Trying to find information about getting the ferry from Croatia back to Italy was a minefield.
It probably isn’t helped that the websites weren’t written in English and what we could find in English didn’t answer our questions.
We have both obviously travelled by ferries before but there was hardly any information about travelling with dogs.
The information we found on the internet was either old or very negative, so we decided to go ahead and book for no other reason than to see what it was like and make our own minds up it also made life a little simpler as the ferry saved us driving back on ourselves through Croatia.
We used SNAV ferries which is one of two companies that do this route. In the summer the ferry crosses every evening from Croatia and on a Saturday during the day. We are now out of season so the ferry only travels every other night and there are no day crossings.
The information we could find told us that we had 2 choices with the dogs. We either had to book a cabin or sit outside on deck. Neither of us fancied sitting on the deck all night so we booked a cabin.
We had also read that all dogs must be muzzled, so we had to find a pet shop and get Lily a muzzle.
We had to arrive at the port at least 2 hours before our departure at 8pm. We arrived at 5.30pm and waited for about an hour before they started boarding us.
We spoke to an Italian guy who had 2 dogs with him and asked him if he had to muzzle the dogs on his way over and he told us no but he had muzzles in case he needed to. So we didn’t put Lily’s muzzle on and there were plenty of dogs on board that didn’t have muzzles on either.
When we got through passport control and showed the man directing people onto the ferry our print out he informed us we needed to get boarding passes. We hadn’t seen any information telling us we needed to do this and there was no information at the port either.
So panic stations as we parked up and Colin went to get our boarding passes on the other side of passport control. When he returned we rejoined the queue and then got told we needed to reverse onto the ferry.
The boat crew directed us and were fantastic, they were also very patient!
Once parked we had to join the queue with the foot passengers to board. This meant taking the dogs up two flights of moving escalators, not the easiest thing to do in the world especially with our over night bags in tow.
At this point we still had no idea where our cabin was or what we had to do, so we asked another member of staff and he directed us to reception. We collected our room key and we asked where the dogs were allowed to go and we were told anywhere but they needed to be kept on the lead. It had mentioned in other reviews there was a gravel ‘dog loo’ area but when I asked I was told no.
Our room was simple but sufficient and it exceeded our expectations after reading the reviews, we even had an en-suite shower room which we weren’t expecting.
We were woken just after 5am to be informed that the breakfast area was opening and the ferry would be arriving at 6.45am.
In summary, it was a good experience and one we would definitely do again if we needed to. The dogs seemed happy and apart from lack of information about what to do and where to go it was a straight forward process.
I would recommend booking in advance. When we first looked into getting the ferry the price was very reasonable but we weren’t 100% sure that this was what we were going to do. We ended up booking it only a couple days in advance and the price had doubled!!