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Coronavirus ferry passenger FAQs

By 16/06/2020September 1st, 2022FAQs, Information


Due to the current pandemic, travel requirements and restrictions are subject to change. The following guidance is designed to help guide passengers on the latest information relating to travel by ferry.

How safe is ferry travel post Covid lockdown?

Ferry travel is very safe. The safety of passengers and crew is our members’ top priority.

One of the great things about modern ferry travel is that it lends itself well to social distancing, with open deck areas, spacious public lounges and even your own comfortable cabin on some of the longer crossings.

In response to the current Covid-19 situation, ferry and port operators have also added additional safety measures and protocols. These vary per service so please make sure you visit the operators website to find out which Covid safety measures they have in place.

It is also worth noting that during lockdowns many of our members have continued to operate ferry services to transport essential goods such as food and medical equipment, as well as keeping lifeline services running for island communities and key workers.

When can I travel by ferry?

You can travel by ferry now. Travel is not restricted within the United Kingdom, and the Common Travel Area (Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Isles), and mainland Europe for fully vaccinated Brits. However there are varying travel restrictions in place for entry into Spain and The Netherlands for those who are not fully vaccinated and children.

Where can I currently travel to by ferry?

All ferry routes are on sale for all leisure and business travel. Travel has reopened domestically in the UK, within the Common Travel Area and to France. Varying restrictions are in place for travel to Spain and The Netherlands for the fully vaccinated, unvaccinated and minors so please check before travel.

Before travelling we’d recommend taking a rapid lateral flow test. Do not travel if you are showing any symptoms of Coronavirus or feel unwell.

Please note that it is still recommended to wear face coverings on some ferry services from the UK.

What are the rules for international travel to/ from Great Britain?

Due to the pandemic, travel requirements are subject to change so please check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice before travel here. There is also an official UK government step-by-step guide to travelling abroad available here.

We advise you to also check the entry requirments of the country you are travelling to here.

Do I need to wear a face covering when I travel by ferry?

On some services you may need to wear a face covering when travelling by ferry, unless you are exempt for medical reasons. Due to changing guidance we recommend checking what is required with your ferry operator before you travel.

What can I do on board?

As always, you will be able to walk around the ferry, enjoy the fresh air from the outside deck area and relax in a comfortable seating area with other members of your group.

Ferry services are offering a selection of food and drink options while you sail, and, on the longer journeys, you can enjoy your own space in a private cabin. On sailings to France, Ireland, the Channel Islands, Spain and The Netherlands you can take advantage of Duty-Free Shopping onboard.

Facilities and requirements will vary depending on the ship and service you’re taking, so we recommend you check with your ferry operator for full details.

Can I book a flexible ticket?

Yes, absolutely. If you want the added security of being able to make last minute changes to your booking, then we’d recommend buying a flexible ticket. Please check the operator’s website for individual ticket terms and conditions.

What can I do if I want to postpone my travel?

Ticket amendments will depend on the terms and conditions of the ticket you purchased.  We advise passengers check all terms of travel and consider booking flexible tickets to ensure travel can be amended without incurring any additional fees.

As ferry companies are experiencing high volumes of requests during this time, we recommend that you first look to amend your booking online via your operator’s website, where you can also find further information and instructions on booking amendments.

If I need to cancel my booking will I get a refund?

This depends on the type of ticket you purchased, the reason for the cancellation and the terms and conditions that apply to your ticket. We recommend that passengers purchase more flexible ticket options if they want the security of being able to cancel or rebook. If you need to cancel your ticket, we recommend you review your ticket terms and conditions and then contact your operator to understand what your options are in the first instance.

Ferry operators are only required to refund those with non-refundable tickets if their passenger service is cancelled or delayed for more than 90 minutes.

We recommend all passengers take out travel insurance when booking travel and that the policy includes Covid-related travel disruption.

Please note that Discover Ferries does not have regulatory authority over ferry members. In cases where passengers have a dispute regarding Ferry Travel Passenger Rights, we recommend contacting the below organisations:

ABTA is the Voluntary Complaints Handling Body for ferry services from England & Wales
Transport for Scotland for ferry services from Scotland
The Consumer Council for ferry services from Northern Ireland

For England and Wales ferry passengers (excluding services operated, contracted and / or licensed by Transport for London) –
Email [email protected]
Address: 30 Park Street, London, SE1 9EQ

For Scotland -Transport for Scotland (Scottish Government)
E-mail: [email protected]

For Northern Ireland – Consumer Council for Northern Ireland
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: The Consumer Council, Elizabeth House, 116 Holywood Road, Belfast BT4 1NY
Telephone: 0800 121 6022, Text phone: 028 9067 2488

View all ferry FAQs