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On the ferry with a camper

Booking a ferry: What you need to know as a camper!

Anyone who loves the sea and likes to travel to maritime countries will soon find themselves in the situation of having to cross waters. If you are travelling with a VW bus, there is often only one way: Take the ferry. We summarized, what you need to consider when booking a ferry with the VW Bus.

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Roadtrip Fähre ferry

Whether Scandinavia, Croatia or a Mediterranean island – Whoever travels here with a VW Camper must take the ferry. But there are some things to consider: When should I book and also where? Which ferry connections are the best? Do I cross over at night or during the day and how is a VW van even billed? We give you the answers to your questions. At the end, we provide two calculation examples on top for the crossing to Corsica and Sardinia. In that way your travel budget is guaranteed to be right.

General basics: Taking a ferry with a camper

Taking the ferry with your camper instead of using the land route can have some advantages – but in the end it is often a matter of taste, a question of time or the question of whether the ferry is the right route does not even arise because there is no land route to the desired destination. You are not yet sure whether a ferry trip is the right thing for you? You will know after these basic facts.

  1. Sleeping on the ferry – “Camp on board” or take a cabin?

If you are on a ferry overnight, it often takes longer than during the day – But it can also be very attractive after a long journey in a Bulli. Ferries that travel overnight offer different accommodations for their guests:

  • Cabins for 2 to 4 persons with own shower and WC
  • Suites
  • Dormitories
  • Sleeper chair

If you travel with a camper or campervan, some shipping companies in the Mediterranean offer to stay overnight in your bus. But here it is important to book early and to announce the wish to “Camp on board” directly, since the contingent of real “camping sites” on ferries is very limited. Even in the low season.

Some shipping companies are a little tricky, because they often decide only at short notice whether they offer “camping on board”. Sometimes this type of accommodation is only possible on certain days of the week. So inquiries absolutely pay off here.

Short and sweet – What is worth knowing about “camping on board”:

  • Plan plenty of time before departure: Leisure vehicles and trucks drive onto the ferry first.
  • Parking has to be learned: The vehicles park very close behind and next to each other. In any case, don’t get nervous, take your time!
  • Don’t forget the blue adapter plug: Almost all ferries offer free electrical connections according to the CEE standard. Your roadsurfer camper of course has the plug on board.
  • The kitchen stays cold: Gas appliances may not be used, gas bottles or gas taps (Under the gas stove in the cupboard) must be turned off.
  • A ferry is not a camping site: It is narrow, it is loud, but it is your own bed and cheaper than a sleeping cabin.
  • Sanitary containers with showers are available.

In bad weather, however, the dream of “camping on board” could quickly burst, because the captain can pronounce a “prohibition of deck” in stormy weather. Then, unfortunately, you have to wait below the deck for the sun and the next morning. Under certain circumstances this could mean: Sitting on the ground…

  1. Food on the ferry: Ice cream, snacks and more…

There are (self-service) restaurants, small cafés and snack bars on almost every ferry. So nobody has to starve, even if the gas cooker is not allowed to be thrown on and the supplies become scarce. Often there is even a cocktail bar for the adults and an ice cream parlor for the children.

  1. Entertainment on the ferry: There is often a program for the children on board

“Mom, I’m bored, when do we arrive?” is not only an often heard sentence on long car trips, it can also get boring on the ferry, especially for kids. But this don’t have to be the case since ferries also offer a variety of entertainment options. Depending on the size of the ferry and the duration of the regular crossings, there is often a pool and a sun deck on the ships. Besides, a fitness studio and wellness offers are not a rarity, same as discos, casinos, shopping centers and television. Many ferries also offer children’s entertainment and video games.

  1. A pet on the ferry: Please register your Woof-woof!

Quadrupeds have to pay extra on a ferry. Dogs must wear a muzzle and need to be kept on a leash. Normally, the animals have to stay on the outside decks of the ferry. Extra cabins for pet owners are an exception. Often there are dog toilets and dog kennels or boxes on deck. When camping on board, the animals may stay overnight in the bus, but only if the “neighbors” do not feel disturbed. In this case the four-legged friend must go into appropriate boxes.

Especially important: Inform yourself in advance about the entry and vaccination regulations for your pet in the country of arrival. This can also be important when arriving at the ferry port.

With the roadsurfer camper on a ferry? Here are the facts!

You would like to take the ferry with one of our roadsurfer campers? Then there are a few important things to consider. Roadsurfer Bullis count as cars – which is good, because you pay less than for a box van or a larger motorhome, for example. When booking a ferry, it is also important to give the correct vehicle dimensions.

Dimensions of your roadsurfer Bulli:

  • Length 5.4 meters (Long wheelbase)
  • Width 2.2 meters (Incl. exterior mirrors)
  • Height 1,99 meter

roadsurfer Bulli data for ferry bookings:

When you book a ferry, always specify the vehicle length to “6 meters”. Then you still have “air to the rear” even with a mounted bicycle rack, which can sometimes be mounted even though you didn’t book it.

When you book a car registration number, you always have to indicate “Rental Car”. Because due to a loss of rent or a stay in a garage, the license plate could still be exchanged by us at short notice and then no longer match. But don’t worry: The ferry operators know and accept these procedures.

Vehicle damage on a ferry – What’s next?

Unfortunately, there is no insurance cover for damages to the vehicle that occur during the use of ferries. However, you are still obliged to inform us of these damages, even if you have to bear the costs yourself. Unbelievable but true: If the ferry sinks and the vehicle is lost, our insurance will cover it!

Example: With the ferry to Sardinia

The Italian Mediterranean island of Sardinia is a dream for campers. You have several options to get to the island by a campervan:

  • Civitavecchia (Italy) – Arbatax (Tirrenia)
  • Genoa (Italy) – Arbatax (Tirrenia)
  • Civitavecchia (Italy) – Cagliari (Tirrenia)
  • Naples (Italy) – Cagliari (Tirrenia)
  • Palermo (Italy) – Cagliari (Tirrenia)
  • Livorno (Italy) – Golfo Aranci (Corsica Sardinia Ferries)
  • Civitavecchia (Italy) – Olbia (Grimaldi Lines, Tirrenia)
  • Genoa (Italy) – Olbia (MOBY Lines, Tirrenia)
  • Livorno (Italy) – Olbia (MOBY Lines, Grimaldi Lines)
  • Piombino (Italy) – Olbia (MOBY Lines)
  • Civitavecchia (Italy) – Porto Torres (Grimaldi Lines)
  • Genoa (Italy) – Porto Torres (Grandi Navi Veloci, Tirrenia)
  • Bonifacio (Corsica, France) – Santa Teresa Gallura (MOBY Lines, Blue Navy)

Most of them arrive via Genoa. The most frequent connections from Genoa are offered by the shipping company Tirrenia. With this provider and with MOBY Lines there is also the possibility of “camping on board” from Genoa to Olbia or Arbatax – but only with selected connections.

For our calculation example, we assume a small family who would like to spend the night on board in their camper. Depending on your choice of accommodation and the season, the prices can of course differ. Therefore, please see our calculation only as a rough orientation.

Calculation basis:

  • Route: Genoa – Olbia
  • Supplier: MOBY Lines
  • 2 adults
  • 2 children (4 to 11 years)
  • Roadsurfer Bulli
  • Travel time: June


108,00Euro (1 minibus)

+ 68,00 Euro (2 adults)

+ 00,00 Euro (2 children)

+ 54,37 Euro (Surcharges and fees)

= 230,37 Euro

Example: Taking the ferry with your camper to Corsica

Corsica, the French neighbor of Sardinia, is also a fantastic destination for camping enthusiasts. There are also different routes here:

  • Marseille (France) – Ajaccio (Corsica Linea, La Meridionale CMN)
  • Nice (France) – Ajaccio (Corsica Sardinia Ferries)
  • Toulon (France) – Ajaccio (Corsica Sardinia Ferries)
  • Genoa (Italy) – Bastia (MOBY Lines)
  • Livorno (Italy) – Bastia (Corsica Sardinia Ferries, MOBY Lines)
  • Marseille (France) – Bastia (Corsica Linea, La Meridionale CMN)
  • Nice (France) – Bastia (Corsica Sardinia Ferries, MOBY Lines)
  • Savona (Italy) – Bastia (Corsica Sardinia Ferries)
  • Toulon (France) – Bastia (Corsica Sardinia Ferries)
  • Marseille (France) – L’Île-Rousse (Corsica Linea)
  • Nice (France) – L’Île-Rousse (Corsica Sardinia Ferries)
  • Toulon (France) – L’Île-Rousse (Corsica Sardinia Ferries)
  • Marseille (France) – Porto-Vecchio (Corsica Linea)
  • Marseille (France) – Propriano (La Meridionale CMN)

For the sake of simplicity, we use the same family as a basis for the Corsica example. This time, however, our four holidaymakers would like to spend the night in a cabin with WC and shower. Depending on the choice of accommodation and the period, the prices may of course vary. The invoice therefore serves only as an orientation, not as a guarantee.

Calculation basis:

  • Route: Toulon – Bastia
  • Supplier: Corsica Sardinia Ferries
  • 2 adults
  • 2 children (4 to 11 years)
  • roadsurfer Bulli
  • Travel time: June


105,91 Euro (1 minibus)

+ 28,20 Euro (2 adults, 2 children)

+ 76.88 Euro (1 four-bed cabin)

+ 56,55 Euro (Surcharges and fees)

= 267,54 Euro

In the high season you should always book your ferry tickets online in advance. “Camping on board” is not offered for all routes and also not by all shipping companies – However, it is worth asking. Also important: Always schedule enough time before the ship departs. This is simply less stressful and you avoid unpleasant surprises.

In any case, it is not difficult to use the ferry with a camper. So try it out and enjoy your holiday on the other side of the river! We wish you lots of fun.

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