have a bite to eat, then read & nap until ferry docks at 11:30 or so. If you hop lively, u can get the last Metro to Central athens... or else, share a taxi (if there are only 2 of you, team up with other ferrygoers to split costs).

Philadelphia
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9. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

In proposing Option #3 I meant to say, this is a suggestion for going the night before your proposed flight vs. ferry day.

The daytime Blue Star ferry is a full 5 hours: 9:45 - 1500 (3 pm). The "dinner ferry" goes at 6:30 ... arrives about 11:30 most nights, but if it stops at Syros, 12:05, too late for the last Green Line Metro. on a week-day. (on a weekend, the Metro operates later, until 1 am or so).

Puerto Vallarta...
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10. Re: OlympicAir fare vis Bluestar Ferry fare

Thank you all for the very detailed responses. Heimdall, the info as to when we would likely arrive in central Athens by air and ferry is very helpful.

We have concluded there is not much of gain in terms of time (3 1/2-4 hrs and possibly less if there is a flight delay). We were hoping we could gain 6-7 hours. The cost differential between the economy ferry and airfare is 40 Euros each plus the 10 Euro transport costs that travelerjan mentioned) so about 50 Euros premium for each of us, an amount that might buy an awfully good lunch on board the ferry with wine (although I am guessing they only have a snack bar).

We will mull the information over for a while before making a final decision. We have however ruled out the later ferry - it is not convenient and has a late arrival. We will have 4 nights in Athens.

Edited: 7:26 pm, March 20, 2010