Morocco

How to Take the Ferry from Italy to Morocco

The ferry from Italy to Morocco leaves from Genoa and arrives in Tanger Med (near Tangier). It’s operated by GNV (Grandi Navi Veloci) and takes around 52 hours.

After booking the ferry we came across the 1.9/5 Google rating.

Reviews range from:

“On board there is disorganization, dirt and little (I would say no) respect for the passengers. I didn’t feel safe especially on landing, a lot of confusion.”

to:

“SWIM WHEREVER YOU WANT GO DROWNING MEDITERRANEAN IS BETTER MY FRIEND.😭 If I had to choose thos company or drowning in the waves of Mediterranean Sea I would need several hours to decide.”

With this in mind, we were slightly apprehensive about our 52 hour crossing! As there wasn’t much information online (other than bad reviews) about taking the ferry from Genoa to Tanger Med, I created this guide. Here is what we found…

Contents

The process for checking in for the ferry from Italy to Morocco

  1. Take your ticket and passport to the GNV ticket desk in the ferry terminal (upstairs).
  2. They give you a boarding card
  3. Go through security (they scan your bags for weapons etc.)
  4. Wait at the relevant numbered quay
  5. Go through passport control and complete an exit document (personal details, address etc.)
  6. Board the ship

How was the ferry boarding process?

Getting the boarding card and passing security took no time. Passport control was very slow. Some people had the exit card already and had filled it in, so possibly you can ask for this in the ferry terminal. It doesn’t take long to complete though. Passport control is obviously not the responsibility of the ferry company, and the parts GNV were responsible for went swiftly.

How was the experience on-board the ferry from Italy to Morocco?

Accommodation

We opted for a private room which had 3 bunks. It was nothing fancy but what you would expect on board a ferry. The ferry was built in 1998, so some of the features were a bit worn. However, the shower had great water pressure and was hot. The beds were comfortable enough and the linens were clean.

If I had one complaint, it would be that the air conditioning was cold. On balance, I feel it’s preferable in a small cabin to be too cold than too warm. There is no fridge, so it also ensured the food we brought (including cheese) didn’t get too sweaty.

Should you not wish to pay for a cabin, there is a room full of reclining chairs. Some people brought bedding and spread it out where there was space. I don’t think you’d get a good night’s sleep but if travelling on a shoestring then that’s an option. You also have to think about keeping your stuff safe…

Food

Food was very average. I would say it beats most airplane food but was certainly no culinary experience. The pizzas were pretty OK, as was the pasta from the restaurant and a chicken dish from the self-service. Some of it looked very unappealing.

Prices in the restaurant range from 14-26 Euro. The cheapest wine is 11 Euro a bottle. You must also pay a 2.50 cover charge. The self service dining area is cheaper and the quality not much worse. There’s also a cafe with snacks and a bar. Coffee is 2-2.50.

Food vouchers are available which save some money (we paid 86 euro for 100 euro voucher).

We brought water, lots of fruit, bread, cheese and cured meat to supplement our meals which saved a lot of money. In total, we spent around 150 euros on food for two people. We ate whenever we wanted and bought a lot coffee out of pure boredom but didn’t drink alcohol. Although the quality wasn’t fantastic, I think the price is fair, considering you’re on a ferry.

Staff

Many of the complaints online are regarding the staff. We found them to be very friendly and helpful. A lot of them are Philippino; they spend 8 months at sea, working incredibly long hours and have limited time off. I think they do a fantastic job which they probably get paid terribly for.

The staff spoke a range of languages, including Italian, Arabic and English. We had no communication issues.

Price

We paid 286 Euros for the ferry crossing and a basic private room for two people. We were very happy with this price. The journey would have been longer, more complicated and cost considerably more using trains and the ferry from the south of Spain (especially factoring in accommodation costs). Considering the cost of flights currently, flying probably would have been a similar price with luggage.

Before you leave the ferry from Italy to Morocco

  • Foot passengers – MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR PASSPORT STAMPED ONBOARD THE FERRY. There is a small passport office on the ferry near the theatre. The Moroccan police will stamp your passport with an entry stamp allowing you to enter Morocco when you disembark.

There should be an announcement for this but there wasn’t one when we took the ferry. It meant that there were delays and the police weren’t very happy about it.

One guy we met said he was lucky and someone grabbed him to tell him he had to go to the passport office. A policeman stared at his passport for a long time then finally gave him an entrance stamp.

We didn’t get told, nor did we hear an announcement, and this resulted in some issues after we’d disembarked.

The process for disembarking the ferry from Italy to Morocco

  1. Foot passengers cannot leave the same way the cars leave. There was nothing by way of instruction. I would advise to ask at reception. We followed the car passengers and ended up a bit lost. However, there is a side door for foot passengers.
  2. On land, police will check you have the entrance stamp already.
  3. A bus will collect all foot passengers and take them to customs, you cannot go on foot.
  4. Customs will x-ray your bags bags and then you’re free to leave.

How was the ferry disembarking process?

In one word: chaos. There was very limited instruction provided. Theoretically, it should have been very quick: the only waiting involved would be for everyone to board the bus. In our case, it took about an hour because we had to wait for our passports to be stamped. There were not many foot passengers but somehow we were the only ones without a stamp. We had to wait for another bus to come and pick us up as the first one had left. By the time we got to customs, there was no one there, so we went straight through.

Overall

We found the ferry was nowhere near as bad as we expected from the reviews. There are a couple of caveats here:

  • The ferry reviews were for GNV in general which operates a lot of routes from Genoa. Perhaps some routes are much worse.
  • We travelled in mid-October, outside the main season. I imagine in summer it’s much more crowded.
  • We were foot passengers. The process for exiting with your vehicle looked mad. Cars were having to turn around inside the ferry.

The main negative points were:

  • The long waiting times at passport control (not the fault of GNV). I would turn up closer to departure time.
  • The lack of communication around disembarkation. I am not sure whether GNV was responsible for informing their passengers about going to the ship’s passport office but it certainly would be better customer service to do so.
  • There was no instruction for foot passengers on how to get off the ferry. We ended up lost and wandering around looking for the exit.

Would we take the ferry from Italy to Morocco again?

If not flying, I think it’s the most convenient option from North-West Europe. We were pretty tired after a few hectic weeks of seeing friends and family, so really appreciated the fact we could just sleep. However, taking the multiple trains through Spain would be very scenic.


Planning to take this ferry trip? Questions? Comments? Feedback? Get in touch via the comments below or write to me on Facebook (Hopelessly Nomantic), Instagram (Hopelessly_Nomantic) or Twitter (HopelesNomantic)!

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2 Comments

  • Jodie

    This is super helpful! We are taking this ferry (the opposite direction) in a few months. I’m not expecting luxury, but it seemed like a reasonable and interesting way to travel.

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