We have never taken my son on an airplane (although his big sister has flown all around the world), as he has always been a handful. In May, we went for our first overseas holiday as a family of four. We had decided to go to France, and take Brittany Ferries as it would mean we could take our car plus we could better control our five year old son. I thought that sailing to France from the UK would be the easy travel option, but it turned out to also be the fun option.
I have to say that the kids and I weren't sure what to expect on the ferry. Luckily, the Brittany Ferries website has plenty of information and even videos of the ships. Dubz made me watch the videos about 20 times. His mind was blown to be travelling on a ship so big it could fit cars and beds and restaurants. But the ferry fits all those things and more.
First of all, driving to Portsmouth from south west London is really easy, and took about one hour and 15 minutes. We checked in, drove onto the ferry and went to find our cabin. You don't have to book a cabin, but it makes life so much easier when you have children. You have a place to leave your things, have a rest and you have your own toilet. As we were going to France on the nighttime sailing, it was lovely having a place to sleep. There was a light beeping sound in our cabin in the morning, which gave us time to get croissants and tea/coffee. We then got everything ready and got into our car, and there we were in the French port town of Caen.
From Caen, it was a 4 1/2 hour drive to the Vendee. On the way home, we sailed from St. Malo to Portsmouth (three hour drive). Brittany Ferries has quite a few French ports, so you can figure out which one has the best location and sailing times that fit into your journey.
Our return ferry gave us a better opportunity to enjoy the benefits of travelling on a ferry. Again, we had a cabin. I tried to convince the kids to have a nap, but they wouldn't go for it (as you will see from my vlog below). So we decided to try and do as much possible. First, we walked around the deck, and then found the arcade. Then, Husband was very kind and took Moozles and Dubz to see the new Beauty & The Beast film, which gave me two hours on my own. I read my book, and enjoyed a lovely tart and a good cup of tea.
Then it was Husband's turn to rest. He went for a nap while I took the kids to the play area. Dubz went into the small soft play, while Moozles did some colouring. They also watched a couple of cartoons, and we had a little walk. There was face painting on offer, but my two weren't interested. Before we knew it, we had arrived into Portsmouth. It is amazing how quickly seven hours can fly by when you're having fun.
Another thing that we enjoyed on the ferry is being able to use our last few Euro in the gift shops. And since we had our car, we didn't have to worry about how much we bought. We also enjoyed the food on the ferry. There were British and French offerings, and you could pick from a cafeteria-style cafe or a more upmarket restaurant. There was a couple of bars (one of which had entertainment for children), so the entire ferry felt quite family-friendly.
My family and I were so pleased to have travelled on Brittany Ferries. Although convenience was a main factor in booking a ferry, it actually made our holiday a bit longer. The ferry was part of our holiday fun and we can't imagine travelling to France on an air plane when ferries are so much cooler!
We were invited to travel on Brittany Ferries for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.