16 April 2023

Ferry to the Netherlands: judgement after full trip

You shouldn’t judge a trip until it is over! I remember that when I went by train, years ago, it all went fine on the way out. The way back saw some hiccups. I was totally trained out by the time I got home! So going to the Netherlands by boat was fine, but I knew I wouldn’t really know what it’s like until I would have made the way back too. 

Getting to the boat went smoothly. The train to Rotterdam was punctual, and at the bus stop, the driver of the coach (which wasn’t in P&O livery) found me. 

When I got onto the boat, my key card didn’t work. I had to go to reception to sort that. There they offered me a £20 upgrade to a room with a window and a kettle. I took it! I had filled my flasks at my mum’s, but still. Endless tea and coffee, and a view? Worth the money, I thought. 

My transport back


Port of Rotterdam 

The passage back went fine. In the morning I used up every sachet of coffee in the cabin. And I had more in the bag! 

I had booked a train back conservatively; I didn’t really know how long it would take to get off the boat. But my conservative estimate turned out correct. I think on a good day, it would be possible to catch an earlier one. Good to know. 

Travel to Manchester and Chester went smoothly. And then I had a deja-vu: there things got complicated, with delays, cancellations and platform changes. I spent some 45 minutes there. After some 22 hours of travelling! It had been Chester too where my train journey from the Netherlands had become so tiresome I got really fed up. Maybe that’s just what Chester does. 

When I finally got into a train to Bangor, there were no more complications. And after almost 25 hours I was home again. I was greeted by a cacophonous cat! I was so glad to see her. And I think that was mutual.

So what do I think? It is a bit of a slog! In both directions, it' took me more than 24 hours. But the part on the boat is actually quite relaxed. And the whole trip will be easier next time now I've done it once before. 

I should check the relative environmental credentials. I think a train is much better! Most of that is electric, and you don't know how that energy is generated, but at least part of it will be renewable. There is nothing renewable about ferry fuel. So if that is confirmed I should have the train as default, but the boat is a good second. I think I'll do this again!

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