Ferries are motor ships of various size, which carry passengers, and in some cases vehicles, between ports on a schedule.
While some ferries are open-deck vessels which cross a narrow strait for daily commuting, others have cabins and other amenities, similar to cruise ships or ocean liners, and might be tourist attractions in their own right.
Ferries may be cancelled or delayed due to bad weather. It may be best to plan you trip so that you are not scheduled to take a ferry immediately before an important commitment or a long haul flight.
- Baltic Sea ferries
- Ferries in the Caspian Sea
- Ferries in the Mediterranean
- Ferries in the Red Sea
- Ferry routes to Great Britain
- Ferries in the United States
Getting aboard on a ferry with a car can be complicated. Be sure to read instructions before reaching the terminal. Note that not all car rental companies allow their vehicles on ferries – be sure to check conditions in advance.
Usually foot passengers board the ferry separately from vehicles, which might be by a covered walkway, a gangway or simply climbing aboard. In other ferries foot passengers board by walking on the vehicle ramp (beware the traffic) or in a shuttle bus.
Many ferries allow bicycles as well, and almost all car ferries do. Be aware, that the risk of theft exists, as well as the risk of your bike getting lose and falling off the ship. On short trips you might wish to stay close to your bike.
Buy, Eat, Drink
Some ferries on longer overnight routes have cabins and other facilities that are close to those on a cruise ship. On some routes cabins will be provided for all passengers and may be included in the ticket price, but it is more usual to have to buy a cabin as an add-on. There are often not enough cabins to meet the demand at busy times of year, and it may be necessary to book a cabin several months in advance.
Ferries often also offer cheaper basic overnight accommodation. This might be dormitory beds, or reclining seats.
You may also be able to travel overnight without booking accommodation. In this case there may be a rush when boarding starts to get the best sleeping places, such as bench seats in quieter parts of the ship.
Avoid the open deck in harsh weather.