Weekends are short. Too short. And as a lover of weekend city breaks with a full time job it’s vital for me to get as much time as possible in my chosen destination with the least amount of faff.
Enter Stena Hollandica and Britannica; ferries that sail overnight to and from Holland and the UK throughout the week, but most importantly on a Friday night after work.
Laura and I were invited to try out Stena Line’s overnight ferry on a weekend trip to Amsterdam and it couldn’t have been more convenient. The train to Harwich departed from Liverpool Street station at 6:30pm which was ideal for me working in the City, and took around 90 minutes with a change in Manningtree.
After a very speedy check in and walk through security we were issued with our cabin keys and strolled on board.
The ferry was exactly like a hotel but a travelling one and if you’ve been to Vegas you’ll know the really unique feeling of the casinos there and how everything a guest could possibly need is inside ensuring they never have to leave. The ferry is the same. The cabins, bars, two restaurants, casino tables, shopping, kids play area, cinema, sundeck, lounge and slot machines keep guests entertained all night and when you’ve had your dinner and a few rounds of blackjack your bed isn’t much more than a flight of stairs away.
We stayed in a Comfort Class 2-berth cabin which had a double and a single bed as well as a TV, complimentary mini bar, separate bathroom and a really great powerful shower. Big white towels were provided and I loved that despite the shower being powerful and in a somewhat confined space it didn’t flood the whole bathroom when used. The buckets of water coming from the shower head drained quickly and directly behind the sink leaving the floor as dry as when you went in. No mess, no fuss. Ideal. The bathroom door was somewhat see through and faced a mirror and there was a gap of about an inch underneath it so it’s important to either go with a close friend who you have no secrets from or make sure your plus one keeps their eyes and ears to themselves while you’re in the bathroom. It wasn’t a huge deal but just be warned.
The beds were super comfortable and the slight rocking of the boat helped me drift off like a baby. Before the ferry began its voyage I was somewhat worried wine and a three course dinner mixed with the motion of the ocean would have me hanging over the toilet in the cabin all night but it was actually a really smooth crossing and one of the best nights sleep I’ve had in a long time. The cabin also came with a desk, phone, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities with a window looking out to sea and enough power sockets to charge all my technology at once.
En route to Holland we boarded the ferry at 8:30pm for an 11:15pm departure and had dinner in Metropolitan restaurant. I opted for prosciutto and marinated melon to start, followed by corn fed chicken breast then white chocolate brûlée for dessert and although Laura found the chicken a little too creamy it went down a treat with me. So much so I had it on the journey back to the UK too. Deeelicious. After dinner we wondered around the ferry then made our way back to the cabin where we got into our pjs and woke up in Holland.
I love the concept of wasting no time travelling especially when time is of the essence. Travelling overnight to Holland with Stena Line was so easy and you can bring as many liquids on board as you like as well as the essentials like razors, tweezers and nail scissors. There’s no faffing whatsoever and I am determined to get my friends together soon for a weekend in Holland travelling with Stena Line because the holiday started for me as soon as I hopped on the train at Liverpool Street. It was fun, relaxed and a bit of a novelty compared to flying.
We docked at 7:45am, disembarked after breakfast and were in Amsterdam by mid morning. Let the holiday begin.
Read my blog post for Stena Line here
(I was a guest of Stena Line)