Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

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Sprodicleson
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat May 26, 2018 4:00 am
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby Sprodicleson » Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:12 pm

Aqtau - Baku, passenger, July 2018
As others’ have said, I found this forum so useful I thought I’d share my experience going from Aqtau, Kazakhstan to Baku, Azerbaijan (actually near Kuryk to Alat).
Yuliya (+7 (729) 250 03 46, [email protected]) was helpful if the ferry (Professor Gul, but also sometimes Merkury 1) was loading at the Aqtau Port, which seems to be getting rarer. I found email better as she could translate questions and responses and was reasonably quick in responding during work hours (9 – 6pm Mon-Fri).
She gave me Hamit’s number (+7 (708) 158 32 40) as he works for the company handling ticketing from the new port near Kuryk. He has useful English skills and sold me a ticket only hours before departure.
I paid Hamit as a taxi driver (3000 KZT - he was going down anyway) to the new port some 30km west of Kuryk which evidently does not have a name and is still under construction. Both ships are train transporters but take all traffic. Ships depart and arrive any port when their cargo is aboard – passengers just have to fit in.
Passport control and customs at the Kazakh end was handled on the ship, not on land, despite new buildings and signs. (If you are more than a foot passenger I suspect there would have been real customs inspections on land). I guess this will change soon enough. The port does have a functional hotel and cafeteria. I obtained permission to stay at the hotel, but my sense was that this was a favour. I was very happy for this as a back-up, as I had little confidence that the ship would behave as advertised.
Nevertheless, the ship sailed more or less as I was told and it was a smooth crossing, food and accommodation both being surprisingly OK.
On the Azerbaijan side, customs and passport control is well established on land, it being an older port. For most people this should be straight-forward (if slow and tedious) process, however, I had made an error in my Azerbaijani evisa and had to ‘modify’ it online. Despite a promise of a 3 hour turn-around, it took 4 ½ hours, with me being told that I’d need to re-board the ship and go back to Kazahkstan unless a had a new visa. It was a very anxious time, but it did work out, and I was free in Azerbaijan and caught a bus from near the port to Baku (5 AZM) or could have taken a taxi (50 AZM).
Hope that this help people…
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thomaswim
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Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:40 am

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby thomaswim » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:16 pm

Hi Sprod! Thanks for your event post about your experience going from Aktau to Baku.

Could you tell me which boat you ended up getting? Was it the Professor Gull? I hadn’t realised it sometimes goes from Kuryk if so.

We spoke to a Hamid, just a moment ago. He was in the office at Aktau port. I wonder if it was the same guy. Professor Gull is expected tomorrow morning 6:00am but he said it might not be taking passengers this crossing. I hadn’t heard that this might be a possibility.

Hamid also told us that from August, none of the ferries will be leaving from Aktau. They will all be going from Kuryk.

More generally, I wonder which boats are taking passengers these days. I know Professor Gull and Merkury 1 regularly do. But how about the other boats. Hamid said no. He said that the other ones I mentioned were all taking ‘wagons’ by which he meant carriages. Would be good to gather a list of names of boats that have recently taken passengers going from Kazakhstan and from which ports they left.

Will will know more tonight when we speak to Hamid about whether the professor will take ...
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Sprodicleson
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2018 4:00 am
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby Sprodicleson » Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:06 pm

Hi Thomas
As far as I am aware, Professor Gul and Merkury I are the only two taking passengers. Hamid probably is the same guy, and he could have been at Kuryk, as I did hear it referred to as ‘Port Aqtau’, which is very confusing.
I don’t know about not taking passengers. Yuliya told me that PG would not take passengers from Aqtau, and that’s when I asked about Kuryk (PG called into Aqtau, them steamed around to Kuryk where it loaded carriages).
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daemmi
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby daemmi » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:30 am

Sprodicleson wrote:Aqtau - Baku, passenger, July 2018
As others’ have said, I found this forum so useful I thought I’d share my experience going from Aqtau, Kazakhstan to Baku, Azerbaijan (actually near Kuryk to Alat).
Yuliya (+7 (729) 250 03 46, [email protected]) was helpful if the ferry (Professor Gul, but also sometimes Merkury 1) was loading at the Aqtau Port, which seems to be getting rarer. I found email better as she could translate questions and responses and was reasonably quick in responding during work hours (9 – 6pm Mon-Fri).
She gave me Hamit’s number (+7 (708) 158 32 40) as he works for the company handling ticketing from the new port near Kuryk. He has useful English skills and sold me a ticket only hours before departure.
I paid Hamit as a taxi driver (3000 KZT - he was going down anyway) to the new port some 30km west of Kuryk which evidently does not have a name and is still under construction. Both ships are train transporters but take all traffic. Ships depart and arrive any port when their cargo is aboard – passengers just have to fit in.
Passport control and customs at the Kazakh end was handled on the ship, not on land, despite new buildings and signs. (If you are more than a foot passenger I suspect there would have been real customs inspections on land). I guess this will change soon enough. The port does have a functional hotel and cafeteria. I obtained permission to stay at the hotel, but my sense was that this was a favour. I was very happy for this as a back-up, as I had little confidence that the ship would behave as advertised.
Nevertheless, the ship sailed more or less as I was told and it was a smooth crossing, food and accommodation both being surprisingly OK.
On the Azerbaijan side, customs and passport control is well established on land, it being an older port. For most people this should be straight-forward (if slow and tedious) process, however, I had made an error in my Azerbaijani evisa and had to ‘modify’ it online. Despite a promise of a 3 hour turn-around, it took 4 ½ hours, with me being told that I’d need to re-board the ship and go back to Kazahkstan unless a had a new visa. It was a very anxious time, but it did work out, and I was free in Azerbaijan and caught a bus from near the port to Baku (5 AZM) or could have taken a taxi (50 AZM).
Hope that this help people…


Aktau to Baku (Kuryk to Alat)

Some additional information about the crossing from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan. We have been a group of 10 person and did the trip around the 14th.

The Kuryk port is really far away fro the village Kuryk. The exact location is: https://www.google.de/maps/place/43%C2%B009'50.5%22N+51%C2%B026'29.3%22E/@41.9238674,48.4796277,7z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d43.164121!4d51.4414215

We took the Boat Qara Qarayev. They told us the only reason why a boat don't take passengers are the stuff the load, if they load gas wagons no passengers allowed.

We all waited in Aktau. But of the reason that are not many or almost no boats leaving from Aktau anymore and the communication is very complicated, even with Hamit, it would make sens to wait at the port in Kuryk. There is a canteen and we got a meal for 400 Tenge. The staff was generally helpful so they would provide you also with water etc. If you have a car there is no problem to go each day to Kuryk village and buy stuff. But if you wait in Aktau the information about a boat will come very spontaneous and you have to organize very quick a taxi. We had luck that we had help of a local! A normal Taxi will cost around 9000 Tenge because the port is not located in Kuryk it self.

Hope that will help a bit more!
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MaxAndSascha
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:45 am
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby MaxAndSascha » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:55 am

Hi there,

we arrived in Baku today and we would like to catch the next ferry.

According to marinetraffic.com both Professor Gul and Merkury-1 are approaching Aktau at the moment, so we plan to stay in Baku for two nights (if my calculations of approx. 9 hours unloading/loading plus 20 hours passage back...?).

Anybody else also waiting at the moment? If yes, please send me a PM and I'll send you my whatsapp contact. Any info is well appreciated! :) Hope the "cruise" will be as nice a the one over the Black Sea a few days ago!

Looking forward to heraing from you!

Max and Sascha
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kimomydog
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Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:11 pm
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x 10

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby kimomydog » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:35 am

Hi, everyone!

I'm trying to find more information about the Turkmenbashi to Baku/Alat ferry.

I remember seeing the two passenger ferries, the Berkarar and Bagtiyar, on the company's website, but now when I click on that particular page, it is completely blank. Does anyone know if these ferries are still running? And if so, how long should I expect waiting at the Turkmenbashi port for them (for visa reasons)? Should I budget about 1 day at the port? 2 days? 1 week? From what I understand, the Turkmen officials will no longer stamp you out at the port to save you if your visa is about to run out. Thank youuuuu!
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BakuBound
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Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:34 pm
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby BakuBound » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:10 am

The QQ departed Aktau Port (not Kuryk) a bit before 9pm Aktau time on Saturday, July 28, and docked at Alat a bit before 8am on Monday, July 30, carrying roughly a dozen foot passengers plus a few drivers and cyclists.

Waiting onboard the docked ship, passport control, changing money, taxi negotiations (50 manats), and then heading into Baku meant arrival in the city centre a bit after 11am.

This was apparently the first passenger departure from Aktau or Kuryk since the July 14 departure mentioned above. (Yes, some folk had been waiting almost two weeks.) Although the ship did not sail until around 9pm, passengers were told to be at the dock at 6am, though most showed up around 10am.

General observations:

-- Be very flexible if taking this route, especially east to west. Not days but weeks of waiting are possible, and Aktau is boring. Various rumours abound: Ships don't take passengers unless there are enough passengers boarding. Ships don't take passengers when carrying oil or similar cargo. All subsequent sailings will be from Kuryk. Etc. Again, rumours just.

-- Deal with Hamid, named above. But have a Russian speaker handy when calling him, and remember that the ship is definitely sailing with passengers ONLY when Hamid starts selling tickets. Anything beforehand is just conjecture. Ticket sale will start suddenly with no advance warning.

-- Don't ask when the ship will sail! Don't ask when it will arrive! It goes when it goes. It gets there when it gets there. On this sailing, the QQ held steady at about 15-16km/h. YMMV.

-- Food was OK. The mess hall on the QQ, and only the mess hall, had A/C, and it was a good refuge from the muggy cabins stacked with six bunks each. The crew was agreeable and fellow passengers very sociable, so the sailing passed quickly.

-- If heading west to east, be aware that trains to Almaty are booked weeks in advance, during summer at least. Online train booking is possible from overseas, but difficult to time right because ship arrivals are so unpredictable.

All considered, a trip only for those who are very committed.
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aussietraveller7
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:50 am
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Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby aussietraveller7 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:54 am

kimomydog wrote:Hi, everyone!

I'm trying to find more information about the Turkmenbashi to Baku/Alat ferry.

I remember seeing the two passenger ferries, the Berkarar and Bagtiyar, on the company's website, but now when I click on that particular page, it is completely blank. Does anyone know if these ferries are still running? And if so, how long should I expect waiting at the Turkmenbashi port for them (for visa reasons)? Should I budget about 1 day at the port? 2 days? 1 week? From what I understand, the Turkmen officials will no longer stamp you out at the port to save you if your visa is about to run out. Thank youuuuu!


They are still running. Only a day or two. I did a post on this if you go back a couple of pages only a month ago which will help with the new port terminal as it's changed quite a bit.
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Sabrina
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:22 pm

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby Sabrina » Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:59 am

Hi there!
does anyone know if it's possible to take a (big) dog on the caspian ferries? we want to go from Alat to Aqtau!
We tried to call the ticket office a few times and ask but the connection is very bad and the man only tells something in russian :D
thank you!!!
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bindeand
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:06 pm

Re: Caspian sea ferry updates & questions

Postby bindeand » Thu Aug 09, 2018 1:16 pm

Hello

Does anyone know, was there a ferry from aqtau to baku with passengers after the ferry from 28. july 2018? Or is anyone waiting at aqtau now?
Thanks a lot.
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