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Ferry Travel is Pretty Sweet

Ferry Travel is Pretty Sweet

As an Australian we generally think of travelling long distances via planes, trains or buses. It’s built into our DNA because even though we live in a country where the majority of the population live near the water, they are the only forms of transport to get from point A to point B.

Enter Europe with its maze of transport options that include ferry travel. I’ll be honest though, it has never been high on my list of ways to get around. Sure I’ve used them in the past to traverse the Baltic Sea from Sweden to Finland and Estonia. I even boarded one by default when my train needed a lift to get from Germany to Denmark.

Then I was offered the chance to visit Amsterdam with Stena Line Ferries for the day. One of the few cities in Europe I wanted to give a second chance to after my first stay was ruined by constant rain and a horrible hostel.

Until now though I’d only ever experienced what I like to call cattle class ferry travel. Where they herd you onto the boat, seat you with a million other people and wait to get you off at the other end. My Stena Lines Ferry was so not that.

Ferry Travel Stena Lines

My room was inviting, provided power outlets next to the COMFY beds and the shower had more pressure than the one I use everyday in London. For all intensive purposes I felt like I was in a mini hotel, especially once I strolled around to find a bar and quality restaurant on board. For the internet addicted like me there is even free wifi as you sail your way over to Europe.

Ferry Travel Stena Lines Restaurant

The ferry arrives nice and early at Hoek van Holland harbour and leaves late in the evening which gave me a full day to get into Amsterdam and explore. In just one day I managed to walk, cycle and canal cruise my way around the city under better skies than last time. It’s true what they say, seeing Amsterdam via bike is so the best way to explore.

Typical Amsterdam

The ferry ride home that night was just as welcoming and I was surprised to find a different menu in the restaurant (nothing like a return flight where you get the same meal 2 days later).

There are some takeaways from travelling this way however. The journey takes about 8 hours from port to port and while the ship has ample entertainment options (I even saw spa facilities) I’d recommend the night crossings like I took where you can enjoy a nice meal and a drink before bed rather than 8 hours of watching the water pass.

Ferry travel will never be my first point of call when I want to see Europe but for a leisurely getaway with friends or to take the slow boat with a special someone where we have more room than a 1 foot by 1 foot chair on a plane, train or bus you really can’t beat it. Everyone should give it a go at least once on there adventures.

I like to keep an open mind about how, when and why I travel to places. I left Australia to see things, have an experience and most of all be sure that when it’s all said and done I can look back and say I gave it all a red hot go.

While all views are mine, my weekend ferry ride to Amsterdam was organised by Stena Line Ferries and my tour of Amsterdam was with Viator Travel.

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15 Responses to Ferry Travel is Pretty Sweet

  1. JARMO May 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM #

    Haven’t really thought of using a ferry to get to Amsterdam, but I have considered the train from London; last time I took the train from Germany to Amsterdam, but that is a lot easier since there are no passport controls etc.

    That does sound like a nice ferry ride, a bit different than the ones I used to take from Finland to Sweden/Estonia, but then again, the point of those ferries isn’t so much the transportation…

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 14, 2012 at 9:39 AM #

      Jarmo its a long way removed from the Sweden/Finland?Estonia ferries that’s for sure 🙂 Very much a hotel on water feel to it without being a full on cruise ship.

  2. JEREMY BRANHAM May 11, 2012 at 9:45 PM #

    That’s pretty great way to travel. Here is the US, we don’t have ferries either. If we do, they are pretty short ferries and nothing overnight. So I don’t really have a concept of what it is like to travel on them either. I have taken the ferry from Seattle to Victoria BC but that was only three hours but that was just a boat.

    However, this looks pretty inviting – like a very scaled down, relaxed cruise. Definitely an option I would like to try in Europe.

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 14, 2012 at 9:41 AM #

      Jeremy, a scaled down cruise ship is the perfect way to describe it.

  3. BROCK - BACKPACK WITH BROCK May 13, 2012 at 7:46 PM #

    Ferry travel IS sweet! It’s a great alternative to consider when you’re traveling in places near the water.

  4. NANCY May 14, 2012 at 11:57 AM #

    Well if you have a cruise of this class and quality I guess any tour would be fun and sweet… Their is absolutely no chance that your journey will not be good….

  5. ROY MARVELOUS May 15, 2012 at 10:26 AM #

    Nice cabin! Pretty fancy having a porthole.
    So is this ferry leaves from Dover?

    • THE AUSSIE NOMAD May 17, 2012 at 10:37 AM #

      Roy this was the ferry from Harwich actually. Its about 1.5hour train ride from Liverpool Station. Train drops you right at the port which is handy.

  6. CAM May 15, 2012 at 10:38 PM #

    It’s like a mini-cruise!
    We’ve got some great ferry trips in British Columbia – outstanding landscapes (but the food isn’t nearly as good looking as that steak!)

  7. ANITAMAC May 23, 2012 at 3:24 PM #

    Looks like a cushy crossing! We have considered the ferry from Palma de Mallorca to Barcelona on a few occasions – the length of time always being the deterrent. A night crossing would be a great way to relax, kick back and arrive in Barcelona ready to go the next day! Stena looks like they have all the bases covered for your crossing.

  8. MAGIC TRAVEL ANDREW May 31, 2012 at 6:27 AM #

    That ferry looks awesome. We’ve caught a lot of ferries around south east Asia and none of them were remotely as nice as this one. Very envious.

    Sadly, a lot of the ferries seem to be going the way of the dinosaurs. Budget airlines seem to be rapidly driving a lot of them out of business. Its pretty hard to argue with a means of transport that is both faster and cheaper.

  9. DHDVIKAS June 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM #

    Ferry ride is a good travel cruise. it look awesome. its long way to travel in this cruise. the cabin were very nice and stylish i think travelers can enjoy with ferry because of the service and great stuff. a lot of refreshment we can see in different way. oh like it traveling routes .
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  10. MARCUS - LIVE HERE TRAVEL THERE August 15, 2013 at 12:56 AM #

    I used the Stena Line last year from Hoek Van Holland to reach England. I agree with the night ferry where you can get some sleep; also you don’t have to spend money on a hostel or hotel for a night.

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