Carrier: Condor Ferries
July 11, 2018
Journey: Poole to St Peter Port, Guernsey • Carrier: Condor Ferries
Pre-departure: All boarding documentation was supplied in advance so it was simply a matter of driving to the Port, following the Condor Ferries signs, showing our boarding pass and joining the lines of vehicles waiting to board. Staff were welcoming and the boarding system was quick and efficient.
The Seat: My seat in the Ocean Plus lounge at the front of the ship was wide and well cushioned with plenty of leg room and a good recline. Picture windows all around ensure it was bright and airy and my location had a clear view to the far horizons. An aircraft style seat back table dropped down when needed and a magazine pocket was filled with information on the duty-free offers and dining options. A middle block of seating for families or groups (with seats facing each other) included full-sized tables and UK plug sockets.
The Experience: Loading the cars was done quickly and efficiently with plenty of staff on hand to assist and once in the cabins the ferry felt modern and fresh. The standard seating looked good and was broken up into distinct smaller areas to help passengers remember their location and easily access the public facilities. The cafeteria-style restaurant was bright and open with food presented in an appealing way and staff eager to please. The additional bars for snacks and drinks ensured there was rarely much of a queue. The onboard shop was bright and well stocked, shouting out its offers through its displays and attracting a good bargain-hunting crowd. The discounts available were significant. An information office offered a range of pharmacy products for those in need.
The Catering: The lounge I was seated in included its own Horizon Bar, serving Costa Coffee drinks and snacks as well as a range of confectionary, drinks and draught beers. Beyond the snacks sold here, there was a public Island Bar and the Casquets Bistro which offered cafeteria-style options ranging from light bite paninis, wraps and salads to full hot meals of steak and ‘Liberation’ ale pie, fish and chips, chilli or lasagna. In theory these can be ordered for delivery to the Horizon Bar although on my trip the technology had failed so I collected it myself which was no big effort. For morning sailings there was a wide range of breakfast options from the full English to porridge or fresh fruit.
The Verdict: It has been a long time since I took a ferry and I have to say the change was impressive. The stable modern design of ship Condor Ferries uses makes for a very smooth ride and the internal furnishings were modern, comfortable and all very user-friendly. The public areas were bright and well cared for and the ambience in the lounges calm and peaceful. As a less then brilliant sailor I have spent many previous ferry crossing in horrid toilets that only made me feel more unwell. Those onboard this vessel were immaculately clean, sweet smelling and modern, but the mill pond sea meant there was no seasick issues. In comparison with the hassles and headaches of airports with all their stresses and security, this trip ‘overseas’ was an absolute walk in the park.