July 25, 2024

Ferry Review: Condor Ferries, Poole to Guernsey

I sailed on the Condor Ferries ship Condor Liberation, a high-speed trimaran, from Poole to St Peter Port in Guernsey. The ferry entered service in March 2015 and carries up to 245 cars and 880 passengers.

I travelled as a foot passenger, after taking the train from London to Poole. The stress-free crossing took under three hours.

THE CHECK-IN: Two days before sailing, I received an email with my boarding pass. I arrived at the terminal one hour before the scheduled departure time and, since I had only hand baggage, I didn’t need to queue at the desk. There were vacant seats in the waiting area with refreshments available to purchase in the café next door. Boarding started almost straight away

BOARDING: The staff were pleasant and efficient in checking my ticket and there was only a small queue – most people were travelling with their cars. As at airports, luggage goes through a security check although liquids are allowed.

I then had to board a small bus and take a seat for the two-minute ride to the quay where the ship was waiting. Tickets were checked and I took the lift up to the main deck.

THE SEAT: There’s a choice of three seating options – airline-style seating in the Ocean Traveller cabin, an upgrade to Horizon Lounge or Club Class – a private lounge with steward service and leather reclining at-table seats.

I paid a small supplement (£7.95) for a reserved reclining seat in the Horizon Lounge. The spacious area at the front of the ship has panoramic views and entry is only with a supplied passcode.

It was not full so I moved to an empty seat with space on either side. I could have chosen a seat with a table but preferred to be on my own. There was an at-seat power supply to charge my devices as well a small fold-out table.

THE SERVICE: Crew members made me feel welcome and helped me find my seat. At the back of the lounge was a bar offering snacks and drinks for sale. More substantial fare was offered in the self-service Casquets Bistro outside the lounge.

On the menu were bacon and sausage baps, a wide selection of sandwiches, toasties, salad bowls and baguettes plus jacket potatoes and pizzas. There was also a duty-free shop selling alcohol and tobacco.

Onboard, 30 minutes of Wi-Fi was offered free of charge. Longer high-speed access was available at an extra cost.

We left five minutes early and the sea was calm and visibility good with a light wind. The views as we sailed out through Poole Harbour were spectacular before we passed into the open sea. Towards the end of the voyage we passed the Channel Islands of Alderney, then Sark, Herm and Jethou as we neared Guernsey.

The ship arrived a few minutes early and, once we were docked, car passengers were called first. Foot passengers were called approximately 10 minutes later. While we waited for them to get in their vehicles and then it was a swift disembarkation process right into the terminal. There was no need for a bus here and a five-minute walk got me to the centre of St Peter Port.

THE VERDICT: Sailing with Condor Ferries, rather than taking a flight, proved to be an easy way of taking the strain out of travelling between the UK and Guernsey. There was also more sense of adventure and it was good to go out on deck and breathe the sea air.

It felt like the three-hour voyage passed quickly and I was happy to have a seat in the lounge with extra comfort.

Of course, flying would have been faster but if you’ve got the time to spare this is a pleasant and sustainable way to travel. Even better, the ferry arrives in the centre of Guernsey’s capital.