Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

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Li Via
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2021 2:06 am
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Post by Li Via »

Sorry I don’t know how it works with the own car on the ferry. As we crossed we were the only tourists. Besides us, there were only some azerbaijanian footpassengers and and all the truck drivers.
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Lauriane
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:05 am

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Post by Lauriane »

Hi everyone,

Last week my boyfriend and I arrived in Aktau and we tried to take the ferry to go to Baku. It is possible and it seems easy to take the ferry BUT you NEED an additional permit (additional to your visa) from the Azerbaijani ambassy! You can contact them via whatsapp (+7 708 7127016) and you need to send them you passport details and the reason of your arrival by sea. There is a paper explaining this at the ferry office in Aktau. We didn’t know about it since people said they could cross without such permit in June but the woman at the office told us ot is necessary since July and this information was confirmed by the ambassy. The permit should take around 2 weeks to arrive so message the ambassy as soon as you know you want to take the ferry otherwise you’ll be forced like us to fly :(
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jummy
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2022 9:33 am
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Post by jummy »

Our experience going from Baku (Alat) to Aqtau (Kuryk) with two persons and a car:

Having read the horror stories on how hard it is to get tickets and having to wait multiple days in port for the ferry to arrive, we first tried to get information by phone. Very inefficient, people were unwilling to provide information, just hanging up the phone and even blocking numbers of the hostel. There are also some reports about a Baku ticket office, but we have not managed to find it in multiple supposed locations. However, after going to the Alat port in person, everything was arranged in minutes and we were told to just await their phone call as they did not know exactly when the ferry would arrive (Tip: get a local SIM card so that the ticket office can reach you easily, they will not call international numbers or use Whatsapp). After their call, we would have ~2 hours to get to the port. This worked out fine and provide us with some extra day to spend in Baku (~1 hour drive from Alat port). The online portal (https://www.asco.az/en/pages/1) is a good way to pay for the tickets, as this is the only way to pay by card. Otherwise you will have to go to the bank at the port to pay by cash and get a payment receipt (there is an ATM, but it refused to give us the required amount). Do note that the online payment IS NOT your ticket. You have to show the QR-code / x-digit code that you get to make the reservation at the ticket office in the Alat port. You will get the actual tickets after you get the call to come to the port, as they only know then which exact ship you will be on. We paid USD 70 per person and USD 360 for the car.

We purchased the tickets on Wednesday and got the call to get to the port on Thursday evening around 21 hrs. As we had anticipated boarding the ferry that evening, we were already on our way to Alat and were there at almost the same time. After collecting our tickets, we were asked to wait in the waiting room for 1-2 hours. After ~1 hour we were asked to already get our car past the first checkpoint. Only the driver/owner was allowed in the car, the passenger had to go later on foot. After some handling fee payments and a quick security check, I had to park the car just passed the first checkpoint and wait there for further instructions. We paid 2 manat for parking at the ticket office, USD 10 for parking in the terminal and some 80 manat in other port fees.

Another hour later (around 23 hrs), I got a call from someone on the vessel asking me to board the ship with the car. As it was dark, trucks parked everywhere and no signs, it was very hard to find the right direction. In the end, I drove back to the first checkpoint where I explained that I could not find the ship. One of the shipping company employees offered to drive along with me to show me the way. This was at the same time (~23.30 hrs) that the rest of the passengers were allowed to board, so my wife was allowed to sit in the car with me as well. The shipping company employee helped us through the second checkpoint (customs) and third (border control) to the point that we could drive on the ship. The customs process was a breeze (not even a proper check), the border control was a bit more tight with all luggage having to go through X-ray and a grumpy official asking tenacious questions about Armenian stamps in our passports. Nevertheless, all in all relatively smooth.

Our ship was the Zarifa Alyeva. Judging from a sign, it was build or refurbished in 2018-2022, hence everything was very new and in good condition. We had 4-passengers huts with bunk beds, plenty of closet space, airconditioning and en-suite toilet and hot shower. The boarding of all trucks took another couple of hours, so we left the port around 3.30 hrs. Meals were served three times a day and the food was good. Coffee, tea, water and a great sunset were available for free as well.

We arrived in Kuryk around 23.30 local time (+1 hour). First we had to wait around 1-2 hours before going through border control on the ship itself, after which we could go to our vehicle and leave the ship at 2.00 hrs. After this we had a security check of the car and had to go to the port terminal to arrange all paperwork. Unfortunately this was quite an inefficient process, probably due to the fact that is was 3.00-4.00 hrs already. Customs took about an hour to complete, but the main roadblock was the bank that was not open yet for us to pay all charges. Hence, we had to wait until 10 hrs in the morning before we could stand in line with all the truckers to pay 35 k tenghe in port fees. After this we had to go through the port security separately again. In the end, we managed to leave the port at 11.30 hrs, so in total it took us around 12 hours to leave since arriving in Kuryk.

Despite some broken nights, all in all a very good and fun experience. Would highly recommend to take this route! Feel free to ask any follow-up questions
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FalseHorizons
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2022 5:44 pm

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Post by FalseHorizons »

Hey, I'm currently in Oral (Uralsk) and was planning on taking the ferry to Azerbaijan from Aktau (Kuryk). I read that Azerbaijan has very recently brought in a permit that they require for people entering the country by boat. I contacted the embassy and this was confirmed. They said they were going to apply for the permit but to not expect to get one. They said that there is a whole que a mile long of people waiting for their permit.
I plan on leaving Oral in a day or 2 to make the trip down to Aktau...
I just wanted to know if anyone has actually received the permit or has actually travelled from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan by boat in the last month?
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StevenD
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2022 11:26 am

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Post by StevenD »

FalseHorizons wrote:
Wed Aug 31, 2022 5:54 pm
Hey, I'm currently in Oral (Uralsk) and was planning on taking the ferry to Azerbaijan from Aktau (Kuryk). I read that Azerbaijan has very recently brought in a permit that they require for people entering the country by boat. I contacted the embassy and this was confirmed. They said they were going to apply for the permit but to not expect to get one. They said that there is a whole que a mile long of people waiting for their permit.
I plan on leaving Oral in a day or 2 to make the trip down to Aktau...
I just wanted to know if anyone has actually received the permit or has actually travelled from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan by boat in the last month?
Hi @FalseHorizons, can you perhaps share your update please? I'm due to arrive in just over a week and have a terrible time getting the embassy to move as well. They tell me to fly instead. But also the ticket office is not replying any of the communications, where did you buy your ticket? I now plan to just drive to the Kuryk port and hope to buy/organize there.
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ragondeman
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2022 1:08 pm

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Post by ragondeman »

StevenD wrote:
Tue Sep 06, 2022 11:28 am
FalseHorizons wrote:
Wed Aug 31, 2022 5:54 pm
Hey, I'm currently in Oral (Uralsk) and was planning on taking the ferry to Azerbaijan from Aktau (Kuryk). I read that Azerbaijan has very recently brought in a permit that they require for people entering the country by boat. I contacted the embassy and this was confirmed. They said they were going to apply for the permit but to not expect to get one. They said that there is a whole que a mile long of people waiting for their permit.
I plan on leaving Oral in a day or 2 to make the trip down to Aktau...
I just wanted to know if anyone has actually received the permit or has actually travelled from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan by boat in the last month?
Hi @FalseHorizons, can you perhaps share your update please? I'm due to arrive in just over a week and have a terrible time getting the embassy to move as well. They tell me to fly instead. But also the ticket office is not replying any of the communications, where did you buy your ticket? I now plan to just drive to the Kuryk port and hope to buy/organize there.
Hi

@StevenD @FalseHorizons Any update of your experience with the permit?

I texted yesterday to that embassy number ((+7 708 7127016) and just one response: take a plane
I still have five weeks to get the ferry and I'm not in a rush to get that permit so I don't understand that answer
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