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Night ferry, small children, no cabin! Eak!

(17 Posts)
crabwoman Fri 06-Jun-14 11:44:47

I think we may be mad but we have booked an overnight ferry from Plymouth to Roscoff in July with Brittany ferries. We have two DD's -
one is 4.5 and the other will be 8 months.

We booked early in the year, but we found there to be limited availability even then, especially as we are limited with the dates we can go. We have not been able to book a cabin but have secured reserved recliners.

We booked this route as we live in the north west, and did not fancy driving to Dover, not the drive from Calais to Brittany.
This way we can break the driving up by staying with family in the southwest the night before.

Basically any tips for surviving this would be greatly appreciated! I have no idea what to expect?! Or if there's anything you'd recommend taking for an easier night?

I know we can't go back down to the car to collect stuff, but are there lockers, showers etc?

I'm not so worried about my husband and DD1, they can sleep anywhere. It's the baby and myself I'm worried about. I've never been able to sleep on planes, trains or automobiles!
I'm also worried about the baby grizzling and keeping others awake.

Any reassurance would be appreciated! I will be putting us on a cancellation list for a cabin as soon as we board.

Youdontneedacriminallawyer Fri 06-Jun-14 11:49:37

Get to the ferry port early, and ask when you check in to be put in the waiting lane that will be boarded first. Then when you get on the boat, one of you run like hell and find some reclining chairs.

Take some blankets and pillows with you on board.

There are no lockers and no showers.

But the boat will be full of bodies everywhere - there are never enough seats so people kip down any old where.

If the baby grizzles, you could go and find somewhere with a bit of life, like the bar area, and sit it out. You wont' be the only family with small kids trying to make the best of it!

FYI - it's always better to have a longer drive and shorter ferry crossing with small kids IMO. At least when you're driving you can stop off for a bit of a run around etc.

beccajoh Fri 06-Jun-14 11:51:30

As soon as you get on the ferry go and find customer services and ask if there's any cabins. You might get lucky!

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 06-Jun-14 11:55:23

Can you take a car seat on board with you?

When we went abroad even though dd was 18 months we took her old rock a tot seat (removing the hood made it bigger) & she slept in there on the final day when we had an overnight flight.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Fri 06-Jun-14 12:00:07


MagnificentMaleficent Fri 06-Jun-14 12:06:56

Blimey you're mad brave.

There are showers attached to some of the toilets, but they are not roomy.

I agree with PP who said run like hell grin

You can take a car seat on, just remember you can't go back to the car so need to take everything with you.

I would keep checking to see if there are any cabin cancellations, and try as soon as you get on board.

There are plenty of areas for you to go and sit with the baby, I'm not sure what night times are like as we have always got a cabin.

I would also say book one for the way back if you are doing a day crossing. It's only about £40 and they will put a travel cot up for you. It's great to have a base where your stuff while spending hundreds of pounds on tat entertaining the DC, and if your case napping the baby.

Chillycamper Fri 06-Jun-14 12:07:00

Keep checking website. People do change ferry times and I have got cabins that have become re available in past.

Also definitely check at desk as soon as you get on board for last minute cabin.

There is usually family entertainment in the bar - children's dancing, magician etc which will use up some of the time for your DD.

If you don't sleep anyway you can walk about with baby if they grizzle and watch sun come up!

Good luck

AphraBane Fri 06-Jun-14 12:23:08

Blimey, perhaps you just just make the assumption that none of you are going to get any decent sleep and then just be pleasantly surprised if you manage to drop off for an hour or two grin

Second the idea to keep on checking for cancellations, and the moment you gt on the ferry go to Information and ask about no-shows.

Make sure you take some headrests, comforters, comfy clothes and , perhaps most importantly, earplugs or earphones with a white-noise app.

crabwoman Fri 06-Jun-14 12:32:54

Wow! Thanks for the quick replies! I have grandparents round for lunch, so will return for a good read this afternoon.

jamtoast12 Fri 06-Jun-14 14:45:49

I have done that exact ferry and can tell you that there's no way I'd do it with young kids without a cabin. Mine were 7&5 and even we booked a cabin. We are also north west so I understand why you wanted the night time ferry. Tbh I'd change to the day one honestly I would as they offer day and night crossings. If you're staying in the south west anyway that surely would be easier? Where in Brittany are you going? We went to benodet and it was only just over an hour from Roscoff.

jamtoast12 Fri 06-Jun-14 14:48:39

Can't you drive down, stay with family, get the day time ferry and drive to accommodation. I can't see why you would book the overnight ferry t given you are staying over in the south anyway? We booked the overnight as we drove straight to it but your plans are made for the daytime ferry?!

crabwoman Fri 06-Jun-14 17:18:22

Thanks for your replies. I am starting to think we may be well be mad!
I will have the buggy with me and can have the car seat attached, so that sounds a bit easier.

We are staying in Bristol for the night, so whilst still southwest, it's about 2.5-3 hours from Plymouth, I think to leave in time to catch the day ferry we would have to leave Bristol in the small hours which didn't appeal. If we catch the day ferry the following day, it's much later, so we essentially loose a days holiday. (This was the logic at time of booking).

I think we booked it when I'd just had DD2 and felt superhuman (or delirious with tiredness) and DH can sleep anywhere, so if I said it was ok he probably wouldn't have questioned it.
We have the day ferry on the return trip (thank god).

Ok, I will speak to him tonight and see if we can move the booking.
If not I think I will just have to view it as a big adventure, and pray they have a cancellation for a cabin! blushgrin

Thanks all!

SwedishEdith Fri 06-Jun-14 17:26:40

You might get an email from Brittany Ferries offering you an upgrade anyway. I'd contact them and see what they can do. They are worth it even on a long day crossing just to get some rest away from other people

kippersmum Fri 06-Jun-14 17:28:16

It is survivable but tough. I did IOM ferry to UK, drove to Southampton, overnight Brittany Ferry with DDs age 5 & 6 with no cabin then a 10 hour drive in France the next day last summer. The girls couldn't sleep on the chairs, found them too uncomfy, we had blankets etc with us & made beds up on the floor for them. On the plus side they loved the evening entertainment & are still talking about the magic show they saw smile

Good Luck!!!! smile

Laquila Fri 06-Jun-14 17:33:35

It might be worth taking/hiring a sling with you, as another option for getting your 8.5mth old to sleep - at least then you can easily walk around to soothe him if need be. If he's reeeeally small for his age could you take something like a Moses basket for him to sleep in? Is he breast-fed? If so you could put him on the boob to quieten him down, if you're worried about him waking other people! Although I have to say, I don't think anyone really expects that peaceful a night in a very lounge, so don't worry too much!

jamtoast12 Fri 06-Jun-14 17:38:13

How about booking a cheap b&b and then getting a day ferry. I think this would still be preferable to the overnight ferry even with a cabin! It doesn't leave til 10pm and they kick you off at about 6:30am so still late to bed and up early. If you stayed overnight locally you would all be so much more refreshed!

crabwoman Fri 06-Jun-14 18:29:45

Yes to breastfed and a sling. No to the Moses basket, she's too big. But she probably will settle in the car seat if the sling doesn't work. (Hopefully)!

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