In the past 4 years we have gone on 3x 20 hour ferry journeys plus extra Irish Sea crossings totalling over 110 human hours of ferry travel for us. We are no experts but have learnt a lot from our mistakes.
These are some of our tips for making those boring journeys just that little bit better:
For the parents:
Take your own bottle of wine& a corkscrew – borrow glasses on board
Extra breakfast – you can buy milk on board. Ours always decide that they don’t like crusty bread, croissants & pain au chocolat on ferries.
For the baby:
Disposable bottles & ready made formula – our steriliser needed an adapter to work. There tends to be a microwave near the cafe area so microwave bottles are fine on board.
Your own blanket/baby sleeping bag – ferry baby quilts are not great.
For the kids:
Small toys! You will have a lot to carry.
Our 2 oldest have pink trunkis which they love dragging around. They can hold loads of useful toys and its a way of getting the kids to be responsible for their own stuff.
A magazine each – we save this for the return journey. Our faves have been arty ones like Art Attack or Mister Maker. They get free art kits with them which our 5yo spent HOURS making. (See photo above – Middle couldn’t even be bothered getting dressed, she was so engrossed in her glueing and sticking)
Spare scissors & glue – for more hours of sticking & glueing.
Our cabins have DVDs which have been life savers on choppy crossings – our box set of 100+ hours of Tom & Jerry is a winner.
Getting through border control can also take up to an hour so be prepared for a long wait in the car even after that journey so be prepared – we cheat with a big bag of pick’n'mix that the girls take turns choosing.
A note on travel sickness: We are more than familiar with the gorgeous Bay of Biscay and its reputation for being
a little rough downright choppy. We have tried allsorts of travel sickness remedies with varying degrees of success. The organic/herbal remedies have worked in that the girls have never been sick but my god, they turn them loopy. Think: crazy children running around the boat! What has worked though, are children’s travel bands – no side effects and no sick children! Fabulous! (they were also on 3 for 2 at Boots when we bought them too!)