Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Details of the ferry from Spain to Morocco

We decided some time ago, that we would set over to Africa from Spain by ferry. Generally our aim is to have as short boat ride as possible since (a) this is no pleasure for girls and (b) I get very quickly sea-sick.

We found the following options (one-way):
Tarifa-Tanger - only by FRS
Algericas - Ceuta - by FRS, Balearia and Trasmediterranea
Algericas - Tangermed (at least FRS, but we did not look into this since this was the longest ferry ride with 1.5h)

All options were around 60-65EUR per person incl. motorbike (at least solo). The big difference came in the handling of dogs and travel time. We decided to go from Tarifa to Tanger with FRS, because:
- the ferry was a fast ferry and travel time is only 35min (I saw later that Algericas - Ceuta also needs only 35min)
- dogs were for free (other carriers charge 10EUR/dog)
- dogs could be in sidecar during the journey without any extra box
- sidecar was free of surcharge

FRS had a friendly and prompt reservation service. We did all the Q&A via email.

The check-in was not as organized as I am used to when compared traveling by ferry between Finland-Sweden, Finland-Germany or Finland-Estonia (Wolfi, come on and get real, you are in Spain... ok check-in was perfect). In any case, we got on to the ship. The solobike was put on mainstand and strapped with one belt over the seat which was fixed to the trailer of the neighbor car.

While waiting for embarkation, we filled in the white immigration papers which we received at the check-in. The immigration formalities are handled by a guy sitting in a corner besides the cafe bar. Be quick - the queue became pretty long!

As soon as we left the ship, all sorts of people came to us to give advice. My recommendation: drive to the (anyway closed) gate as much as you can into first position. On the way there, pick up your green and white paper for your vehicle declaration. I was not able to shake of the touts, they literally took those papers out of my hands. They then asked for passport as well as bike papers. I gave all the stuff to them and the guy disappeared giving those to some other tout. I found the new guy and we filled the papers together. It was maybe too demanding that a German has a bike from Finland! Anyway, he demanded tip and I gave him 5EUR which was obviously ok.

After a few minutes I got the passports and the bike papers back from the first tout and he explained me something that the bikes are now in the system. Furthermore he told me to go upstairs to some immigration office since this was our first visit to Morocco. He also wanted money. I told him that I already paid and looked where this "upstairs office" was.

I did not find this "upstairs" and so I went to the customs office, asked and somebody was so kind and showed me the way where I needed to go (did not understand what they told me in French). This guy had to open the locked gate, we left the customs area in order to get upstairs. There - in an almost hidden place - was sitting another official who typed our passport data into a computer. OK, 5 minutes later it was done, that was all and have a nice day.

A little confused now, I went downstairs and decided it is time to enter Morocco and ride through the now-halfway-open gate. I started my engine and obviously energized by the great sound, the first tout jumped to me and asked if I have my stamped green/white papers and since I declined, he jumped to the real officials, got our papers, gave those to us and the other officials at the gate a thumb-up and we were good to go.

And then we were in Morocco. Piece of cake.

On the left is the real border guard, on the right is the tout :)

 ~ Wolfi

p.s. nobody looked at our dogs. No interest to check anything whatsoever!

No comments:

Post a Comment