As an Australian we generally think of travelling long distances via planes, trains or buses. It’s built into our DNA because even though we live in a country where the majority of the population live near the water, they are the only forms of transport to get from point A to point B.
Enter Europe with its maze of transport options that include ferry travel. I’ll be honest though, it has never been high on my list of ways to get around. Sure I’ve used them in the past to traverse the Baltic Sea from Sweden to Finland and Estonia. I even boarded one by default when my train needed a lift to get from Germany to Denmark.
Then I was offered the chance to visit Amsterdam with Stena Line Ferries for the day. One of the few cities in Europe I wanted to give a second chance to after my first stay was ruined by constant rain and a horrible hostel.
Until now though I’d only ever experienced what I like to call cattle class ferry travel. Where they herd you onto the boat, seat you with a million other people and wait to get you off at the other end. My Stena Lines Ferry was so not that.
My room was inviting, provided power outlets next to the COMFY beds and the shower had more pressure than the one I use everyday in London. For all intensive purposes I felt like I was in a mini hotel, especially once I strolled around to find a bar and quality restaurant on board. For the internet addicted like me there is even free wifi as you sail your way over to Europe.
The ferry arrives nice and early at Hoek van Holland harbour and leaves late in the evening which gave me a full day to get into Amsterdam and explore. In just one day I managed to walk, cycle and canal cruise my way around the city under better skies than last time. It’s true what they say, seeing Amsterdam via bike is so the best way to explore.
The ferry ride home that night was just as welcoming and I was surprised to find a different menu in the restaurant (nothing like a return flight where you get the same meal 2 days later).
There are some takeaways from travelling this way however. The journey takes about 8 hours from port to port and while the ship has ample entertainment options (I even saw spa facilities) I’d recommend the night crossings like I took where you can enjoy a nice meal and a drink before bed rather than 8 hours of watching the water pass.
Ferry travel will never be my first point of call when I want to see Europe but for a leisurely getaway with friends or to take the slow boat with a special someone where we have more room than a 1 foot by 1 foot chair on a plane, train or bus you really can’t beat it. Everyone should give it a go at least once on there adventures.
I like to keep an open mind about how, when and why I travel to places. I left Australia to see things, have an experience and most of all be sure that when it’s all said and done I can look back and say I gave it all a red hot go.