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Has anyone sailed to Bilbao, Spain?

(15 Posts)
jessi Wed 30-Mar-05 11:48:49

Hi There
I was wondering if anyone has sailed to Bilbao in Spain from Portsmouth, and if so what it was like. We are thinking of going this way but the journey is 2 nights and one days sailing and we can't work out if this would be a nightmare with two little ones?! I am told that the ship is like a liner 'The Pride of Bilbao' and has kids area, theatre, indoor swimming pool etc. I would love to hear anyones experience of this trip or a long-ish boat trip + kids.

Tinker Wed 30-Mar-05 11:51:19

Are your kids good sailors? My daughter puked all the way on a relatively calm Channel crossing so Bilbao would be quite and adventure! Suspect the boat is fab though, Brittany Ferries are quite posh.

jessi Wed 30-Mar-05 12:00:59

Hi Tinker
I have no idea, they have never been on a boat lol!
I am hoping it would be an adventure, make a change from flying for once?!!

sunnyskies Wed 30-Mar-05 12:04:06

I haven't but friends did -it was about 10 years ago but they said kids had a ball!

BethAndHerBrood Wed 30-Mar-05 12:20:54

I've been on the pride of bilbao - i think!! It was a long time ago though!! We always sailed when we went on holiday, i always really enjoyed it. The bigger boats are great, there are allsorts of things to do.

My problem now is not the kids and seasickness, but DH and seasickness!! He's only got to look at the sea and he feels peculiar!!!! So an overnight crossing is always better for us, because the kids go to sleep, and DH just stops in the toilet the whole trip!!!

We're flying this year!!!

Trifle Wed 30-Mar-05 12:24:23

My friend did this route a month ago although went Bilbao - Portsmouth. The ferry crossing was £250 one way, pretty expensive but petrol, overnight stays would probably have equalled that. He was taken aback by the prices on board. The cost of food and drink was astronomical. Something like £3 for a latte coffee. He was pretty bored so went to the cinema 3 times (£4.50 a film). He didnt have any cash and only had a credit card (not debit) for which they wanted to charge him £10 commission to withdraw £30 on it. The route you are proposing takes a day longer than the return trip so it might be worth checking out the possibility of driving one way and boat back. If you do get the boat, make sure you take plenty of money and/or loads of things to eat.

bensmum3 Wed 30-Mar-05 19:40:53

I don't know about that particular journey, but we travel by boat a lot and all the children I know who get sea sick also get car sick, I'm not saying it's 100% sure but if your children are ok in a car and the crossing is calm ,and you are confident, I would imagine they'd be ok.

emmatmg Wed 30-Mar-05 19:50:42

Yes i've been on that boat on that route and TBH it was an absolute nightmare. Going across the bay of Biscay(sp?) was like a living hell because we had storm and everyone was being sick and I mean EVERYONE.

I had to see the ships doctor because I was so ill I had to get something to knock me out.

Uggghh! It was awful.

The return journey was fine though, and the cinema and facilities are good.

Just DO NOT travel if there is anything even remotely like a a storm.

Oh and get a cabin with a window because not having one made the sickness and everything 1000 times worse.

Anteater Thu 31-Mar-05 00:40:36

agree with emmatmg, the Bay of Biscay can be VERY rough, even the crew were throwing up on the crossing we made.. Saying that the adults all seemed to far worse than the children..

jessi Thu 31-Mar-05 11:55:28

Thanks for all your messages. I am so unsure what to do! I will definitely stock up on food and provisions , thanks Trifle for that tip.Anteater and Emmatg, what time of the year did you travel? P&O told me that the Bay of Biscay can be rough between september to Feb, we are going at the end of May and the lady said it was normally OK at that time of year? The thing is dh and I are crap flyers, both terrified of flying and thought this would be a more adventurous and less stressful journey! Are we kidding ourselves?! We also like the idea of having our car in Spain, so we can see abit more of it this time.

StuartC Thu 31-Mar-05 12:02:24

Le Havre to Bilbao is only 611 miles - how about driving?

emmatmg Thu 31-Mar-05 12:21:18

Can't remeber exactly but I remember it being quite cold so was probably winter/spring.

I have also sailed to Santander but that was fine in both directions.

TBH, as awful as it was I would definatley do it again instead of flying. We have 3 boys and the thought of getting them on aplane fills me with dread. We did it once when we only had 2 children and vowelled never to do it again.

I suppose it really does all depend on the weather.

logic Thu 31-Mar-05 12:28:51

I have done this. Although it was quite fun - got to see some dolphins - I was very, very sick. The Bay of Biscay is notorious for bad weather and choppy seas. The ship was nice though, expensive as someone else has said, but the restaurants were lovely.

bubblerock Thu 31-Mar-05 12:40:58

Hi Jessi, I've done that trip 8 times in total always travelling in either November or February so very rough seas, these were the mini cruise 4 day trips on the pride of Bilbao so basically we only had 4 hours on land then back on the stormy seas!

We loved it even with a storm force gale on our last trip, the entertainment has always been brilliant and I had my hair done in the salon on one trip. We also took lots of food with us as we were on a v low budget so had pot noodles, cereal bars, crisps etc... The mini cruise was only 59.00!

We have 2 kids now and I would definately take them on it as opposed to flying, we're actually thinking of doing a real cruise. There is space on the ship for the kids to run around and have a boogie on the dance floor whilst you're sitting back with a glass of wine - definately a great chilled out way to start any holiday.

I would imagine it is a lot calmer in the summer but all of the kids on our winter trips were running around as if nothing was happening whilst we were clinging to the rails and trying not to fall over (they wouldn't serve hot drinks as it was too rough and recommended we sit on the floor!) We did also get back a day late because we were basically being thrown about by the waves and not making any progress. We still loved it and enjoyed the drama it was good fun.
Anyway, that's my experiences! Have fun whatever you decide x

jessi Fri 01-Apr-05 20:26:50

Thanks so very much all of you who replied. It is booked now so you all helped me decide it was the right choice!
Thanks and hope you all have happy holidays ahead too,

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