North Adriatic


In 1989 the market share at Venice was still divided by the two opponents Sealink and Adriatica, which were opponine their two flagships, the “Orient Express” and the “Espresso Egitto”, even if the Italian fleet started its renovation that year with new ferries to Jugoslavia. Instead at Trieste HCML ceased its services and chartered out their ferries.






After these years with the known four challengers on Ancona line, in 1989 we saw a new competitor on Greece line, the Cretan company Anek Lines. Based on the biggest Greek island as Minoan, the company has its headquarters in the second city of the island, Chania; established some years before of the “cousins” from Heraklion, they were only engaged on domestic service to Crete until this moment, but then they entered in 1989 on international market with two sensational cruise-ferries made in Japan, the “Lato” and the “Lissos”. They arrived in Greece on spring/summer of 1987 and were very heavily refitted for almost two years, with very noticeable results. The “Lato” was delivered by Perama yards as the biggest ferry sailing in Adriatic, with her 25.460 Gross Registered Tons; her original profile is still easily recognisable after the works, which included the increase of superstructure at stern with accommodations, a swimming-pool between the two-level disco and the tunnel and all the facilities of a modern cruise-ferry, includine also a chapel. Another remarkable feature of that refit was the maintainance of the upper trailer deck, usually replaced by passenger decks on Greek ferries. The work carried out on “Lissos” was very much heavy, adding a superstructure at stern and at bow, some other two funnels, reaching the total number of four, plus of the obvious cruise-ferry features. The two ferries offered four sailings per week, from Ancona on Wednesday (Lato) and Thursday (Lissos) at 14.00, Saturday and Sunday at 21, from Patras on Monday (Lato), Tuesday (Lissos), Thursday and Friday at evening. The timetable was more “thin” than the one offered by Strintzis Lines, which introduced also a fourth ship, the “Ionian Harmony”, which sailed along the “Ionian Galaxy” and “Ionian Sun”, engaged on the same timetable of the previous season, and the “Ionian Star”, which, as long as the new introduction, was on the new line which linked Ancona and Patras via Corfu and, instead of calling at Igoumenitsa, called at Dubrovnik, in Yugoslavia, being able to compete with Adriatica at one side and opening a direct Greece-Yugoslavia link on the other hand. With this new introduction, also the Ancona – Split departures raised to six per week. Strinzis that year anyway could have had two new introductions at Ancona, having bought also a sister of the “Ionian Harmony”, but Strintzis finally decided to chartere her out. We didn’nt saw any new fact from Minoan Lines, with their “El Greco”, “Fedra” and “King Minos”, and obviously from Karageorgis. Marlines instead, after confirming “Countess M” and “Queen M”, replaced the “Princess M” with the “Baroness M”, back from her Channel charter.





That year we find in Bari a lot of new facts. Ventouris Ferries confirmed the three ferries employed the previous year and introduced also the chartered sisters “Europa” and “Europa II”, which allowed the company to offer a daily service between Bari, Corfu and Igoumenitsa and to add extra trailer capacity on Patras service, a business which slowly became the heart of Ventouris business. I don’t know the exact deployment of the ferries, but it seems to be as the new ferries plus “Athens Express” at Patras, leaving “Grecia Express” and “Patra Express” on the shorter route.




BRINDISI - Otranto


In 1989 one of the two historical pioneers of Italy-Greece ferry scene disappeared from Brindisi market: we’re speaking about the “Appia”, being laid up before of her imminent sale to Egypt. Anyway Adriatica introduced two other ferries sailing along the “Espresso Grecia”: one of her two younger sisters, the “Espresso Venezia”, built for Adriatica in 1977 but always operated by the parent company Tirrenia in her 12 years long career, which was placed on a direct Brindisi – Patras link without any intermediate call; the “Espresso Grecia” was instead placed on “Appia”’s route, being replaced on Brindisi – Corfu – Igoumenitsa line by the “Tiepolo”, which was engaged on Yugoslavia and Albania lines before of the introduction of the “Palladio”. HML confirmed her former fleet formed by the “Egnatia”, “Corinthia”, “Lydia” and “Poseidonia”, Fragline her “Eolos” and “Ouranos” while the disappearance of Seven Islands Lines was filled by Mediterranean Lines and its “Valentino”, back from charter, placed on Brindisi – Igoumenitsa – Patras line


Photos in this page are courtesy of Matteo Fasce, Pieter Inpijn, Fleet File Rotterdam, Kurth Warth, Emilio Barenghi, Michele Lulurgas, Stefanos Antoniadis, plus some official shots.


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