We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

Which Lerwick hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Leschenault
12 posts
Save Topic
ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

Can anybody relate their experience please, as to how rough this overnight sea crossing might be? We would perhaps like to include the Shetlands in our trip (from Australia) but have heard that ONE of the ferry crossings is very rough, and makes travellers extremely sea-sick - I am guessing that it could be this one, across the North Sea. Alternatively, has anyone left their car at Aberdeen airport and flown across (not much difference in price) and if so, were you able to hire a car for the day on Shetland, or is there some other means of getting around? Walking is not high on our agenda - myself aged 59 with 2 hip replacements last year. This is my first ever posting - thanks for any advice!

Edinburgh, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
Level Contributor
4,763 posts
242 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

Hi and welcome to the forums :-)

Unfortunately it's an impossible question to answer as the roughness of the crossing depends entirely on the weather. I have done the crossing a few times (in summertime). It wasn't rough, and we were able to sleep well on the crossing, both in the seated sleeping area and in a cabin.

It can be rough though. I'm sure there is a YouTube video that shows all the furniture, fixtures and passengers being thrown from one side of the room to the other in a storm!

I have no experience of flying so I'm afraid I can't help you there.

Abs :)

england
Level Contributor
5,438 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

cant help with the crossing as it is weather dependent and no one knows in advance, but I have had one day in Shetland (off a cruise ship) and hired a car for the day very easily, I think the company was Bolts, they were very good, met us off the ship and at night we left the car with keys in it on the quay! I expect they are used to doing the same at the airport.

Scunthorpe, United...
Level Contributor
3,583 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

One of the great advantages with the ferry is that it is an overnight sailing. You arrive Lerwick 7.30 am and leave either 5pm or 7.30 pm.

We have done the crossing several times and always book a cabin. We find if we lie down we don't get seasick, however rough the sea gets.

The crossing can get rough as it takes you into open sea. We have experienced gale force winds on the crossing, but most sailings have been calm. It is a large ship so doesn't bounce about too much.... I've not been aware of a lot of sea sickness.

I know the Pentland Firth crossing from Scotland to Orkney can get very rough as there can be strong tides across here - this may be the one you have seen referred to?

Flying is a possible but be warned this is dependent on weather as Sumborough airport can suffer from fogs and services do get cancelled.

You do need a car to see the island properly. Bus services are slow and when you start looking at timetables there is a limit to what you can do and see.

How long are you planning to spend on Shetland - I do hope it is more than a day?

Leschenault
12 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

Thank you very much - that is a big help. We have not yet planned the Scotland leg of our holiday in detail, so do not know whether time (and funds!) will permit going to the Shetlands, but I would love to - would be a unique experience with the ancient Nordic (hope that is correct!) influence. And the ponies, which I guess are wild . . when I was a child growing up in Brisbane, Queensland (Australia) in the Fifties, our parents would sometimes take us to a drive-in movie, and in the interval, we would be treated to a ride on a Shetland Pony, patiently plodding around in a small, sawdust-covered fenced enclosure carrying his enthralled little pyjama'd charges. They have remained as a special memory in my mind! Back to timing - I think if we go, we would spend one night over there, having most of two full days in which to drive around, given the ferry arrival and departure times. I hope that this would give us enough time for a truly memorable experience.

Leschenault
12 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

Thank you very much, and yes - there IS amazing footage on YouTube just as you described . . . OMG!!!!!! If it was like that when we went OVER, I don't think I would be game to make the return trip! Would have to become a happy little Shetlander local instead!

Leschenault
12 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

Sorry - I think that I sent my acknowledgement to YOUR response, to another posting! I am extremely new at this - my very first time at "blogging", if that is what this is! I am very much still in the technology of 20 years ago . . so this is quite an adventure of itself!

Lerwick, United...
Level Contributor
117 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

If you havn’t already done so, please go to http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/ - the official website for Northlink , the company which operates MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey between Lerwick and Aberdeen. Please be reassured that the ‘north boats’ as they are known locally are quite big – 10,000 tonnes, stable and comfortable. Sea conditions can get very poor, particularly at some times of the year – and if its really bad then the ship doesn’t sail. This happens infrequently and almost always in the winter. If you are planning to come in the summer, then you should be fine. As an islander, I travel on the boat fairly regularly, and I always have seasickness medication with me in case the weather forecast is poor. I would strongly advise anyone who can suffer seasickness to do the same – and find out the weather forecast before the ship sails, so you can take your medication in advance if needed. Chances are you won’t need it, but you’ll feel better knowing its there just-in-case. Another suggestion – if you are prone to feeling poorly, then book a cabin. I’m afraid they are quite expensive – but they are comfortable and quiet and you have your own bathroom…..

You mention Shetland ponies being wild. Not exactly – some appear to roam wild, but they are all owned by someone. You might like http://visit.shetland.org/shetland-ponies

I hope you manage to visit – but do be aware you will only see a fraction of Shetland in 2 days. Its probably much bigger than you think!

Stonehaven, United...
Level Contributor
329 posts
45 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

I took the ferry to Lerwick last year (granted it was in January, so the weather was always likely to have an impact), and I am very prone to travel sickness on all types of transport.

The way over was totally fine, not even a wee funny feeling in my tummy.

The way back was the opposite. It was a very bumpy ride and I was quite sick. I only wish I'd realised sooner that lying down makes it so much better.

So as others have said, it's something that's really unpredicatble. And I would say, although I was quite ill, it wouldn't stop me from making this journey again. I think I'll just always have to fork out for a cabin - just in case :)

Leschenault
12 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

Thank you very much for the advice and the links - this forum is great!! I guess I would have to enquire re a good sea-sickness remedy before setting sail, not having any idea of such things! The only ferries I have previously been on have been the City Cats up the Brisbane River, and the Sydney Harbour ferries (also cats) - never on an ocean cruise, so I have no idea of the sea-sick experience (thankfully!). We would be travelling in August, and would definitely book a cabin - several people now have recommended that. IF the weather unexpectedly blew up after the ship had taken off, would the rolling be so severe that one could be thrown out of the cabin bunk? I have visions of lap-belts to buckle across whilst you were asleep . . 'just in case'!

Lerwick, United...
Level Contributor
117 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: ferry crossing from Aberdeen to Lerwick

Shani - there are no lap-belts! If you reserve a 2-berth cabin then there are two beds, no bunks. The only time you have to use upper bunks is if you are sharing a 4 berth cabin. A few years ago I was on the boat in the October gales in a force 9 gusting 10 and I didn't fall anywhere!

Try to stop worrying about it, get your pharmacist to recommend something for seasickness just-in-case. And just remember that if you are coming on the boat - its the best way to arrive in Shetland, the way people have done for centuries.

Get answers to your questions about Lerwick
More Lerwick Topics