All of which is precisely why there’s been a huge resurgence in interest in ferry travel over recent years. Parents in particular are finding that when all’s said and done, there’s simply so much more to be taken from ferry travel than any low-cost airline can possibly offer. Ferry crossings from Portsmouth to France are more frequent, affordable and genuinely enjoyable than they have ever been. And while it’s inevitable that ferry travel will continue to be seen as slow and outdated by some, it presents an array of undeniable advantages for all involved.
Ferry travel is what fantastic family trips to the continent are made of – here’s why:
Precious TimeFirst of all, there are two important considerations to make when it comes to journey times. The first of these is exactly how long it takes to get from A to B. Can a one-hour plane journey be compared to a several-hour ferry crossing? Indeed it can, as just as soon as you factor in the airport transfer times, waiting around for two hours before your flight, boarding, disembarking, waiting for luggage and so on, you quickly realise there’s actually no such thing as a one-hour flight. All-in, one hour on the plane itself can equate to 3 or 4 hours of travelling.
Secondly, it’s worth considering what you’re actually doing with your time while travelling. Aside from the promise of an overpriced coffee, the whole process of getting to the airport, waiting around and travelling by plane can be pretty joyless. By contrast, modern ferries are packed with such incredible amenities that your holiday begins the moment you step on board. Whatever it is that takes your fancy and that of your kids, you’ll find it being served up in no small measures. An early start to your holiday and the prospect of a tantrum-free journey – what more could you ask for?
An Overnight OdysseySomething else to consider is exactly how refreshed or otherwise you can expect to be upon your arrival. With flights to the continent, no matter what kind of time you choose to fly, you’re in for a pretty draining experience. Fly through the night and you’ll be missing out on most of the sleep you need – fly during the day and you’ll be pretty wiped out when you get there. It’s not as if the one-hour time difference poses a real jet-lag risk, but that’s not how it feels after a day being processed like cattle through two airports.
Some of the most enjoyable family holidays imaginable begin from Portsmouth with an overnight cruise to the continent. You enjoy an evening revelling in the on-board amenities, you settle into your en-suite cabin and you enjoy the best night’s sleep imaginable. In doing so, you arrive at your destination wonderfully refreshed and ready to make the most of your trip. Assuming you’ll only be on the continent for a short period of time, it simply makes sense to enjoy every minute of it!
Freedom... and Plenty of It!Bringing the car along for ride when travelling to France by ferry has two extraordinary advantages – particularly for family holidays. First of all, pretty much the only limitation when it comes to how much luggage you can take is what you can actually squeeze into the car itself. There are no size or weight restrictions at all, meaning you can happily take the kind of gear you’d never in a million years be able to take by plane. This includes everything from camping supplies to bikes to an endless supply of toys and games to keep the kids happy. If it fits, it goes with you and at no extra charge whatsoever!
Other than this, there’s the way in which taking the car means that the moment you arrive, you already have your own, familiar, reliable and affordable transport to go anywhere you like, anytime. Car hire and public transport are always options for air travellers, but cannot be compared with the convenience and joy of having your own car right there, ready and waiting for you.
Value for MoneyWhen you consider what you actually get out of the deal, there’s no disputing the fact that ferry travel serves up vastly superior value for money. With plane travel, you get a tiny seat on a cramped plane from A to B – that’s it. Anything else you want (including luggage allowance) either costs a fortune or is unavailable. And when you consider the premium prices so many airlines charge in the peak months of the year, it’s borderline criminal.
Leading cross-channel operators like Brittany Ferries by contrast offer the kinds of deals, discounts and complete holiday packages that represent unrivalled value for money. Choose a package that includes accommodation, perhaps meals on-board and any other extras required to make your holiday outstanding and the result is the kind of deal that goes above and beyond anything a low-cost airline can offer.
Family HarmonyLast but not least, one of the most important considerations of all is that of how to ensure the kids are kept content, entertained and happy throughout the journey – your own sanity depending on it! When you think about it, travelling with a low-cost airline is the kind of prospect that’s enough to send a shiver down anyone’s spine. So when you put yourself in the position of a child with a 30-second attention span, it’s all intensified many times over.
As already mentioned, the biggest of all benefits when it comes to ferry travel is the way in which it gives you the opportunity to start your holiday early. The journey itself becomes one of the most enjoyable parts of the entire trip, with a whole world of amenities and entertainment options to revel in along the way. All you have to do is get yourself to Portsmouth – the rest largely takes care of itself!
Finally, Brittany Ferries sum up the benefits of travelling with children to France via the ferry in this graphic they created:
Image source: Brittany Ferries - Ferry VS Plane to France