Ferry(updated January 19, 2008)
Greece is a major shipping nation. The merchant of the country consists of a small 4,000 ships. The center for the passenger ferries is a Piraeus, the port of Athens. From there dozens of ships sail to all corners of the country daily. These vessels are all owned by four wealthy families. The ports of Crete are also reachable from Piraeus. The ships to Crete mostly leave in the evening. These vessels are luxurious and comfortable. Moreover, the crossings are properly payable, depending on the luxury that you want to pay for. Also from Thessaloniki, Rhodes and several other places, it is possible to sail towards Crete.
ANEK-lines (www.anek.gr) sails with three ships to Crete daily. One ship sails to Souda, the port of Chania and leaves at about 21:00 pm. The crossing costs € 30, -. A second ship sails to Rethymno, departs at 20:00 hours and costs € 29, -. The third ship departs at 20:30 hours to Heraklion, and that trip costs € 32, -. For the above-mentioned prices you will get a deck ticket. A deck ticket does not mean that you have to stay on deck overnight. You can just sleep in large dormitories where loungers are placed. A ticket including a bed will cost an extra € 35 to € 45. The arrival of the vessels at the various destinations is at 06:00 am. Information on the crossings of ANEK-lines can be found on the website of the organization: www.anek.gr
Minoan Lines (www.minoan.gr) also carries out a schedule from Piraeus to Heraklion. The first ship departs at 11:00 noon. The fast vessel will arrive in Heraklion about six and a half hours later. The night ship departs at 21:00 pm and will arrive on the island at 6 am. A deck ticket Minoan Lines Highspeed will cost about € 35, - for the day journey, and a ticket costs € 39, - for the night. The ships of Minoan Lines are by far the best of all the ships that sail on the route.
LANE Lines (www.lane.gr) sails 5 times per week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday) at 19:00 hours from Piraeus to Agios Nikolaos. The ships of this company are slightly older and smaller than the ships of ANEK and Minoan, but are in a reasonable state. The journey takes about 10 hours and costs € 21.40. It is also possible to travel from Agios Nikolaos to Sitia. The ship departs at 7.30 am from Agios Nikolaos.
ANEN Lines (www.anen.gr) sails several times a week from the islands of Kythira, Kalamata, Gytheion and Antikythira to the port of Kissamos in the west of Crete. It is often possible to travel from Piraeus to Kissamos with a transition on Kythira.
On departure from Piraeus, it is often a mess. A lot of ships leave to all corners of Greece. The ships to Crete mostly depart in the evening from the most northern located part of the port. The port is accessible by Metro from Athens; the green line (1) terminates at station Piraeus. Near this station the ships to Crete leave. Often you can see the ferries from the exit of the subway station already. All necessary information is specified on sign in the port. You can also ask the 'port police' (limenarhio) or you can just take a taxi from the center of Athens. The drivers know exactly where you should be. You can purchase in ticket in advance, but that's not really necessary. You can also buy a ticket on the ferry, except for days when it is very busy. If you want to buy a ticket in advance, you can do that at the office of the company which you want to sail with. Also near the ships tickets are sold. These are often slightly cheaper than the prices indicated above. Note however that not all the shops do sell tickets for every liner. Before you know it, you purchase a ticket from a company you do not want to travel with. Current information on the departure times can be read in the newspaper 'Athens News', that you can obtain almost everywhere, or via the Internet (here for instance). Across the harbor is an Internet hotspot, which you can log into wirelessly using a laptop.