Travelling as a deck passenger on a ferry is one of the cheapest ways of travel. Many people try to avoid it because they are afraid it would be too uncomfortable and rent a cabin instead. I think everyone who tried camping before, should be just fine as a deck passenger.
Those on a tight budget have another option: "Airtype Economy Seats". Those seats look like airplane seats put in a large room (hence the name) - usually with air conditioning turned to maximum.
Those seats might seem quite comfortable at first, but trying to get a good night sleep in one of them is a whole different thing - usually they can not be put into a horizontal position. That is why I prefer to use my sleeping bag on the floor and travel as a deck passenger - it can be quite comfortable and is definitely the cheapest way of travelling long distances with a ferry.
However if you do not have a problem with the things mentioned and don't like the wind in your hair while sleeping on the open deck, those seats might be a very affordable option.
There are a few things you should keep in mind while traveling as a deck passenger on a ferry:
- Try to board the ferry amongst the first to be able to reserve a good spot for spending the night. Keep in mind the sun, wind and engine noise.
- Pack a sleeping bag to keep you warm during the night and a sleeping bag pad (those self inflatable ones are the best choice) for making the hard deck a bit softer.
- A hammock can be a useful alternative to a sleeping bag pad. Keep in mind there are usually not many suitable places for tying it up on a ferry.
- The crew will let you sleep on the floor of inside corridors in case of bad weather. Otherwise there are only a few places available inside - depends on crew tolerance.
- It can get windy and cold even during summer months in the middle of the Mediterranean. Pack a windjacket or some other warm alternative.
- Food and drinks on a ferry can be quite expensive for what you get. Buy at least some of your own supplies before boarding.
- Pack something to keep you occupied during the trip (e.g. a good book, card or board games). Do not count on internet or mobile phone network connections.
- If you are traveling as a large group, it might be smart to consider renting a small cabin together. You can all store your luggage there and use the shower and toilet if you feel the need.
Need another tip on how to get the lowest possible price for a cabin? Check out the link to one of my previous posts.