Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you cannot find an answer to your question on this page, please contact us through our contact form.

FAQ Categories

Purchasing Tickets



  • Do I need to book?
  • Passengers do not have to book, however they can if they wish. Duriing our Summer Timetable period, passengers can book to ensure a space on a sailing. Phone numbers are detailed at the bottom of each timetable. Bookings must be made at least 1 hour before departure. We would always recommend if traveling with a vehicle that you book in advance to ensure there is capacity on the required sailings.

  • Do You offer on-line bookings
  • Yes an on-line booking option is available at the top of the page for passengers and/or cars up to 5.5m. For other bookings should be made by calling one of the Company's Offices.

  • How do I purchase tickets?
  • All bookings must be paid for prior to departure by calling the booking office detailed on the timetables.

  • Do you sell 'island hopper' tickets?
  • No, not at the moment, but any future rover style tickets would be advertised.

  • What discounts are available?
  • There are various multi-journey books of vouchers available at discounted prices as advertised.

    Registered disabled passengers in possession of a blue badge and vehicles being used to carry registered disabled passengers qualify for concessionary rates. Juniors, students in possession of a valid student card and senior citizens over 60 years of age qualify for discounted passenger fares.

    Passengers in possession of a Scottish National Entitlement card with 'Eye' endorsement travel at the same rate as Registered Disabled Passengers.

  • Can I get refunds?
  • Vouchers are sold on a non-refundable basis but are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. Multi-journey books of vouchers are sold on a non-refundable basis but are valid for 365 days from the date of issue.

  • What if I cancel?
  • All cancellations must be made not less than 24 hours in advance of travel or full charges might apply.

  • Do I need photo ID?
  • No, there is currently no requirement for this.

Onboard and Arriving



  • Do bus services link with Houton and Tingwall ferries?
  • Yes, for details contact the appropriate booking office on +44 (0)1856 872044 or Stagecoach in Orkney on 01856 870555.

  • How long before departure do I need to be available for boarding?
  • Vehicle check-in time is 20 minutes before departure, whilst foot passengers should be available to board at least 10 minutes before departure.

  • Are there left-luggage facilities at terminals?
  • We have no facilities at this time for left luggage.

  • What refreshment facilities are onboard the vessels?
  • There are currently no cafeteria facilities onboard the Outer North Isles vessels. Cash ONLY payment is accepted. There are drinks vending machines onboard the smaller vessels, except m.v. Golden Mariana and Nordic Sea.

  • Where onboard vessels can I take my dog?
  • Accompanied dogs other than support dogs are restricted to certain areas onboard. Dogs may be left in vehicles but passengers wishing to visit them during the journey must be accompanied by a crew member.

  • Can I smoke onboard the vessels?
  • No. Smoking is not permitted on any of Orkney Ferries' vessels or in any of our offices or premises.

  • Carriage of Un-accompanied Young Persons
  • This policy will take effect from Sunday 1st January 2012

    1.1 The Company will not accept for travel on board any Company operated vessel any un-accompanied young person under the age of twelve years.

    1.2 Any person under the age of twelve years must be accompanied by an adult whilst travelling on any Company operated vessel, an adult for these purposes being any person at least sixteen years old

    1.3 Exceptions will be made for children aged eleven where travel has been arranged by the Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Services, and where the express consent of the Marine Services and the child’s parents/legal guardians has been obtained by the Executive Director of Education, Leisure and Housing Services prior to travel.

  • Carriage of Dangerous Goods
  • This safety notice is to remind shippers of the rules concerning goods which are classed as “Dangerous Goods” i.e. have been allocated a UN number, must be accompanied by a “Dangerous Goods Note” when presented for shipment. It is the responsibility of the shipper to complete and produce the dangerous goods note before attempting to ship dangerous goods.

    Some of the more common substances that can be carried onboard our vessels which are classed as dangerous goods are:

    • *Petroleum spirit (which can be carried in one road tanker of not more than 12000 litres capacity; or one road vehicle containing not more than 25 x 210 litre hermetically sealed UN approved drums, properly secured in a goods vehicle)

    • *Butane, propane and oxygen gases (in cylinders)

    • *Diesel and Kerosene (in barrels, portable tanks or road tankers)

    • Nitrate Fertilizers (bagged)

    • Hay and straw (slung or on lorries) unless carried in closed cargo transport units bales of hay and straw shall be covered by tarpaulins or the like.

    Petroleum Spirit and gas is carried under a “Dangerous Goods Exemption” issued by the MCA (Due to passenger ship regulations) and can only be carried in the stated containers and will only to be carried separately when no other dangerous goods are on board. A full list of dangerous substances can be found in the IMDG code, copies of which are held at Orkney Ferries main office.

    Under no circumstances will goods which are classed as “Dangerous Goods” be accepted for shipping without a completed Dangerous Goods Note and these Notes should be presented by the shipper to the Stevedore in Kirkwall, the company’s agents in Westray, Papa Westray, North Ronaldsay, Sanday, Stronsay or Eday, the office staff at Houton and Tingwall or the ships mates at the terminals of, Flotta Lyness, Moaness, Graemsay, Stromness, Rousay, Egilsay, Wyre, Shapinsay and Kirkwall (Shapinsay Serive Only).

    The company reserves the right to stop and search any vehicle it considers to be in breach of this notice.

    *The carriage of these substances includes the empty vehicles and containers.

    Ferry Services Manager

  • Carriage of Unaccompanied Vehicles
  • Should you wish to transport an unaccompanied vehicle on board Orkney Ferries vessels, you can do so provided yourself or another individual is available to board/discharge the vehicle as soon as the vessel arrives in port. In the event that you require Orkney Ferries staff to board/discharge your vehicle, you must give prior consent at the time of making your reservation.

    Charges for travel can be made to your personal credit account or by making direct payment with the office staff prior to the vehicle being transported. Multi-journey vouchers cannot be used as a method of payment. All unaccompanied vehicles incur VAT charges.

Cargo Sailings North Ronaldsay and Papa Westray



  • North Ronaldsay Cargo
  • Goods for delivery to North Ronaldsay will be accepted at Kirkwall Pier during the following times:-

    Winter Timetable - Tuesday 0800 - 1000 & Friday 0800 - 1200

    Refit Timetable - Tuesday 0800 - 1000 & Friday 0800 - 1200

    Summer Timetable - Tuesday 0800 - 1000 & Thursday 0800 - 1200

  • Papa Westray Cargo
  • Goods for delivery to Papa Westray will be accepted at Kirkwall Pier during the following times:-

    Winter Timetable - Tuesday 0800 - 1200 & Friday 0800 - 1000

    Summer Timetable - Tuesday 0800 - 1000 & Friday 0800 - 1000