On my first ferry trip to Guernsey, we made the most out of being able to take a car on board and packed in as much as we could squeeze into our little 3-door hatchback. Luckily, I predicted my lack of self-control with the duty free shops in Guernsey and left some space for a few extra bags. There is no doubt that travelling with a car is an ideal solution for those of us who struggle to pack lightly.
Initially, I was slightly nervous about getting my car actually onto the ferry. I imagined steep ramps, tight spaces and awkward reversing - for someone who isn’t the most spatially aware, this is a daunting prospect. However, I needn’t have worried. There were plenty of staff around to guide me that there was almost an anti-climax after I had parked. Was it really that easy? It appeared so.
The ferry crossing from Poole to Guernsey is around three hours long on the Condor Liberation, one of the newer ships carrying up to 880 passengers and 245 cars. Although that sounds like a lot of people, the ship is surprisingly spacious with three different lounges, a viewing deck, an onboard café and a duty free shop.
My partner and I decided to treat ourselves and upgrade to the Horizon Lounge after hearing some good reviews, and as soon as we got to our seats, we could understand why. There were large panoramic windows that gave an amazing view of the sea. As we were taking a morning sailing, the sun was already in the sky and just glistening on the water. It looked truly stunning and confirmed my reasoning for taking to the water instead of flying for our Guernsey getaway.
Once we had cosied into our seats, both armed with a Costa from the onboard café, we were able to log on to the Wi-Fi to check-in with the news and to let our friends and families know we were safely on board and ready to go.
It wasn’t long before the ferry set off, but we hardly noticed as it felt so smooth. It was only the site of Poole Quay drifting away to make us realise that the ferry was actually moving: this was a complete surprise to someone like me who’s used to the climactic airplane runway jet-off.
After standing up to watch the beautiful Sandbanks harbour fade out of view from the Horizon windows, I began to feel the hunger pangs and could see that some of the other passengers around me had begun to feast at the onboard café. With a full English on board it would be rude not to!
I went for the classic ‘traditional breakfast’ whilst my travel partner had a freshly baked croissant and fruit salad. I was not disappointed. The full English consisted of sausage, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, beans and a hash brown, exactly what I was craving. The pastry and fruit went down well too and we both finished our breakfasts feeling happily satisfied.
About twenty minutes into our journey, an announcement was given about the opening of the onboard duty free shop. This was something I was particularly excited about as it was Christmas coming up and I still had a few gifts to sort out.
The range of products in the shop made it hard to narrow down gift choices for certain family members. Luckily, there was an onboard beauty advisor who helped by going through some of the skincare products that I was deciding between – much appreciated for someone like me who has no idea what all the beauty jargon means. My partner was very impressed by the drinks offers and we topped up our Christmas supply! All and all, a great shopping experience.
After the excitement of the breakfast and duty free, I decided to do what I do best and have a nap. Luckily our seats were comfortable, and as we were sat on the edge by the window, I was able to drift off easily with the calming views of the sea helping me nod off.
My other half woke me up about an hour later through his excitement of nearly arriving at Guernsey. Luckily, my excitement matched his and we explored up to the viewing deck to watch as we sailed into Guernsey’s colourful St Peter Port.
The glorious 800 year old Castle Cornet is one of the first things that drew in our attention as we glided in closer to shore. Behind that was the stunning scene of St Peter Port – a fairytale-like hubble of colourful buildings framed by a sunlit blue sky. As the boat cruised forward, we could start to see the cobbled streets that lined the buildings, and an array of boats gently bobbing in the harbour. The upper deck was the perfect place to stand out in the sun and feel the Guernsey air welcoming us in.
The ferry pulled in to the Albert Pier, the perfectly central location in the seaside port that made it so easy to explore the wonders of what the town has to offer as soon as we left the ship. For us in the car, we could simply disembark the ferry and find parking within the next few minutes so we could get out and discover the town.
Driving off the ferry was just as easy as driving in - we were already facing the right direction so there was no need to turn around in tight spaces like I feared I might need to. The crew waved us off and although we were excited about exploring the wonders that Guernsey has to offer, we felt comforted knowing that our journey back was in safe hands.