Travel: Get ferried away by sea travel

A family on a ferry
A family on a ferry

As National Ferry Fortnight gets underway with some great deals, the future’s plain sailing for this often maligned mode of transport

As this year’s National Ferry Fortnight (until March 15) kicks into action, statistics show that holidaying by sea is on the rise. More than 39 million passengers travelled by ferry last year, an increase of 2.6%, and numbers are set to grow.

“Consumers are now very savvy about getting the best value and minimising hassle when they travel,” says Bill Gibbons, director of industry body Discover Ferries.

One of the key advantages of using ferries, particularly for families, is the freedom to pack as much as they like and also to move around in comfortable conditions throughout their journey. Of the 2,000 candidates interviewed in the One Poll survey, nearly half said their biggest travel pet hate was cramped aircraft seats.

In recent years, ferry companies have invested heavily in improved seating for passengers. But just as enjoyable is the ability to get out on deck and admire the scenery, spotting seabirds and even cetaceans.

This year’s National Ferry Fortnight is promoting the theme of Ferry Freedom, with ferry companies offering a number of great booking deals to entice families to travel in 2015.

Brittany Ferries (brittanyferries.com/freekids) will be giving away free travel for kids to any of their French routes on daytime sailings, valid for travel until September 30. For routes to Calais, Dunkirk or Amsterdam, DFDS (www.dfdsseaways.co.uk/ferryfortnight) are giving passengers the opportunity to get a second trip for free on any bookings made for travel before December 29. Condor Ferries (www.condorferries.com), meanwhile, are also offering free upgrades on their Poole to Channel Islands route for travel before November 2. Quote promotion code NFFUPGRADE.

All bookings must be made by March 15. For more offers from the 13 Discover Ferries members, visit www.nationalferryfortnight.co.uk