National Ferry Fortnight P&O

Travelling By Ferry: A Complete Guide For Ferry First Timers

Next month, National Ferry Fortnight celebrates its eighth year of helping people rediscover the joy of sea travel. The two-week event takes place over 5-19th March and aims to spread the feelings of freedom and excitement that this unique mode of transport evokes across the UK. To mark the occasion, we’ve created our ultimate guide to travelling by passenger ship, including everything you’ll ever need to know about catching a ferry for the first time. So sit back, relax and let us help you set sail on your own adventure with P&O Ferries.

Where Do We Sail?

Bruges Canals

Along the many routes we travel to, you’ll find the freedom to enjoy the holiday of your dreams. Regardless of whether you are a seasoned regular or a first time adventurer with us, we provide a wide range of fantastic European destinations to choose from. Our ferry crossings include Dover to Calais, Hull to Rotterdam, Hull to Zeebrugge, Cairnryan to Larne and Liverpool to Dublin, offering breaks to suit all types of traveller.

Vineyard Couple_France

As if this wasn’t enough, we also offer minicruises to multiple destinations that give you a great taste for a new city. So whether you want to drive along the vineyards in Bordeaux, journey along the epic Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland or discover the fairy tale castles of Belgium, our ferries offer you the chance to choose your own trip, with the comfort of your own car as an added bonus.

What Is There to Do Onboard?

Cinema P&O Ferries

Once you’ve boarded, you can stretch your legs and explore the various entertainment, facilities and refreshment options. For shopaholics, there are a great array of duty-free retail offers from fashion accessories to beauty products, so you can finally treat yourself to that perfume you’ve been aching for an excuse to buy. Throughout all of our ships you’ll find a great selection of food and drink to enjoy, from buffet meals to fine dining (on selected routes), bars and coffee shops.

Entertainment on-board P&O Ferries

Some crossings even feature a show lounge where you can experience live music, dance at the disco or roll the dice in the casino. While the children’s entertainment room keeps the little ones busy, you can also take advantage of the Wi-Fi Internet available on every ship. If you happen to be celebrating a special occasion, you can treat your loved one with a visit to the plush Club Lounge, a peaceful and comfortable retreat offering panoramic sea views and luxury facilities.

Why Should I Travel by Ferry?

National Ferry Fortnight

39 million people choose to enjoy the scenic pleasure of UK ferry travel each year, and it continues to grow in popularity. Whether it’s the opportunity to enjoy a journey at a more relaxed pace or the knowledge that they have the space to pack all they need into the family car, ferry travellers all revel in the flexibility to tailor a holiday to their exact requirements.

On board bar P&O Ferries

Take your bike on board at no extra cost for a two-wheeled tour of France, or bring your dog for a pleasant stroll along the sandy beaches of The Hague; you have the freedom to create these precious lifelong memories with all of your loved ones for yourself. To top it all off, some of our crossings even have cosy cabins where you can settle down to a good night’s sleep, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to explore your holiday destination.

10 Great Tips For Your First Ferry Trip

  1. Remember to pack your family’s passport and an up-to-date pet passport for any animals joining you on holiday.
  2. Bring a day pack onto the ship from the car full of all toys for the kids, toothbrush (for long journeys) and all your essentials, as you won’t be able to return to your car during the crossing.
  3. For North Sea trips, you’ll need to bring a European style plug adapter if you want to recharge any gadgets on the ferry.
  4. Remember where you parked, so you don’t have to wander about looking for your vehicle when disembarking from the ferry.
  5. Check the driving laws of the country you are travelling to. In France, for example, drivers must carry a reflective vest and breathalyser.
  6. Explore the ship! You have plenty of room to wander around the deck and see the beautiful sea and skyline as you sail to your destination.
  7. Plan out your route before you return to your vehicle, so you can head straight there upon arriving at the port.
  8. If you are hoping to bring back alcohol or cigarettes, make sure you know country entry limits before purchasing.
  9. If you are travelling on foot, check out our handy coach transfers which will whisk you off to the destination of your choice.
  10. Take advantage of all the facilities on board in order to make the most out of your voyage.

If you have any further questions, why not check out our FAQs? For more inspiration, check out our Adventure Page too.