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AIBU to wonder how I am supposed to entertain 2 small children on a 10-hour ferry crossing?

(60 Posts)
Spearshake Tue 09-Aug-16 13:06:07

We are booked onto a 10-hour ferry trip from England to France. Going is fine (night crossing) so hoping the kids will sleep. Coming back though, is a 10-hour daytime crossing and I am not sure I can handle 10 hours stuck on a boat with a 6 and 3 year old. Once we have 'explored the boat' (30 minutes), what else is there to do? Seriously? colouring books, reading books, I-spy, playing cards, erm...then what?

MaudGonneMad Tue 09-Aug-16 13:06:47

There's usually a cinema showing kids movies.

idontlikealdi Tue 09-Aug-16 13:07:49

Theyll be fine - better than 14 hours in a car (just back from France!).

They usually have a movie room and a play area, hopefully the 3yo will sleep for a bit. Have you got an ipad / tablet?

NatalieRushman Tue 09-Aug-16 13:11:00

How would you normally entertain them at home? Do that. Don't be intimidated by the fact that it's a journey - it's nothing like being stuck in a car or a plane. Give them some paper and pens to draw, bring a favorite toy, take them round the little shops. If they're being particularly difficult, hand over an ipad and they'll usually be quiet for as long as you don't ask for it back grin

ceebie Tue 09-Aug-16 13:11:16

On the Stena crossing from UK to Ireland, they run a kids' activity, colouring or something, and there is also a cinema and a play room (although not much in it). And yes, all those things you've listed to bring in an activity bag. And going out on deck. They might meet other children to play with. Yes, they'll probably get bored at various stages, but I'm sure you'll manage. Better than a 10-hour flight, anyway!

ExcuseMyEyebrows Tue 09-Aug-16 13:11:46

I travelled from Poole to Cherbourg years ago. Admittedly a shorter journey, but the boat had a kids' play area, shops, cafe, restaurant and cinema so lots to do.

Took longer than 30 mins to explore - I didn't want to leave smile

BluePitchFork Tue 09-Aug-16 13:13:37

it will be fine.
there is usually a play room and maybe even an outdoor play cage area on deck.
plus an entertainer for face painting and punch&judy

good luck!

Scholes34 Tue 09-Aug-16 13:15:06

We did Swansea Cork with three children - 5, 3 and one. We booked a cabin for all of us to sleep in on the way over and one for two people for the daytime return crossing, so we had somewhere to dump bags and for them to crash out if need be. You just read, colour, eat, sleep and look for dolphins.

MyNightWithMaud Tue 09-Aug-16 13:15:59

Some ferries have day cabins - might be worth it for everyone to have some quiet time or a snooze.

Berthatydfil Tue 09-Aug-16 13:17:57

It's been a few years since I did Portsmouth Caen /st malo on Brittany ferries but they had a cinema and soft play. I'm sure one ferry had s swimming pool. Google your ship and that might tell you what facilities it has.
You used to be able to get a cabin for daytime crossings quite cheaply, which I found good if anyone wanted a nap or some quite time.

finova Tue 09-Aug-16 13:19:37

We're doing exactly this with same ages. Watching this for ideas!

molyholy Tue 09-Aug-16 13:20:05

We went with brittany ferries and there was a kids disco, magic show, a cinema, a soft play area. Factor in a couple of hours for mealtimes and it will go quickly.

5Foot5 Tue 09-Aug-16 13:21:55

Definitely a day cabin. We do that on a crossing half that length and with no children.

Artandco Tue 09-Aug-16 13:22:18

Same as off the ship. In 10 hrs they will probably eat 3 meals so that can pass an hour at a time getting it, sitting, eating, etc. Then a wander around, watching the sea, 6 year old I would get a new book to start, 3 year old read to them, take some paper and pens, some small figures, a mini game

ComedyWing Tue 09-Aug-16 13:25:00

Check out what children-related facilities there are on board. As a pp said, I recently took the Stena Ferry from Dublin to Holyhead, and there were children's films showing, a couple of staff members doing crafts and games, and a family lounge that had a children's play area.

nennyrainbow Tue 09-Aug-16 13:25:01

I wouldn't be worried about entertaining them - I'd be worrying about seasickness! But then I'm terrible at travelling.

Entertainment should be fine. It's not like a plane where you have to stay in your seat. There are usually lots of different lounges, a playroom, cinema and outside / inside areas. You could always take some books, pen and paper, kindle, tablet, handheld games consoles...

That's a long crossing to France. I thought they were usually 1-4 hours.

HumphreyCobblers Tue 09-Aug-16 13:31:00

If you can, book a cabin. It just means you can let the toddler loose in a confined space where he can fall off the side/have a public tantrum/steal other children's food (I may be projecting my own dd's issues here!) and you have a base to go back to.

My two spent the last ferry crossing hysterically laughing at you've been framed, they had never seen it before and they still cite it as one of the best parts of the holiday grin

NK7995a1caX11eb0ed0bae Tue 09-Aug-16 13:37:34

I recently did a long haul flight with my 2.5 year old (8ish hours) during the day. I was dreading keeping her amused and ending up being 'those' passengers that everyone hated!

I got a bag of small party bag type toys from amazon (£10 for 100) and wrapped 18 of them up in tissue paper. I also got 2 slightly bigger toys and wrapped those too. I used them as surprises, bribes, boredom relief... they worked like a charm! Every 30 minutes I let her 'lucky dip' her hand in the bag of presents. If she wasn't doing what she'd been asked, she wouldn't get a present.

I'm well aware this is awful parenting really, and there's no way I'd ever treat her like this day to day. But for the sake of my sanity and that of my fellow passengers, and of course the fact it was a holiday, I went for it.

I got SO many compliments on the idea and on her behaviour, and many envious glances from other parents. I couldn't recommend it highly enough. Just bring a bag for the masses of tissue paper afterwards!

BeautyQueenFromMars Tue 09-Aug-16 13:39:26

Ok, slight derailment here, but a weird coincidence has just happened. Until I read this thread, I had no idea that there were cinemas on ferries. I'd never heard of such a thing. Immediately after reading this thread, I read the opening paragraphs of a book I've just downloaded from Amazon. The second paragraph is about the cinema on a ferry. That's a little weird, right?! Of all the threads and all the books I could have chosen to read...

Hassled Tue 09-Aug-16 13:41:51

Exploring the boat will take more than 30 minutes if you walk slowly and spin it out. And yes, there are play areas and cinemas and all sorts. It won't be so bad - easier than a long-haul flight, certainly.

Hassled Tue 09-Aug-16 13:42:15

BeautyQueen - that is seriously weird grin

happystory Tue 09-Aug-16 13:43:00

Is it Brittany Ferries? They have cinema, play rooms, organised activities etc. But the day cabins are the way forward otherwise it's exhausting up and down all those stairs!

MustBeDueSomeBetterFeet Tue 09-Aug-16 13:46:19

Are you doing St Malo - Portsmouth? We are doing that next summer, and we've booked a cabin so we have somewhere to chill/nap/store things/read books in peace!

Do you have a tablet you could take and download films etc? Any travel games you could take? I think the boat we're going on has a soft play etc. Plus eating will take up some time! I think in summer they have entertainers on board too.

averylongtimeago Tue 09-Aug-16 13:49:06

Book a day cabin, pay the extra £5 for one with a window. On Brittany ferries there will be a children's film, but get straight to the booking desk as they fill up really fast. There is also a play area and in the holidays children's entertainers.
Exploring the boat can take ages, there are a couple of shops, a bar, several cafes, you can go on deck. There is lots of space to move about and free WiFi in public areas.
You will be fine.

PaulAnkaTheDog Tue 09-Aug-16 13:50:38

They have cinemas, arcades, restaurants, a play area, usually a kid's club, snack bars etc. It'll be fine. No bother at all.

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