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5 replies
Rail pass and ferry issues (rome to athens)
digiet
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I am planning a 20 days trip between 11th May to 31st May….rome to athens route.

ROme -> Florence (will visit Pisa also) -> Venice -> Athens -> santorini
then fly back to rome for flying back home.

I tried railsaver, its states abt buying 4D greece-italy passes (but there is no santorini in the system…so i nv add in)

But am wondering, does the rail pass include the ferry trip also ?

am looking at this ferry:
http://www.greekferr…

does the pass include? if it does..does it mean i need to reserve it at venice? (must pay reservation fees also right?)

actually was thinking of going venice -> milan then fly to athens.
but i was reading this forum then i realise can take ferry to athens from venice, so i might go venice -> corfu -> athens (if time permits)

oldlady
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1. Santorini isn’t in the system because there are no trains to Santorini — it’s an island. Your railpass might give you a discount on the ferry to Santorinin, but it’s unlikely

2. Between Italy and Grecce, some ferry lines (Superfast and Minoan lines) give “free” passage from Ancona or Bari to Greece with the railpass although you have to pay a reservation fee and a high season surcharge and extra for a cabin if you don’t want to sleep on the deck or in a lounge. Others (Hellenic Mediterranean Lines HML) give a discount from Brindisi to Greece. Your railpass must cover both Italy and Greece for the free passage and it uses 1 rail day of a flexipass — discounts don’t count as a rail day and you can get the discount if the pass covers either Italy or Greece. As far as I know there are no free or discount offers on ferries from Venice.

3. You will have to go to the actual ferry company office to take advantage of the free pass or discount. The thousands of on-line (like your link) and on-the-street travel agencies that sell ferry tickets can’t handle the free passage transaction and may not be able to handle the discount. Further, both the free passage and the discounts are “subject to change without notice“ so you won’t know for sure until you get to the office and try to book your ticket.

digiet
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oic. then for ferry (e.g. venice to corfu), those that are included in the railpass, if i did not do a reservation, I can only stay in the deck or lounge right?

was thinking i am travelling in MAY, not a high season..wondering if we don’t reserve can we still get a place.

As for train, with railway pass, if we don’t reserve…do we still need to use the pass to get ticket or just board and seat randomly at empty seats?

(still confuse at how the railway pass work).

oldlady
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1. The ferry: The rail pass pays for “deck passage” which basically gets you on the boat. There will probably be a mad scramble for seats in the various public lounges. If you want a cabin with berths you have to pay extra for that. Port taxes aren’t covered by the railpass, so you’ll have to pay those. You probably won’t have a problem with deck passage in May, but I prefer a cabin. I would try to get the ferry issues worked out a day or two in advance so there are not last minute surprises.

2. Trains and railpasses. Your railpass is your ticket. You don’t need to do anything buy hop on the train and find a vacant seat (in 2nd class if you have a youth pass, in either 1st or 2nd class if you have an adult pass) unless the specific train you choose to take requires reservations. If the train requires a reservation then you have to buy a reservation for that specific (date and time) train before you board the train. The reservation will be for a specific seat in a specific car. Express trains between major cities usually require reservations. While most trains don’t require reservations, you’ll probably end up taking quite a few trains, particularly in Italy, that do. From Rome to Florence there are twice as many trains that require reservations as trains that don’t. The ones that don’t require reservations take twice as long as they make more stops. There are a few trains that don’t require reservations but do allow reservations. In that case there will be a little ticket over the seat number that indicates it’s reserved and if you sit there you’ll have to move when the person who’s reserved that seat gets on the train. Italian trains that don’t require reservations are notoriously crowded in summer so reservations are often “recommended”, but I don’t think you’ll have a problem in May.

digiet
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For ferry, ya…if is a long journey like venice to florenece, i would prefer a cabin to sleep^^

For reservation wise…if i reserve all my trips at one place (for example Rome/Paris, is this possible? )…is this cheaper than i reserave seperately?

And can i take major / express train if i am willing to pay the reservation fee?
Any idea how much is the reservation fee in general? (e.g. rome to florence … and paris to rome)

thanks alot of your help! now i do have a better idea on how i can use the railpass.

ya, i am a student, so getting youth pass i guess if i am gonna get the pass. I will be holding ISIC but my travel mate, is no longer a student, but < 26 yrs old, does she need to get the youth travel card to buy the youth pass?

oldlady
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Quote:
For reservation wise…if i reserve all my trips at one place (for example Rome/Paris, is this possible? )…is this cheaper than i reserave seperately?
It may be cheaper, but not enough cheaper that I’d worry about it. Sometimes you’re actually buying reservations from a travel agency with an office in the train station. If they have a fee it may be for the whole transaction. The big reason to buy them all at once will be to avoid waiting in line multiple times. The lines to buy “just a reservation” in Italy will be very long, even in May. If your trip allows, buy your Italian reservations before you get to Italy — there are seldom lines in other countries.
Quote:
And can i take major / express train if i am willing to pay the reservation fee?
Yes, your railpass will be your ticket and you buy your reservation. Reservation fees vary, by the type of train and the country. Most are 4 or 5 euros, but some are as high as 19 euros 2nd class and 29 euros 1st class. Reservations for overnight trains depend on the type of sleeping accommodation. 20 or 30 euros for a bunk in a 6 berth cabin up to 200 euros for a 1st class compartment with shower.
Quote:
ya, i am a student, so getting youth pass i guess if i am gonna get the pass. I will be holding ISIC but my travel mate, is no longer a student, but < 26 yrs old, does she need to get the youth travel card to buy the youth pass?
As long as your travel mate is 25 or younger on the day you validate your railpass (your first day of travel) she can use a youth pass. They may ask to see her passport for ID.