Translation by Davide Tognolini


NorTHERN Adriatic SEA


2001 was an abnormal year for the ferry market between Northern Italy and Greece. In 2002, there won't be as much ferries as in the previous year though there will be various changes. Anek Lines “El. Venizelos” is back in Trieste, following her classical timetable: departure on Saturdays at 6 pm and arrival at Patras on Mondays in the morning; there are some changes, probably due to the age of the ship, such as Wednesdays' departures at 1 pm from Trieste and Thurdays' departures from Patras in the night. The other ferries operating the Trieste to Patras route are sisters “Sophocles V.” and “Lefka Ori”, leaving five times a week (once via Corfu-Igoumenitsa). No changes for Blue Star Ferries, with previous year's ferries “Blue Horizon” and “Blue Sky”. The situation is different for Minoan Lines which modifies its timetables: between Venice and Patras there are only three vessels, “Prometheus” (in Ancona in 2001) and the sisterships built by Fosen. These ones have recently been renamed - following the company's new policy (change of names and liveries) - as “Ikarus Palace” and “Pasiphae Palace”. There are six departures a week and, strange to say, the two sisterships leave from Venice at 4 pm while speeder “Prometheus” leaves at 1 pm, keeping a very slow average speed. At the end of 2002, “Prometheus” will be replaced by her sister “Ariadne Palace”, built by Samsung in Korea; she is slightly different since she has more cabins (in the stern area) and, so, a higher passenger capability. Another well-known protagonist in this area is Hellas Ferries, with its four ro-ro ferries “Navetrailer”, “Cielotrailer”, “Startrailer” and “Sea Trailer”; the latter, however, experiences some serious mechanical problems and needs to stop for repairing. Another competitor, recently come on stage, is Maritime Way with “Erotokritos” (chartered), that in June opens the new route Monfalcone - Igoumenitsa - Patras. Departures are on Wednesdays at 12 am and Saturdays at 6 pm, the latter calling also at Bari. At the beginning it is a ro-ro service but then it becomes a ro-pax service.


ANEK LINES F/B El. Venizelos

MINOAN LINES H/S/F Ariadne Palace


MARITIME WAY F/B Erotokritos





If 2001 is marked by a market explosion, 2002 is marked by a market shrinkage. Yet, there are different interesting changes: Premium Alliance, that is Superfast Ferries together with Blue Star Ferries (no longer showing the inscription “Strintzis Lines” on the livery - covered by an unaesthetic strip of blue paint), presents some novelties. Superfast is waiting for its new ferries “Superfast XI” and “Superfast XII”, and it is not yet very clean where they will operate. Blue Star and Superfast share the same timetable for the journey to Patras via Igoumenitsa: in January, the route is serviced by “Superfast V” and “Superfast VI” leaving in the evening, and by “Blue Star 1” and  “Blue Star 2” leaving in the afternoon and calling at Igoumenitsa. The two Superfast ferries are to be put into service between Rosyth and Zeebrugge, but surprisingly, three months later, Superfast closes the route from Germany to Sweden and places “Superfast IX” and “Superfast X” on the Rosyth-Zeebrugge line, while “Superfast III” and “Superfast IV” are sold to Tasmanian TT Line and in May they are no longer part of Superfast's fleet. “Superfast V” and “Superfast VI” still operate the Ancona to Patras line, while “Superfast XI” (arrived in July) and “Superfast XII” (arrived in September) take the places of “Blue Star and “Blue Star . Minoan Lines, after having introduced “Prometheus” ed “Oceanus” in 2001, now introduces its new flagships built by Fincantieri: “Olympia Palace” and “Europa Palace”. Then, from January and from May respectively, they represent the answers to the competitors' fleets and, thanks to their impressive tonnage (38.200 tons), they become the biggest ferries employed in the routes to and from Ancona. Anek Lines keeps on operating the Ancona - Corfu - Igoumenitsa - Patras route with “Olympic Champion” and “Hellenic Spirit”: the leaflet advertises a 18-hour journey, though the crossing actually takes a bit more than 19 hours.


ANEK LINES F/B Olympic Champion

MINOAN LINES H/S/F Olympia Palace







Superfast Ferries still operates its routes with “Superfast I” and “Superfast II”, though the other two sisterships operate a number of journeys in 2002. Ventouris Ferries replies to Superfast with “Venus” and “Polaris”. But there is a new operator on the scene: Maritime Way; its ferry “Erotokritos” operates the route Monfalcone-Igoumenitsa-Patras and, once a week, calls at Bari. On the other hand, Marlines closes its routes to Greece and begins servicing between Italy and Balkans ports.




MARITIME WAY F/B Erotokritos



BRINDISI – Otranto


The ferry market in the port of Brindisi undergoes constant changes: this year the new operator Maritime Way, an Italian-Greek company, purchases two famous Minoan ferries: “El Greco” and “King Minos”. None of them is renamed; the first one operates the Brindisi - Igoumenitsa - Kefalonia - Patras route, the latter operates the Brindisi - Corfu - Igoumenitsa route, following last year's timetable. That same route is also serviced by Blue Star Ferries with “Blue Bridge”, by Fragline with “Ouranos” and by Agoudimos Lines with “Penelope A”. Stunningly, “Media II” no longer operates routes to and from Brindisi, and HML puts into service - beside chartered “Egitto Express” - “Poseidonia”. Med Link Lines (operating the route to Patras) employs the same ferries as 2001: “Afrodite II”, “Maria G” and “Agios Andreas”.


HML FERRIES F/B Poseidonia




Photos in this page are courtesy of Daniele Miglio, Pieter Inpijn, Fleet File Rotterdam, Kurth Warth, Emilio Barenghi, Michele Lulurgas, Stefanos Antoniadis; other images are official photographs and postcards.


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