Our history | Minoan Lines


The company MINOAN LINES was founded in 1972 in Heraklion/Crete. It is one of the biggest shipping companies in Europe. Its successful course is indissolubly connected with the history of the Greek passenger shipping. Guided by its customer-oriented philosophy, the continuous renewal of its fleet, the luxury, speed and safety of its passengers as well as the upgrading of quality and range of services offered to them, MINOAN LINES has managed to capture the highest rankings of customer satisfaction since the very first steps of its foundation.


MINOAN LINES purchase and deploy F/B MINOS on the route HERAKLION-PIRAEUS-HERAKLION (first itinerary on 05.07.1974).


MINOAN LINES inaugurate first their itineraries on the international route PATRAS-ANCONA with F/B EL GRECO.


F/B FEDRA is deployed on the route PATRAS-ANCONA.


F/B KING MINOS is deployed on the route PATRAS-ANCONA


MINOAN LINES commence first their itineraries on the route GREECE-TURKEY-ITALY with F/B ARIADNE




Two (2) new, ultra-modern ships, F/B DAEDALUS and F/B EL GRECO are deployed (F/B EL GRECO connects for the first time the port of Heraklion/Crete with the Italian port of Ancona).


F/B EROTOKRITOS is deployed on the route GREECE-ITALY. With this deployment, the travel time between GREECE-ITALY, is reduced for the first time to just 24 hours while a new service - CAMPING ON BOARD - is also offered for the first time.


This year marks the beginning of a new ambitious investment plan of MINOAN LINES, for the shipbuilding of three (3) new, state-of-the-art High Speed Ferries. Total investment amount: 250.000.000 USD.


H/S/F ARETOUSA is delivered.


H/S/F IKARUS is delivered.


H/S/F PASIPHAE is delivered.

With these High Speed vessels the time travel between GREECE and ITALY is further reduced (PATRAS-ANCONA).

Setting new and high standards in all their offered services on board, MINOAN LINES begin a new ambitious investment plan for the shipbuilding of new ultra-modern vessels. They order the following vessels at the Italian ship yards FINCANTIERI: H/S/F KNOSSOS PALACE and H/S/F FESTOS PALACE, which are the fastest… most luxurious… and biggest vessels in their category. In the same ship yards two (2) more luxurious High Speed vessels are also ordered, H/S/F OLYMPIA PALACE and H/S/F EUROPA PALACE. During the same year in the ship yards SAMSUNG of North Korea, three (3) luxurious High Speed Ferries are ordered, H/S/F PROMETHEUS, H/S/F ARIADNE and H/S/F OCEANUS.

Total amount of investment program from 1995 up to 2002: 900.000.000 USD

New historical record for MINOAN LINES. The company enters the Athens Stock Exchange. The total participation and confidence of the investors, contributes to the planning of more ambitious investment programs.


FINCANTIERI ship yards deliver H/S/F KNOSSOS PALACE, one of the most modern vessels in the world with her sister vessel H/S/F FESTOS PALACE being delivered a few months later. The most perfect pair of twin vessels in the Greek Coastal Shipping is now a fact. The High Speed Ferries are immediately deployed on the route HERAKLION-PIRAEUS-HERAKLION, offering a unique and unsurpassed travelling experience to the passengers.


FINCANTIERI ship yards also deliver H/S/F OLYMPIA PALACE, one more ultra-modern vessel, which is deployed in order to strengthen the leading position of the company in the international lines of the Adriatic Sea and, thus, contributing further to the upgrading of the Greek Coastal shipping. H/S/F EUROPA PALACE, sister vessel of H/S/F OLYMPIA PALACE, is the fourth and last vessel that FINCANTIERI ship yards deliver to MINOAN LINES.


The pioneering customer loyalty program of frequent passengers ‘Minoan Lines Bonus Club’ is launched, in order to reward and offer special benefits to the company’s customers/passengers.


MINOAN LINES become a proud member of the big family of GRIMALDI GROUP.


In October 2009 MINOAN LINES charters the cruise ferry CRUISE EUROPA which is deployed on the PATRAS - IGOUMENITSA - ANCONA route, while, in July 2010 her sister vessel CRUISE OLYMPIA is also chartered and deployed on the same route, upgrading considerably the level of offered services in the particular line. These two ultra-modern twin vessels are …the biggest and best Cruise Ferries in the Mediterranean Sea, with offered services parallel of the ones on board the Cruise ships. Their deployment signals a new era in the maritime connection between Greece and Italy.

The company MINOAN ITALIA S.p.A. is established. Its share capital amounts to 120.000 EURO and the share participation percentage of MINOAN LINES is 100%.


H/S/F EUROPA PALACE and H/S/F OLYMPIA PALACE are chartered, via MINOAN ITALIA S.p.A, a fact which significantly contributed to the optimization of MINOAN LINES financial results.


In November 2013 a share capital increase amounted to 50,5 million EURO was completed and in March 2014 respectively an additional share capital increase amounting to 30,6 million EURO was also completed strengthening further the financial structure of the company enabling it at the same time to overcome the economic crisis of the country, with the fewest possible losses.


MINOAN LINES undertake the official port and commercial agency of cargo vessels (Ro/Ro, Car - Carriers), owned or chartered by GRIMALDI GROUP at the port of Piraeus.

This important cooperation enables MINOAN LINES to further expand its activities in Greece in the field of commercial maritime transport.

MINOAN LINES manage an ultra-modern fleet of eight (8) vessels which are deployed on the domestic route - Crete (HERAKLION - PIRAEUS - HERAKLION) and in the international lines of Italy, PATRAS - IGOUMENITSA - ANCONA and PATRAS - IGOUMENITSA - ANCONA - TRIESTE.


Minoan Lines S.A. has yielded the best performance of net profits in 2016

More specifically ,Minoan Lines S.A turnover at the consolidated level was shaped at € 160.2 million, while operating profits(EBITDA) stood at €37.8 million, presenting an increase of €1.8 million compared to 2015. Net profits after taxes were shaped at €20.7 million presenting an increase by €3.0 million, compared to the previous year.

In February 2016, Minoan Lines S.A. decided to enhance its participation in Hellenic Seaways S.A. and proceeded to the purchase of its shares owned by interested shareholders. Minoan Lines is the largest shareholder of Hellenic Seaways with its stake reaching 48,53%.


Minoan Lines is DEBT FREE with the full prepayment of its total bank loan obligations, despite the difficulties faced by the industry with the rising fuel prices and the consequent increase of operating expenses.

The company proceeds to the selling of the shares of Hellenic Seaways Shipping S.A. and the purchase of the vessel “HIGHSPEED 7”, owned by the same company.

Minoan Lines extends its network successfully on: a)the Heraklion-Cyclades Islands line(Santorini- Paros-Mykonos) , where the high-speed catamaran vessel Santorini Palace, has been deployed since 11/06/2018, b) the Chania-Piraeus-Chania line starting on 15/07/2018 and serving Crete from Heraklion and Chania (Souda port) with the ultra-modern Cruise Ferry Kydon Palace. Furthermore, during the summer period, the cruise ferries Knossos Palace and Festos Palace operate on the Heraklion – Milos – Piraeus line with midday itineraries.

Current Developments

Minoan Lines is the first shipping Company in the Greek ferry sector with its green ecological vessels, H/S/F Knossos Palace, H/S/F Festos Palace and H/S/F Kydon Palace, to be fully harmonized, in advance, with the installation and use of scrubbers, and fully complies with the new requirements for reduced emissions according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Regulation.