I took a 10-hour ferry from Italy to Greece with my dog and fiancé. Here were the best and worst parts.

I took a 10-hour ferry from Italy to Greece with my dog and fiancé. Here were the best and worst parts.
·4 min read
Kristina Murkett and her goldenpoodle.
I took a 10-hour ferry from Italy to Greece with my dog, Hazel. Kristina Murkett
  • I took a 10-hour ferry from Italy to Greece with my fiancé and 10-month old Goldendoodle.

  • The lack of food and Wi-Fi frustrated me and some of the facilities were also disappointing.

  • However, the views were impossible to beat. The staff was friendly, too.

My fiancé Theo and I planned a three-month European road trip where we would drive 3,000 miles from England to Greece and return via the Balkans.

We chose to travel by land because of our 10-month-old Goldendoodle puppy Hazel, who weighs 66 pounds and wouldn't fit under an airplane-cabin seat.

The first part of our road trip went smoothly. By the time we reached Brindisi in southern Italy, Hazel had been on buses, trains, cable cars, and a paddleboard. Our new challenge was getting on a 10-hour ferry to Igoumenitsa in northwest Greece with Grimaldi Lines.

Here were the worst and best parts:

The lack of food options was disappointing

Ferry Line for trip from Italy to Greece.
Outside of a small ice-cream freezer, there was no place to buy food. Kristina Murkett

Theo and I paid for lunch as part of our ticket price but since dogs weren't allowed in the cafeteria, we realized we had to take shifts. Lunch was only served from 1 to 2 p.m., and when I went down at 1:15 p.m., there was already an enormous line that snaked back onto the deck.

Due to social-distancing restrictions, service was extremely slow. By the time I got inside, it was already past 1:45 p.m. and most of the hot food options were gone.

As I finally sat down to eat, I realized they were packing lunch options away early. I went to speak to one of the servers to ask them for a plate for Theo but when I turned back around, my tray with my entire plate of food was gone.

The only other place to get food was a small freezer for ice cream in the café, but there are only so many tubs of Häagen-Dazs one can stomach in a single journey.

By the time we arrived in Greece I was hangry and wish we came more prepared.

The Wi-Fi was down the entire trip

Theo reading on a  blue ferry with his dog.
Even though we caught up on reading, I was frustrated by the lack of internet. Kristina Murkett

I had hoped I could do some work during the 10-hour journey.

I couldn't use my hotspot because the Adriatic Sea didn't have 4G signal. Outlets were also few and far between, so keeping my laptop battery charged was also an issue.

We made do with some games of backgammon and chess. Although this was a good opportunity to catch up on reading, 10 hours is a long time.

The communal areas weren't as clean as I'd hoped

Tickets from Italy to Greece.
I was surprised by the run-down facilities. Kristina Murkett

I wasn't expecting five-star luxury, but the ferry seemed quite run-down.

I didn't see inside any personal cabins but the communal areas were in some serious need of TLC. I found broken door handles, overflowing garbage bins, and garish upholstery with ominous stains.

Likewise, the smell from the bathroom was so pungent that people waited in cubicles outside the room.

Since the ferry was pet-friendly, I assumed there would be a designated area for dogs to relieve themselves. However, when I asked the staff, I was given a vague wave to the outer deck.

It was difficult to find a private spot for Hazel to do her business, especially in the daytime at the height of summer when the deck was rather crowded.

We cleaned up after her as carefully as we could but we still received judgemental looks, which seemed unfair considering we really didn't have a choice.

The views were hard to beat

Sunset views from ferry from Italy to Greece
The sunsets were magical. Kristina Murkett

Although a daytime ferry entails less snoozing, it does mean there's more time to sunbathe and watch sunsets.

One of the few highlights of this trip was the simple, unadulterated pleasure of being outside with the wind in my hair, the sun on my skin, and watching the waves go by.

Golden hour was also spectacular, especially when we passed through the Straits of Corfu.

In the distance, we could see the mountainous, rugged landscape of Albania, pristine silver beaches, and silhouettes of tiny islands like Ereikoussa and Othonoi, all against pink and purple skies.

Freelancer Kristina Murkett using binoculars to see mountains.
I could see stunning mountains using binoculars. Kristina Murkett

Theo also brought his trusty pair of Nikon binoculars and the magnification was so strong, we could spot cars, houses, mountain roads, and even waves crashing onshore.

The ferry did help us get our dog safely to Greece

Goldenpoodle inside a ferry with a bowl of food.
Most people loved Hazel. Kristina Murkett

Overall the journey allowed us and our furry friend to get to Greece as efficiently as possible.

Plus the ferry was punctual, the staff was friendly, and everyone gave Hazel lots of love and attention.

Representatives for Grimaldi Lines didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment

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