When checking in and boarding NorthLink Ferries ships to Orkney and Shetland, as a foot passenger or a car driver, all details – from what to do with your baggage to assisting disabled passengers – have been carefully thought out with your ease in mind.
In order to board the ferry, please go to the Check-in desk. If you have taken a note of your booking reference number, this will speed up check-in. You will be issued a boarding card which will be checked just as you are about to board the vessel. Car drivers are asked to approach the car check in booth which should be clearly signposted. Check-in opens 165 minutes prior to departure at Hatston, 120 minutes prior to departure at Aberdeen and Lerwick and 90 minutes prior to departure at Stromness and Scrabster. Check-in closes 30 minutes prior to departure in all ports.
If you do not check-in at least 30 minutes prior to departure you will not be allowed on board our vessels
Car drivers are recommended to check-in at least 1 hour prior to departure.
If you are leaving Stromness on the early morning sailing and have booked a Bed and Breakfast cabin you may board between 21.30 and 23.30 the previous evening.
Whether you are a foot passenger or driving a vehicle your check-in times will be explained when you make your reservation.
Checking-in for the Ferry
NorthLink operates a ticketless system with the key to your journey being the unique booking confirmation number. Please have this ready when checking-in.
Please also note the advertised check-in times for your chosen port of departure/route. Arrival at the terminal after check-in has closed will mean that you may not be able to travel. Details are given below.
Checking-in at Aberdeen
As Aberdeen terminal is in the city centre, passengers should allow sufficient time if arriving by car. Check-in commences two hours prior to departure. Car drivers are recommended to check-in at least one hour prior to departure. Final check-in is 30 minutes before departure.
Checking-in at Lerwick
Check-in commences two hours prior to departure. Car drivers are recommended to check-in at least one hour prior to departure. Final check-in is 30 minutes before departure.
Checking-in at Kirkwall (Hatston)
Foot passengers should note that the new Kirkwall (Hatston) Ferry Terminal is situated some two miles out of town. As the call at Hatson will always be part of a ‘through’ sailing between Aberdeen and Lerwick, the ship will arrive in port approximately 45 minutes before the scheduled departure. Boarding will only commence after all passengers and vehicles have disembarked from the incoming vessel. Departure times from Kirkwall may be subject to change depending on sailing conditions. All passengers disembarking at Kirkwall are asked to retain their boarding card during the voyage for use as a landing pass on arrival at Kirkwall.
Checking-in at Stromness
Check-in for the 0630 sailing will open 60 minutes prior to departure. Passengers who have reserved an overnight cabin should check-in and board for the 0630 sailing from Stromness between 2130 – 2330 the previous evening. For all other sailings check-in will open 90 minutes prior to departure. Final check-in is 30 minutes prior to departure.
Checking-in at Scrabster
Foot passengers are required to check-in at the foot passenger terminal situated at the ferry berth on the new pier. Passengers arriving at the old pier should allow appropriate time to make their way to the foot passenger check-in terminal on the new pier (some 800m distance) no later than 30 mins prior to published departure time.
Further details of our passenger terminals, their location and the facilities offered can be found on our About Terminals pages. All our terminals incorporate lift access to an upper level to allow easy boarding by elevated passenger walkways. However should you require any special assistance please advise staff at time of booking.