Moby ferries –

The story of the shipping company Moby, the main Elba ferries shipping company, begins in 1959, when Achille Onorato, a Neapolitan ship owner with various active companies, founded NAV.AR.MA (Navigazione Arcipelago Maddalenino) with the aim of connecting the small islands around Sardinia.


In 1966, the Piombino-Portoferraio line was opened by transferring the ship that until then had served the Palau-La Maddalena line. The modern ferry from northern Europe, renamed “Maria Maddalena”, was faster than all its predecessors on the line and, above all, was capable of transporting cars. It was one of the two ferries that added momentum to the growing tourism industry on Elba. Until then, the very few cars that were transported had been loaded onto the deck using cranes and loading nets for goods; the exception to this was Navigazione Toscana’s Aethalia ferry, which had begun running four years previously. The small ship, affectionately renamed “Calimero” by the locals on Elba, continued serving the Portoferraio-Piombino line until 1978, after years of heroic crossings over all kinds of seas.

Expansion was very slow in the first few years; the first ferry built especially for the Elbaline and the new routes from Piombino to Corsica, the “Bastia”, arrived in 1974, followed by its twin the “Giraglia” in 1981. The former still runs between S. Teresa di Gallura and Bonifacio today, while the latter still serves the Piombino-Cavo and Piombino-Portoferraio lines.

A major change took place in 1982 with the purchase of the “Free Enterprise II”, a ferry from northern Europe that was used between Bastia and Piombino under the name “Moby Blu”. Thanks to the ferry’s large capacity and to the fact that, in order to embellish the somewhat old line, a large blue whale was painted on its sides, lots of people began to associate the company with the word Moby and with the large whale, so much so that children began asking their parents to take the ferry with the whale. This is probably what gave rise to the great intuition to insist on the whale design for all subsequent ships that were bought. In the following years, this even led to the company name changing to Moby Lines; likewise, the decision to equip the larger ships with play areas for children was also innovative, and was especially appreciated by parents with lively children.

The Moby Lines fleet has grown considerably in recent years. Between 2000 and 2005, three new ships were built: the Moby Wonder and the Moby Freedom, followed by the Moby Aki – three large, fast ferries with cabins that are even suitable for mini-cruises. These new ships run to Corsica and Sardinia from Genoa, Livorno, and Civitavecchia, while the ships that previously served these lines (Moby BabyMoby Love, and Moby Lally) have been definitively transferred to the route from Piombino to Portoferraio.

Below are the detailed profiles of the ships in the Moby fleet currently serving as ferries to the Island of Elba:

  • Moby Lally
  • Moby Love
  • Moby Baby
  • Moby Ale
  • Giraglia