When there’s an expanse of water between your home and the place you want to visit, what is your automatic thought? With flight routes across the globe and the option of low-cost airlines, it has become the default form of transport when trying to travel somewhere off mainland UK. However, don’t overlook travel via ferry when researching your options – if you’re trying to organise a trip to Amsterdam, France, Ireland or any of the British Isles then a ferry is worth looking into. While flying offers benefits such as quickness and flexibility of destinations, there are several reasons to travel by ferry rather than plane.
1. Fear of flying
If you suffer from a fear of flying, don’t force yourself to board a plane. The ferry routes around Europe offer an alternative to anyone who hates the ideas of taking to the skies.
2. Luggage restrictions
We’ve all been there: having to decide what to leave at home in order to remain within the airline’s luggage restrictions (even worse when you’re going for a city break and only want a carry on!). Ferry companies are usually more lenient with their luggage restrictions (as long as it fits in your cabin or car you’ll be fine) and don’t have to comply with the liquid restrictions that airlines have to.
3. Take your own car for a road trip
Being able to take your car is one key feature that ferries offer – and will cost around £70pp including cabin. Whether you want to start your European road trip in the French countryside or driving by the windmills of Holland, make your memories in your own vehicle.
4. More dining options
Unlike planes, ferries don’t have to pre-prepare all their meals and the on-board chefs create a menu of dishes for passengers to select from. First class passengers sometimes have their own restaurant as well (and first-class on a ferry is much cheaper than first-class on a plane).
5. Activities for restless kids
Most adults don’t like being strapped into a seat for two hours; kids like it even less. If you have a child (or children) who can’t sit still while travelling, ferries have plenty of space for them to burn off their energy. They can run around on deck or play in the ball pools and arcades, plus some ferries also have a small swimming pool.
6. More privacy
Even when flying first-class you still don’t always have complete privacy. On a ferry you have your own room with en-suite and your own bed (so not only more privacy, but more comfort as well). DFDS also has a range of premium cabins with flat-screen TVs, a seating area, and mini-bar.
7. It’s cheaper than you might presume
When low-cost airlines joined the market they opened up new parts of the world to people who could previously not afford it. So much that it has become the default option for people looking for a cheap getaway. However, ferries should not be overlooked when trying to cross to mainland Europe for the best price. Crossing the North Sea can cost as little as £30pp for two people sharing and, if you prefer the idea of a mini-cruise, DFDS Ferries are currently offering packages to Amsterdam for as little as £59 per person, which includes food and use of the facilities on board.
8. You can start your holiday while you travel
It’s not just those of us with a fear of flying, or who have rowdy kids, or have a preference for fine food that don’t enjoy flying: it’s universally considered something you have to endure to get to foreign shores. While some ferries are simple and their primary focus is getting you to a destination and back, some ferries offer mini-cruises where you start your holiday as soon as you board. If you’ve booked yourself onto one of the many impressive large cruise ships that start from Amsterdam, taking a ferry across the North Sea is the perfect way to start the holiday. Ferry cruises offer facilities that allow you to relax as soon as you board – so even the logistical travelling part of the holiday can still feel like, well, part of the holiday.