2 ferry services ply the route between Poti 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 Odessa – Batumi) 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 30 hours but it could just as easily take 5 days if the sea is rough. That’s when they ask you to start rationing.
Prices for a passenger ticket hover around 100$. Vehicle shipping prices depend on the size, but count 300$ for the average car. The full price list for freight and passengers can be found on the Ukrferry price list and the Ferrysped website.
- Batumi: U&G Agency ([email protected] – 34 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 claims it has installed an online booking service. We welcome your reports.
- Poti: the port of Poti is located near the center of town (map). This is a cargo terminal without facilities for foot passengers.
- 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.
We do not have a report of the trip with Ferrysped yet. Below is a report of a 2017 trip with Ukrferry from Odessa to Poti.
We bought ferry tickets at the UkrFerry office close to the port. One lady spoke a little English. She made 2 copies of the car-ID together with our passports on one page for customs/ecological control procedure at the port. Very nice, since these copies are badly needed. Payment was done through a bank on the next counter via Visa card.
We were told to call a Ukrainian phone number at 2pm the day before departure to confirm the boarding time and when we should be present at the port entrance.
We called the number. On the phone a lady told us to be at the port at 9am. We arrived at 9, only to be told to come back at 1 pm. Around 2 pm, the customs procedures started. Small steps, loads of waiting, a piece of paper here, a stamp there, waiting, moving, waiting.
There is one English speaking ‘agent’ who handles all the foreigners (at least the ones with vehicles). He is nice and guides you through this AMAZING bureaucratic spectacle.
You’ll witness hours of truck and cargo loading on the ferry. Whole trains are swallowed by the ferry. Boarding is definitely a full day procedure. Don’t expect anything less. Stay cool, read a book. The ferry left port around midnight.
We sailed on the Vilnius, a nice boat. Food ok. 75% truckers, 25% passengers. Water available for free. Other beverages on sale (e.g. beer 2 USD, coffee 1 USD). Three meals per day included.
Die-hard vegetarians have a problem, the ones who can pick out the meat from soups and are not bothered by one or the other sausage on their plates are fine. They just have a little less to eat. Maybe bring some extra snacks.
If you’re coming with a car, you’re able to access the car twice a day for 30 min. This is meant for the truckers to check on their cooling trailers or transported animals.
The ride is usually super-smooth. Chances are that you’ll see dolphins on the way if you look out. We did.
Upon arrival there is a lengthy passport control on board. Again, loads of waiting. Also for the unloading of vehicles. If you are lucky you are parked on the lower cargo deck which means you’ll get to drive out first. Forget to try to influence your parking location. They know what they’re doing and as passenger you are at the very bottom of the priority list since UkrFerry operates cargo ships. Passengers are just a minor add-on.
Customs in Poti are also straight forward and hassle free. Officers were very nice.
We left port around 1630 hrs (we arrived around 9am). This also is a full day procedure. Read another book.
Enjoy the ride, it is definitely fun and generally a nice experience if you taking it easy.
Thanks go to Julian for the report and pictures.