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Stena Line overnight... good idea or not so much?

When I went to Norway with my dad, I was about my son's age and was fascinated by the various methods of travel... planes and trams and buses and ferries and boats and bikes...

I saw there is an overnight Stena Line ferry from Harwich>Hook of Holland. At first I thought it might even save us a little bit since we would avoid a night of other lodgings, but it seems pricey enough that it would be about the same by the time we pay for the train to Harwich before the ferry and then the train to Amsterdam after.

Have others found this to be a worthwhile experience? Something a 17 year old (who admittedly wears bow ties, eats peppermints and loves butter pecan ice cream) would enjoy? Seems like a good fit for my artsy-teen/geriatric hybrid kid? Also seems like a decent amount of fussing around.

Are there seafaring (or other recommended alternatives) that one would suggest?

Posted by
3810 posts

Look here: https://www.seat61.com/trains-and-routes/london-to-amsterdam-by-ferry.htm
You do not need separate tickets for the British train and the ferry. The combined ticket saves a lot of money. The onward ticket from Hoek van Holland to Amsterdam shouldn't be expensive.

No personal experience, and since the Eurostar started running from London to Amsterdam the boat is comparatively more time consuming, but it could be fun!

Posted by
65 posts

I think that’s a great idea. I remember about 35 years ago taking the boat train by myself from Amsterdam to London which meant a ferry from Oostende to Dover, and it was great fun and rather exciting. Now that travel is generally so much more slick than it used to be, your son may not have the chance in the future to experience the way travellers of previous generations got around. You probably won’t sleep much on the ferry, but that’s all part of the experience.

Posted by
21045 posts

I suspect I took that ferry once, back in the 1970s--well, probably not the same boat---but I don't remember any details of that trip. I do remember two other overnight ferries I took later in my travels, and those trips were fine. The cabins weren't luxurious, but the (small) beds were comfortable enough that I slept well. It wasn't anything at all like the misery of trying to sleep in a couchette berth on a train or sitting up on a plane. I absolutely wouldn't hesitate to do it again, though the novelty wears off after a trip or two.

I think your son will get a kick out of the experience. I do recommend earplugs in case you end up with a noisy cabin or noisy neighbors--though I guess you'll need to figure out how to be sure you hear an alarm so you're ready ro disembark when the time comes.

Posted by
5460 posts

Most of my ferry knowledge comes from "A Time of Gifts" (which starts with that trip, between the wars), but we did take a daytime Scandinavian ferry back before the EU. Especially with Brexit, the old tradition of buying tax-free cigarettes and liquor, and drinking in the bar most of the night, may still exist on this route. I second being prepared with earplugs. But it's not a horrible idea if you don't start out with a sleep deficit.

Currently streaming "Shetland" and there seem to still be some long ferry rides entirely within the UK.

Posted by
21045 posts

I've learned it's a good idea to take half a Dramamine (I'm pretty small) before I get on a boat. Despite having had a major issue with carsickness as a child, I often don't experience any issue on boats. But sometimes I do, and taking the Dramamine ahead of time works for me. I use the regular formula (not the non-drowsy version) and it makes me intensely sleepy, which is not a problem on an overnight ferry.

Posted by
162 posts

@balso
Thank you! The issue is that the Rail & Sail don't seem to be flexible or refundable in any way. It's too big a cost for me to risk before we even leave the US.

@AmandaR
You sound like someone I'd get on with swimmingly!

@acraven
Yes, yes, alarm! I will remember that. Thank you!

@Tim
I use earplugs and an eye mask every night at home. (We live in the city, so streetlights and loud restaurant patrons go til all hours.)
And now I'll have to watch Shetland, lol.

@Frank II Well, now, that's a good thing to consider!

@acraven (again)
Pro tip! I suspect it will make me drowsy as well. Along with my nightly melatonin, it would hopefully do the trick. 17 year old seems to be able to sleep anywhere.