Discover Ferries is excited to introduce award-winning family travel blogger Cathy Winston as our September Blogger of the Month. Cathy, who is based in London, has been blogging about family travel since 2012, after being told it would be impossible to keep travelling once her baby was born. Now aged seven, her daughter has visited over 25 countries across four continents and has helped prove that this definitely isn’t true – as you can discover with stories of their days out and family trips at mummytravels.com. They holiday in the UK and Europe as much as further afield, along with trying a US road trip, a cruise around the Caribbean, a beach holiday on an African island, exploring the temples of Angkor and Bagan in South East Asia and more.
We asked Cathy what she likes about travelling by ferry, what surprised her on her recent trips and what her top tips for ferry travel are.
What do you like about travelling by ferry?
On a practical note, it’s much easier than flying as you can cram everything you need into the boot of your car, plus you’ve got the flexibility of having your own transport once you arrive rather than a hire car. But I also love the excitement of a ferry trip: there’s nothing like standing on deck and seeing the land fade away into the distance or your destination appear slowly on the horizon, as well as gazing out across the waves.
Even on a short trip to the Isle of Wight, hopping on the Wightlink ferry for the short crossing, it feels more like a real getaway than simply hitting the motorway.
Was there anything that surprised you about travelling by ferry?
My childhood holidays always used to start with a ferry trip to France, which is why I always get that bubble of excitement as we set sail – but on the last cross-Channel trip I did as an adult, I was impressed at how much the ferries themselves have changed since those days and how much more there is in the way of facilities. Proper play areas, sometimes even mini kids’ clubs and cinemas with kids films as well as decent food including children’s menus. These days some are practically mini cruises, you can even find swimming pools on board.
Where would you like to go by ferry next?
My last couple of ferry trips have been fairly short sailings – from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight, between Greek Islands, and the crossing from Tallinn to Helsinki which only takes a couple of hours – so I’d love a longer adventure, especially out to some of the Scottish islands. Perhaps to the Outer Hebrides or venturing even further north to the Shetland Isles and Orkney.
What are your tips for people planning to go on holiday by ferry with a family?
Make sure that anything you want on the ferry is easily accessible – no-one wants to be rummaging in the boot, especially as everyone is packed in tightly on the car decks. I took the little I Spy Ferries book on our last trip, which kept my daughter very entertained (in fact she wanted a longer crossing so she had time to spot more things). You can also prebook quite a few things on board (apart from cabins) including food, which makes it all smoother once you embark and can be a nice way to treat yourself and start the holiday in style.
The ferry crossing is usually one of the easiest parts of the trip for me though, with space for everyone to stretch their legs, have a break, something to eat and just soak up the scenery – for the drive itself, I rely on audio books to keep my daughter entertained and reliable directions from either my phone or a satnav. There’s nothing worse than getting lost with the pressure of a departing ferry, and as I often travel solo with her, I’m usually navigating as well as driving.
You can read more about Cathy’s family travel adventures on her blog and social channels:
Facebook: @MummyTravelsblog https://www.facebook.com/MummyTravelsblog
Instagram: @MummyTravels https://www.instagram.com/mummytravels/
Twitter: @mummytravels https://twitter.com/Mummytravels