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What is a ferry?

At its most basic, a ferry is a boat that carries passengers (and, in some instances, passenger vehicles) across a body of water. You can often find ferries in service in coastal towns and islands which might not be reachable by bus or train.

Where can you buy ferry tickets?

Ferry tickets can be purchased in-person from the port of departure, directly from the ferry’s website, or elsewhere online from a third-party vendor like Wanderu.

Can you buy a ferry ticket at the last minute?

In many instances, ferry tickets may be purchased at the last minute, in-person from the port of departure. That said, some ferries sell out, or require you to reserve a spot in advance (especially if you bring a vehicle). Tickets are often more expensive when purchased at the last minute, so by planning ahead and buying your tickets online you can likely save some money.

How long is a ferry ride?

Ferry rides can vary greatly in duration. For instance, the popular ferry from Boston to Provincetown (on Cape Cod) takes just 1 hour and 30 minutes. Driving the same route would take you anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, depending on traffic. In Europe, the ferry from Durrës, Albania to Bari, Italy across the Adriatic Sea takes closer to 9 hours. Even so, it’s significantly faster than driving between the two cities around the perimeter of the Adriatic Sea, which would take almost 24 hours.

Do you need to print your ferry ticket?

Some ferries do not require you to print out a ticket to board. In fact, there are instances in which you will “check-in” at the ferry with your ID, similar to how you would at an airport, and then be allowed to board. However, other ferries do require you to provide a printed ticket. Your confirmation email will include details as to whether or not a printed ticket is necessary, but as a practical matter, we recommend printing out your ticket anyway. That way you have it for easy reference, just in case an instance arises where you need to show proof of your reservation.

Can you change or cancel your ferry ticket?

Unfortunately, many advance-order ferry tickets, such as those from Boston to Provincetown on Boston Harbor Cruises, are non-refundable. That said, if circumstances arise in which you need to change or cancel your trip, your best bet is to call the ferry company directly. Special circumstances can warrant you a refund, like on Clipper Vacations trips from Seattle to Victoria, B.C. Alternatively, you may be able to reschedule your trip for a different time at no additional charge or for a small fee.

Are there any discounts on ferry tickets?

Some ferries provide discounted fares by breaking tickets down into such categories as Adult, Child, Senior, Veteran, etc. Other ferry companies just have a static ticket price for all ferry tickets no matter the age or status of the passenger. Before purchasing, we recommend reviewing the checkout page to see if you may be eligible for a discount.

How much luggage can you take on the ferry?

The amount of luggage you’re able to take onto a ferry will vary widely depending on your destination and the ferry company you’re traveling with. Information regarding the ferry’s luggage policy will be included in your confirmation email following ticket purchase. In general, ferries tend to allow more luggage than a bus, train or plane as they typically have more cargo space, meaning you won’t be forced to shove your bags into a narrow overhead bin.

How early should you arrive for the ferry?

While specific policies will vary from ferry to ferry, we recommend arriving at least one hour prior to your ferry’s departure. Unlike a train or bus, boarding a ferry can take a long time, especially when passenger vehicles are being transported. This buffer will provide you with ample time to board the boat and find a comfortable seat for the ride.

Wanderu is the simplest way to book bus and train travel.

With just a quick search on Wanderu, you can compare bus and train schedules and prices from hundreds of travel companies in one convenient place to find the trip that works best for you. Wanderu’s simple checkout process makes it easy to book cheap bus and train tickets hassle-free and with no additional fees. Most importantly, as Wanderu is an official partner of all leading bus and train companies, we always have the best bus and train deals out there.

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