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Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

Beirut, Lebanon
Level Contributor
13 posts
19 reviews
Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

Just wanted to share my recent recent experience taking the ferry between Aqaba, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. I am traveling with a US Passport, and the following information is current as of April 14, 2017. I took the slow ferry from Aqaba to Nuweiba (both ways) twice in a one month period.

There are two ferry services running out of Aqaba, both operated by AB (Arab Bridge) Maritime: one is the fast (tourist) ferry between Aqaba and Taba in Sinai, and the other is the slow ferry running between Aqaba and Nuweiba in Sinai.

The fast ferry is faster (obviously), geared towards tourists, and runs during the day. The slow ferry is geared towards industry and commercial trucking, etc, and when traveling from Jordan to Egypt your only option is to go at night, arriving Nuweiba at 1 or 2 am. The fast ferry is obviously the better option, right?? That's what I thought, so I spent a lot of time trying to avoid taking the slow ferry (four times). But here's the catch: if you plan on traveling onward in Egypt beyond Sharm El Sheikh (i.e Cairo), or if you do not plan to return to Jordan, your only option is to take the slow ferry. This is because there is currently tight restrictions on anyone entering Egypt at Taba. Even though I obtained a full Egyptian tourist visa at the Consulate in Aqaba (very painless, I did it twice and both times only took a couple of hours), I was told that upon entry in Taba you are given a restricted entry stamp and must return to Jordan within two weeks. Also, the ferry operators are obligated to ensure that you return to Jordan and so they will only sell you round trip tickets to Taba. I thought about buying the round trip ticket and just ditching the return portion and trying to continue by bus to Cairo. However, there are many many checkpoints between Taba and Cairo, so I decided not to risk it and I took the slow ferry.

If you do not plan to travel beyond Sharm and you plan to return to Jordan, the 14 day Sinai tourist visa is FREE and available on arrival. Don't waste time and money going to the consulate and buying a full visa.

So here is everything I know about the slow ferry between Aqaba and Nuweiba:

TICKETS: Tickets are not sold at the port, you must buy them at the ticket office.

In Aqaba, there are a couple of locations. The Tourist Information Center in Aqaba is extremely helpful and will point you in the right direction. The ticket is 75 USD, plus 10 Jordanian Dinar departure tax that must be paid in cash at the port.

In Nuweiba: any taxi will be able to take you to the ticket office. In Nuweiba, they charge 90 USD, and that includes departure tax.

VISA:

From Aqaba to Nuweiba, you can either obtain your visa at the consulate in Aqaba (17 Jordanian Dinar, and you must bring passport photos), or you can get your visa on the ship. Both times I got my visa in advance, but I understand that you can obtain a full tourist visa on the ship.

From Nuweiba to Aqaba, you will receive the Jordanian visa at immigration upon arrival in Aqaba. The terminal building is huge and easy to get lost in. When you come off the ship, you will enter the ferry building on the first floor at customs. However, immigration is on the top floor. Find your way up there somehow (I was lead different ways each time) get your visa, then go back down to the entrance on the first floor and go through customs.

PRACTICALITIES:

Aqaba to Nuweiba: The biggest downside of the slow ferry is that it only goes from Jordan to Egypt in the middle of the night. Buy your ticket ahead of time and arrive at the port before 9 pm. The night ferry seems to leave on time consistently, and arrives Nuweiba at 1:30 AM ish. There is an immigration agent who is in charge of all the foreigners and he will be your escort when you arrive Nuweiba, holding on to your passport until you have everything you need. There are taxis and minibuses waiting to take you onward. 350 pounds for a minibus split among six people seemed fair to me. By the time you get through to the street, it will be around 2:30 AM. If you are travelling to Dahab, you'll arrive around dawn. If you have trouble finding a hotel that's open, keep in mind that there are many open air beachfront restaurants with lots of cushions on the ground where you can nap until the hotels open. I did this twice, and the staff didn't seem to mind; one even brought me a blanket.

The best part about taking the slow ferry in this direction is that you may meet some fellow travelers, and you may make friends with some of the crew, and they may invite you up to the VIP section where you can drink Arak and smoke cigarettes and have a delightful time. Maybe I just got lucky...twice! But either way, be aware that there is a VIP section upstairs, and as a foreigner access may be offered to you or you may ask for it. Bring Arak. And Peanuts :)

Nuweiba to Aqaba: I had two frustrations while travelling this direction. One was that the ferry was delayed by more than an hour and a half each time. Be prepared for that, and if you are planning to drive onward from Aqaba understand that you may have to do it in the dark.

Also, I was assured over and over by many people in Dahab (Egypt) that there is a fast ferry from Nuweiba to Aqaba. There is most definitely not. The ticket agent in Nuweiba even tried to tell me that he was selling me a ticket for the fast ferry (although my Arabic is terrible so I may have misunderstood), but I looked at the ticket and could see plainly it was the slow ferry. Finally he told me that the fast ferry stopped running from Nuweiba to Aqaba a month earlier due to lack of business. It was low season so maybe the fast ferry will come back, but for now don't count on it.

I spent a lot of time figuring this all out and enjoyed having a puzzle to solve, but I hope this will save some fellow travelers time in the future. Please let me know if I can clarify anything.

Cheers!

34 replies to this topic
Petra - Wadi Musa...
Level Contributor
4,570 posts
28 reviews
1. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

Hi Britt, thanks for sharing, this is very helpful indeed.

Patricia (Petra Bed & Breakfast - Horse Riding Jordan)

amman, jordan
Level Contributor
291 posts
39 reviews
2. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

The one nice thing about the slow, overnight ferry, is that it always runs because of the commercial truck/car traffic.We took it in March, when the weather was really windy--at that time, the fast ferries weren't running because of high seas. Once we boarded, we did our immigration, and found a steward and were able to get a cabin with ensuite bath; slept all the way to Nuweibeh.

Hawkhurst, United...
Level Contributor
1 post
6 reviews
3. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

Thanks for your super helpful recent experience /information. I am hiking 14 day Sinai Trail in October and need to travel from Aqaba to Nuweiba and back on the ferry.

4 posts
4. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

Hi Britt B!! Thanks a lot for the information. I'm going tomorrow to Aqaba, but some tourists guides in Sharm tell me the Nuweiba port isn't functioning because some hurricane two years ago. I'm thinking this isn't true because of your recent post (2017). Do you know the aprox schedule for the nuweiba-Aqaba ferry you took? Does it goes daily? I'm planning to go tomorrow Monday. Thanks in advance!

Level Contributor
2 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

What time was the ferry from Nuweiba to Aqaba today Monday as I will be traveling in a few days? What time did it arrive in Aqaba? Thanks so much.

Level Contributor
2 posts
2 reviews
6. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

What time was the ferry from Nuweiba to Aqaba today Monday as I will be traveling in a few days? What time did it arrive in Aqaba? Thanks so much.

Amman, Jordan
Destination Expert
for Syria, Aleppo, Jordan
Level Contributor
12,267 posts
41 reviews
7. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

post 4 and post 5

remember that TA member may not revisit the forum after they leave the country they visited.

Britt might have left the forum so do not expect a response

cheers

Raymond

Beirut, Lebanon
Level Contributor
13 posts
19 reviews
8. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

Yes the industrial port in Nuweiba was still functioning when I was there April 2017. Again, it is the industrial port, not the tourist port. My memory is fading but the Nuweiba to Aqaba ferry was in the early afternnon, I believe 1230. Both times I took the ferry from Nuweiba, the ferry was delayed by one or two hours. Additionally, there is a time difference between Egypt and Jordan. So, I arrived Aqaba around 5:30 pm if I remember correctly.

Here's the "official" timetable, but as I said in April 2017, only "trip 1" was available. No touristic boat.

http://www.abmaritime.com.jo/en/fleet_table

Level Contributor
1 post
3 reviews
9. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

Thanks for your helpful imformation Britt! However, I wonder if I want to get a ferry ticket from Aqaba to Taba, I need to go back to Jordan EXACTLY from Taba via ferry or I can also leave for Jordan via a flight from Sharm El Sheikh Airport within the time required? Do you know about this? Thanks a lot!

Montreal
2 posts
10. Re: Report: ferry between Aqaba and Sinai (April 2017)

Thank you for all this information !

Do you know if we are allowed to take our car rental from Jordan into Nuweiba Egypt.

We are thinking of goin a few days with the ferry and back to Jordan.

Thank you !

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