We love a ferry trip!
The decision to take the ferry from Patra to Trieste was a no-brainer and 32 hours after boarding we stepped off refreshed and ready for our quick dash back through Europe. The whole trip went so quickly from the moment we arrived at the almost deserted quayside and were whisked onto the boat leaving me no time to take any photos. We weren’t late, we were over 2 hours early, but they have a method of loading vehicles according to your final destination so we were directed past a small queue onto the ship and into the furthest corner of the garage section of deck 5.
We collected our cabin keys and after a very quick 'unpack' went off to explore the facilities – nightclub, casino, 2 lounge areas, restaurant, self-service cafe, wellness centre, gym, swimming pool and shop. Foot passengers piled on and immediately set up camp with lilos, inflatable mattresses, sleeping bags and blankets on every available wind protected outside deck space and quiet corners between the inside stair wells.
|Dave testing the bed out!|
|At least they'll be first in line for the life jackets at the muster station!|
I needn’t have worried about dress etiquette – only one Greek lady stood out from the crowd of bikini, shorts and T-shirt brigade. We saw her wearing at least three different snazzy outfits during the voyage – she was probably the only person who used the nightclub or the casino. I spent most of the trip looking like Hair Bear from the 70's cartoon strip - somewhat windswept!
The cruise ship didn’t really live up to its glossy brochure pictures. On our saunter around everything seemed either empty or closed – the pool was definitely empty and closed. Despite them telling us it would be open after embarkation, they never put any water in it!
|It was tiny & wouldn't have needed much water!|
Never mind it was an interesting trip with plenty going on.....
In Patra, where they were drilling in the harbour, we watched the sister ship dock and vehicles and passengers disembark in a typical manic and dangerous Greek style. Just as our ships ropes were cast off and we drifted away from the quayside a big white lorry sped along the tarmac, tooting madly and scattering the passengers – he was too late, even to try a Top Gear style stunt!
|"Try and catch us up in Igoumenitsa......."|
At midnight on Thursday from a vantage point high above the stern 11 decks up we watched the ferry dock in Igoumenitsa and hundreds of people, vans, cars, motorbikes and lorries board in yet another chaotically disorganised Greek manner. It was like the start of Wacky races, whistles being blown and vehicles jockeying for places.
On Friday afternoon, under cloudy skies, the captain negotiated the very narrow entrance at Ancona, Italy, assisted by the local pilot. He arrived off a boat that looked just like a kids plastic toy bobbing around in the harbour. Lots of people and vehicles got off in a much more orderly fashion than in Greece, only a handful got on.
And in the early hours of Saturday morning we watched another pilot leap on board in the darkness and guide the ship into Trieste harbour. These huge boats, assisted by bow thrusters manoeuvre so gracefully into their given berth – quite a feat.
|No lifejacket, no harness....one leap in the darkness|
The cost was £300 for the two of us, the van, a cabin for the duration and a meal which although not cheap was less than the drive back along the Adriatic coast would have been taking into account the fuel, food, additional insurance costs and campsites.
We like bridges, tunnels are fun, mountain passes are exciting but we love a ferry trip! Dover here we come....