Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My 5 and Me Out to Sea!

I’m constantly looking for places to bring the children for days out during the summer months; somewhere that’ll keep them all entertained as I have 8 year old twin daughters & three sons aged 7, 3 & 10 months. A couple of weeks ago while mooching about on the internet I came across a great deal from Stena Line, €6 return for a foot passenger day trip to Holyhead from Dublin or to Fishguard from Rosslare! 

We opted for the crossing to Fishguard as Rosslare is nearer our house. Whilst there is nothing much to do in Fishguard the boat trip itself is the entertainment and it's something very different. I debated with myself whether or not to bring my 5 little ones on my own but then just got mad & booked it, sure what’s the worst that can happen? They’re my children, I trust them not to have a meltdown & we’d been away plenty on our own before so I said a silent prayer as I clicked confirm payment. Turns out it was the best €24 I’d spent all year, under 4s are free I only had to pay for my older three & me!

Stena Entertainment ~ Cillian & his new pal Curious George

We needed to be on the road by 5:30 for the 90 minute drive to Rosslare as check in starts 2 hours before 9am departure. A quick trip to Lidl the day before had us stocked up on picnic essentials for on board & pastries for breakfast at the port, all this was ready & packed in the car the night before. I expected the port to be mayhem during the height of summer but I was pleasantly surprised, while there were lots of cars & trucks heading to board the boat it was free moving traffic. 

We easily found a parking spot & paid a very reasonable €5 for all day parking in one of the many ticket machines doted around the car park. Check in is located on ground level where there is also a cafe, loos & lockers. The boarding gates are upstairs but there’s a large ramp for buggies & wheelchair users.

Stena Entertainments ~ Orla was in her Marvel element!

We boarded the Stena Europe superferry at about 8:30am and headed straight to the children’s play area to try to get a seat as there is no way to reserve a seat in this area. We were lucky to get one right in front of the Curious George soft play area; there were also interactive Curious George games & a TV playing episodes of Curious George. My 3 year old loved this & spent hours there, he was thrilled with a meet & greet from none other than Curious George himself before we set sail on our 3 & ½ hour journey. 

For older children there is Teen Town which consists of arcade games & internet terminals. To stick to the budget I gave each of my older three children 5 pound coins & told them to use them wisely! Unfortunately some of the machines weren’t working, they just gobbled their money however this was quickly rectified with a refund after a trip to the Customer Service desk.

Stena Line Entertainment 

There is a great selection of food onboard with offers available in both the Barista Coffee House and the Metropolitan Grill. For lunch we shared a selection of panini’s from the Barista Coffee House priced at £3.75 each, Cappuccino £2.35 and blackcurrant squash for the children was just 40p per glass. If you wanted a more substantial lunch the Metropolitan Grill had a family meal deal for £25 main meals & drinks for 2 adults & up to 3 children.

There is scheduled entertainment on outgoing & returning ferries; I took a photo of this info for you. Movies are also shown in the Barista Coffee House on all sailings. The two lads that were running the entertainment for the children were brilliant & included all the children in the play area; you could tell they enjoyed their job. 

Stena Line ~ Fishguard Port

All of the staff we encountered on our day trip were friendly & helpful. We explored the ship & used the lift to get from deck to deck with the buggy in tow. We had glorious weather for our trip so we spent a while out on deck taking in the sea air along with stunning views. I had a deck of cards in my bag in case we needed to pass the time but we barely had time for one game before we docked.

Due to a slightly delayed departure from Rosslare we only had 40 minutes in Fishguard just enough time to get off, check in for our return ferry before taking a short stroll outside and back in for a cold drink in the small cafe in the port. We had a fantastic day full of adventure with new things for the children to see & do. 

St Margaret's Beach ~ Rosslare

We arrived back in Rosslare at 6:40pm, the children really wanted to play on the beach beside the car park in the port but I was conscious of all the freight & other vehicles disembarking at the same time creating a traffic jam in Rosslare. Yet again I need not have worried as we drove out with no traffic jams at all so I followed a brown tourist sign for St. Margaret’s beach. 

We spent a lovely half an hour making sand castles on the deserted beach just lucky I had their buckets & spades in the boot of the car. My 7 year old Seamus was delighted that he had a full day out getting to see both the sun rise and sun set on the same day.

€6 foot passenger day trips are only available on Tuesdays before November 1st, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday sailings are €12pp return.

EU Citizens do not need a passport to travel between Britain & Ireland, identification such as a driving licence or utility bill will suffice, for children a birth cert is required as proof of identity.

Have you been on a day trip to the UK? How did you get on?

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