Why do so many people take the ferry?
Consumers are now very savvy about getting the best value and minimising hassle when they travel, especially with their families. They realise that taking your car by ferry is a smart way of achieving a new sense of travelling freedom, with no baggage chargesBill Gibbons, Discover Ferries
Guide to ferry crossings, tickets and bookings
- Compare thousands of ferry routes from over 150 providers, whether that's to and from the UK or a worldwide destination
- Select the number of passengers and whether you're travelling with a pet
- If you're driving, declare vehicle details and be ready for questions regarding height, length, towing and the transport of commercial goods
- If you don't see the route you want, remember that the ferry operator may not yet have released its full sailing schedule
For many, a ferry booking will mean the short Dover-to-Calais crossing to get them to the continent, but there are thousands of ticket and route options to choose from, whether that's going to and from the UK, or sailing worldwide destinations.
A ferry ticket comparison service can help you, whether you're looking for day-to-day transportation, planning some island hopping on the Greek ferries, or mapping out the holiday of a lifetime.
If you click the 'Get Prices' button above, you'll see options whether you're a foot passenger or you're taking a car or another vehicle. Virtually every port in Europe and Africa is covered, along with many more across the globe.
On the easy-to-use forms, just select whether you're looking for a single or return ticket; note that a return can be on a different route, allowing you to, for example, take a cross-channel or Eurotunnel crossing to France then return on a ferry from Brittany or Spain.
When you've chosen your destination, you can update the handy route map to help you envisage your travel plans. You'll also see a currency option, allowing you to pay in pounds or a variety of other currencies that will depend on your destination.
Select your desired date and time of travel so that the nearest available sailings can be displayed on the results page. If there are no options shown, remember it could be because the ferry operator hasn't yet released schedules for future sailings.
You'll need to indicate the number of passengers and their age(s), and you'll have the opportunity to state whether any of the passengers are disabled.
You must also indicate whether you'll be accompanied by a pet; passengers travelling with animals are responsible for ensuring that they comply with the necessary regulations and meet the requirements of each country or territory that they're travelling to or from.
Any documentation required to permit an animal to board must be in original format (photocopies won't be accepted). You can read more about the issues to consider and about the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS) in our article on travelling with a pet.
Finally, state whether you're travelling as a foot passenger or with a vehicle; only one vehicle is permitted per booking, but you can choose to book a bicycle, car, motorhome, motorbike, minibus or van.
With motorised vehicles you'll need to enter the make and model, whilst car, van, minibus and motorhome owners will face further questions related to the height and length of the vehicle, including whether car owners are carrying things such as bikes or luggage on the roof.
There'll be additional questions if you're towing a trailer or caravan, while van drivers will need to indicate whether they're carrying commercial goods.
When you've completed the form, clicking the 'Get Quote' button will take you through to the page showing your sailing options.
Did you know...?
The 1980s BBC soap opera Triangle was set on a North Sea ferry traversing a fictional triangular route between Felixstowe, Gothenburg and Amsterdam.
The series has been described as 'some of the most mockable British TV ever produced'.
This page will include the name of the ferry operator(s) and the ship(s), departure and arrival dates and times, and the price, with options to sort the table by preferred date and time, cheapest price, crossing duration or operator.
You'll also see options to look at timetables, ticket conditions, latest check-in times and whether there are optional extras available such as cabins, reserved seating or priority loading.
If you see an option you like, click through to make the booking where you'll also have the chance to select any of the optional extras.
Car insurance on ferries
If you plan to take a vehicle on a ferry, it's advisable to check your car insurance terms and conditions.
While you should expect some sort of cover, not all insurers will have the same conditions.
If, for example, you have a comprehensive policy your insurance protection on a ferry may not be as extensive as it is on a UK road.
It's also worth checking your breakdown cover in advance.
Should your motor conk out on the wrong side of the channel, not all breakdown providers will cover the cost of the ferry transportation back, even if your policy has nationwide recovery included on it.
By Sean Davies