Ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast in Northern Ireland

Ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast in Northern Ireland

Sail between Scotland and Northern Ireland on the biggest ferries ever to sail into Belfast with a crossing time from only 2 hours 15 minutes and a choice of up to six daily crossings so you can travel when it suits you.

Cairnryan to Belfast

Car & 4 passengers from £189
6 sailings per day       Sailing time: 2hr 15m       Foot passengers from £26
Car & 4 passengers from £200
2 sailings per day       Sailing time: 8 hours       Foot passengers from £22

The ferry connection will be serviced by the biggest ferries ever to sail between Scotland and Northern Ireland, Stena Superfast VII and Stena Superfast VIII.

Sailing from Belfast to Cairnryan with Stena Line will take you just over 2 hours, during that time you can experience superior levels of comfort and enjoyment on-board the brand new Superfast ferry.

In recent years Belfast has emerged from decades of conflict to be a top tourist destination. With its relatively small size and amazing picturesque location nestled between mountains, Belfast offers it’s visitors a special holiday. Stunning coastline, a fascinating history and a vibrant atmosphere make Belfast a very popular tourist destination.

Whether your planing just a weekend trip or Belfast is the starting point for a longer self drive holiday, the Stena Line Cairnryan to Belfast crossing offers you wonderful relaxed hassle free crossing. Their bright spacious ships make it easy for you to travel in comfort, with all the onboard facilities at hand to make your journey as relaxing and fun as possible!

The Cairnryan to Belfast routewas launched in 2012 and is operated by Stena Line. The route replaces Stena’s old Stranraer to Belfast ferries and connects Scotland and Northern Ireland with six daily sailings with a crossing time of only 2 hours 15 minutes.

A little sample of what the new Stena Line Superfast ships have to offer…

FREE WiFi – The drawbacks of the Internet and modern technology is that we all become a little too dependant on them, when we fly we are cut of from our connection to the web, with wifi on board Stena’s Irish sea crossings, you will have the web at your fingertips for free!

Nordic Spa – You can revive, relax and rejuvenate in our Nordic Spa – the only ships on the Irish Sea where you can take a Jacuzzi or chill out in our sauna – just don’t forget your swim suit!

The POD Lounge – Sample the ultimate multi-sensory experience in our new concept POD Lounge – an interactive zone with all the latest in technology from iPads to Xboxes, sound pods to surf stations.

63 thoughts on “Ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast in Northern Ireland

  1. can I just rack up and hop on a ferry with my 4×4 or do I need to pre book?
    I appreciate if the ferry is full I am stuffed but I am not sure of the time I will arrive at Cairnryan and I don’t want to put pressure on myself to be there at a specific time I would rather wait around at the dock for the next sailing if that is necessary

    1. Hi Stephen

      Due to the on-going pandemic, companies are temporarily not allowing you to travel without a prior booking. Operators are offering flexi-fares, or advanced fare options, which allow you to change the booking date and time if required.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Hi – I am from the United States and am planing a trip to Ireland in October. As part of my trip I’d like to take a fairy to Scotland for a few days. I was planning to go from Belfast to Cairnryan. I don’t drive and want to travel around by train. Is there an easy connection from Cairnryan to Glasgow? How far is the train station from the port at Cairnryan will I be able to take a train from there. Thanks for your help.

    1. Hi Bill

      Sounds like a wonderful holiday you are planning. So to complete this journey you would have to get a taxi from the ferry port to Stranraer Train Station (15 minute journey). From there you would be able to get a train right into the heart of Glasgow, arriving at Glasgow Central. The train journey time would be between 2 hours 12 minutes and 2 hours 40 minutes, depending which train you caught. This train service runs at multiple times throughout the day. I hope this helps.

  3. Cannot believe how costly it is to travel (small car/ 1 adult) from Cairnryan to Belfast. Prices ‘from’ £79 each way until you click on the button and find nothing at that price (jumping to £119 plus) despite dates for travel well in advance. If there are any real deals, they’re well hidden! Air travel plus car hire works out cheaper by far, but its a shame you’re not more competitively priced. 😏

    1. Hi Carmel

      Thank you for your feedback. We value all our customers comments. Unfortunately we do not set the prices, these are dictated by the ferry operators.

  4. Hi
    I want to go as foot passenger on Thursday 27th July in morning to Belfast and come back later in day with a car I’m buying
    Is this achievable and at what cost

    1. Hi Stephen

      This is most definitely achievable. To do this this select the option “Different passengers or vehicles out/return” (located under the “How are you travelling” section) and fill out the details. Unfortunately I cannot provide a cost at this time, as i would need the details of the car you are buying. Sorry I cannot be of more help at this time.

    1. Hi Louise

      Thanks for getting in touch! This is a complicated one. In some cases yes, operators run specific deals which offer discounts if you make multiple bookings. But under general terms, there won’t be a discount for multiple bookings. I hope this helps.

    1. Hi Lucinda

      Whether your dog remains in your vehicle or the kennels, there is no charge for dogs on this route. I hope this helps.

  5. Could you advise me on cost of bringing new puppy (in crate) from Cairnryan to Belfast. I will be travelling as a foot passenger. How do I book for this?

    1. Hi Kathryn

      Whether your dog remains in your vehicle or the kennels, there is no charge for dogs on this route. If you are travelling as a foot passenger, just select that as your “How are you travelling” method. As you continue through the next set of menu’s you will come to an option to add your dog. I hope this helps.

  6. I booked a ferry trip for Monday 26th 7:30am and coming back on Tuesday 27th June at 7:30pm, and paid the 30 GBP.
    I have not yet received an email with the conformation, yet i did see a confirmation message on the website. Can someone see if this email has being sent to me at below address, or not due yet. Usually it arrives within an hr. I booked an dpaid @ lunchtime today

    1. Hi Hugh

      Your booking confirmation will come from the ferry operator, not us. So unfortunately this is not something we can help you with. I apologise for the inconvenience.

  7. Looking to travel with a group of 15/20 people in 2 minibuses as we will be doing the 5 Peaks challenge., would minibus access be possible as the whole challenge rests on the crossing?

    1. Hi Phil

      That’s a lot of pressure here on the team at Ferry To Europe, resting the fate of the challenge in our hands. But luckily for you, we thrive under pressure!! Yes, minibuses are allowed on the crossing, you can even book two, that’s not an issue. But due to the size of the party going, you will have to book directly with Stena line. Any group booking with more than nine people have to go direct through them. This can be done by calling their Customer Service Line: +44 (0) 343 208 1800. Sorry we can’t be of more help to you at this time. Good luck on your 5 Peaks Challenge, we are sure you will smash it!!

    1. Hi Jordan

      Any customer travelling carrying commercial goods must contact Stena Line Freight Department in advance (Tel: 0845 070 4000) as it is their responsibility to book through the correct Stena Line Department and make the necessary customs declarations. If you do not have the necessary declarations, we will not be able to check-in at your port of departure. Also, Stena Line reserves the right to return any passengers to their port of departure (at the passengers’ expense) if they are turned away by Customs at the port of arrival for non-compliance. I hope this helps.

  8. We are Malaysian and will be travelling in a car.
    1) Do we need a visa to travel to Ireland from from the UK?
    2) What is the cost for four of us travelling in a car to be ferried from Cairnryan to Belfast?
    Your kind advice will be much appreciated.

    1. Hi KCLiew

      Being Malaysian the four of you will require passports when travelling from Cairnryan to Belfast. By clicking on the “Get a Quote” button on our Cairnryan to Belfast page, you will be able to get prices for your journey. I hope this helps.

  9. Booked a passage to Ireland with my motorhome which measure’s 7.4 metre, so a reservation made for motorhome’s up to the length of 10 metre, have since decided to take a small trailer with me, which measures 1.5 metre overall length. So now the total length of my unit is less than 9 metre, so still less than the allocated space of my booking. Decided to contact Stena Line and inform them about wanting to take a small trailer, Only to be told it would cost a extra £35 to take my trailer even though I’m still under 10 metre. This can’t be right…. I’m a bit disappointed.

    1. Hi Mike

      I’m sorry to hear about this. Unfortunately Stena Line requires trailers to be confirmed at the time of booking and full payment made at the same time. Stena Line’s policy states that: If they are added at a later date then payment must be made by credit or debit card. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

  10. Travelling by car, my Mam, Husband & myself will be taking 3 dogs to Belfast by ferry in September. Do we need dog passports, vets certificates etc to prove they’re vaccinated & any regulations on what they’re vaccinated for eg kennel cough?
    Could you also tell me what the on board travel is like for dogs, we have 1 older dog that stresses. Can we be near them during the journey to reassure them. Its the 1st time for all of us & I don’t want to spend my time worrying how my dogs are.

    1. Hi Alison

      Yes, you will require paperwork for your dog to travel to Ireland. Your dog will need to be micro chipped, have a valid passport and have all relevant vaccination documents. Have a look at our Travelling with a Dog – Passport and Vaccination Guide for more details.

      As for the onboard travel, your dogs could either remain in your car or be booked into the onboard kennels. If your dogs remain in your car, you will not be allowed to visit them during the sailing. If they booked into the onboard kennels, you will not be allowed to remain with them for the entire journey. But you would be allowed to visit them at the discretion of the operating company (usually be accompanied by a member of staff during this visit). I hope this helps.

  11. I’m Canadian, and a permanent resident in Scotland, with an unlimited leave to remain visa for the UK. I have a friend’s wedding to attend in Belfast next month, and was planning to drive via ferry from Cairnryan. My Canadian passport is being renewed and due to delays at the consulate I might not have it in time for my travel date. (I do have my visa though, just not the new passport). Since N Ireland is part of the U.K., do I need a passport to travel? Or will my driver’s licence suffice? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi DevieBee

      This is a complicated question. This would depend on Canadian regulations regarding visa’s for Ireland.

      If you are a citizen of a country whose nationals need a visa to enter Ireland and you have a valid UK visa or residence permit, you may be required to have a visa to enter Ireland before you arrive in Ireland. The Short Stay Visa Waiver Programme allows nationals of a number of Eastern European, Middle East and Asian countries who have a short-term UK visa to come to Ireland without the need for a separate Irish visa. Please look at the Irish Government Page for more details. I am sorry we cannot be of more help.

  12. hi how do i book a 7.5 wagon on a ferry as am unable to find it going from cairnryan to belfast and back thanks

    1. Hi Andrew

      Any vehicle type outside the Height / Length / Width Limits set-out in the passenger section above and those below. Vehicles are considered as ‘commercial’ if they have the loading area separated from the driver’s cabin, or have two-axed trailers. One-axled trailers are considered travel vehicles. Any vehicle carrying goods for commercial/business use must be booked as freight. For more information contact Stena Line Freight: Call: 0845 070 4000 (UK) (calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge) +44 (0) 870 850 3535 (International). I hope this helps.

    1. You don’t need a passport. British or Irish citizens travelling on Irish Sea routes do not need a passport to travel to Britain or Ireland but are advised to take a form of identity. A driving licence, citizenship card or utility bill will usually suffice. A birth certificate will provide adequate proof of identity for your child to travel.

  13. how easy is it to travel to central Belfast with the bus metrocard is there a bus stop near ferry port where could I find out the bus times

    1. Hi Joanna

      Translink operate Metro service (96) from Upper Queen Street, near Belfast City Hall, to the terminal daily for the 07:30, 11:30, 15:30 & 19:30 departures. The return service from the terminal drops you off at Donegall Place in Belfast City Centre. Single adult cash fare is currently £2 single, children £1 single. It may be worthwhile to buy a Daylink Travelcard in advance for unlimited Metro bus travel in the city from £3.50, but this can only be purchased online in advance of your trip or at Metro outlet in Belfast. I hope this helps.

    1. Hi Janet

      There is a large car parking lot with over 300 spaces situated in front of the main terminal building. You can pay for the car parking lot using cash through the pay stations or by credit card in the travel centre. It is also possible to pay onboard our ferry at the guest services desk prior to arrival.

      Parking Lot Charges

      First 30 minutes FREE
      30 mins – 1 hour £0.50
      1 – 2 hours £1.00
      2 – 4 hours £2.00
      4 – 6 hours £3.00
      6 – 8 hours £4.00
      8 – 24 hours £5.00
      then £5 per day (or part thereof) I hope this helps.

    1. Hi Barbra

      If you only want to book a one way trip that is fine.

      If you want to rent a car from Cairnryan ferry terminal, The Hertz Car Rental desk is located in the main terminal building. Please see their website for opening hours, http://www.hertz.co.uk. I hope this helps.

  14. Hello,

    I intend to travel to Belfast as a foot passenger but will require my car for the journey to and from Carinryan. Can I park my car at Cairnryan for the duration of my trip (4 days) and if so can you give me an idea of parking costs?

    Many thanks

    1. Hi Carol

      There is a large car parking lot with over 300 spaces situated in front of the main terminal building. You can pay for the car parking lot using cash through the pay stations or by credit card in the travel centre. It is also possible to pay onboard our ferry at the guest services desk prior to arrival.

      Parking Lot Charges

      First 30 minutes FREE
      30 mins – 1 hour £0.50
      1 – 2 hours £1.00
      2 – 4 hours £2.00
      4 – 6 hours £3.00
      6 – 8 hours £4.00
      8 – 24 hours £5.00
      then £5 per day (or part thereof) I hope this helps.

  15. I’m from Bahrain with valid UK visa. Do I need additional permit to visit Belfast for 2-3 days if taking ferry from Scotland? Thanks

  16. Planning my next visit to Ireland an Scotland. I am wanting to take a Ferry from Belfast, Ireland to Scotland. One way. Can you help direct me to the site to get more information.

  17. Could you please advise . I am taking a return journey with my car and family and dog from Cairnryan to belfast . Do I have to put my dog in the kennels or can I bring her aboard in a cage

    1. Hi Sharon

      Dogs have to be pre-booked onboard. So you will have to state at the time of booking if your dog is going to go into the onboard kennels or will remain in your car.

      By car
      Kennels can be pre-booked at no extra charge or if you prefer, your pet can remain in the vehicle for the duration of the crossing. You can pre-book a kennel on the “Stena Plus & Onboard Extras” step of the booking process. Please note that we have a limited number of kennels available. You must advise us that you intend to bring a pet in advance of travel when you book.

      By foot
      Kennels can be pre-booked at no extra charge. You can pre-book a kennel on the “Stena Plus & Onboard Extras” step of the booking process. Please note that we have a limited number of kennels available. You must advise us that you intend to bring a pet in advance of travel when you book.

      Guide, hearing and autism assistance dogs are welcome in all areas of the port and onboard our vessels. Please visit our Guest Services desk when you board in order to show the relevant documentation for your dog to allow access to all areas onboard.

      It may be possible to arrange to visit your car mid-voyage to check on your dog – the car deck is not accessible to passengers once the ship has sailed so you would need to be escorted, so visits depend on the availability and discretion of the crew – but it is highly unlikely that he/she will be allowed to leave your vehicle. You therefore need to prepare in such a way which ensures he/she is comfortable and happy during the journey. It may also be possible to arrange a visit to your dog in the kennels during the crossing. I hope this helps.

    1. You don’t need a passport. British or Irish citizens travelling on Irish Sea routes do not need a passport to travel to Britain or Ireland but are advised to take a form of identity. A driving licence, citizenship card or utility bill will usually suffice. A birth certificate will provide adequate proof of identity for your child to travel.

  18. My wife and I travelled from Cairnryan to Belfast on the 11:30AM sailing on Thursday 21st November, returning on the 11:30AM from Belfast one week later, 28th November.
    Both sailings were good and the vessels very well appointed.
    On both journeys we bought food but unfortunately there were faults on both occasions.
    On the outward journey the food my wife ordered was not hot. She took it back and it was OK after being reheated.
    On the return journey she ordered battered fish. It was not cooked properly through. I took it back and they did a second fish. She ate this but was still not happy with it, thinking that it too was not cooked through in spite of looking almost overcooked on the outside. We wondered if it had been cooked directly from frozen so that the inside did not have time to thaw out properly.
    We are not in the habit of complaining, and do so this time only to help you in your quest to give the best service possible. Hopefully it was just bad luck that there was a fault on both journeys and that this is not common. You just may be able to double-check that everything is being done correctly.
    I repeat that the trips in general were very good.
    Yours faithfully,

    Douglas McDevitte

    1. You can book online – however some sailings have a restriction on the number of wheelchairs that can be taken on-board, for that reason if you are travelling with a wheelchair, please contact Stena Line on 08447 707070 or info.uk@stenaline.com to ensure that they are aware of your requirements and can add them to your booking prior to your trip.

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