I found a post on a Facebook group and the AB Maritime website as well as a backup plan of going overland via Israel if it didn’t work. These facts all convinced me to book my flights into Amman and out of Cairo and it worked out fine. Here’s what you need to know.
The AB Maritime office in downtown Aqaba is easy to find (search on google maps and maps.me). It’s quite near the bus stop, so me and my travel buddy went straight there when arriving in Aqaba. The staff speak perfect English and could answer all our questions. It’s $75/JOD53, you can pay in either currency. There’s an additional JOD10 to pay as an exit tax at the ferry port. Buy your ticket and it’s valid for any ferry in the next month.
The ferry is scheduled to leave at 11pm but you must arrive between 8:30pm and 9pm. A taxi from downtown Aqaba should be around JOD7. When we arrived there were loads of people and baggage outside. We skipped past these people and were ushered to put our bags through the security machine ahead of others.
The next section was a bit confusing. Show your ticket and passport to the guy, then pay the exit tax (you are given a ticket). We then exchanged our last Jordanian Dinars for Egyptian Pounds. Then straight to the immigration line. There’s a line of people queuing for ‘ticket confirmation’ but you don’t need to do that.
After immigration stamp your passport, you are led out to the ferry, showing documents along the way. Once on the ferry they will take your ticket and give you an Egyptian immigration form. Fill this in and take it to the immigration towards the back of the boat. You can skip the line here too as the process is different for tourists than for workers from either Jordan or Egypt. If you have an e-visa you give it now. They will keep your passport! Don’t freak out about that! The staff will tell you what to do if any of this is confusing.
It was just like any other big ferry. The single men seemed to go towards the back and we stayed towards the front with families and women. It wasn’t crowded. It left very late. The toilets aren’t great and there’s a cafe. I managed a couple of hours sleep.
We were told to gather with the other tourists (5 of us in total) and were escorted by a uniformed officer. I had a pat down from a female officer and we all put our bags through a scanner. I had an e-visa but my friend didn’t. Either was fine. It’s $25 for visa on arrival (check with your country that you can get this) which you can pay in either US dollars of Egyptian pounds. They stamp your passport and then you are taken to the gate.
So it was about 3am by now (it was supposed to arrive at 1:30am and there is a time difference so maybe it was 2am?!). I had booked a pickup from the amazing Red Sea Relax Resort in Dahab where I was staying. It was $30 and worth every penny. The driver had waited even though it was so late. There were taxis there but I was glad not to have to haggle at 3am. If you’re heading to Cairo I would advise to go to Dahab anyway as the buses from there to Cairo are more frequent. It’s also the coolest place, so definitely worth a couple of days if you have time.
I was glad to have a friend for the ferry but I would have felt fine doing this on my own as a solo female. All the staff and other passengers were very helpful. The immigration officer tried to organise for us all to share a taxi and everyone was happy to show us which line and where to sit. I would recommend having a pickup waiting, just so you know that you’re not stranded. There are hotels in Nuweiba that would do this too.
Nuweiba to Aqaba
The reverse journey leaves at 11am so it is a bit less daunting as you’ll arrive in the daytime. I met some people who said their ferry left early so make sure to arrive in plenty of time.
I hope this was helpful. Any questions on my experience then just ask!