For the moment, this area only has information about ferries from Tunis. We hope to expand this area in the 2010-11 school year. Contact Rick if you want to help.

Ferry: Tunis-Marseilles


Costs
A round-trip ticket from Tunis to Marseilles with two people, a cabin, and a standard car is from 1,000-1,500 USD
Meals can run from 10 Euros and higher on the Ferry
A beer on a French ferry cost about 4 Euros
You might want 5-20 dinars to tip guys in the ferry lines

Tips
If you are returning to Tunisia in August, expect a very full boat and be sure to book well in advance.
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WC in Cabin

Get a cabin.
Bring a pen to fill out forms.
If you need an exit stamp be sure to bring one with you.
Fill up your car in Tunis (much cheaper!)
Make sure your car is in tip-top shape. Repairs in Europe are very expensive.
You must buy special insurance for Europe- cost around 100TND for 30 days.
When leaving from Tunis, expect lots of guys offering to help you with paperwork and or sell you souvenirs. You might want to keep some dinars handy for this.
Bring Euros with you on trip to purchase drinks and food on board.
Prepare a backpack or small bag ahead of time that you will take on board for 24 hour crossing.
A laptop or DVD player and some movies is a good way to pass time on the ferry.
Bring snacks and water on board and also some for when you are waiting to board.
Check departure time in advance- ferries often run late.
Carry all your car papers and passport on board (do not leave in car)
Tunisian or French Ferry?
Some people think one is better than the other. I find the food cheaper and better on Tunisian ferries; although the food on both systems is not fabulous. I think the cabins and dog kennels are in better condition on French ferries. In general, Tunisian crewmembers are more likely to speak some English. When returning to Tunisia on a Tunisian ferry, you can do the paperwork on board the ship. French like rules more than Tunisians. Strictly speaking, I think the differences are minor and would just go with whatever ferry is leaving the day that you want to travel.

How it all works Tunis-Marseilles
I’ve crossed several times. The truth is that the process is different each time. You have to be flexible, patience, and consider it an adventure. In general, be observant and copy what other people do. The steps below are guidelines only.

Leaving Tunis
Go to the Gare Maritime in La Goulette. As you approach people will be asking you (yelling) Marseilles, Marseilles? They will point to an area to park.
From here you will need to enter the office (see pic). You will be asked for your ticket and your car papers.
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Check in Here

They will issue you a ticket to hang on your rearview mirror. They will also give you a small card to fill out (needed for police check) and the voucher for your room- that voucher will have the key code for your room. You will then be asked to drive your car to a new place to wait to board the ferry. In general, the people telling you where to go will expect a small tip.
Now you wait. Good time for a book, iPod or maybe picnic lunch?
After 1-4 hours or more of waiting, a sudden urgency will come over everyone and cars will start cramming their way through the first check point. This is just a single gate where the police will look at you. Next you are directed to a police check. At this point they will collect the small card given to you at the ferry check in. They will also stamp your passport and exit stamp.
Next step is the customs. Police will point you in the direction- or just follow all the other cars. In customs they will ask you what you doing and look in car and trunk.
If you are leaving with a Tunisian car, they may send you to get a blue form to fill out. Some times they have the form right there. You might need help with the form since it asks for all the info about your car. Generally, the customs agents are pretty helpful.
Next you will be directed to the ship. There will be one last check of your passport and car before you enter. They may search your car again.

Park your car on the ferry (follow instructions of the ferry crew).
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The First Gate

Get your 24 hour bag, snacks and paperwork out of the car. Lock you car. Once you leave your car you cannot return so double-check to make sure you have everything.
Be certain to note where your car is parked. Section C level 3 is an example. These boats have a lot of decks and it is easy to loose you car.
Look for stairs or elevator (limited elevators) and head up to find your cabin.
Now you wait. It’s nice to go to the bar and have a beer or coffee as you watch the ferry pull out of Tunis.
Enjoy your crossing- get caught up on some reading, sleep, or reflection. The ferries generally have some movies (in French) or other activities.
You can expect the ships to run a drill or two during the crossing- it will not concern you and is meant to keep the crew from falling asleep.
About an hour outside Marseilles, they may ask you to leave cabins so they can start cleaning. It’s nice to go on the deck and watch the approach to Marseilles.
When the ferry docks, there will be a scramble for the cars. This can be quite unpleasant with the car fumes, horns blaring, and some people seem quite panicked to get of the ship (it’s even worse going back to Tunis).
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On Ferry

Once on French soil, you wait in line and go to passport booth. They stamp you and then a customs officer will ask you if you have cigarettes or booze (this has never made any sense to me). You are then released on to the streets of Marseilles. For years, there has been a lot of co
nstruction in the port area and it is confusing as hell to get out. In general, follow the signs and streams of cars.
Mabrouk! You are now in France!

Warnings
You may wait hours in a hot car. A hat, water, and a snack are a must.
There is a lot of hype about theft in and around the port in Marseilles. Be alert.
Metal ship decks plus moisture equals slippery.
Drivers can be very aggressive and panicky getting off the ferry, use caution.

Ferry Return: Marseilles to Tunis
Plan extra time to find the entrance to the ferry terminal. The construction in the Marseilles port area as made this difficult and confusing.
Pretty much the same as coming, but there is less shade in Marseilles while waiting for your ferry.
Cars will be loaded down with goods!
You may need to leave your car to check in. Be sure to lock it up as there are multiple warnings about theft in the area.
If you are taking a Tunisian ferry, you can do a lot of the paperwork on board- this saves time. The police will set up table on the ship.
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Coming into Marseille

Driving your car off the ferry onto Tunisian soil is the worst part of this journey. Expect people to blow their horns and to be very impatient at this point.
Be aware that when you arrive in Tunis, you can count on 1-2 hours of formalities.
You will do the same as whe you left Tunis- police and customs checks.
If you have a dog, your paperwork will be checked by the vet. Sometimes they wave this (if the vet is not there). Entering France, our dog paper work was never checked.
If you are driving a Tunisian car, tell that to every police officer and customs person you meet. If you are not Tunisian, they will assume your car is not Tunisia (even with Tunis plates). It is actually very easy to come back in with a Tunis car, so say it over and over again and you will save time and do less paperwork.