When the girls were small, the thought of flying with the family sent me into a mild panic. I’d try to separate out our “must take” items with the “nice to haves”. The problem was everything was in the must take pile! Not able to make a definitive decision on what to leave home – I’d wait until the last minute to take items out in order to make the baggage weight limit. That worked fine until I managed to accidentally leave all underwear at home – for the entire family .
Last year 39 million people travelled by ferry – all opting for the easier and less stressful travel option. Discover Ferries, the industry body for the ferry industry, is in the middle of Britain’s annual National Ferry Fortnight – when its 10 members publish holiday ideas and added-value offers on 75+ ferry routes to France, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Ireland, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly and Scottish islands. National Ferry Fortnight runs though 20th May 2017, make sure to check out the website for special offers!
Discover Ferries took a group of travel bloggers to the Isle of Wight for the day, and I was reminded why I like ferry travel so much.
10 reasons to travel by ferry
1. Your holiday starts sooner!
For me, the holiday starts as soon as we drive on to a ferry. There’s something about being on water that makes you feel like you are on holiday. Once you’re on board, you can get a glass of wine, find a seat overlooking the sea and take in the views. Many ferries have VIP lounges, where you can relax in a private environment. A £15 upgrade on Red Funnel’s Red Osprey’s new Signature Lounge from Southampton to Cowes gets you the best view on the boat, private Cafe service, free Wifi and charging points. And one’s even pet friendly!
2. Spend time together
Research by Discover Ferries shows that the average family spends just 3 weeks of average quality time together each year. Holidays are one of main the ways families spend time – and being on a ferry is a nice way to get a meal together or just go out on to the deck and count the seagulls.
3. Take as much luggage as you want!
Most airlines now charge for luggage separately (I know, shocking). Packing light, especially with a young family, can really drain all the fun out of a holiday. And I haven’t even mentioned the long baggage lines. With a ferry – load your car to the brim – and you won’t get charged extra or wait in a baggage queue.
4. It’s cheaper
Most ferries charge by vehicle and up to 7 passengers, making it a very economical option!
5. You can bring your pet!
If you are like many and think of your pet as part of the family – bring Molly along as well. There’s usually an extra charge, but she’s worth it.
6. It’s an adventure
With water all around you, you have a whole ship to explore. Most have shops, restaurants and play areas for children – and some even have swimming pools, spas, boutiques and cinemas!
7. Buy local
Some ferries carry products from the local destination. On Wightlink, there’s a special shop that is dedicated to items produced on the Isle of Wight. You can get oak smoked garlic, locally made garlic infused mayonnaise from the Garlic Farm, Wight mints from the Needles, local ale from Quarr Abbey and Wight Gold beer.
8. You (probably) won’t get seasick
The fear of getting seasick was one of my main concerns of ferry travel. The ships these days are so big you are very unlikely to get seasick – especially when crossing the Solent. I’ve crossed several times – even in a storm – and have never felt ill. I was also pleased that an overnight ferry from Plymouth to Rosco yielded similar results. If your are prone, you can always try seasickness pills and wrist bands.
9. Ferries keep going
A ferry’s top priority is to make sure you get to your destination. They don’t get shut down because of snow or fog. When we visited the Isles of Scilly by plane we were a bit on edge when the weather turned – hoping our flight wouldn’t be cancelled. The ferry companies have invested millions into new and upgraded ships – all with the top goal of getting you safely to your destination.
10. Go completely on foot!
Some ferry companies have arrange routes so you can leave you car at home and go completely by foot. On Wightlink you can take the train from London to Portsmouth, walk onto the catamaran to Ryde, then catch the Island Line direct trains to Brading, Sandown and Shanklin!
And once you are at your destination – the sense of being somewhere special abounds – even on a short 45-minute cruise from Southhampton to Cowes. We had so much fun on our trip to the Isle of Wight, check out the pics below.
IF YOU GO:
For more information on fantastic ferry offers available during National Ferry Fortnight, visit www.nationalferryfortnight.co.uk and www.discoverferries.com. Follow @discoverferries on Twitter, like Discover Ferries on Facebook and sign up to the newsletter on www.discoverferries.com.
The press trip was organised by Discover Ferries, the industry body for the UK ferry industry, as part of its National Ferry Fortnight (6 – 20 May 2017). Now in its ninth year, National Ferry Fortnight showcases Britain’s 75 ferry routes and the benefits of travel by sea. It was generously supported by Red Funnel, Wightlink, Visit Isle of Wight, Osborne and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.