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  #1  
Old 25 Oct 2012
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Ferry Port Said (Egypt) to Iskenderum (Turkey) FULL REVIEW

Okay, here we go….

All of the info below is based on our group of travellers, and we took the ferry on the 23rd of October 2012. Mirjam and I travel on Dutch passports with two Dutch motorcycles. We travel together with two South Africans with their South African 4x4.
6,1 LE (Egyptian pound) is 1 USD
1,80 TL (Turkish Lira) is 1 USD

As our idea to go into Libya failed ( Egypt closed the border to Libya for non-Libyan/Egyptian passport holders) we had to take a ferry.
We checked out multiple options, including the boats leaving from Israel. Info on this you can find elsewhere.
This review is about the ferry from Port Said (Egypt) to Iskenderum (Turkey).

We have contacted some agents and fixers a few days before, and Sisa Shipping (Turkisch company) seemed very professional and we had heard good experiences from other travellers. (like easy changes in your booking in case your vehicle breaks down etc.)
They adviced us to contact Kadmar Shipping in Port Said.

TICKETS
We booked directly at Sisa Shipping (contact Ms. Saba Ipek, a very friendly lady who speaks very good English. saba.ipek[AT]sisashipping[DOT]com or +90 (216) 444 2954)
Prices:
130 USD for a Pullman seat (no cabin)
230 USD for a motorcycle
495 USD for the car, over 200 cm high, 5,5 meters long.
Cabins possible, 2 person cabin @ 275USD per person, 4 person cabin @ 225 USD per person
We were adviced to pay in cash (USD possible) at the office of Kadmar Shipping, after which we would receive the E-ticket.
We never got that one, but when you give your passport to the crew on the boat they check your booking and everything is okay.

I don’t think you really need to book the seats, as one person can travel for free with the vehicle we’ve heard and there are plenty of seats on the boat and nobody checks who is sitting on them.
To sleep, we’ve brought our matrasses and sleeping bags. (I am typing this actually ON the ferry, although I had to take a dongle with internet with me; no internet on the boat normally)
Dinner and breakfast included, and free tea and water unlimited. Take some extra food, as the boat delays often and no meals are served. You can leave your money ‘at home’ as you cannot buy anything on the boat. We had to wait for the boat because it was delayed; some fishing boat sank in the harbour, and thus the passengers didn’t have food on the ferry coming into Port Said for two additional nights! Be prepared…

AGENTS/CUSTOMS CLEARANCE @ Egypt
Here the horror starts.
We went to Kadmar office: Tel.:+2 0663344018
portsaid[AT]kadmar[DOT]com‎ GPS: N31 15.748 E32 18.686 5th floor. The door to the elevator is locked, wait for someone to come down, open it for you or take the stairs to the 3rd floor, the door can be opened there. Office open from 9am-5pm. Ask for Rola, very friendly woman who speaks good English and really tried to do her best.

We agreed on the following prices, and no extra costs besides these for the whole process:
150 USD customs clearance for the car
100 USD customs clearance per motorcycle (so 200 USD for the two)
50 USD agent fee (so 150 USD for the 3 of us)
They claimed to be able to do this all in the day before the ferry leaves, but later they advised us to come a day earlier so we had 2 full days to clear customs.

DAY 1.
We arrived at the office, paid all the fees and the tickets in cash and got receipts for all of it. We’ve met Kareem, their ‘fixer’ who took us to the harbour/customs compound. Mobile: 01226045183
He is very social with the police everywhere which speeds up the process, nice. He is also very stressy and unorganised, speaks bad English and keeps on saying ‘no problem, no worry’.
We got the vehicles to the customs compound and took the plates off. We drove to customs and had a nice chat, some guy there took the export slips off the carnets (they call the carnets ‘Triptek’ or something). No exit stamps on the carnets, but loads of paperwork in arabic.
At the end of the day, we parked the vehicles in some storage yard with guards, and later asked Kadmar for the prices. 50 LE per night for a car, 30 LE per night for a motorcycle. A bit steep!
Hotel De La Poste is close to the KADMAR office, and prices for the rooms range from 95-110LE, all including aircon, showers and a fridge.

DAY 2.
Full day at the vehicles, waiting for Kareem. We drove to customs once to write our name on a document, and some guys came over to check the VIN’s. The KADMAR-agent asked me to pay him 20LE bribe.
Then another bloke arrived, who wanted to check all the luggage of the car, a real hassle. Took very long, he even checked the amount of towels etc..

DAY 3.
Another guy of KADMAR took us to some office to get some stamps, and asked us to pay 100LE in bribes. We got some stamps, no idea for what.
Again to customs, where Kareem started to scream at all officials and in the end, he left pissed off, screamed at us and threw our paperwork to another fixer. We called the main KADMAR office immediately to explain that this was unacceptable. Kareem came back soon, a bit cooled down.
No stamps on the carnets, we got adviced to leave the Carnets in Egypt. KADMAR told us it would take 4 days minimum to get the stamps; they would send it to Europe or give it to other travellers to take with them. Finally we got some stamps on the back of the slip; another trick of customs to delay you I think. NEVER LEAVE YOUR CARNET BEHIND!
We explained it was unacceptable and that we would not board the ferry without our stamped carnets.
In the meantime, we contacted our Automobile clubs to ask about the consequences of not getting the stamps. (we waited a lot in the Kadmar office, which has fast WiFi, pw = 0123406018) Summary: it doesn’t make things easier, but if you check in in your home country and get the last sheet of the carnet stamped there it is okay. Egypt cannot claim anything then. (but you’ll have to go to customs in your home country again after expiry date of your carnet for another check, after which your deposit is released)
NEVER LEAVE YOUR CARNET BEHIND! The automobile clubs were very, very clear on this.

DAY 4.
More shit, Kareem took us to the customs office and started arguing with the officials straight away, not productive!
They didn’t want to stamp anything, so we drove around a bit.
We went to the parking/storage, to pay. They wanted 500LE all of a sudden, but I only took the agreed 330. They went down to 400LE, but stated the price was per day, not per night. I made a big fuss, showed them I didn’t have any extra money and they accepted.
Luckily, we saw the ferry get into port and thus we knew we would get on the boat that day.
Again, some officials came to our vehicles to check the VIN’s.
No idea why.
I argued with KADMAR that I thought it was ridiculous that we had to pay bribes all the time, as they got 500USD from us to arrange it all. After lengthy discussions they agreed and paid us back the 120LE.

We drove through the customs compound to the boat, and they wanted us to board. We refused, as the carnets were not stamped.
Kareem wanted to drive us to customs, but we simply couldn’t get through; trucks blocking the roads everywhere. We hopped on my bike, but the bike is not allowed to leave the terrain and thus Kareem left with an official to get the stamps in town. The official demanded more bribes from me (50LE per carnet)but I refused and told Kareem to solve it. They left and came back with stamps on the Carnets, and after this we boarded the ferry.
Turkey, here we come!

In the end, KADMAR delivered as promised as we got on the ferry with all stamps and vehicles.
I doubt whether they would serve other travellers, as they had a lot of shit to solve and I guess they had to pay more bribes than expected. Their fixer Kareem should be trained properly, and we had to fight for our stuff all the time. I don’t know whether I can really advice you to do business with them.
I can only advice: Avoid Egypt if possible!

We’ve also met another fixer: Eslam Mohamed. He seemed a nice guy, got some guys through with their vehicles a lot faster than KADMAR managed with us. He charges a higher price too, and works freelance. I did get the impression he pays more bribes to speed up the process and ‘arrange’ stamps and docs so he can speed up the process. (e.g. he could get our carnets stamped a day earlier, 500LE for the 3, by ‘buying’ a document which stated the vehicles were already loaded on the boat; while the boat was still out at sea)
Nevertheless, he was friendly and seemed to help out people nicely.
TEL: +201091191905 / +201091522262 @:

His ‘standard prices’:
- 1500LE for a vehicle leaving Egypt from Port Said to Turkey (guaranteed no extra costs)
- 3000LE for a vehicle entering Egypt in Port Said (guaranteed no extra costs)
A bit more expensive than KADMAR, but maybe better.

By the way, one last tip: NEVER LEAVE YOUR CARNET BEHIND! ;-)

THE BOAT:
We were on the Nissos Maros, a ferry from Greece.
Very nice, you don’t need to book any seats (the truckers all sleep in their trucks so the boat is very empty). All meals included, 3x per day, really nice. 20hrs sailing time.

TURKEY:
Once you arrive at the docks, you’ll have to wait for your passport
This may take up to an hour, and you might have to go to the police office 100 meters from the dock to get your visa. (was free for Schengen-members and South Africans).
The people in Turkey are fantastic, very polite and helpful, a big contrast to Egypt.
No worries, they will help you all the way through the process!
(the only thing we needed was some writing in our passports, they register your vehicle somewhere in their computer system. This is checked when you drive out of the harbour)

A fixer (Ibrahim) offered his services for 50USD per car and 40USD per bike, we refused. We managed to talk this down to 20USD each, but he messed up and couldn’t get us through on the same day.
In the end, we could arrange everything for free with the help of the other people in the harbour.
You can sleep (for free, with nice clean toilets etc) in the passenger terminal, not bad at all!
We arrived at 22:00 hrs and there was a 4 day Islamic fest coming up; therefore we had some delays with the paperwork and drove into Turkey just before lunch the next day.

p.s. 65km's south of Iskenderun is Antakya. You'll find the Mozaik Museum there (8 TL entrance, about 4-5USD) and it is absolutely fantastic!
Cheap hotels too (although no parking..), Öz Ercan Oteli for 35TL for a 2p room with free internet and private toilet/shower. Tel 0326215 62 73

Last edited by dstehouwer; 28 Oct 2012 at 18:18.
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  #2  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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Full review - a second one!!

Hi, I recently used forum posts on this website and others to find a ferry service from Turkey to Egypt and back. I've now done this journey and can give a bit more detail, and feedback on my experience – over all it was very good and easy, and I'd recommend it! A lot of it mirrors the excellent review above. I didn't actually have a vehicle, I was on foot only, but this forum was really helpful for me finding the route so thought I should give something back

The company I ended up using run a ferry from Iskenderun in Turkey to Port Said and back. There is also one from Mersin to Port Said and back but I didn't use this as they were having problems and it's more expensive.

Main contact details:

The Iskenderun – Port Said company in Turkey is Sisa shipping - call them and ask for Saba, who speaks fluent English, on +90 216 444 2954, or email saba.ipek@sisashipping.com. They also have a Turkish language website - İLETİŞİM - Sisa Shipping Lines and say it will soon have an English version.

Cost:

It is US$220 for a cabin with beds or US$110 for a seat – in the latter case you sleep on the sofas in the main areas. If you're British, you can pay this with an online transfer to Saba's UK account, which is easy and free – otherwise it would probably be by an international bank transfer or credit card payment.

You also pay for your visas while you're on the ferry – US$17 or equivalent in Egyptian Guinea for a UK citizen entering Egypt, and some amount in Turkish Lirasi for entering Turkey (if like me you're returning to Turkey after being there recently you get in for free on your multiple entry visa). GET THESE AMOUNTS IN THE RIGHT CURRENCIES BEFORE GETTING ON THE SHIP as they don't accept other currencies, or cards. There's probably extra customs charges too if you're bringing a car.

Times & getting to ferry:

The ferry leaves from Iskenderun every Wednesday and Saturday. It is supposed to leave at noon and they say to arrive at the port by 9am. It is then supposed to be a 19 hour trip to Port Said. However, in practice the trip is more like 36 hours with immigration delays (see 'the bad bits' below). You go to Limak Port which is the first port you get to going North out of Iskenderun city centre - only 5 minutes by taxi or microbus.

On the return journey it leaves Port Said every Thursday and Sunday, and they say to be at the port by 1pm for a 7pm leaving. The Egyptian shipping agent told me to go to the port but actually you need your passport signed – better to go to the shipping agent's office at El mahrousa Building, Mahmoud Sedkey and Banama St., in the centre of Port Said. They speak English and will sort it for you.

The experience – the good bits:

Overall it was very good. Sisa were professional and easy to deal with, they send you a basic e-ticket to print off and when you get to the port (in Turkey) or office (in Egypt) they take it from there. I was travelling on my own without a car and there were no extra problems because of this – you can also take a car though I don't know if this is more complicated.

You get complimentary tea and coffee, and breakfast, lunch and dinner as long as you're on the boat, including while waiting in the port. The staff are all really nice and friendly and some of them speak decent English.

The ship itself is a massive Greek-owned passenger/ vehicle ferry – very clean and safe feeling. Most of the other passengers are truck drivers, plus Syrian refugee families going to Egypt – they're all very friendly and interesting too.

The bad bits:

Basically, expect delays – in both directions there was a 5 hour delay both for leaving the port and disembarking at the destination, while everyone's customs and visas were sorted out – 10 hours added on to the trip, plus the time added for arriving early to help them get it done on time!

It wasn't stressful and there was no hassle from either authorities, but it's frustrating waiting so long. It also means at both ends I disembarked late at night, so checking into a hotel/ finding transport is more difficult – MAKE SURE YOU'RE PREPARED FOR IF THIS HAPPENS.

You also have to give up your passport for the journey and wait for the officials at the other end to give them back to you once you're off the boat. This made me very nervous but don't worry, they will give it back eventually!

Other options/ contact details:

The company that manages this route from Egypt is: 'Kadmar', address: El mahrousa Building, Mahmoud Sedkey and Banama St., Port Said. Tel: +(20)663344016, E-mailortsaid@kadmar.com. They have English speaking staff. It's possible you can go to them directly to book tickets – I went through Sisa in Turkey.

There is another company apparently running ferries from Mersin in Turkey to Port Said. They are Alcor shipping. I talked to them online and they were helpful, but I didn't personally use their ferry as it was being repaired when I needed it. The details I have are: Tel: +903242335030; Email: Ilker Sagay at ilker.sagay@alcorshipping.com (he speaks fairly good English); Cost: US$175 each way; Days; Fridays or Tuesdays from Mersin - 34 hr trip.

Finally:

According to people I talked to on the ferry, this route was set up recently primarily to give truckers a route to the Middle East now that Syria is a warzone. It is likely the route will cease to exist when the war ends, as driving overland is much cheaper for the truckers so the main market will go elsewhere.
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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"There's probably extra customs charges too if you're bringing a car."

But are you sure that you can travel with your car on this ferry?

If so, at what cost?

RR
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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@ dstehouwer :

Thanks for the detailed report, I highly appreciate. So in the end the price for one person inclueding a motorbike would be under 500 dollar inclueding all the bribing and customs bullshit, always thought it would be much more expensive.

You wrote one person travels for free with a vehicle, does that apply for a motorbike too ? Like that we could save the 120 dollar for the seat as I dont mind how I sleep anyway.

Rosenfeld in Israel quotet me a price by mail from Haifa to Lavrio in Greece for one person + a bike = 900 dollar and 720 dollar to Limasol/Cyprus ... ridiculous !!!!!

Even with petrol prices at 2,60 dollar/liter in Turkey nowardays it would be cheaper to ride through <Turkey than taking the ferry to Greece.

greetings from Khartoum,

Chris
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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The ferry from Turkey is fine you can trust Sisa shipping

We have taken the ferry check the detail report from Benbutler under the Omar heading soon a ferry from mersin turkey.
Ben and Jen have posted the info under that link for the Iskerderun Ferry.
Tips
Always take extra food.
Book with Sisa direct and ask for Saba Ipek +90 2164442954 will forward you an E ticket and do an International transfer in USD or if you are british in UK pounds to save the conversion.
Try to pay for some of the seats because if everyone avoids this the company will not be so helpful to overlanders and they may check via you passports which they hold.
No fixer needed in Turkey they you can do everything but do the customs before you go to the dock it is in another place and you cannot get out once they check you in.
Bring extra food and drinks on the Egypt side as you move through customs.
The fixer Eslam (002) 01289220002 given by Ben in Egypt is excellent do not use Kadmar Agents. Cost about 500 egyptian pounds for his sevice. 2 to 3 days and your have your vehical.
It will take time in Egypt but so do other ports when you enter so try to relax.
.... and have a great time

Last edited by the windleys; 27 Oct 2012 at 15:27.
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  #6  
Old 27 Oct 2012
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as you can read in my review, we would have paid for one bike:
130 for a seat on the boat (but MAYBE not needed, check it out. If you can get on board for free, you can sleep in the pullman seats anyhow...
230 for the bike on the ferry
150 for the agent + customs clearance.
0 USd for entering Turkey (depending on your passport)
-------------------
510USD total.
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the windleys View Post
The fixer Islam (002) 01289220002 given by Ben in Egypt is excellent do not use Kadmar Agents. Cost about 500ep pounds for the sevice. 2 to 3 days and you have you vehical.

.... and have a great time
I think you mean Eslam, and the cost is more like 500USD...
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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Glad you made it okay

Sorry you had such a long wait to get on. We must have been lucky. You were right I did not make it clear we paid 500 ep for Eslans service plus all the rest which was the same as you. (£370) approx
Hope you are having a great time are you home now?
We are still stuck in Isis garden camp waiting for a part still the sun is hot.
Colin and Diana

Last edited by the windleys; 27 Oct 2012 at 15:25.
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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Quote:
You were right I did not make it clear we paid 500 ep for Eslans service plus all the rest which was the same as you. (£3700) approx
Quote:
I think you mean Eslam, and the cost is more like 500USD...
Eh? Now I'm confused! Big difference between $500US and 500 Egyptian pounds and what's the £3700 for?

Aha! £370
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Old 27 Oct 2012
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Sorry for the typo

Hi Guys, Sorry about the typo. Hope you didnt have a heart attack. Now its changed after checking.
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Old 28 Oct 2012
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Amazing Egypt, for the past and the present

Quote:
Originally Posted by dstehouwer View Post
as you can read in my review, we would have paid for one bike:
130 for a seat on the boat (but MAYBE not needed, check it out. If you can get on board for free, you can sleep in the pullman seats anyhow...
230 for the bike on the ferry
150 for the agent + customs clearance.
0 USd for entering Turkey (depending on your passport)
-------------------
510USD total.
Hi All,

I was also on the ferry and fortunate enough to travel with the Windleys early this month and could only emphasise the following;
1.. Pay you own way, there are any number of official and non-official checkers at both ends, if you name isn't on the manifest as a paying passenger then please be prepared to explain this in Arabic.
2..Please do take extra foods, not for the journey which is well catered ( and I tip my hat to Sisa Lines ) but for the Port-side at both ends..painfully slow and you'll need food and water, suggest 1 basic meal each side.
3..I cannot see how a non-expert could navigate the complex and bureaucratic system in Egypt ( not just the Importation but also Registration and inspections !!, all at different locations !!..) to get your bike through..even some Syrian refugees we met had taken a week longer than us. Eslam was our fixer and he was great. The balance here is cost of accomodation for each day lost, plus Visa time lost Vs money saved.
4.. Don't let the 3-4 day delay stop you from visiting... at 3 weeks here I can say the people have been sooo friendly and helpful, street-food is great and the petrol and accomodation cheap !..what more to say.
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Old 10 Mar 2013
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Hey!
Thanks for the useful information- it has certainly helped clarify some points! As you guys have all made it into and out of Egypt with vehicles, please could you help out with a bit of information about carnets?
As I understand it, Egypt issue their own carnets now and you do not need to have Egypt on the carnet that you have arranged in your home country. If so, how much do the carnets cost? How easy is it to get them? If you leave a deposit for the carnet at one port, can you get it back at another?
We are intending on traveling from Sudan into Egypt and are rather confused about the whole lot!
I would be grateful if someone could shed a little light on the situation as I have heard quite a bit of conflicting information regarding the topic!

Thanks

Tony

p.s. your journeys sound amazing and inspirational!
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I have same question as Tony.I am going into Egypt from Turkey in August 2013.
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Hmm,

I will try to get OUT of Egypt in August...

Maybe the route through Libya will work then which sounds easier than leaving Egypt by ferry.

Stefan
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Old 26 Aug 2013
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Update on this?

Hi,

We are planning to take a ferry from Turkey (where we currently are) to Port Said in Egypt. We are waiting out the current curfews which are set for a number of weeks - we need to get back to South Africa.

The exit/entry procedure sounds devastating ...

We are driving a Defender and hold South African passports.

Just to confirm - it is not possible to enter and clear customs without using a fixer and paying about 500USD for the "service"?

Is the entry as bad as the exit (as described in this forum)?

I will be grateful for any help
Fred
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MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!




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