Have you ever thought about travelling overnight by ferry to your next family holiday in France, Holland or Belgium? I tried an overnight sailing from Portsmouth to Caen (France) to bring you the lowdown on what life on board is really like.
All aboard! Before the ferry set sail
I wanted the freedom to take my own car abroad and swerve costly baggage charges from airlines (packing light just isn’t my thing!), so I took the Portsmouth to Caen overnight sailing to reach La Pointe St. Gilles, my holiday parc in Bénodet, Brittany.
Initially, I was slightly nervous about actually getting the car onto the ferry (steep ramps and lots of clutch control are not my idea of fun), however, it’s so well organised – with lots of staff on hand to guide you – that before long we were safely parked up and ready to enjoy the on board fun.
We checked in at the reception and went to get settled into our cabin. I was surprised to find that, although compact, our cabin had everything we needed for the night: bunk beds (quite novel just for one night!), a shower and small dressing area.
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Life at sea: shopping, a cinema trip or slap up dinner with a sea view!
Later, we explored the rest of the ferry and soon discovered that there was a brilliant range of activities available for all, whether holidaying with babies, kids, or like us, just the two of you.
Food options are really extensive and we opted to sample the different dishes on offer at the self – service restaurant. If you want to treat yourself there is the al la carte restaurant on offer too. We followed up our dinner with a trip to the bar; sipping wine and looking out to calm waves, I enjoyed my first buzz of excitement as I thought to myself the holiday has begun.
Wine down, we decided to explore the ship a little further and found lots of other people relaxing, admiring the view out to sea or wandering the decks to discover everything on offer. My personal favourites included the duty free shop with a fab range of cosmetics, spirits, wine, chocolates and gifts. There was also a cinema on board, with regular showings of recent film releases – yet another great way to pass the time!
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Ready to dock: arriving on dry land
We enjoyed a great night’s sleep (must have been the sea air) and woke to the morning announcement, which guarantees you won’t miss your disembarkation time or breakfast (available at the restaurants on board). Before we knew it, it was time to pack up our belongings and return to our car for another well-organised exit from the boat.
Unexpectedly, travelling by ferry had some added perks once we’d docked too. There was a range of duty free wine shops right next to port and they offered samples of everything, which the husband particularly enjoyed as he wasn’t driving! We made sure that we stopped by on our return to stock up on our favourite bottles of wine – one huge benefit of choosing ferry travel and being able to take our own car!
Eurocamp offers a range of ferry crossings from England and Ireland, why not find your nearest port? If you have any more questions about setting sail, let us know on the comment section below…