In general, Virtu ferries are a relaxing and hassle-free means of travel between Malta and Sicily.
There is no need for ridiculously early check-ins, or convoluted security procedures as at the airport. While it takes longer than the flight to Sicily, it’s also a very pleasurable experience: a modern catamaran with plenty of space.
They are not, however, without their issues:
– Virtu ferries have a monopoly on the sea route between Malta and Sicily, and their prices reflect this (from 1 May 2013 a standard return is an eye-watering €108, albeit there’s a reduced rate of €80 for a 4 day return. That means a standard return for two adults and a car is €330…)
– They claim the journey takes 90 minutes, when I’ve never been on a crossing (and I’ve been on several) that takes less than 2 hours.
– While they do not explicitly state this, they do very little to discourage the widely held misconception that they sail to Catania (their booking choices have a “Malta-Catania” option, for example). They don’t sail to Catania: they only sail to Pozzallo and you have to get a bus transfer to Catania. That could be a nasty surprise for many, and is obviously no use if you have a car.
– They charge a “Ryanair rip off” style €10 per ticket to reprint your booking confirmation if you turn up without it – even though they have all the information online, and need to issue your tickets anyway.
– They certainly don’t run any loyalty programme (but don’t forget that you should use a KMiles-earning credit card to book with Virtu ferries, thereby at least earning you KMiles on the trip).
However, if you book tickets with Virtu ferries during May 2013, for travel by 30 September 2013, you will get the day return or the 4 day return ticket for just €48 per person. That is a reasonable return fare.
Note that this offer is limited to a maximum of the first 5000, and does not include the cost of a car, should you take one (an extra €77 return).