Delayed or Canceled Ship Route to the Greek islands: What happens and what are your rights.
The greek ferry companies traveling to the greek islands such as Crete, Paros, Naxos, Santorini, Mykonos and others, are pretty reliable. However, there are cases in which your trip with a ferry might be cancelled or delayed. Here is what are your rights.
1.if your ship route is canceled
You may have booked your trip from Piraeus port to Mykonos with a ferry, three months before the departure and then you realise that this route changes time. E.g instead of leaving at 17:00 it leaves at 19:00. Or, there is a different ship in which you should board on the same time. E.g a smaller boat..
In this case, you have the right to ask for a refund or choose another route of the same ferry company. You can also accept the change and travel with the new travel arrangements.
2. Your trip is delayed due to a technical problem of the ferry.
In this case, the law says that if the delay is more than 3 to 6 hours, you are entitled for a 25 to 50% compensation of the value if your ticket. If the delay is more than 24 hours from the time of departure, then you are entitled to 100% compensation of the value of your ticket.
You can also negotiate something more with the ferry company, such as a paid hotel night.
All food and drinks on the boat, are free, when you have to wait for some hours on the boat, e.g in the case if a technical problem, until the next ferry comes to pick you up. Ofcourse this means that there are huge lines in the restaurants and cantines if the ship and you may have to wait more than an hour.
On August 2, 2019 as an example, the Blue Star Naxos ferry, traveling from Piraeus to Paros, Naxos, Irakleia, Schoinoussa, Koufonisi, had a technical issue and after three hours in the sea, the captain decided that the ferry had to return to Piraues port, carrying 1350 passengers and 500 cars. Here us what happened in this case:
⁃ The 1350 passengers were split into two other boats. One boat went to Paros and Naxos and the other one, to Irakleia, Schoinoussa, Koufonisi. However, the ships left at 19:00 and 21:00 in the afternoon, while the Blue Star Naxos had returned to Piraeus port at 12:15. This means that people had to spend at least seven to nine hours on the Blue Star Naxos ferry and then move to another ferry. All the cars had to go out from the ferry and park on a designated area on the port. The 1350 passengers could either stay on the Blue Star Naxos ferry until the late afternoon, or go out to Piraeus town and return on time to pick the “rescue” ferry. Passengers kept the first ticket to enter the second ferry.
3. Your trip is delayed due to a weather issue
This is considered force majeure and you are not entitled to any additional compensation or benefits.
The greek law document that describes your rights is available at : https://www.yen.gr/documents/20182/21886/n3709_fek213_08.pdf/b482481d-f579-404e-880b-5a79139722e2
(YEN is the acronym for the Ministry if Commercial Shipping)
As Greece belongs to the European Union, you can also consult the website if EU that describes your rights when a ship is delayed: https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/ship/index_en.htm
– Greeks are very impatient. In case of a delay, you will see tens if people at the reception office, with many questions, shouts etc. Keep calm. Losing some hours or a day from your vacation, is not the end of the world. Safety is always first.
– Keep the ferry tickets! You will use them to enter the second ferry that will pick you up, if your ferry has a technical problem. And if your ferry is delayed but tou arrive with the same one at your destination, you will need the tickets for your refunds. If you haven’t kept the tickets, and you threw them away after you entered, go to the reception of the ferry and let them know. They will stamp a paper for you.