2 ferry services ply the route between Batumi and Odessa. One is operated by Ukrferry, the other by Ferrysped. The boats take foot passengers, bicycles, motorbikes, cars and rail cars. For more info on other ferry services on the Black Sea, (including Batumi – Sochi and Odessa – Poti) see the Black Sea Ferries overview page.
Schedule, prices and booking
Do keep the disclaimer in mind: delays due to customs, port availability and sea conditions are very common. Call or mail in advance to get an update.
This means the ferry is not for people who are on a tight travel plan. The minimum journey time is 26 hours but it could just as easily take 5 days if the sea is rough. That’s when they ask you to start rationing :-)
- Batumi: U&G Agency ([email protected] – now at 32 Gogebashvili St., no longer on Kutaisi Street) handles ticket sales. You can e-mail them in advance to get the latest updates on the shipping schedule.
- Odessa: The Ukrferry office is located at 4a Sabanskiy, Odessa (map)
- Tbilisi: U&G Agency LLC (alas it says “LL Group” on the office and receipt) 12a Alexander Kazbegi Ave: 41.725542, 44.762155. Office hours seem to be rather sporadic, Mo.-Fr. some time after noon should be okay, or ring Levan Leonidze beforehand at 599 99 9092. BEWARE: You will not be given a ticket at this state, just the receipts and be told to show on the afternoon of departure at the office in Batumi (34 Kazbegi Ave). More on the booking process in Tbilisi.
- Online: Ukrferry’s online booking service is functional and easy to use.
- Batumi: the Batumi port is located off Gogebashvili street (map). This is a cargo terminal without any facilities for foot passengers, except for 3 wooden benches.
- Odessa: the Odessa port is located in the wealthy beach suburb of Chornomorsk, 20 km out of the city center. The port has 3 entries. The correct one is located at 46.347258, 30.648412 (map). Turn right before the bridge coming from Odessa. This entrance serves cars, trucks and foot passengers. Once again, absolutely no facilities.
We do not have a report of the trip with Ferrysped yet. Below is a mash-up of reports of trips with Ukrferry from 2017 and 2018.
3 ships ply the route for Ukrferry, the MS Greifswald, Vilnius Seaways and the MS Kaunas Seaways. Built in Germany in 1988, the MS Greifswald is the biggest ro-ro/rail/passenger ferry in the world. 150 passengers, 50 rail wagons and 50 TIR trucks can fit in.
Cabins are spacious with ensuite shower and toilet and plenty of outlets. Most passengers are male truck drivers.
The ferry ticket includes 3 meals per day, served at 8am, 1pm, and 6.30pm. If you are on board at these times you will be fed. Meals are a set menu of Ukrainian flavours – canteen-style. Anyone on a diet barring meat, dairy, gluten, … can say so, and will get the same menu as others, without the meat and an extra helping of the other ingredients. If you prefer to self-cater, bring enough for 5 days, but make sure you can eat it later in case you arrive on time.
The on-board shops sell only alcohol and chocolate, preferred currency is the Euro. Since most passengers are truck drivers not too much serious boozing going on. A small “captain’s bar” opens for a few hours each time.
Arrival in Odessa for the rail-ferrries is not at Rubny port, but a nearby dock (Map reference: 46.344774 N, 30.651353 E) . We arrived late in the evening, after a significant delay, although the sailing was very smooth.
When docked, drivers remain on board to await immigration. Foot passengers are escorted off and taken in a small yellow bus to the immigration office. Chornomorsk is still 20km from Odessa. Options are to take a taxi, walk to the highway and flag down a passing bus or get a ride with a fellow passenger. An exchange office has advertised opening hours 8.00-17.00, should you be lucky enough to arrive during the day. Best to exchange a little bit of money on the boat/in Batumi for the ride into Odessa.
Immigration for foot passengers happens onboard. Drivers have to wait longer for customs. Once you are out of the port, you can catch a bus or quick taxi ride to the center of Batumi. You might even walk.
Thanks go to adi and Trevor for pictures and info: Trevor’s full account can be read at White Monkey Travels.