The discussions regarding the Thessaloniki – Izmir route started two years ago following the HELLENIC SEAWAYS initiative that explores the opening of new routes in the N. E. Aegean area. The initiative has been supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Hellenic Ministry of Mercantile Marine and Island Policy, the Prefecture of N. Aegean, the Thessaloniki Port Authority and the Turkish Chamber of Shipping.
The route is planned to operate on a regular cruise schedule and will offer cruise quality service to passengers, while providing cargo services as well, thus supporting local tourism and commerce.
It is worth noting that one of the strategic priorities of the current HELLENIC SEAWAYS management, which has succeeded in turning the company around in the past four years, has focused on growing new routes. HELLENIC SEAWAYS now serves 35 ports in mainland and island Greece, including calls on small ports of secluded islands, in order to best serve the small island communities. Furthermore, it is upgrading and extending its fleet to 21 ferries and highspeed vessels by adding three completely refurbished vessels in summer 2016. Its portfolio of customer services includes the only smart ticket and web check-in application for passengers available in the Greek maritime sector, among others, as well as premium customer safety and service on board.