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Overnight ferry to France with 4yo & 1yo?

20 replies

thedame71 · 07/06/2004 13:28

Sailing on overnight ferry to Caen with 4year old and 1.5 year old. In a 4 berth cabin... any advice?

Basically I am expecting very little sleep - am I thinking along the right lines?

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Soapbox · 07/06/2004 13:35

We did it when ours were 15 months and 3 YO. Only problem we had was fitting in a travel cot. We out kids to bed a bit later than normal, then sat on bed drinking wine and reading with lights down low. They both slept really well which is good cos you get woken at an ungodly hour the following morning.

On later trips, when we were more experienced, we paid more for a club class cabin, which has a big double bed and pull down sofas and plenty room to walk around and a travel cot!

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AlanP · 07/06/2004 13:37

We had no problems as cabins had not windows so complete darkness helped.

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oxocube · 07/06/2004 13:40

I go from Holland to Newcastle quite often with my 3 kids (8,6 and 2) and the journey seems quite similar- from 6 pm til 9 am. My kids are quite good now. I try to get back to our cabin by about 9ish before they get overtired and loose the plot. We usually take sandwiches, drinks and crisps as the food is expensive and not very nice (unless you go to the posher restaurants which I never do with the kids in tow) and they take books and comics and a few little toys to play with. The berths are small but reasonably comfortable, although I guess that you will be sleeping with your youngest child. There are usually play areas/ball ponds on the ship which can get quite busy. Oh and I usually take a little bottle of wine (screw top) and a plastic cup...it helps to pass the time!!

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NancyKominsky · 07/06/2004 13:48

Where are you travelling from? Personally I'd rather be in the car than on the ferry so we always go for the super fast 2 hour crossing Poole-Cherbourg.

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Janh · 07/06/2004 13:49

It is a VERY short night going, because of the time difference. Not sure why that makes a difference but it does - you seem to get 5 hours sleep going and 7 hours coming back - the arrival and departure times at Caen are given in French time which is an hour later than ours, so if arrival time is eg 7am, it will feel like 6am, and they start playing that terrible music at 5am (British time) to get you up - mind you with a 1½-yr-old I imagine you're used to that?

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codswallop · 07/06/2004 13:54

wea re p outh to sat malo in july with three 5 s ad under! am wondering if we should have upgraded our cabin

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AlanP · 07/06/2004 13:57

We have done 6 in a 4 birth cabin, older kids come in late, adults take turns and the 2 youngest top & tail.

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oxocube · 07/06/2004 13:57

TBH, we have upgraded before and I didn't think it was worth the money (mind you, we didn't have a travel cot)It was about an extra 100 quid more and for that you got breakfast in your room and a double bed and 2 bunks. There was still hardly any room. Oh and there was a telly.

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thedame71 · 07/06/2004 14:27

Thanks!

Not bringing travel cot so will be bedding down with youngest!

Don't think I will bother upgrading - would rather spend the 100 quid on something else!

We would usually get the short fast craft crossing but have about 6 hours drive from Caen and would rather get to holiday late afternoon than our usual getting lost in the dark and a lot of stress in the car (my fault of course!!!?!)

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OldieMum · 07/06/2004 15:47

My main problem going Portsmouth-St Malo last year with dd (then 5 months) was that the berth wasn't quite wide enough for me to lie next to her and be able to turn over, so I did get rather stiff. We are doing the same crossing this year, so I expect it will be ten times worse, as she is now a strapping lass.

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Slinky · 07/06/2004 16:23

We're doing our first overnight crossing this year - Portsmouth to Caen. As there are 5 of us, we had to book a 4bth cabin plus a lounger in the Lounge (although this is meant to be for DH, he will be sleeping in the cabin).

Can't offer any tips as yet - my kids are 8, 6 and 4 - my plan is to "top and tail" 6 & 4yos

Good thing is that our campsite is 3 hrs from Caen, so we will arrive around 10am - my friends will be already there (arriving the day before!) so have put our orders in for a cooked breakfast on our arrival

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poppyseed · 07/06/2004 19:11

soapbox - did you actually have enough room to put the travel cot up? We are doing Portsmouth to St malo in July with 5 YO (no problem!) and our 13month. If it's really cramped then will just cuddle him and look really knackered the next day!!!

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codswallop · 07/06/2004 19:17

Oldie - I am planning the same with an 18month old ds3

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codswallop · 07/06/2004 19:18

slinky - have tyou ever driven firther? I think I may bung the kids int he car on arrival at st amlo and ge t a few hours under our belt then stop for brekker somewhere

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Slinky · 07/06/2004 19:30

Coddy

Last 2 years we did the "Fastcraft" - Poole to Cherbourg. The journey from Cherbourg to Benodet (Southern Brittany) took about 6 hours (although brochures state 4/5 hours )

We drove off the boat at 10.00am(ish) then started driving straightaway. Stopped for breaks on the way down to stretch our legs/eating etc - finally arriving at Benodet around 4.00pm.

One of the reasons why we're doing the Overnight crossing is so that we can spend more of our "first day" on site.

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Soapbox · 07/06/2004 20:15

Popsycal - we did just fit the cot in IIRC, but we then had to kind of jump from the top bunk to get to the loo, as the cot was blocking the way!

Coddy - we've done a 6 hour drive from Caen - just chucked them in the car and drove stopping off for a late brekkie at about 10.30am. We packed lots of snacky stuff for them to eat in the car to keep them going 'til then. We also put even our oldest (5) into pullups so you don't have to keep stopping for the blasted loo!!


I would be sorely tempted to invest in a portable DVD player to keep them occupied.

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codswallop · 07/06/2004 20:33

YES, NO DOUBT DH WEILL FEeL THE NEED TO SPEND ON GADGETRY
oops

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OldieMum · 07/06/2004 20:45

I have a cousin who lives 1 hr from St Malo - orders for cooked breakfast and lots of tea have already gone out. Perhaps I should also book an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon.

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poppyseed · 07/06/2004 21:56

Thanks for the help soapbox - should be an entertaining trip then!
TOYSRUS have a very affordable in car DVD player (me first!!) and I like my bacon crispy please oldiemum!!

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Cam · 08/06/2004 11:02

First time I went overnight to Brittany I was 6 months pregnant and the matress was so thin in the 4 berth cabin I couldn't get comfy enough to sleep. Have upgraded ever since to a cabin with proper beds.

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