Travel Information

How to travel by ferry


  • How do I get the best price?

    To get the best price for your ferry journey we recommend booking early and travelling off-peak.

    If you want to travel during peak holiday periods then consider sailing during early morning or later at night as tickets for these times tend to be cheaper.

  • How far in advance of my crossing do I need to arrive at the port?

    This will depend where you are sailing to and how you are travelling and varies per operator.

    There will be different check in times for foot, vehicle and Rail and Sail passengers. Check in times will be included in your booking information and on the ferry operator’s website.

    If you are travelling to the EU you may need to allow additional time for passport control during peak periods.  And if you are travelling with your pet you will need to allow extra time for their documentation to be reviewed.

  • Do different vessels have different facilities?

    Yes. Different vessels even within the same operator’s fleet will have varying facilities on board. Before you book check which vessel on your route of choice will best suit your needs and book that ship.

  • How much luggage can I take?

    When travelling with your own vehicle there is no limit on the amount of luggage you can carry in it.

    If you are travelling as a foot passenger some operators will have restrictions on the amount of luggage you can bring, but generally if you are able to carry it you can bring it along. Check the operators’ website for details.

  • Can I access Wi-Fi on a ferry?

    A large number of ferries offer free Wi-Fi on board for surfing the internet, emailing and social media usage. On some services it’s also possible upgrade to a higher speed internet connection for a small fee. On more remote ferry services it is not always possible to have an internet connection.

  • Are ferries equipped for disabled passengers?

    Of course! Modern ferries have been designed or adapted to suit the needs of disabled or passengers with reduced mobility, however some sailings have a restriction on the number of wheelchairs that can be taken. If you have specific requirements, check with the ferry company that you plan to sail with.

    Find out more about Accessible-travel

  • Do ferries accept electric vehicles on board?

    Electric vehicles are accepted on board ferries that carry vehicles. In addition e-bikes and some classes of mobility scooters may be accepted on  passenger services. Please check with the ferry operator as they may need to approve your mobility scooter for travel in advance.

    If you are wanting to transport an e-scooter please check with the operator as policies differ.

  • Has the ferry industry assessed the carriage of electric vehicles on ferries?

    Yes. The safety of passengers and crew is the number one priority for ferry operators.  The ferry industry has undertaken thorough independent research on the carriage of electric vehicles, such as the LashFire study, and assessment is ongoing. The UK Chamber of Shipping has also been working with its members to produce clear guidance for the industry. Furthermore crews all attend safety training that is regularly refreshed to deal with emerging scenarios.

  • What is the ETS or Emissions Trading System? What does it mean for passengers?

    The European Union’s Emission Trading System (ETS) was created in 2005 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change. It aims to encourage a switch from fossil fuels to greener alternatives by imposing a levy on carbon outputs and includes sectors such as power generation, heavy industry and aviation. Funds from the levies are then used for investment in green technology. 

    From 1 January 2024, the EU’s ETS will also apply to emissions from all large ships that enter EU ports. This includes ships transporting freight and/or passengers that are above 5,000 gross tonnage and applies to all commercial ferries that travel to France, The Netherlands, The Republic of Ireland and Spain.

    The UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS) replaced the UK’s participation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) on 1 January 2021. The UK ETS will be expanded to include shipping within the next few years.

    While travelling by ferry is one of the most energy-efficient modes of transport, the ferry sector is committed to becoming fully sustainable. UK passenger ferry operators are already investing in more environmentally sustainable ships such as hybrid electric ferries, fully electric and methanol-powered ships which will reduce emissions and carbon use. They are also working with marine life charities such as ORCA to monitor and support biodiversity and the health of our oceans. Part of their efforts include participating in carbon offset programmes, which passengers can also contribute to.

    Individual operators will manage the additional costs of ETS differently. There may be a small surcharge on your ticket for the ETS which shares the responsibility of our carbon footprint at sea. You can find out more about individual ferry operators’ environmental activity here or access specific information on their company website.

  • Who do I contact if I have a dispute with a ferry operator?

    In the first instance you should contact the ferry operator and try to resolve your dispute directly with them.

    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) –
    ABTA Ltd
    Address: 30 Park Street, London, SE1 9EQ

    For Scotland -Transport for Scotland (Scottish Government)

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

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