Ferry Travel

PROS OF FERRY TRAVEL

  • Lots of facilities to keep the little ones busy 

  • Space to stretch legs 

  • A good choice of routes and accommodation options

Image by ZHANG FENGSHENG

Travelling by ferry is a great option when you’re travelling from the UK. There is a lot of choice when you’re looking at routes of how to access mainland Europe. Once you start to plan your journey you will quickly realise that comparing all the routes, times and prices is a minefield. The good news is there is a ferry website which takes all the hard work out of planning.

The website can find the most appropriate route, cost and also select an alternative if a better option is available. For example, https://www.ferrysavers.co.uk/

Most boats and services that operate from the UK have similar services on board. Most have a soft play facility and a family friendly area, equipped with tables and chairs so you can keep an eye on your little one whilst you can relax and have a coffee. The services that operate will all have child friendly facilities including baby-change and wider toilets for little ones. Nearly all ferry services will have a selection of catering options from a more formal sit-down option to coffee bars selling snacks and cakes and some even have a fast food outlet, which some families prefer.

 

When you are travelling with young children, keeping them in routine and giving them time to stretch their legs after being in a car for a long period of time can be the difference between cranky kids and those that embrace the journey. This is where travelling by ferry comes into its own.

On shorter crossings (2 Hours), if you time the crossing with meal times you can feed them on board, let them run it off and use the toilet before you get in the car and continue the journey. Most of the food outlets on board have a child option, and breakfast services on board will have Weetabix and a bit of toast to get them going. 

When you are on slightly longer ferries (4/5 Hours), you need to have a think about how you will fill your time. While you will naturally eat during this window, there are only so many times that you can walk around the boat and spend money in the shop. It’s worth finding a cosy corner on the ship and setting up camp, load a new movie onto an iPad, and get out a colouring or sticker book for a couple of hours.

On the overnight ferries you will have accommodation options which you select at the time of booking. You can book a reclining seat or a Cabin. We recommend you book a cabin for safety as well as comfort. If the kids are refusing to go to sleep you can at least have a private space to entertain them and if your eyes do shut you know they are safe. If you need to book a travel cot for your cabin this will take up most of the room, just bear this in mind when you are booking if you really need one. 

Seasickness. It’s awful and kids don’t identify or tell you how they are feeling until it is too late and they are covered in sick! Even if your child doesn’t normally suffer from travel sickness, a slightly choppy sea will have them throwing up. There are travel sickness tablets for children, if you choose to use these ensure you read the package and take note of when the child will need to take the first tablet prior to you setting off as they usually make the children drowsy. There are other non-tablet options like travel bands and patches which you will find in our product section.

Regardless of how long the journey takes by ferry, you will not be able to access the car deck. So be prepared with an on-board bag with a change of clothes and all you need in it.