Photo © Michele Lulurgas, Piraeus, 24/12/00



Rodanthi (1989)


Building Spec.

1974 at Naikai Zosen yard, Setoda, Japan, N° 380

Call Sign


IMO Number







136,58 x 22,4 x 5,87


2 Nippon Kokan-Pielstick, 14.121 kW


21 knots







Lane Metres


Sister Ships


Registry Port




Former Owners

Higashi Nippon 1974-89

Former Names

Virgo 1974-89

New Owners


New Names



PiraeusPatmosLerosKalymnosKosRhodes (May 2005)



Flagship of G.A. Ferries, was bought in 1989 from Higashi Nippon Ferry of Japan, which operated her as “Virgo” on connections between Hokkaido and Honshu. She spent all 1990 year on refit at Perama, where she was fitted with restaurant, self service, disco and swimming pool, entering in service on summer 1991. With this ferry the concept of “cruise ferry” was expanded also to the Rhodes Line, where Rodanthi was deployed, serving also Paros, Ios, Santorini, Heraklion and Karpathos. After two successful years of services, the board of G.A. Ferries decided to explore the ItalyGreece market, linking Ancona with Corfu, Igoumenitsa and Patras, competing with the veterans of this international service, Anek Lines, Strintzis Lines, Minoan Lines, Marlines and Karageorgis. The planned timetable is two sailings per-week from Ancona to Patras via Corfu and Igoumenitsa on low season, but on high season the timetable featured a very-improbable three sailings per week to Corfu and Igoumenitsa, arriving at Patras on Saturday departure. This second timetable in fact was never performed; moreover, the high competition forced G.A. Ferries to close the Adriatic line after only one year, redeploying back to Aegean the “Rodanthi” which left this sea only on summer 1995, when she was chartered to COTUNAV. After the international experiences of mid 90’s, the “Rodanthi” was always on Rhodes line, but not via Crete: she linked Piraeus with other Dodecanese islands (Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Nissiros, Tilos, Symi), approaching often also at Paros, Naxos, Syros and Astypalea and, from 2002, arriving also at Kastelorizo. On summer 1996 the ship left Rhodes line being deployed on a daily basis to Paros, Naxos and Santorini serving twice a-week also Syros, leaving from Piraeus at 20.00, arriving at Santorini the next day at 05.00, departing back at 07.30, docking at 16.00 in Piraeus. On that year I had the pleasure to sail aboard “Rodanthi”, on 25/06 from Piraeus to Santorini and, two days after, from Santorini to Paros: on my opinion she is one of the best ferries sailing in Greece, but a recent enquiry of ADAC, the German Automobile Club, indicates her as one of the worst ferries in the Mediterranean concerning safety on board, classified as 33rd on 34 ferries inspected (34th was the Tirrenia’sFlaminia”). Surely ADAC’s observations are right, and probably the new entries in GA Ferries’s fleet are far better about safety, but no one of recent acquisitions is converted as a beautiful cruise-ferry as Greeks did between the end of 80’s and the beginning of 90’s. On 2005 she still sails to Rhodes, calling only at the main islands on the route, performing three round-trips per week and remaining at Piraeus on Saturday. Is the ship getting too old or is the company which wants to save money on fuel?


HIGASHI NIPPON FERRY F/B Virgo, photo © Katsuyuki Ookubo


HIGASHI NIPPON FERRY F/B Virgo photo by courtesy of Murase


Photo © Pieter Inpijn


Photo ©Pieter Inpijn


Photo © Gunnar Menzer


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