We recently went on holiday to France with the children and we took the ferry for the first time and I have to say we all preferred it to air travel. Travel by sea is of course limited to your destination choices and can take considerably longer however the time goes quickly as you are able to walk around, there are activities on board and you can go outside to watch the world go by.
We have done air travel a few times with the children and although I would do it again I would choose the ferry over plane any day as it is so much easier with children.
One of the biggest benefits for us of travelling by ferry is that we could take our own car, every time we go on holiday we always hire a car so that we can travel around and explore so being able to take our own car saved us a lot of money. It is always nicer being in your own car than a hired one and is great that you have your own child car seats.
Having our own car also made a huge difference to the children as through the whole boarding experience they just got to sit there and chill oblivious to everything.
When we first arrived at the port we handed our passports to the staff through the car window and all we were asked to do was wind down the back window so they could see the children in the back. We were then waved through and drove over to security where they asked us questions and checked the boot and around the car but for the kids they were already back to playing on their tablets and didn’t notice a thing of what went on for us to pass through security.
As my eldest daughter suffers from anxiety so boarding the ferry was a breeze compared to facing airport security. When we have traveled by plane before, she needs to be encouraged to walk through the air port scanner by herself which she can just about cope with but last time I failed big time and I forgot to take her bow out of her hair so she set it off. This happened to be at Gatwick where she then had to go through the full body scanner which was very difficult for her and took quite a while and a lot of tears to get her through it.
It is also much easier to keep children occupied on the ferry journey than on a plane. They are free to move about and walk around the ship, there are normally lots of things to do on board. The ferry we were on had shops, restaurants, a cinema, play area and arcade to visit. You can also go out to the back of the ferry and look over the sea as you travel through the waves and right up to the top open deck.
We went with Brittany Ferries so they offer lots of activities for children during the journey like a colouring competition, magic show, balloon animals and a hunt round the ship.
When we have flown to our destinations the most excitement the kids have on the plane is when they get to walk down the aisle to use the loo and trying to keep them entertained for 4 hours whilst sitting on a plane is a hard task.
We are now even considering getting the ferry again next year either to Spain or to France and we drive across to Spain. The journey will take 3 times longer than the plane but it will be so much easier. We can take our car and the children will find it less stressful. To us travel is about enjoying the journey just as much as the destination.
Although sea travel is now our favourite method we will still be travelling by planes in the future as the destination has a big impact on how we travel as the ferry is limited to where it can go, but to countries where we have the choice of sea or air we will be choosing sea from now on when we are travelling with the kids.
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