Watching the Condor Ferry leaving from Poole Harbour is always an exciting experience for the kids and we have watched it go past from the Sandbanks Chain Ferry and White Cliff Park before now, but we have never actually been on the ferry itself.
This half term that all changed when we took the Condor Liberation to Jersey via Guernsey and then changed to continue to St Malo aboard the Rapide.
I have wanted to visit the Channel Islands for some time and on the way out we got to spend a few hours in Jersey which was nowhere near long enough to properly explore but we got a taster of all the island has to offer and I would love to return when it is warmer.
I have to admit that the weather was, for want of a better word, horrendous and almost the whole cabin was suffering with sea sickness at one point or another but the staff were amazing looking after everyone and making us as comfortable as possible with cups of water and even ice to try and help cool you down and stop you feeling ill.
Thankfully, after researching some seasickness tips and buying some seabands, the crossing from Jersey to France was better but we were all glad to be back on dry land.
The journey home was more eventful. I managed to book our ferry journey’s on two weekends with weather warnings and on the journey home, the Liberation was cancelled due to the waves exceeding the safe limit of 3.5 metres. We caught the Rapide back from St Malo to Jersey and were then moved to the Clipper which is a more traditional ferry and able to cope with the almost 5m waves. Due to the high winds, she had trouble docking and had to be docked by a tug boat so we ended up boarding her 75 minutes late.
In all honesty I wish we had stayed in Jersey overnight as the crossing was horrendous. The area we were sat was roasting, with the smell of greasy food cooking and the only seats available were table and dining chairs where it was impossible for the kids to sleep. Thankfully Isaac and Eliza’s seabands worked but poor Sebby was sick this time.
I really wasn’t looking forward to our journey home on the Liberation from Guernsey on Sunday, however, either it was much calmer or we had all found our sea legs as it was the best journey of the week. Isaac got to meet the Captain and sit in his chair before heading to the kids area to watch Hotel Transylvania with Eliza.
This time I got to explore the boat and found a well stocked duty free, restaurant area and a bar. We were seated in the Ocean Club which offered panoramic sea views, although sadly we were travelling at twilight so didn’t get the benefit of the view.
In hindsight, when booking ferry travel, I would avoid the winter months as it is very stormy and therefore crossings are more likely to be amended or cancelled and are more uncomfortable. I cannot fault Condor and their staff for their service and the facilities on board the Liberation and Rapide were perfect for us travelling as a family.
I would certainly book the Condor Ferry again to visit the Channel Islands, although I will be doing it in the summer months and not winter next time!