Author: abby

Ferry travellers avoid the biggest travel rip off: Luggage Fees!

Family with their car in the port waiting to board the ferry

Ferry travellers avoid the biggest travel rip off: Luggage Fees!

  • Discover Ferries reveals the 10 travel costs Brits consider over-inflated

At a time when rising costs are at the forefront of everyone’s mind, Discover Ferries, the UK’s passenger ferry industry body, has revealed what Brits perceive to be the biggest rip offs when travelling1. The list reveals where consumers feel they are made to spend extra on travel.

Top 10 Travel rip offs 
1Luggage fees
2Paying to sit together with friends and family
3Airport parking
4 =Booking extra leg room
4 =Credit card booking fees
5Paying for additional hand luggage
6Travel fares
7Travel insurance
8Entry to local attractions
10Car hire

Avoid shelling out big bucks for baggage

Recent changes in hand luggage allowance for some forms of transport means more travellers will need to pay for additional bags or luggage to take their essentials with them. With some operators charging £40 each way for additional hand luggage, hold luggage costs ranging from £12 to £110 per bag2 and extra fees for excess and overweight baggage, this can add substantially to the final bill. Charges vary greatly depending on destination and departure date, and aren’t revealed until the point of booking, making it difficult to budget in advance.

Ferry travellers do not encounter the same limitations and costs. In general, ferry passengers don’t need to consider the number of bags they take, or the size and weight of their luggage as they can have “as much as they can carry” within a standard foot passenger or vehicle crossing fare.   

Vehicles boarding a Brittany Ferries ferry. Credit Brittany Ferries

No reservation over seat reservation

Travellers also begrudge having to pay to sit with their family and friends or for seats with extra leg room. Many short haul air operators now charge passengers to reserve seats together, which can vary from a couple of pounds to over £50 per seat, each way.

Discover Ferries points out that allocated seating costs do not apply for ferry travel. Ferries boast spacious lounges, on board cafes, bars and restaurants as well as access to fresh air on deck. With the freedom to move around the ship during the journey, groups can easily find somewhere to sit together.

Credit: Condor Ferries

Swerve soaring car hire and parking fees

A global shortage in hire cars saw rental rates soar last summer, which has remained front of mind for many Brits. Furthermore, with parking charges at some airports increasing by 128% in December3, travellers may reconsider how they are getting to and from their departure point or whether they are able to take their own vehicle on holiday in a bid to save money. As a result, the number of ferry passengers travelling with a vehicle grew by 54% last year4.  

Escape the hidden costs bumping up holiday prices

The survey shows that the biggest travel rip offs are often the hidden extras, which are less visible in the planning process and therefore less likely to be factored into travel budgets. As well as luggage, seat allocation and credit card fees, respondents also cited single person supplements as unnecessarily steep. Rather than optional extras, these costs are essential for consumers to experience the journey they expect. Opting for modes of transport that give greater value within tickets helps travellers to keep track of their spend and focus their budget on experiences rather than less fun costs.

Abby Penlington, Director of Discover Ferries, comments: “In the current climate value for money has never been more important, while people understand the need for price increases, it is the unexpected charges that make travellers balk. We wanted to see where British travellers feel they are being exploited in a bid to help them find the best value breaks and stretch holiday budgets further.

“Luggage handling fees are evidently the biggest bug bear but for ferry passengers travelling in their own vehicle, the term fill your boots is never truer. Of course, taking your own vehicle also means you have the freedom to explore your destination without the added fees of car rental or airport parking. Furthermore, there is no concern over being charged to sit together during the journey, the space on board enables passengers to stretch their legs, grab a bite to eat and relax as a group. Travelling by ferry means passengers can avoid the top rip offs and reduce their spend on journeys to popular locations including France, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Scotland, and British Islands.”


1 Top 10 results based on a survey conducted for Discover Ferries carried out online by Censuswide. A panel resulting in 2,042 responses from general UK consumers was questioned between 20th and 23rd January 2023. All the research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.

2 Charges from a range of airlines including Aer Lingus, British Airways, EasyJet, Enter Air, Ryanair, Vueling and Wizz Air

3 Research from Your Parking Space, November 2022

4 IRN Ferry Ferrystat Monthly Ferry Passenger Statistic, December 2022

A hybrid future for the ferry industry

Ferry stern and ship wake

A hybrid future for the ferry industry

  • Ferry industry invests in greener and more comfortable ships
  • A total of 17 new ships will be in service within next 5 years

(10 November 2022) Industry body, Discover Ferries, announces that the UK passenger ferry industry will introduce fuel-efficient, hybrid-powered ferries to reduce carbon emissions and improve passenger experience. Six new ships have already entered service in the past two years and a further 11 will join fleets by 2027.

The continued investment in new ships and improved port facilities underlines the industry’s strategy to cater for an increasing number of passengers, provide high quality, efficient and green transport at good value.

Abby Penlington, director of Discover Ferries commented: “This industry-wide investment is great news for the millions of travellers who value comfort, space and value for money but are also mindful of their environmental impact. The new vessels are important milestones in our journey towards a net-zero industry which operates across 80 passenger ferry routes from the British Isles.”

“This industry-wide investment is great news for the millions of travellers who value comfort, space and value for money but are also mindful of their environmental impact. The new vessels are important milestones in our journey towards a net-zero industry which operates across 80 passenger ferry routes from the British Isles.”

A hybrid now for an electric future

A zero-emissions Belfast commuter service is due to launch in 2024. Designed to fly above the water and use 90% less energy than conventional ferries, the ship is being developed by the Belfast Maritime Consortium with Condor Ferries, which will also inform plans for a future electric ferry for the Channel Islands.

Hybrid electric ferries are providing a stepping-stone towards zero emissions. Two new P&O Ferries ships, launching in 2023, are designed to run on battery power for carbon neutral sailings once charging systems are installed in the ports. Hybrid vessels are in development for routes operated by Brittany Ferries, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Isles of Scilly Travel, Caledonian MacBrayne and London’s Uber Boat by Thames Clippers – which is set to launch the UK’s first high speed hybrid ferries in 2023. The vessels can either run on fuel/biofuel or electricity or a combination of the two. As well as fewer emissions, they are significantly quieter and offer a smoother ride – great for passengers, residents near ports and marine life.

New hybrid vessel for the River Thames, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers

Wightlink already operates a hybrid electric ship; Victoria of Wight is the greenest ferry to serve the Isle of Wight. In a bid to reduce carbon by a further 7,500 tonnes per year, it is now aiming to launch the Solent’s first all-electric freight and passenger ferry within the next five years. Similarly, all-electric vessels are in development by Caledonian MacBrayne for the West Coast of Scotland.

Shore power ready, both Wightlink and Brittany Ferries’ plan for future vessels to be plugged in at port to recharge. The ferry operator commitment coincides with Portsmouth International Port’s investment in solar generation, which completes early 2023. It is the first UK port to install solar canopies; 2,600 panels sit above Brittany Ferries’ car lanes providing shade for the vehicles while generating power. Together with a 1.5 megawatt per hour battery to store unused power, the renewable energy project could contribute up to 98% of the port’s electricity consumption in ideal conditions.

Stena Line is developing its next generation of E-flexer vessels which will be dual-fuel methanol hybrids. The ferry operator is working with engine manufacturers to convert the vessels as well as develop the port infrastructure to support them. The newly converted ships will operate on key routes from Harwich to the Hook of Holland and from Belfast to Cairnryan.

Cutting carbon on the Channel 

Efforts are underway to reduce emissions on the world’s busiest shipping lane. Next year, P&O Ferries will launch the largest and most sustainable ships to sail between Dover and France, P&O Pioneer and P&O Liberté. The two new double-ender ferries allow for boarding and disembarkation at both ends to aid fast turn-around on the busy Dover-Calais service. With a capacity for 1,500 passengers each, they will improve economic and environmental efficiencies.

P&O Pioneer and P&O Liberté, P&O Ferries

The Port of Dover itself is targeting net zero emissions by 2025 and was recently awarded funding as part of the Green Corridor Short Straits (GCSS) consortium. This includes French ports Calais and Dunkirk, ferry operators Irish Ferries, DFDS and P&O Ferries among other partners. The feasibility study will take steps to establish the first zero-carbon trade route in the UK.  

Brittany Ferries, which operates services on the western Channel to France and Spain, will launch Santoña, a new liquified natural gas (LNG) -fuelled ferry, in the Spring. Sister to the Salamanca, which entered service this year, the ships reduce CO2 output by approximately 25% and drastically reduces emissions that affect air quality. Fuel agnostic, they can also run on even cleaner fuels such as bio-LNG and e-methane when infrastructure is in place.

Sain Malo, Brittany Ferries

Increasing capacity in the British Isles and Irish Sea

In 2019 more than 37 million passenger journeys were made by ferry to the British Isles and Ireland, France, Spain and The Netherlands. The importance of comfort, value for money, and the desire to avoid airport queues, baggage fees and car rental costs is expected to increase the number of ferry travellers. To meet both passenger and freight demand, operators are investing in larger, more efficient ships.

Among the most energy efficient vessels in the world, three of Stena Line’s bigger E-flexer ships have already been deployed in the Irish Sea, these are the same model of ships as DFDSCôte D’Opale and Brittany Ferries’ Santoña, Salamanca and Galicia. Stena Estrid, Embla and Edda have boosted Stena Line’s capacity on the Irish Sea by a third and are 30% more energy efficient than the vessels they replaced. Recently added silicon coverings on the hulls have improved fuel efficiency further. 

The new Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ship can carry approximately 50% more passengers than the current ferry and features more cabins and a greatly enhanced passenger experience. Furthermore, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group is working towards replacing its passenger ferry and freight ships. The new passenger ferry, Scillonian IV, would accommodate up to 600 passengers, increasing capacity by more than 20%.

Manxman, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

Penlington adds: “As well as improved efficiency and a switch to cleaner fuels and hybrid propulsion, the new ships boast new onboard facilities and upgraded interiors to offer passengers and, increasingly, their pets a comfortable journey in a truly modern setting. Together with more sustainable engines, the improved onboard experience ensures future generations of ferry travellers, further cementing our industry’s future.”

“As well as improved efficiency and a switch to cleaner fuels and hybrid propulsion, the new ships boast new onboard facilities and upgraded interiors to offer passengers and, increasingly, their pets a comfortable journey in a truly modern setting. Together with more sustainable engines, the improved onboard experience ensures future generations of ferry travellers, further cementing our industry’s future.”

Onboard upgrades for four-legged travel

The investment also improves onboard experiences, to appeal to passengers’ needs and high expectations, strengthening ferries’ position as the most relaxing and comfortable way to travel.

With more space on board and access to fresh air on deck, it has always been easier and more comfortable to take pets away via ferry than by plane or train. With the growing number of pet owners and increasing cost of kennels, the trend for pet-friendly holidays is also expected to rise and operators have improved services accordingly. This year, P&O Ferries opened pet lounges on its cross-Channel services, which have space for pets and their owners to rest and access to an outside exercise area. Stena Line already offers dog kennels on routes to Ireland and Holland and new pet-friendly cabins on routes to Holland. Following requests from regular passengers, the new Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ship, Manxman, will feature two pet lounges. 

P&O Ferries Pet Lounge: Dover to Calais

Entry into Service Dates for New Ships

YearCompany and shipRoute
2020Brittany Ferries GaliciaPortsmouth-Santander and Bilbao
Stena Line Stena EstridDublin-Holyhead
Stena Line Stena EddaLiverpool-Belfast
2021Stena Line Stena EmblaLiverpool-Belfast
DFDS Côte D’OpaleDover-France
2022Brittany Ferries SalamancaPortsmouth-Santander
2023Brittany Ferries SantoñaPortsmouth-Santander and Bilbao
Caledonian MacBrayne MV Glen SannoxArdrossan-Isle of Arran
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ManxmanHeysham-Douglas
P&O Pioneer and P&O LibertéDover-Calais
Uber Boat by Thames ClippersThames river
 Caledonian MacBrayne Glen SannoxScottish West Coast
2024Caledonian MacBrayne Hull 802Scottish West Coast
 Caledonian MacBrayneIsle of Islay
 Condor FerriesBelfast-Bangor
2025Brittany Ferries Saint MaloPortsmouth-St Malo
 Brittany FerriesPortsmouth-Caen
Caledonian MacBrayneIsle of Islay
 Caledonian MacBrayne – two new shipsScottish West Coast
2026-27Wightlink – first electric shipSolent
TBCIsles of Scilly Steamship Group – replacement for Scillonian III and freight ships Gry Maritha and Lyonesse LadyPenzance-St Mary’s

Ferry sector delivers the goods, the people and significant value to the European economy

Sunset across the coast.

Ferry sector delivers the goods, the people and significant value to the European economy

  • £8 billion to European GDP, which is 17.3% of total shipping contribution
  • 109,000 jobs in Europe are in ferry companies, 16% of total jobs in shipping
  • Traveller sentiment towards ferries has improved: air has suffered (based on pre and post-Covid comparison)

(20 October 2021) Figures presented at Interferry, the global meeting of ferry chiefs in Santander Spain this October, reveal the significant contribution the sector makes to the European economy. It accounts for a direct annual contribution of £8bn to European GDP, 17.3% of the shipping sector’s £46.5bn contribution, and is responsible for 109,000 jobs. That’s 16% of all 685,000 European jobs in shipping. These, and other headlines were revealed to 260 member companies from 40 countries as part of a study by Oxford Economic, commissioned by Interferry1.

Ferry sector’s contribution to European shipping industry:

 FerryShippingFerry as % of shipping
Economic Value£8bn2£46.5bn317.3%

The figures underline the importance of ferries, beyond a pandemic where they have kept essential goods like medicines and food moving across borders and to island communities. Freight has kept rolling on and off ships, despite travel restrictions that have significantly hit passenger numbers. 

The good news is that, in a normal year, ferries carry around 4.2 billion passengers globally. That’s on a par with air transport. In the UK alone there are some 46.9 million passenger journeys in a year. There are also 15.07 million vehicles carried on ferries operating from the UK.4

European v global ferry sector – passenger and vehicles carried

 European ferry sectorGlobal ferry sector%
Passengers794 million4.27 billion18.6%
Vehicles199 million373 million53.3%

“These figures highlight a vibrant sector of the British and European economies that has operated under the radar for too long,” said Abby Penlington Director at Discover Ferries. “Our member companies are the arteries that run across water, maintaining the flow of essential goods and services, boosting employment and wealth, while offering passengers a real alternative to flying. There is no doubt that ferries will continue to punch well above their weight as travel restrictions ease and we return to normality.”

In terms of passenger volumes, domestic operators fared better than companies connecting international destinations this year. However better news lies ahead for all.

Households have built up around £50bn in lockdown savings, according to analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research and Scottish Friends. Travel and overseas accommodation were cited as the number one area where these savings are likely to be spent.

Furthermore, 69% of respondents to an L.E.K. Consultingsurvey of 1490 people said they intended to return to, or increase their frequency of travel next year, compared with 2019 levels. 21% said they intended to travel more with nearly half of those citing “to make up for lost time” as their reason.

Ferry v Air Travel

L.E.K. Consulting’s research also examined nearly 3 million social media posts pre- and post-Covid. This looked at the five international ferry operators in the UK and easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways. It revealed an increase in posts expressing joy in ferry travel and a significant reduction in posts expressing fear. The opposite was true for the airlines.

L.E.K. Consulting graph showing sentiment towards ferry travel improved during the pandemic whereas sentiment to air travel suffered
Brandwatch L.E.K. Analysis

Abby Penlington commented: “It is heartening to see in L.E.K. Consulting’s analysis the increase in consumers who value the relaxing experience that ferry travel offers. The opportunity to travel in your own vehicle, take in the views from the deck and a have bite to eat, as well as the use of large, open public spaces and access to fresh air throughout the journey not only gives travellers the confidence to get away, but also ensures they really enjoy their time on board.”  


  1. Interferry is a shipping association representing the ferry industry worldwide.
  2. Source: The Ferry Industry’s Impact in Europe, Oxford Economics 2021, original study in USD converted at an exchange rate of £1 = $1.37.
  3. Source: Economic Value of the EU Shipping Industry, Oxford Economics 2020:, original study in USD converted at an exchange rate of £1 = $1.37.
  4. Source: FerryStat & FreightStat, IRN Research. Passenger journeys include Uber Boat by Thames Clippers London River Bus and Woolwich Ferry passengers. Vehicles include cars, coaches and RO-RO freight units.
  5. L.E.K. Consulting report European Ferry Recovery and Outlook produced for the Interferry Conference, Santander, 4 October 2021.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Brian Smith

Condor Ferries secures second ‘ropax’ vessel

The Straitsman currently in New Zealand before coming to the Channel Isles

Condor Ferries secures second ‘ropax’ vessel

The Straitsman currently in New Zealand before coming to the Channel Isles
Condor’s new ropax ferry, the MV Straitsman, which will enter service with the company later this year on its UK, French and inter-Island services

CONDOR has made a major investment in Channel Islands’ freight and passenger services through the introduction of a second, conventional roll on, roll off ferry.

The acquisition follows a year-long search for a vessel which meets the Islands’ criteria and will provide resilience, add capacity and improve connectivity on the company’s key routes between Guernsey, Jersey, the UK and France. Currently operating in New Zealand as the MV Straitsman, the 125m long ‘ropax’ vessel, is similar in design to Commodore Clipper and is initially planned to enter service this Autumn. 

John Napton, Condor’s CEO, confirmed this showed the company’s determination to develop its freight and passenger services.

‘Condor has always maintained that its primary focus is to support the three strands of the Islands’ economies – lifeline freight, connectivity for Islanders and inbound tourism – which is clearly demonstrated through this additional vessel.

‘We have been interested in purchasing another vessel for a while and would have already done so had it not been for the challenges caused by Covid and the limited availability of these size of vessels. This is a fundamentally important step in showing our commitment to the Islands and demonstrates we have listened to the needs of our clients and key stakeholders.’

The Straitsman was built in 2005 at the Dutch shipyard, Merwede BV and has operated under different names in both Europe and New Zealand. The ferry will be renamed and undertake berthing trials in Guernsey and Jersey later this year prior to her entry into regular service.

Mr Napton added: The new ship is similar to Clipper in size, speed and capability so we plan to use her on the important freight supply route from Portsmouth, offering an overnight service in both directions and creating an overall more weather resilient service. She will also enable the larger fleet to assist with inter-Island frequency and continue to develop freight services from France, which are showing real growth and potential.

‘There is considerable amount of work to be done before she enters service but this is very positive news for the Islands.’

Brittany Ferries Santoña is the latest LNG-powered ferry to call Portsmouth home

Brittany Ferries Santoña is the latest LNG-powered ferry to call Portsmouth home

Brittany Ferries new LNG-powered ferry Santona arriving at Portsmout Port escorted by two Hovertravel hovercraft.
Brittany Ferries new LNG-powered ferry Santoña arriving at Portsmout Port escorted by two Hovertravel hovercraft. Credit: Strong Island

(3 March 2023) A new Brittany Ferries ship has sailed into Portsmouth International Port for the first time this week.

Named Santoña, the luxurious cruise-ferry will voyage to Santander in northern Spain twice a week, with a single weekly return-crossing to Cherbourg in France.  Her first commercial crossing to Santander departs tonight, Friday 3 March 2023, after a champagne reception to toast her arrival.

Santoña is powered by cleaner liquefied natural gas (LNG). That means passengers, freight drivers and crew can expect a smoother and quieter ride on this state-of-the-art E-Flexer class ship. Crucially, it also means far fewer air quality and CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions from her funnel.

She is the third in a series of five new vessels to join the fleet, covering the period 2019 – 2025.  It’s all part of the biggest ship renewal programme in Brittany Ferries’ 50 year history, a multi-million pound investment in a more sustainable future. Like LNG-powered sister-ship Salamanca, which entered service in 2022, Santoña will be a good neighbour to the port and to Pompey residents.

That’s because LNG is cleaner than diesel fuel. Virtually no air quality emissions like soot, sulphur or nitrogen dioxide are emitted from the funnel following combustion. Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) are also up to 20% lower than for diesel fuel. She therefore comes with the promise of cleaner air from day one in service, with the potential to realise further improvements in the years to come when new bio and e-Fuels are available to power what are sometimes described as “fuel agnostic” ships.

“We are proud to be long-term partners of Portsmouth international Port and the great waterfront city,” said Christopher Mathieu chief executive Brittany Ferries. “But we want to be more than just a company that contributes significantly to the local economy, taking people to beautiful destinations in France and Spain. We also want to be partners for change, boosting moves to improve air quality across the city and to tackle climate change. That’s why ships like Santoña and the hybrids to come are so important.”

The next two Brittany Ferries vessels on the horizon will feature hybrid technology. Like a hybrid car, they will run on fuel (LNG), on electric power or on a combination of the two. At sea the ships will be powered by cleaner LNG. But upon the approach to the city, while manoeuvring in port and at quay, hybrid technology takes charge.

Arriving in 2024/2025, the ferries will replace two grande dames and favourites of the Brittany Ferries fleet, Bretagne and Normandie. They will serve Portsmouth-Caen and Portsmouth-St Malo and both will be shore side power ready.

They are configured to be plugged-in to recharge batteries and to run systems on board while alongside, cutting emissions to zero. Portsmouth International Port and the City Council has been key to lobbying for – and securing – the large increase in power supply needed, as well as investment in infrastructure to get power to the port gate. Work is continuing to secure the final piece of the jigsaw, connecting power from the port gate to the quayside where ferries and cruise vessels will dock.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “We are proud of our long-term partnership with Brittany Ferries, and hugely impressed to see their plans for sustainable expansion going from strength to strength.

“Brittany Ferries shares the city’s ambitions for a future focussed on protecting the environment, we are committed to supporting them to achieve their clean growth goals, which is why we are securing additional green energy to provide power for ships in the future that can plug in when in port.

“As expected from Brittany Ferries Santona is an impressive ship and we look forward to seeing her sail regularly through Portsmouth.”

Santoña – on board

Santoña is a ship that brings the art of travel to all. Its capacious interior spaces are designed to be accessible to every passenger, with boutique shopping, a cinema and atrium bar with sky roof on the menu.

Cabins are roomy and boast mattresses that are said to be the most comfortable on the Channel. A C-Club Lounge is offered to those seeking a premium experience, to complement the comfort and relaxation that comes as standard when travelling on board a Brittany Ferries ship.

There’s ample space for 1,015 aboard this 215-metre ship. She hosts 343 cabins and pets are welcome too. There are 22 pet-friendly cabins, meaning Fido can join the family on holiday to France or Spain.

Artworks and meals on board are inspired by Santoña and the regions of Spain served by the ship. So Brittany Ferries can rightly claim to walk-the-talk when it says your holiday begins the moment you step on board.

While dreaming of beautiful destinations that await upon arrival in Santander, passengers can while away the hours on deck whale and dolphin spotting. The Bay of Biscay is one of the richest places on Earth for spying these magnificent creatures in their natural environment. Lucky travellers might even spot a blue whale, the largest creature ever to have lived on the planet.

Half-term treats for sea dogs travelling with Wightlink

Staff from raw dog food manufacturer Paleo Ridge with a dog on board Wighlink ferry

Half-term treats for sea dogs travelling with Wightlink

Staff from raw dog food manufacturer Paleo Ridge with a dog on board Wighlink ferry
The Paleo Ridge team sampling onboard Wightlink’s St Clare

Wightlink’s four-legged customers enjoyed some tasty half-term treats on the busy St Clare ferry.

Dog food specialist Paleo Ridge from Waterlooville in Hampshire set up sampling stations to introduce dog owners to its new naturally air-dried treats, keeping pets happy during Friday afternoon’s sailings between Portsmouth and Fishbourne.

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says: “This is just part of Wightlink’s commitment to supporting local businesses on both sides of the Solent, looking after the environment and welcoming dogs on board our ferries.”

Gill Synnuck, Trade Account Manager, of Paleo Ridge adds: “We’re delighted to set sail with Wightlink, meet a few four-legged friends and introduce them to our new meaty treats.

“All of our ingredients are 100% natural, ethically sourced and of the highest quality. Our aim is to promote healthy dogs through a natural, species-appropriate diet and we also use sustainable packaging to reduce their impact on the environment.”

Dogs travel free on Wightlink’s three ferry routes between the Isle of Wight and Hampshire. Vehicle ferries have special pet areas where both people and dogs can relax, and they can also enjoy the outer decks when the weather is good.

Wightlink customers can save 20% and enjoy free shipping* on raw dog food delivered to their door with Paleo Ridge, see

*Terms & Conditions Apply. A minimum order weight of four kilograms must be met and this offer expires on 30 April 2023

Fly Away for a Day with Hovertravel

Fly Away for a Day with Hovertravel

(Fri 27 January 2023) Hovertravel has launched a full calendar of day trips for 2023, combining coach trips to a broad variety of destinations and attractions with day returns from the Island in great value package deals.

Loretta Lale, head of commercial at Hovertravel, explains: “Following the popularity of our coach trip to Winchester for its famous Christmas market last year, we have created a series of Hover Days. These trips start by flying island residents across the Solent to get the day trips started as soon as possible and allow customers to have more time enjoying the destination.

In terms of destinations we have packaged several different trips which include cities, historical locations, world-class attractions and family-friendly experiences. We are also looking to add some more specific event day trips alongside our 2023 Winchester Christmas Market Day Trip.”

The Hover Days calendar has outings to suit all interests; whether you want to shop in the West End of London, see the royal residences at Windsor and Arundel,  meet Peppa Pig or Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or enjoy an ice cream on the beach in Brighton.

Day trip to Windsor

Full details including dates, itineraries and fares are all available at

Wightlink announces its summer 2023 timetable

Wightlink Fastcat service to Ryde Pier

Wightlink announces its summer 2023 timetable  

(24 Jan 2023) Wightlink is announcing additional FastCat services between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier starting on Monday 27 March 2023. There will also be changes to the Lymington-Yarmouth timetable to improve connections with South Western Railway (SWR) trains.  

Wightlink Fastcat service to Ryde Pier
Wightlink Fastcat service to Ryde Pier

The extra FastCat evening sailings will be the 21:20 and 22:45 from Portsmouth and the 22:00 and 23:10 from Ryde. Crossings will also be hourly throughout the day, Monday-Sunday.  

Foot passengers can also travel on Wightlink’s car ferries. The 22:15 and 23:59 crossings from Portsmouth to Fishbourne (returning at 23:00 and 01:00) complement the scheduled FastCats to offer extra sailings to and from the Isle of Wight.  

On the Lymington-Yarmouth route, Wightlink’s summer timetable is being adjusted to ensure customers have more time to make connections between ferries and trains at Lymington Pier station*.  

“We have always made it clear that we would add additional FastCat sailings when customer numbers justified the decision,” says Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield. “I hope many Islanders and mainland customers will take advantage of these additional crossings.   

“We also trust the minor amends to our Lymington-Yarmouth service will be helpful for customers who use the connecting SWR trains to and from Brockenhurst and the rail network beyond.”  

*From Monday 27 March 2023, the 18:00, 19:00 and 20:00 ferries from Lymington to Yarmouth will depart five minutes later to aid customers arriving by rail at Lymington Pier. The return sailings from Yarmouth will depart at ten minutes past the hour.  

Brittany Ferries hails strong start to 2023

Brittany Ferries hails strong start to 2023

(23 Jan 2023) Forward reservations are up by 20 per cent. In total, 125,000 more passengers have booked to travel with Brittany Ferries, compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile the company’s next ship Santoña – powered by cleaner liquefied natural gas – is en-route to Europe, ready to enter service in March. She will sail from Portsmouth to Santander in Spain and to Cherbourg in France.

Salamanca arriving in Portsmouth

“It’s early days, but we are delighted with how things are looking this year,” said Paul Acheson, director sales and marketing Brittany Ferries. “Our first sailing took place on 2 January 1973. Fifty years on we have emerged from the Covid era with more people choosing the pace, space and convenience of travelling by sea. More than ever, we are ready to welcome passengers on board to enjoy a vacation in the most beautiful parts of France and Spain.”

Brittany Ferries serves five destinations in northern France (Le Havre, Caen, Cherbourg, St Malo and Roscoff) and two in Spain (Bilbao and Santander). Services depart Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth.

Save or Splash Out – great value ferry holidays

Save or Splash Out – great value ferry holidays


Get the best value ferry trips

  • Book early

Saver tickets sell out early, so take advantage of low rates on your preferred travel dates by booking as ferry companies release their new season timetables. Go for flexible ticketing options for the freedom to change travel plans later at no extra charge

  • Travel off peak

Choose less popular sailing times such as midweek and, on routes with overnight crossings, opt for daytime departures to make even greater savings on your ticket price

  • Squeeze into the shoulder season

For a summer getaway that doesn’t break the bank, holiday mid-June to early July or in early September. Holidaymakers benefit from the warmer weather, lower cost accommodation and quieter tourist attractions

  • Save across every part of your holiday

A car crossing ticket includes carriage for at least two passengers, often up to four, or in some cases nine passengers and includes as much luggage as you can fit in, without incurring excess baggage fees. You can even take bicycles and paddleboards. It also saves on vehicle rental and means you have everything you need for your perfect holiday with you.

  • Consider combination tickets

Many ferry firms partner with local attractions, hotels, caravan and camping clubs and transport services such as rail and sail offers to pass on bigger savings to customers.

Best value holidays

Pitch up and save on your stay

© Adgestone The Camping and Caravanning Club Site

Staying at campsites can provide inexpensive accommodation for all the family, with a fortnight’s family stay on the Isle of Wight during the summer holidays costing as little as £250 (price from The Camping and Caravanning Club). Simply hop across the Solent with Hovertravel, Red Funnel or Wightlink. Ferry travel makes it easy for caravans and motorhome owners to reach their favourite destinations and, for campers, tents and equipment can be transported within the price of your ticket, whether going as a car or foot passenger.

Sites often provide free or low-cost entertainment and sports facilities to keep everyone busy and being in the great outdoors gives direct access to nature’s beauty. In Dark Skies areas such as the Isle of Man, reached via the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and the Channel Islands, via Condor Ferries, stargazers can observe the best sights in the Milky Way by just stepping outside their van or tent.

Visit free attractions

Cashtal yn Ard prehistoric site ©Manx National Heritage

So many museums, public artworks and heritage sites can be visited for free, enabling visitors to soak up local culture without having to open their wallets. Exploring the coastline, countryside and hills either by foot or your own car is also a great way to save money. It’s worth picking up destination information booklets on board or using the crossing to research interesting attractions online. Ferry favourites include Isle of Man’s Manx National Heritage sites, which are accessible with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. Art lovers can travel between the Tate Modern and Tate Britain on Uber Boat by Thames Clippers’ river bus services.

Home-stays off the beaten track

Holiday Cottage France

Self-catering and holiday homes offer fantastic savings when compared to hotels and can provide richer experiences. Passengers sailing to France with Brittany Ferries, DFDS, Irish Ferries and P&O Ferries can benefit from the government-sponsored scheme Bienvenue à la Ferme, which offers great value accommodation on farms and often includes homemade meals made with home-grown ingredients. French gites, bed and breakfasts, also offer great value accommodation.

Cut accommodation costs completely

Tower Bridge from the River Thames © Uber Boat by Thames Clippers

By eliminating the need to overnight, day-trippers can experience travel without hefty hotel bills. Ferry routes open access to a range of destinations that can be visited in one day and allows you to enjoy the crossing as part of the experience.  Day trips to the pristine Isles of Scilly on the Scillonian; to Guernsey with Condor Ferries; to Scotland’s western islands and peninsulas with Caledonian MacBrayne; to Northern Ireland with P&O Ferries and Stena Line; and to the Isle of Wight with Hovertravel, Red Funnel and Wightlink, make it easy to take in the beauty on our doorstep across the British Islands while relaxing, taking in spectacular views and spotting marine life.

To take in the best views of London’s iconic sights, travel around the city with Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. From £18.40 the River Roamer ticket allows visitors to hop on and off the frequent river services all day to stop at many top attractions. River views, fresh air and space guaranteed!

Jaunts across the Channel for the day are back on the menu with travellers able to indulge in duty-free shopping and save up to half-price on souvenirs and goods including alcohol, perfume and chocolates. Once in Calais, discover the Calais Dragon, one of the Saurian machines that is transforming the Calais seafront. Day return car crossings are available from Dover with DFDS and P&O Ferries. For an extended break, DFDS and P&O Ferries run two-night mini cruises to Amsterdam, so travellers can overnight on board and spend the day exploring the city’s canals, cafes and museums.

Splash out

P&O Ferries Club Lounge

Travel in style

With ferry travel, the holiday starts as soon as you step on board so there is plenty of opportunity to upgrade your journey and enjoy a premium experience*.

  • Priority boarding for those who want to be the first to board
  • Upgrade to the club-class experience – sail in the premium lounge – with complimentary food and beverages, free WiFi and comfy seating in stylish surroundings
  • On longer sailings, ensuite cabins and suites are available for total relaxation and privacy
  • A la carte dining – start the holiday experience as soon as you board with a delicious 3-course meal
  • Relax with a spa treatment onboard Stena Line and Brittany Ferries Pont-Aven

*Onboard facilities differ per operator and ship so check the operator’s website for which services are available for your journey.

Gloat-worthy gastronomy

©David Griffen Photography Robert Thompson

Ferry travel helps foodies to really push the boat out when it comes to indulging in some of the finest food on the planet, and there’s always space to bring your favourite products back home. On board Brittany Ferries, passengers can enjoy onboard fine dining restaurant before disembarking in Bilbao, just a stone’s throw from San Sebastian, a city that holds 19 Michelin stars and is renowned for its pintxos bars. A three-night stay at the Hotel Silken Amara Plaza, San Sabastian costs from £365 per person and includes ferry travel.

Every year Cowes welcomes glamourous guests to the world-famous sailing and yachting competition, so it’s no surprise that in nearby Newport, Thompson’s serves an exclusive tasting menu from £99 per person using the best produce from the Isle of Wight.

What could be more decadent than an epicurean break to France’s Champagne region, to the UNESCO cellars of Pommery, Ruinart, Veuve-Cliquot and Charles Heidsieck. Private tours of the Champagne wineries offer an insight into how the famous beverage is made and the all-important tastings. Sail with DFDS, Irish Ferries or P&O Ferries from Dover to Calais and drive to Reims in less than 3 hours.

Splendid spas

Galgorm Spa © Failte Ireland

For the ultimate pampering experience, splash out on a luxury spa break. One of the best spa resorts in Northern Ireland, Galgorm boasts a thermal spa village, sail to Belfast with P&O Ferries or Stena Line. If you can’t wait to start relaxing, Stena Line passengers can book into the onboard Pure Nordic Spa.

The Netherlands boasts a culture of wellness resorts, with high end spas offering Scandinavian-style sauna and massage experiences, such as the exclusive Hotel Thermen Bussloo, which is only 90 minutes from DFDS’ ferry port near Amsterdam and less than two hours from P&O Ferries and Stena Line docks in Rotterdam and Hook of Holland.

Stylish stays by the sea

© Atout France/Nathalie Baetens, Deauville Casino

With exclusive bars, a reputation for great music and some opulent city centre hotels, Dublin is a great destination for hedonists and epicures looking to enjoy all Ireland’s capital has to offer. A private powerboat tour gives an exclusive view of Dubin Bay and neighbouring Dalkey Island and adds an extra touch of class. Sail with Irish Ferries, P&O Ferries or Stena Line.

The islands on Scotland’s West coast offer a choice of well-appointed hotels, guest houses and glamping sites. The Beach Bothies at Uig on the Isle of Lewis offer a private cosy hideaway right by the sea. Accessible via Caledonian MacBrayne, a two-night break in mid-April for two costs £300.

A popular holiday spot for Coco Chanel, Deauville’s vintage glamour is still evident in its belle epoque architecture. Take a stroll along Les Planches, the 1920s boardwalk before visiting the grand casino or taking in a cabaret show. Travel to Caen or Cherbourg with Brittany Ferries, to Dieppe with DFDS or to Calais with DFDS, Irish Ferries or P&O Ferries

Water sports are a great way to indulge on a coastal break and the Isles of Scilly offer crystal clear waters and white sand beaches reminiscent of a tropical paradise. Sign up for paragliding, water-skiing or private boat tours before staying at the Hell Bay Hotel on the western shores of Bryher. Sail to St Marys from Penzance with Isles of Scilly Travel.