Discover Ferries is delighted to have award-winning journalist and blogger Stuart Forster, of go-eat-do.com as our June blogger of the month.
Stuart Forster is from North East England and established his blog Go Eat Do in March 2013. He writes about the places he visits, cuisine and culinary heritage, plus the activities that he participates in while underway. He’s been named Journalist of the Year three times at the Holland Press Awards, so the Netherlands features prominently in his articles and blog. Stuart recently travelled between Newcastle and Amsterdam with DFDS and we were able to ask Stuart for his views on the experience.
Tell us about the last trip you made by ferry: what you liked about it, what facilities there were and if there was anything about the trip that surprised you, and who you would recommend it for?
I thought travelling by ferry between Newcastle and Amsterdam with my partner Helen was a great way of enjoying time together while underway. It was great travelling as a couple aboard the ferry as we could simply hang out together, wandering between decks, shopping in the Duty Free and chatting over drinks in the bar.
Travelling by ferry proved much more than merely a mode of transport for getting between two points. It’s clear to me that ferry travel has changed markedly over the years —I have childhood memories of pretty basic crossings between England and France, but the ships have clearly evolved significantly in the intervening years.
While crossing the North Sea we slept in a sizable cabin that had a double bed. We also enjoyed tremendous meals in both directions — the food was genuinely tasty and the service attentive.
I’m always sceptical about buffet food but I was impressed by the range and quality of the evening options on the ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam. The sit-down meal on the way back was as enjoyable as going to a quality restaurant on land and a great way of spending a couple of hours in the company of people.
As someone who is interested in wildlife, I thought it was great to listen to the presentation given by Alex, from the marine charity ORCA, before going up on deck to see if we could see porpoises, dolphins and whales. Using binoculars loaned by Alex, I managed to spot a pod of porpoises weaving across the surface of the North Sea. That was fantastic! I managed to learn a bit about the marine life of the North Sea and think that is something that will appeal to people of all ages. I wish I’d got up a few minutes earlier though: a minke whale was spotted shortly before we made it onto the deck.
Where you would like to go by ferry next?
I quite like the idea of exploring the Scottish Islands. The wildlife, landscapes and heritage of the Outer Hebrides have long appealed to me. It’s all too easy to jet off abroad yet I think we have a lot within the British Isles that is worth exploring.
Any tips for people planning to go on holiday by ferry
I’d suggest that people embrace the idea and make the most of time onboard the ship. Booking meals in advance, tickets for transport between the ferry port and Amsterdam, plus the best cabin that was still available meant I initially spent a bit more than expected but ultimately we felt the benefit while travelling. The Commodore class on DFDS includes a breakfast buffet and waking to experience that proved an easy start to the day.
You can read all about Stuart Forster’s travel and food adventures in his blog Go Eat Do and follow him on his social channels:
Facebook page www.facebook.com/goeatdo
See pictures on Instagram www.instagram.com/goeatdo and on Twitter www.twitter.com/goeatdo