We spent three nights on the ferry from Tanger Med to Genoa. We had a comfortable cabin (with a window). Our ticket included a meal package that gave us breakfasts, lunches and dinners whilst we were on board. Our restaurant was self service and opened for breakfast from 8 to 10, lunch 12 to 2 and dinner from 8.30 to 10. Long before the restaurant opened, hungry families started gathering in the corridor outside the locked doors and we found it impossible to time our arrival after the queues had subsided but before the restaurant closed. There was also an up market restaurant open at the same times serving lunches and dinners but they wouldn’t accept our pre-paid vouchers. Of course, we ended up eating there – the food was excellent.
In Morocco they were allowed to smoke in public places and on the ferry smoking was allowed inside at the back of the boat, as well as on deck. We were surprised how many people were puffing away. It would have been the best place to enjoy the sunshine and watch the sea – but the air was so thick with cigarette smoke you could hardly breathe and the deck was carpeted with butt ends. At the front end of the boat were reclining seats for those without cabins. Again, it was a no-go area for us because, day and night, people were sleeping all over the floor, wrapped in blankets – like a city of rough sleepers. You had to step over them to walk through.
We arrived in Italy before 9 am. Our passports were checked as we disembarked and we were promptly waved through customs without any physical checks. We were soon heading north towards Milan and stopped for a couple of nights at Tavernola on Lake Como. The weather was fine, sunny and 13°. We took the ferry boat that ran between the lakeside towns, stopping for coffee at Como and lunch at Cernobbio. George and Amel had a big villa in the area but no sign of them on that sunny day in late January.