The new fast passenger ferries, Knossos Palace, along with her sister-ship, the Festos Palace, both service the route from Piraeus to Crete (Hiraklion) for the Greek operator Minoan Lines. This pair of new-build vessels, which cost a total of $250 million, are part of a four-unit contract arranged between Minoan Lines and the Fincantieri shipyard of Italy.
Furthermore, the operator ordered another four ships to be built at the Samsung shipyard in South Korea. Deliveries of all seven ships were completed by 2003.
These conventional ferries are aimed at linking the continent with the Greek islands – particularly Crete, where Minoan Lines has its headquarters. Built at Sestri Cantieri Navale, the Knossos Palace took less than 18 months to complete.
The sleek keel design assists in giving the Knossos Palace a service speed of 29.5 knots, particularly fast for a conventional ferry design.
If necessary, the ferry can travel, fully stable, at a top speed of 31.6 knots, easily making it the fastest ship in its category in the country’s passenger shipping sector.
This speed rating permits the vessels to complete the Piraeus-Heraklion crossing in six hours, cutting four hours off the previous journey time.
The Knossos Palace has an overall length of 214m and a length between perpendiculars of 191.22m. It has a beam of 26.4m. It has a design draft of 7.1m and a 4.6m free height on main deck.
Deadweight of the ferry is 5,500t and the vessel has a gross deadweight of 37,000t. The Knossos Palace operates with a crew of 130 people.
The ferry has been designed to carry a total of 2,320 passengers. It is equipped with 740 luxurious reclining air-type seats separated in two categories: VIP class and Economy class.
For sleeping accommodation, the ferry design includes 231 cabins, in which there are a total of 758 beds in single and 2-3-4 berth arrangements in a number of categories (deluxe, first and second class). The passenger facilities are spread over six decks.
Above the lowest passenger deck, which contains cabins and equipment storage areas, is the reception area. On the same deck are the kitchen areas and more passenger cabins.
On the next deck the restaurant and more kitchens are located, along with a cafeteria, snack bar and a 60-seat cinema. Forward is the shopping area, together with a fully equipped conference suite.
The deck above contains a lounge, which has the facilities to serve 500 people and can be converted into another conference room, as well as passenger cabins.
On the next deck there is another lounge and two swimming pools, located in a purpose-designed area. The disco bar is on the uppermost deck, and there is also a helicopter platform.
The ferry also contains a gelateria, computer and video games area and children’s playground. The architecture and design work on the ship was carried out by De Jorrio. The Cruise Interior Service (CIS) carried out much of the internal installation.
The vehicles enter the vessel in the stern. Altogether, there are 1,500 lane metres for trailers and trucks. The main deck can accommodate a total of 310 cars or 62 trailers.
There is a movable ramp to the upper deck, where 170 cars of 62 trailers can be accommodated. There are also fixed ramps to the lower deck, where 110 cars are stowed. The car deck can accommodate 70 cars.
The Knossos Palace is powered by four Wärtsilä 16V46C type engines, which provide a total power of 67,200kW.
These are fed to two controllable pitch propellers. To assist in manoeuvring, the vessel has two 1,300kW thrusters in the bow and two 1,000kW thrusters in the stern.
The ferry is classified by the DNV.
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