14 June 2010

Ferry crossing from Igoumenitsa Greece to Ancona Italy

There are a number of ferry crossings between Greece and Italy: Igoumenitsa to Venice, Ancona, Bari and Brindisi; Patras to Ancona, Venice, Brindisi and Bari; Kefalonia to Bari and Brindisi; Corfu to Bari, Brindisi and Venice.

We chose Igoumenitsa to Ancona as this crossing offered the most convenient departure and arrival times, with the added benefit that you join the ship early evening, leaving mid-morning next day, so plenty of opportunity for a good night's sleep.

There are also several operators on these routes and we opted for Superfast Ferries, partly for the reasons above and partly because they have a good reputation with modern ships and good facilities.

So after the short drive from Parga to Igoumenitsa we arrived at the port with time to spare. As ever in Greece the signposting is unclear as you approach the port since a new port has recently been constructed and basically you should follow the signs to "New port".

Here we found a brand new terminal building with check-in desks for the different operators, a couple of bars and caf├ęs and some duty free type shops. After completing the check-in we set off for the holding area for our crossing. Again, no signs. We were directed by vague waving of hands to drive right around the terminal building, finding ourselves on a vast dock area where more equally vague hand waving directed us to a wavy line of cars which turned out to be waiting for the ship we wanted.

The vessel, the Superfast XII, was a little late in arriving, but made up for this by loading the cars and lorries and leaving again in about 20 minutes flat! The fastest turn-around of a big ferry I've ever seen. The actual loading process was yet again very Greek, with men waving the cars and lorries on at the same time, frequently directing vehicles around each other. Reminded me of an aerial display by the Red Arrows!

Once on board the ship was clean modern and comfortable with decent restaurant and bar areas, shops and nice cabins where we did indeed enjoy a good night's sleep.

Arriving in Ancona was almost as chaotic as leaving Greece, with just one lane of traffic leaving the port and the exit roads to the Autostrada being completely inadequate for the port traffic. It was the best part of an hour aftre docking before we were clear of the post area and headed westwards towards home.

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