The question is a fair one – Why choose to take the ferry when you can simply fly or even take the Eurostar, what are the benefits of taking the ferry?
Now the obvious one could be cost, but the price of travel is very dependent on where you are going and how many of you are going, it’s easy to find situations that ferry travel works out cheaper against flying and vice versa, so for this look at the advantages of ferry travel, we will be concentrating on non-economic matter, though we will still point out potential savings and forgotten costs.
Lets start with flying – Why should you go by ferry rather than flying to somewhere in Europe. If you are one of the millions of travellers who are simply not happy with a holiday to one destination and then the reliance of organised trips to sights outside that destination then a car is an essential part of your vacation.
That’s the first major advantage of ferry travel, you can simply drive your own car to the ferry port in the UK and take it over to mainland Europe on holiday with you to wherever you are going. With taking your own car comes another major advantage, you can load your car up with as much stuff that you can fit in it and you’ll not be charged any extra, once the car is packed up, you won’t need to worry about unloading it until you get to where you are going.
Consider the alternative of flying, you will need to ensure that you pack everything you need into one suitcase per person and make sure you are not over the airlines baggage limits, then it’s load up your bags into the car or taxi or even worse set off to get the airport bus or train, once you get to the airport it’s unload the bags and join the queue to get them checked in. Now things might be a little simpler now with online check in, but unless you are one of those people who can fit everything they need into a small bag that must conform to airline guidelines then you will need to check in your luggage.
Now when you let the airlines loose on your luggage, you statistically only have a 97% chance that your bags arrive at the same destination and time as you. British Airways who have one of the best records for baggage loses, still loses around 18 bags per 1,000 – So even on a flight of a 100 people, someone will more than likely not to get there luggage at the other end – this is a problem that you will never need to worry about when you take a ferry.
When you fly, if you want a car when you arrive at your destination, you will need to hire one, that means more “checking in” and waiting around until you get your car – then once you get your car it’s time to discover if it’s one you can live with. If you have ever hired a car in America, then you can choose the economy or compact one and still get a nice big car that will fit 4 people and 4 suitcases easily in Europe though, economy and compact mean just that, so if you have a few people to cater and a lot of luggage then you’ll need to make sure you order a car big enough.
Even if your not taking your car, the ferry can still offer benifits, you’re suitcases won’t be weighed, so as long as you can carry it, you can take it onboard. If you are traveling on one of the overnight ferries then you will arrived relaxed in your destination after a good nights sleep and ready explore your destination – Of coarse if city your ferry docks in is not your final destination then you will have some more travelling to do – like flying you will have the option of hiring a car or it’s on to one of the usually very good european transport connections.
Traveling by ferry is an adventure, you have the whole ship to explore and many things to do on it – not just confined to your seat for the whole journey, if it’s an overnight jouney you’ll get your own cabin, if you want just bigger seat on a plane you need to pay £1000’s in some situations for 1st class.
Lets now handle the Eurostar and also clear up the difference between the Eurostar and the Eurotunnel – The Eurostar is the passenger train service that uses that big tunnel they built many years ago between France and the UK, the Eurostar is only a passenger service and you cannot take your car on the Eurostar. If you want to take your car through the big tunnel then you must use the Eurotunnel service that operates between Folkestone in England to Calais in France.
Taking your car through the eurotunnel is just the underground equivalent of the Dover to Calais ferry, it’s a lttle quicker than ferry, but you do spend most of the time underground.
The Eurostar is decent alternative if you are foot passenger going to Europe, you will need to chnage trains for most destinations and you will need to enjoy travelling by train and because every route needs to go through the tunnel, if you live north of London and you are going to anywhere in northern europe, your journey is not exactly direct.