The ferry is perhaps the most unusual way to get from one country to another. But sometimes it allows you to save a lot of time and effort, well, it’s just romantic and interesting. For example, the journey from Helsinki to northern Germany (Travemunde city) takes a little more than 24 hours. By car, this distance would have to go for about three days (taking into account the fact that the path takes about 1,500 kilometers and the day is comfortably covered by 500, then all the pleasure from the trip is lost).
Many may reasonably notice that ferries are from Helsinki, and you still need to get to Helsinki, but from St. Petersburg it is generally close – you can get there by car in three hours along a good road. From Moscow to St. Petersburg every year it becomes more and more convenient to get there – after all, roads are being built. Well, the most exotic way – trains Moscow – Helsinki with a car seat. With this method – to get from Moscow to Germany by car you will have to drive a maximum of 50 kilometers from the railway station to the port 🙂
At first it seemed to me that in a day on the ferry you could go crazy with idleness, but it turned out that in such a kind of reboot when you can just read a book and look at the endless sea, and then have a delicious dinner and sleep comfortably, there is a charm (especially for us accustomed to the Moscow rhythm of life when everything had to be done yesterday), here you can simply disconnect from the entire outside world for a day and not rush anywhere, and the waves around and the white sides of the ferry illuminated by the setting sun will add romance.
So, what is good to remember when you are thinking of traveling by ferry
1. Although the ferry is tailored for car travelers, it is also possible for hikers to travel on it. For passengers without a car, there is a special transfer from the ferry terminal to the board. For those who travel by their own car – a special escort car so as not to get confused in the intricacies of the port.
2. Do not forget that boarding the ferry ends a couple of hours before departure, this time depends on the port of departure and on the ferry digging. Just do not forget about it and clarify before planning your day. Small ferries that go for a couple of hours can be called at the last moment, with a large ship such a trick may not work. Inside, it’s almost like a good hotel – elevators, a reception, a restaurant, several bars, a gym – there is enough entertainment so as not to get bored while traveling.
3. It is also worth remembering that after loading you will get access to the car only after arrival – the car decks are closed during the movement, so everything you need from the car must be taken immediately.
4. If the ferry stands at night in the port, then you can stay overnight there, thus saving on a hotel. If you travel by car, it is necessary to agree on an overnight stay on board in the port in advance so that employees can properly optimize the loading and unloading of vehicles. We sailed to Travemünde at 10 pm and somehow there was no particular point in going to the city at night, especially considering that after 9 pm, even in Hamburg, there is no life on the streets, let alone small towns. Therefore, we calmly and comfortably spend the night on the ferry, have breakfast and in the morning we set off to explore the surroundings.
Breakfasts and dinners on the ferry, by the way, will give odds to many buffets in pretentious hotels. Here you can find venison and wild boar, elk sausages, several types of fish, desserts – everything is delicious, unlimited alcohol for dinner.
5. It is better not to use cellular communication in the open sea – it is carried out via satellite and a minute conversation on the phone can cost a pretty penny. To keep in touch with the outside world while sailing, there is free wifi on board (it is also satellite, but free for passengers). But the truth is, only on deck 11, and with a rather weak signal – i.e. You can write a message in whatsapp, but it’s okay to surf the Internet, look for some information, and even more so, somehow work with pictures or watch movies will not work. But it’s better at least this than none, especially since they say that other ferry companies have the same thing, but for money. Because the ferry goes next to several countries, then messages from mobile operators in the spirit of “welcome to Sweden”, but at some point the message “welcome to Malta” comes, I start to frantically remember where the Baltic Sea is and where Malta is, I understand that Malta is like it is too far for its cellular networks to be caught in the middle of the Baltic Sea …. In short, a riddle … but the answer is simple – an operator that provides satellite communications on the high seas just from Malta :).
6. A small drawback – there is no drinking water in the cabins. it is not a problem to find it in bars or in a shop on board (just keep in mind that they work until 10 pm), but when you want water while lying in bed at night it is frustrating. Therefore, you should just take a bottle of water with you from the shore 🙂
7. With prices for ferry tickets, the situation is about the same as with plane tickets – the earlier you buy, the cheaper it depends on the season, if you take round-trip tickets right away, it turns out cheaper. There are also all sorts of promotions and special offers that allow you to save on the cost of the trip.
8. The best way to travel by ferry is a company or a family of four. Almost all cabins are for four, and tickets are sold as a package – a car and a cabin. There are, of course, other variants of the type – 2 cars and one cabin for ferrymen who travel in pairs. Or for truck drivers – a truck and a berth in the cabin. There are several types of cabins. The cheapest interior cabins are without a window, such a cabin is slightly more spacious than a train compartment, but essentially the same – two floors of shelves, a TV and a small bathroom. There are the same cabins, but with a window, although they are absolutely the same size as the internal ones, but thanks to the window they seem more spacious.
The next category is almost a hotel room, there is a double bed, table, refrigerator, two single beds, TV, bathroom. Such cabins are located on the bow of the ship and the windows overlook just at the bow – an awesome view, steeper than which is perhaps the view from some skyscraper 🙂
9. You can travel with pets on the ferry. There are special trays on the decks for them. And in case of unforeseen situations – a helipad on the upper deck.
10. There are video cameras and temperature sensors throughout the ferry, which allows you to instantly track any emergency situations. For example, we were urged not to take a hot shower with the bathroom door open so that the temperature sensor to the cabin would not work 🙂 There is also a heave compensation system.
There is no full-time doctor or nurse on the ferry, but all personnel are trained to provide first aid, so in case of an unforeseen situation, you can contact any member of the team. The ferry crew consists of 35 people, while at least two people must be on the bridge, the captain may not be present all the time, but in case of bad weather he must be on the bridge. To become a ferry captain, you first need to study as a deck officer for three years, and all practice takes place on real ships – no simulators. Then he worked in this position for three years, then two years in the position of chief officer, and only then can one become a ferry captain. An assistant captain and a sailor must be on the bridges at any time.
Personally, my ferry trip left only positive impressions, at first when I was just offered this trip it seemed to me that it would be insanely boring – 29 hours at sea on a ferry, without specific activities. But with walks on decks, eating and sleeping, time passes imperceptibly. And the level of service and comfort can well be compared with good hotels, add sea romance here and you get an interesting and unusual journey in comfort and with a beautiful view from the window.