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October 9, 2017

Italy: La Superba

Filed under: Dog, Europe, Italy, Photography, Travel, Travel, Writing — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — anotherheader @ 3:57 pm

On the deck of La Superba as it moves up the Italian coast

With swimming pools on the top deck, an amusement arcade, and a casino, La Superba gives the appearance of a cruise ship. But in reality she is the 17th largest vehicle ferry in the world. La Superba sails the route from Palermo to Genoa, a 20-hour journey. The ferry has three decks for vehicles; truck trailers take up most of the cargo space.

Taking the ferry from Palermo to Genoa saves ferry passengers 1,400 kilometers of highway driving and bypasses the short ferry across the Strait of Messina. On our return to France from Malta and Sicily taking the ferry made for a more comfortable journey. It cut out 70% of the driving distance and we could rest on the way in our en suite cabin.

A ferry moored in Genoa

Traveling with our dog Gigi it was important the GNV ferry from Palermo to Genoa was pet friendly, or at least pet tolerant. Indeed Fido and Felix are welcome to come along for the 20-hour trip. GNV’s pet policy meant the ferry was a workable option assuming that Gigi could adapt to doing her business on the poop deck. Fortunately our canine companion proved to be adaptable.

Overnight ferries often require the passengers to leave their cabins well before arrival. This lets the staff get a head start on servicing the rooms. On La Superba, “well before” was an hour in advance of reaching Genoa. With Gigi not allowed in only selected interior spaces of the ferry our best option was to wait on an outside deck. It was chilly outside at night in December; the weather was just moderately bearable. There was an upside of being out in the weather. The view of Genoa and its port at night from the water is spectacular.

That’s one big orange dog on board.

A bigger shock came at the end when it was time to leave the ferry. Unlike any ferry we’ve been on, the motorists on the lowest level of the ferry, the “A” Deck, have to back up 50 meters or so before they can face up the exit ramp. It would be no big deal on our own but with a hundred cars weaving about as they all back up at the same time it makes for chaos. And remember, all of these drivers that are backing up with us are coming from Palermo, a place where the rules of the road are negotiable at best. It is challenging enough to drive with Sicilian drivers going forward. Imagine doing it with a hundred of them at the same time with everyone in reverse.

Let’s hope we won’t need the orange boats.

The “poop deck,” literally

In the sun



  1. How are the accommodations? Cabins, restaurant? This is huge compared to the Naples Palermo or Catania ferries we have taken. Great photos.

    Comment by gregsitaly — October 16, 2017 @ 2:19 pm

    • Pretty basic, but we were in the dog cabins. There is a restaurant and a cafeteria.

      Comment by anotherheader — November 9, 2017 @ 8:03 am

  2. […] volume. Historically and today, Genoa’s busy port is a defining feature of the city. Arriving by ferry from Palermo we contributed a small bit to the port’s yearly tally of freight […]

    Pingback by Italy: Genoa | Another Header — November 9, 2017 @ 8:20 am

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