State-run Navrom operates both slower, traditional ferries (referred to as 'classic ships' on timetables) as well as faster hydrofoils to the main destinations in the delta. Ferries from Tulcea to Sulina (64km) tend to leave nearly every day in season (May to September), while ferries along less-travelled arms in the delta, including to Sfântu Gheorghe (109km), may only leave every other day. Be sure to check the schedule carefully to make sure a boat is departing on the day you need to leave.

Ferry tickets cannot be bought in advance and can only be purchased on the day of departure. In Tulcea, buy ferry tickets at ticket counters at the Navrom passenger ferry terminal along the Tulcea riverfront. In places outside of Tulcea, buy tickets at the local ferry terminal just ahead of the departure time. Try to arrive a bit early to make sure you get a ticket.

Ferry schedules vary from season to season. At the time of writing, Navrom boats were sailing according to the following summer timetable:

  • Tulcea to Sulina (via Crişan): Slow ferries ('classic ships') leave Tulcea at 1.30pm (46 lei, four to five hours) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, and return at 7am on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Fast ferries leave Tulcea at 1.30pm (56 lei, two to three hours) on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, returning at 7am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Tulcea to Sfântu Gheorghe (via Mahmudia): Slow ferries leave Tulcea at 1.30pm (48 lei, five to six hours) on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, returning at 7am on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Fast ferries depart from Tulcea at 1.30pm (60 lei, three hours) on Monday and Saturday, returning at 7am on Tuesday and Sunday.

In addition to the scheduled passenger ferries, private companies offer water-taxi service to and from Tulcea to popular destinations in the delta. For the 90-minute journey to Sulina, for example, expect to pay around 60 lei per person.