|Subject: Re: Greece/Italy Ferries|
Though I've never done the ferry trip from Patras to Ancona, I've spent many hours on Greek ferries. Twelve to 14 hours is the longest trip I've done and my guidebook estimates your trip at between 20-36 hours! Please, don't do the upright seat thing!! Though some of the newer high speed ferries do have assigned seats, even assigned seating is loosely interpreted in Greece. Getting on a Greek ferry is an experience in itself--everyone rushes madly onboard dragging every type of case or package imaginable. People spread out over several (or many) seats, placing their belongings on the seats and then sometimes disappear for the whole trip. This can make it difficult, if not impossible to find a seat (we once spent a 5 hour ride sitting on top of our backpacks on the floor in a passageway because it was too cold on deck and all of the indoor seats were taken). On our first trip from Piraeus to Crete (12 hrs) we ended up sleeping on the floor between the seats because the seats were too uncomfortable. We were in a closed off area with about 50 seats, and when I got up at 3 am to find a washroom, I was literally stepping on bodies on the floor in the dark, and had to fight to get the door open because people on the other side were sleeping against it! Not a good safety situation, though that may have been corrected in the wake of their problems in 2000.
Your question really asks about the safety of your baggage. Some ships have you leave your bags in a locked area downstairs and it is not opened until the ship reaches your particular destination. Others have people drag everything upstairs and pile it near the entry to the seating area, where anyone has access. We always keep our cameras, etc with us, and there is never anything of value in the backpacks or suitcases. We have never had anything taken, but there have been times when it looked like the zippers had been tampered with. (We've been to Greece 6 times). However, on our last trip, Greek friends of ours had several suitcases actually stolen between Piraeus and Paros. They lost a significant amount of goods, including some medication.
Your trip will be wonderful but I strongly advise spending the extra for comfort even more than to avoid theft.
Collette Saunders Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada