Well, at least for the moment, we have a full set of ferry timetables up to the end of the tourist season at the end of October. Readers will note that there is no afternoon/evening service from Rhodes to Symi except the Blue Star sailings on Wednesdays and Fridays, and in the same way there’s no morning service from Symi to Rhodes except on Blue Star on Wednesdays and Fridays. At this stage I think it is unlikely that any extra sailings will appear, unless some sponsor comes forward. Last year and for several years previously Dodekanisos Seaways did Rhodes-Symi evening journeys and Symi-Rhodes morning journeys on four days of the week. These weren’t subsidised and seem to have been loss-making, certainly they were never anywhere near full (which would be 700 passengers), and some (like the Thursday morning sailing which was the Wednesday evening boat coming back) were virtually empty.
So here are the summary timetables for 2017:
High season (1 June to 24 September)
Late season (25 September to 31 October)
and some tips:
Should you book in advance? If you’re travelling TO Symi it is worth booking just a few days in advance (except for Blue Star sailings from Rhodes, where the ship is at the start of her journey and holds 1400 people, so never overcrowded). You can pick up your actual ticket in exchange for the booking confirmation at port ticket offices near the actual ferries before departure.
Travelling from Symi, drop into the local agent’s office and buy your ticket a couple of days before departure.
Are the ferries punctual? Yes, they are, unless affected by bad weather. Note that Blue Star and some Dodekanisos Seaways sailings are long distance, so the bad weather may be nowhere near Symi!
Can I use Sea Dreams ship “Symi” on a one-way ticket? Yes, this is once again a licensed ferry.
However it is only worth doing this from Rhodes to Symi, not in the other direction, as except at the very end of the season there is always at least one other ship both leaving Symi later and arriving in Rhodes sooner.
My guidebook says the ferries leave from Mandraki Harbour in Rhodes, but you don’t mention it? That’s because no ferries to Symi have used Mandraki since 2011. Get a new guidebook, or ask for your money back. The day excursion boat Nikolaos X does use Mandraki, but it is not a ferry, you can only buy day return tickets, and it won’t carry luggage.
More ferry tips to come!