Getting There & Around

There are two types of ferries, car ferries, and passenger ferries. Car ferries also transport people, however, so don’t rule them out if you are looking to get from point A to point B.

Ferries aren’t just about getting from one place to the other, they are also some of the best ways to check out some of the most beautiful parts of the world. There are ferries around the world, many of which are actually the only way of reaching certain destinations. Some are very short, only a few minutes and others can take upwards of a day.

1. Benefits

Ferries let you sit back and relax as you travel across a body of water. You can check out the scenery as you calmly guide along. A ferry is also often the only way of reaching more remote destinations, or the only way to cross a body of water that stands in the way of where you are and where you want to be.

Ferry at sunset
Ferry at sunset

2. Drawbacks

Ferries can sometimes be tremendously slow and actually take longer than driving around the body of water. This is also not the best option for people who get easily seasick, especially if you need to take an overnight ferry. Car ferries can sometimes feel too industrial and overly crowded.

Red Funnel Ferry
Red Funnel Ferry

3. Before you board

If you know when and where you will be taking a ferry, look and see if you need to book ahead. Most ferries will allow walk-ups, but some, especially overnight ferries, need to be booked in advance. If you are driving, confirm whether your car is within the guidelines of what can be loaded on the boat and, of course, make sure the ferry is a car ferry and not just for pedestrians!

Ferry at waterfall
Getting wet

Taking an overnight ferry? See if you can book a sleeper cabin to get a better night's sleep. Also, pack a small bag that you can easily carry around on the ferry and leave the rest of your luggage in the car (if you have your car with you).

If you are taking a long ferry ride, pack snacks and drinks in case the options are less than stellar or overly costly on board.

4. Ferry necessities

Some things that you may want to have with you when you take a ferry include:

  • Food and drinks
  • Sunscreen
  • Motion sickness medicine (if you get seasick)
  • Cash
  • Non-electronic activities (if you are taking a long trip)
  • Sleepwear and personal toiletries (if you are taking an overnight ferry)

5. On the ferry

When you get on board, if you have a car, make sure to lock it if you are getting out (which is recommended) and leave all valuables stored out of sight.

If you are on a short ferry ride, or one that is only going to be during the day, find a seat that lets you take in the scenery, especially if you are on a scenic trip. Ask the boat staff which direction the boat faces as it sails and where they would recommend sitting. One of the absolute best parts about taking many ferries is that they give you the opportunity to see some incredible sites, so make sure you don’t miss out by getting a seat that leaves you staring at a steel pole the time! Yes, you can get up and walk around, which is another great aspect of ferry travel, but having a good seat is still an advantage when everyone on board goes running from side to side trying to get the best shot.

Ferry in Hong Kong
Ferry in Hong Kong

6. Top ferry trips in the world

There are ferries all over the world, of all different types, styles, and sizes. Some are simply practical, meant to get you from here to there, but others offer some unbelievable views and are in and of themselves worth the trip. Here are some you should add to your list:

  1. Gudvangen (Norway)
  2. Staten Island (New York, NY, USA)
  3. Golden Gate Ferry (San Fransisco, CA, USA)
  4. State Ferry (Hong Kong)
  5. Washington State Ferry from Puget Sound to San Juan Islands (Washington, USA)
  6. Sydney Ferry from Sydney Harbor to Manly (Sydney, Australia)
  7. BC Ferries from Vancouver to Victoria (British Columbia, Canada)
  8. Blue Canoes (Alaska, USA)
  9. Caledonian Macbrayne from Mallaig to Isle of Skye (Scotland)
  10. Blue Star Ferries (Greek Islands, Greece)
  11. Transmediterranea from Spain to Morocco or Canary Islands (Spain)
  12. Steamship Authority from Cape Cod to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket (Massachusetts, USA)
  13. SeaCat (Argentina to Uruguay)
  14. Bluebridge (New Zealand)
  15. Thomas Clipper (London, UK)
  16. Jadroilinija (Croatia)
  17. Golden Horn Ferry (Turkey)
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