Minoan Lines

Minoan Lines is one of the largest passenger ferry companies in Europe, and one of the dominant passenger ferry companies in Greece, sailing between Piraeus and Crete and in the Adriatic Sea, between Patras and various Italian ports. The company was founded in May 1972. Since 2008 Grimaldi's Compagnia di Navigazione SpA owns and controls 45% of the stock of Minoan Lines.

Minoan Lines
Traded as(Athex: MINOA)
HeadquartersHeraklion, Greece
Area served
Aegean Sea
Key people
Emanuele Grimaldi (Chairman)
Konstantinos Mamalakis (Vice-Chairman)
Antonis Maniadakis (CEO)
ServicesPassenger transportation
Freight transportation
Revenue€80.053 million (2017)[1]
€24.10 million (2017)[2]
€4.081 million (2017)[3]
Total assets€439.95 million (2017)[4]
Total equity€284.31 million (2017)[5]
OwnerGrimaldi Group (95.9%)[6]
Number of employees
1.809 (2015)

Its logo is derived from The Lily Prince fresco of Knossos



  • The cooperation between Minoan and Grimaldi ended, with only the MS Oceanus deployed on the Italy-Tunisia route.
  • The MS Oceanus was renamed Ariadne Palace I and sold to Corsica Ferries.
  • MS Prometheus was sold to Caronte shipping, an Italian shipping company.


  • Minoan decided to focus solely on the shipping sector and sold its stake in Aegean Airlines.


  • Attica Group acquired 10.23% of the share capital of Minoan, reaching an 11.61% stake in the company.
  • Minoan sold its 18% stake in Forthnet to Intracom.


  • The MS Ariadne Palace was sold to Moby Lines. All three vessels from the Samsung shipyard were sold to other companies.
  • Minoan Lines was Passenger Line of the Year according to Lloyd's List.


  • In February, Attica Group increased its stake in Minoan Lines.
  • In June, Attica Group sold its entire stake in Minoan (22.2%) to Access Maritime SA, which is controlled by Mr. Laskarides.
  • In December, Sea Star Capital, owner of ANEK Lines, acquired a 26.05% stake in Minoan Lines from Access Maritime in a privately negotiated transaction.


  • In January, Sea Star Capital signed an agreement with Grimaldi's Compagnia di Navigazione SpA to sell its 26.7 percent stake in Minoan.
  • In October, Compagnia di Navigazione SpA, parent company of the Grimaldi Group, raised its stake above the limit of one third of shared capital and voting rights, which triggered a mandatory bid for the rest of the shares. The offer was launched at the end of October and lasted until the end of November. During this period, Grimaldi acquired an additional 47.9% stake in Minoan Lines, raising its total stake to about 85%.


  • In January, MS Pasiphae Palace was sold to SNCM, and became the Jean Nicoli. The replacement on the Venice - Igoumenitsa - Patras route was the MS Eurostar Barcelona, on loan from the parent company Grimaldi,[7] formerly operated by Minoan under the name of MS Prometheus. Eurostar Barcelona was renamed Zeus Palace.
  • Ikarus Palace began operating on charter with Grimaldi Group on the Livorno - Barcelona - Tangier route.
  • In October 2009, the new MS Cruise Europa was delivered, followed by the sister-ship MS Cruise Olympia in the early summer 2010.


  • In January 2011 Minoan Lines cancelled the sale of its 33.35% stake in Hellenic Seaways to ANEK and tried to find a new buyer for it.[8]


  • The year began with a significant loss for the company - the closure of the Venice route. The fate of the ships that operated on this line remained uncertain until the end of July 2012, when Europa Palace joined Cruise Europa and Cruise Olympia on the Ancona route. Meanwhile, Olympia Palace was laid up in Perama. Despite the rumored reopening of the Piraeus - Chania route, both ships were then chartered to CIN, owner of the recently privatized Tirrenia di Navigazione, and used on the Cagliari - Arbatax - Civitavecchia route. Europe Palace was renamed Amsicora, and "Olympia Palace" became Bonaria. Both ships underwent a partial refit at Messina, and changed their ports of registry from Heraklion to Cagliari, and their flags from Greek to Italian.
  • At the end of 2012 the daily Ancona - Igoumenitsa - Patras route was extended to call at Trieste thrice weekly. The route was operated by Cruise Europa and Cruise Olympia. A third ship, Europalink, was also added to the route in order to increase load capacity. The ship was previously operated by another Grimaldi Group company, Finnlines, but was changed flags from Swedish to Italian and operated in cooperation with Grimaldi.


  • On January 5, Europalink experience a failure and was forced to make an emergency stop in the port of Brindisi.[9] Passengers and vehicles were disembarked safely and continued the journey with Grimaldi Group's Florencia. The ship was then brought from Brindisi to Messina yards for repair.


  • On September 21, Europalink struck rocks off Peristeres, north east of Corfu, Greece. All 70 crew and 692 passengers were evacuated. It was later refloated and taken in to Kerkyra, Greece for repairs. Europalink was on a voyage from Patras, Greece to Ancona.[10][11]


  • Starting with January the Adriatic line again called at the ferry port of Venice twice weekly, arriving and departing during the night hours.


  • Europa Palace, which was chartered to Tirrenia di Navigazione as Amsicora, returns to Minoan Lines as Mykonos Palace on the Piraeus-Chania line.
  • Minoan Lines also acquires Santorini Palace, previously operated as Highspeed 7 by Hellenic Seaways, and starts serving the Heraklion-Santorini-Ios-Paros-Mykonos route.


Conventional ferries[12]

Ship nameFlagBuiltIMOCallsignTonnageLengthWidthPassengersCarsKnotsPhoto
Knossos Palace20009204063SYQO37.482214 m26 m2.19070031,6
Festos Palace20019204568SYNR37.482214 m26 m2.19070031,6
Mykonos Palace20029220342ICUK36.825214 m26 m1.92282131,5

On charter from Grimaldi Group

Ship nameFlagBuiltIMOCallsignTonnageLengthWidthPassengersCarsKnotsPhoto
Cruise Europa20099351490IBEV54.310225 m30 m2.85096327,5
Cruise Olympia20109351505IBEY54.310225 m30 m2.85096327,5

Highspeed Ferries

Ship nameFlagBuiltIMOCallsignTonnageLengthWidthPassengersCarsKnotsPhoto
Santorini Palace20059329095SYDM4.913 GT85 m21,2 m116010540

Former ships

  • F/B Minos 1974-1984 (scrapped)
  • F/B Ariadne 1976-1999 (scrapped)
  • F/B Festos 1984-1998 (scrapped)
  • F/B Agia Galini 1986-2002 (scrapped)
  • F/B Fedra 1987-2000 (scrapped)
  • F/B Daedalus 1989-2005 (scrapped)
  • FB Knossos 1978-1998 (scrapped)
  • F/B El Greco 1979-2002 (scrapped)
  • F/B N. Kazantzakis 1989-2001 (today sailing for Pacific Cruises)
  • F/B King Minos 1987-2002 (scrapped)
  • F/B Erotokritos 1991-2002 (scrapped)
  • H/S/F Aretousa 1995-2001 (today MS Girolata with CMN)
  • H/S/F Prometheus 2001-2004 (today Zeus Palace with Grimaldi lines)
  • H/S/F Oceanus 2001-2002 (renamed Ariadne Palace 1, 2002-2003) (Today MS Mega Express Three with Corsica Ferries)
  • H/S/F Ariadne Palace 2002-2006 (today MS Moby Tommy with Moby Lines)
  • H/S/F Pasiphae Palace 1998-2010 (MS Jean Nicoli with Corsica Linea)
  • H/S/F Ikarus Palace 1998-2016 (MS Cruise Smeralda with Grimaldi Lines)
  • H/S/F Olympia Palace 2001-2018 (MS Cruise Bonaria with Grimaldi Lines)



Companies that are affiliates of Minoan Lines (larger than 10%) are outlined below.

  • Minoan Agencies S.r.l. 95,00%
  • Cretan Filoxenia S.A. 99,99%
  • Minoan Cruises S.A. 80,28%
  • Hellenic Seaways 33,31%

Former affiliates


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