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Portsmouth to St Marlo tips?

(16 Posts)
Sleepysausage Wed 18-Jul-18 23:17:18

We are traveling to St Marlo next month on an overnight crossing. Our family and my brother's family. There will be 4 adults and 3 pre-schoolers. We have booked cabins. I was wondering if anyone has any tips for us. We haven't done a ferry crossing before. Thankyou

OP’s posts: |
Singlenotsingle Wed 18-Jul-18 23:20:36

You've chosen quite a long one for your first ferry trip, if you're going to St Malo. You'll be on Brittany Ferries - food is good!

Beamur Wed 18-Jul-18 23:22:54

I was going to say book a cabin. We slept in the seats and it was pretty awful. Ferry was nice though overall.

MrSlant Wed 18-Jul-18 23:24:45

Do you know which ferry you are on? You can download floor-plans and see what is available on your specific one. Brittany Ferries are usually excellent and have good entertainment for children. The food is eyewateringly good, we are going soon and I'm making a bee line for the canteen to gorge on beautiful salads and prawns with mayo to dip into. We always make a point of eating early to beat the queues at the restaurants though as it can be busy in the school holidays. Having cabins makes the trip a whole lot easier.

Enjoy, we usually find the journey an integral part of holiday fun.

Oh and as a ps if you have joyful wandering toddlers get reins as it helps with the panic they will find a way to climb off somehow. This may only apply to my little buggers. Who are adults now but at the time scared the hell out of me!

frenchfancy Thu 19-Jul-18 08:34:27

If you have a child in a buggy then tell them at check in that you need a lift and they will make sure you are parked near the lifts.

If you sleep with 2 pillows then take an extra one with you - the beds are good but you only get one pillow each.

The food is good but the coffee is truely awful!

underneaththeash Thu 19-Jul-18 08:43:36

We love that crossing, its part of the holiday for the children (less so for DH as he's really tall!)
We go straight to the nice buffet restaurant after checking into the cabins and then just go up to bed. Its quite an early start in the morning.

We then go to breakfast in St Malo and visit the aquarium before heading onto our final destination.

profpoopsnagle Fri 20-Jul-18 13:44:15

There are only 1-2 plugs in the cabins, and from memory they are continental, so take adapters and extension if needed. If you have a removable dvd car player also take that up.

If you don't take the lift, there are still many stairs and it's quite a way from car-cabin, so pack as light as you can for the overnight bag- a rucksack can help to have hands free for the steep stairs/holding children.

Check if your cabin has a kettle, otherwise a travel kettle might help, plus a bottle of water and snacks.

There is some entertainment for young kids which starts around 8pm, in the bar.

stringbean Sun 22-Jul-18 08:04:53

When you get on the ferry, send someone to stand in the queue for the restaurant, while someone goes to collect the cabin keys and dump luggage. From what I recall, the restaurant fills up very quickly but, as others have said, it's really worth a visit.

UrsulaPandress Sun 22-Jul-18 08:07:01

Are you staying in St Malo? Beautiful place.

We always pre book dinner when we travel by ferry.

Iwannasnack Sun 22-Jul-18 08:10:38

Have a separate ferry bag packed to grab from the car so you don’t have to rummage around for what you need.
What age are your kids? The cots are pretty small. You can ask for a bed guard from the desk which was helpful.
We found the night ferry v easy. Get on, head straight for dinner in the excellent restaurant then go to bed!

littletike Sun 22-Jul-18 08:31:00

It can be quite a wait in the queue to board the ferry so I always pack a picnic to keep DC entertained in the car at the port and for an overnight crossing then don't have to eat onboard depending on what time we leave. I also take bottles of water and some pastries and fruit for breakfast as time can be tight and the queue for breakfast can be long.

We tend to only eat in the self serve restaurant on day crossings as its too late for DC to eat and to be honest they're usually too excited about everything else to sit still for long!

Last time our crossing was delayed so we didn't even go anywhere apart from our cabin as it was so late (and I brought a small bottle of wine in the coolbag to drink in the cabin 😉). Usually we go straight to our cabin to dump luggage them go out on deck with DC.

They have towels and soap in the cabins so we just take toothbrushes/paste and usually have a kettle and teabags/instant coffee. They're also air-conditioned so take a jumper as they can be cold.

Enjoy - our DC loves it!

Sleepysausage Mon 23-Jul-18 18:36:48

Thankyou everyone. Brilliant tips and advice. The kids are 2.5, 3 and 4.
We're all really looking forward to it.

OP’s posts: |
ChristianGreysAnatomy Mon 23-Jul-18 18:44:53

Stairs to cat decks are extremely steep so don’t try to carry too much stuff.

Learn how to switch off your car alarm.

Go straight to cafeteria as soon as you are on board. Enjoy delicious French puddings. Kids box meals are quite good as they have small toys in them.

Expect huge excitement from your kids. Manage their expectations about who’s going to sleep in the top bunk!

Enjoy it - excellent way to start a holiday vs joyless boredom of an airport.

ChristianGreysAnatomy Mon 23-Jul-18 18:45:31

*car decks

MissFitton Mon 23-Jul-18 18:46:54

I did that crossing when the dcs were 7&4. We loved it and it was definitely part of the holiday. We did the day crossing when we came back - worth still booking a cabin (it cost about £25 for the day) so we had a base and small dcs could have a nap in peace.

TheChatsPyjamas Mon 23-Jul-18 18:52:45

Definitely book a cabin for any day trips!

We were on a mega budget last time so took tuna mayonnaise and bought chips from the cafeteria (you are allowed to carry plates to your room), but the restaurant really is good if you can manage it.

Some of the boats that travel to st malo have a pool in the bar (!!!) so check that out. It was drained last time dp and I went (October).

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