Odds are you never thought of traveling from Italy to Greece via ultra fast auto ferry. You probably did not even consider there is such a thing outside of a Bond flick, let alone churning across the length of the Adriatic aboard one. Here at Argo, we are all about the love of travel and wonderful, novel ways of “getting there” too. So here’s an alternative travel fantasy for Adriatic Sea adventuring. A Superfast one too.
I discovered one fantastic alternative to flying to Greece the other day. Thinking of heading out to Corfu and a bit beyond, and finding the costs and relative inconvenience of some flights excessive, rail and other modes came into view for me and my family. One alternative provided by a group called Attica Group, jumped out at me from my monitor just typing in Greece travel (no doubt a PPC campaign, but whatever) Superfast Ferries, a fleet of luxurious ships that operate between Italy and Greece, is one company that offers some surprises and value.
I emailed Mr. Yannis Criticos, their Chief Financial Officer, and was delighted to get a quick response showing off some of that company’s attributes. Let me share them, in my own way.
What is your vision of a ferry boat ride? We took the ferries when we went to Copenhagen, maybe you used the Staten Island Ferry, or some magnificent auto ferry before? Well, Superfast only slightly resembles any you probably embarked on. As you can see from the images, and from the schedules I will show you, what Attica provides is actually very unique. Even more interesting for me, the economy of a family trip aboard a fast luxury boat headed our way.
Superfast makes their living taking passengers, with or without their cars and kids, to and from Italy and Greece aboard state of the art fast ships (categorized ferries). For a list of 2012 routes and timetables you can visit the company’s appropriate webpage here, but an example of how “we” might travel to Greece is presented below.
Taking one of the daily ferries from Ancona departing at 1:30 PM, having loaded up the Audi A3 Cabrio we intend to rent for the week from Europcar (€279 + €76 for ferrying our car), we drop stop in at our luxury cabin (above) for the day long passage (€300 with no discount). You see, passengers on board any of Superfast’s fleet can opt to ride sitting in aircraft chairs topside and inboard, or get a cabin with shower to better enjoy the passage across the Adriatic. We don’t have any pets, but if we did Superfast has special accommodations for furry friends too.
Onward and upward, secure in the knowledge we won’t be up all night bug eyed from our journey, we might consider a dip in the swimming pool, lunch and/or dinner at one of our ferry’s dining accommodations, some casino action, or just quiet drinks looking out over the sea at sunset. The point is, instead of the anxiety of airports and economic aluminum tubes flying through the air packed with other people (not to mention euros spent for same), Superfast takes a big chunk of travel time out of what amounts to a family auto vacation.
But wait. Not everyone wants or needs to pack a cabrio and head across the Alps from Germany to embark from Ancona (1,100 km and 11 hours) headed to Igoumenitsa. For those curious how long the car drive would take skipping the ferry, conservatively the trip from Trier (basically Luxembourg) to this part of Greece is about 26 hours. For those of you who hate your hair blowing in the wind with the top down (or up), Attica Group and Superfast offers special combination rail-ferry rates for EURAIL pas holders on top of other discounts. This is another fun and economical alternative we will discuss in a later report.
So, Me, Mihaela, Paul, and Rhett are all situated aboard Superfast XII (image top) for the 16.5 hour passage to Igoumenitsa (image above) to arrive next day at 6:00 AM. Of course there are a multitude of other passage options, destinations, and ships to choose, but for the sake of ours (or your) potential adventure… We look out our cabin portal at the sun rising (if we are on the port side), in anticipation of seeing Greece for the first time. Korfu (below), essentially all the great places in Greece and even North along the Albanian Riviera, are just a leisurely drive away now.
In reality comparing our little excursion here to either a plane, car, or combination trip of any other kind is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. However. for those of you wanting to take a new and different path, to perhaps even favorite destinations, Superfast does present a good alternative. Let me break down some suggested costs for your in any event.
A quick search for short term flights for our family via Fluege dot de brought us El Cheapo economy affairs to Korfu from nearby Luxembourg. Two stops and 10 plus hours trip time counting layovers, and €2,200 plus for tickets round trip – and speed and a cramped seat lost a lot of appeal. Figure it costs us €700 euro roughly to rent, and gas up our little Audi fun touring buddy. Then a luxury cabin both ways to Greece adds another €1600 plus, maybe less depending on discounts. We end up paying about the same price to really enjoy the places and sights in between home and Korfu (Athens even or wherever), rather than the hassle and anxiety of getting “there” a day, even two, sooner.
I don’t know about you, but having a hotel room that is moving toward my destination, with restaurants on board, taking my car for more touring fun, this is my idea of not only economy – well, you get the picture I bet.
Interested readers may want to look at Superfast’s 2012 brochure here. So you know, Attica Group launched its new frequent traveler Loyalty Scheme programm called SeaSmiles, making this alternative mode of touring even more economical. The group offers other ship journeys to the Cyclades and beyond too. Please also note, my estimated costs are just that. It is actually possible to get even better prices.