The English Channel is the busiest seaway in the world, and although one might think first of passenger services, over 400 ships a day carry freight to the various ports.
The Channel separates the United Kingdom from continental Europe and has historically provided a defensive barrier for the island countries. The pinched waterway varies from 34 km at Dover to 240 km in width. Due to its narrow breadth it is also a link to the continent in times of peace, being one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
English Channel ferry services are an ideal way to cross to the European continent. The crossing generally takes about one hour, and ferry service is available every day of the year.
Ever since the early 19th century those who could afford to do so have crossed the channel as what we now call tourists. Crossing is now so simple that it has come to be known as channel hopping. Despite the completion of the tunnel, the Chunnel, and train service from Folkstone to Calais, France, ferries remain a significant method of transport. The Dover to Calais ferry is one of the busiest in the world.
Ferries are often a better choice even than flying. Depending on departure times they may allow one to connect with a destination more quickly. They are less expensive than air travel, and are certainly more convenient with many points of departure. A number of companies operate ferries from various ports in the UK. Ferry docks are located at Hull, Harwich, Dover, Newhaven, Folkestone, Portsmouth, Poole, Weymouth, and Plymouth. European connections can be made to France, Spain, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The British channel islands are also popular destinations. Comfort and eco-friendliness are additional reasons to consider ferrying rather than flying.
Most passenger ferries offer amenities such as movies, bars and restaurants, shops, and video arcades for the kids. For family travel ferries are ideal. Vehicles from sedans to recreational vehicles can be accommodated, and walk-on passengers are welcome as well.
When taking a cross channel ferry to Calais, St. Malo, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Bilboa, or any number of destinations in Continental Europe, your holiday fun begins as soon as you step aboard the ship. The fresh sea air, great food, good conversation, fun activities and entertainment while onboard are sure to get your holiday started in the best way possible.
From Dover to Calais, Portsmouth to Bilboa, there are an abundance of ferries offering varied routes to take you on your holiday in comfort. For shorter trips, the fast ferries are quite popular. On board these ferries, you’ll enjoy comfortable seating, as well as discount shopping, activities such as movies and games for the little ones, and beverage and light meal service. Some ferries may offer hot meals as well. Check with the company you choose to determine what meals are served aboard their fast ferry service.
Most people who travel on cross channel ferries take their cars with them. Having your car with you when you reach your port across the channel will allow you the freedom to go wherever you please without paying extra for taxi, bus or train service. Some ferries also allow you to bring your caravan onboard, which is quite convenient for travelers wishing to do some camping while on holiday. Some ferry services also allow you to bring your pet along on holiday, but be sure to check the rules and regulations before making final plans.
Cross channel ferries provide all the comforts and conveniences of a good quality hotel. If your trip is going to take more than a few hours, you will want to book your travel on any one of the many night crossings offered, opting to purchase a cabin for sleeping comfort. Cabins are air conditioned and come with showers and WC’s. It’s like having a hotel room onboard the ferry. During your trip, you’ll enjoy fine dining, shopping, and entertainment for you and your children. When it’s time to sleep, you’ll have the option of retiring to your cabin to enjoy a restful night’s sleep, waking up refreshed and ready to begin your holiday full of energy.
Traveling between Continental Europe and England via cross channel ferries is convenient, affordable and fun. Whether taking a fast ferry or opting for a slower, more relaxing crossing, cross channel ferries are a great choice for travelers making their way across the English Channel.