How to take a ferry to France from Ireland
We were on our way to housesit in France for several weeks and we decided that due to these uncertain times and not knowing how long we would be gone that we would take our car with us. This meant, of course, booking a ferry to France from Ireland so that we could have our vehicle with us.
How many ferry routes are there between Ireland and France?
There are 4 ferry routes operating between Ireland and France that sail approximately 8 times per week. This is of course during normal travel times. Irish Ferries sails from Dublin to Cherbourg and that runs around 4 times a week. Stena Line runs one route to Cherbourg from Rosslare. Brittany Ferries runs ferries from Cork to Roscoff and from Rosslare to Roscoff.
How long does it take to get from Ireland to France by ferry?
The crossing ranges from twenty hours from Dublin and around 14 from Cork. The average sailing time is said to be around 18 hours.
What does it cost to take a ferry from Ireland to France?
On average it will cost around €500 Euros to make a return trip in a small car and that includes 1 cabin which will sleep 2-4 people. A foot passenger will be charged around €125 euros for passage and you can add a cabin for an extra €50euros or book a lounge seat to sleep in. If you can avoid the summer months as the cost doubles and triples.
Cabins are great they offer 4 beds in bunk style and an ensuite with a shower. There is usually a TV in the room to entertain you and the kids if you are travelling with them.
Getting to the ferry port
You should arrive at the Port at least 90 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure so you can get a place in line for boarding. If you are taking the ferry from Dublin you simply follow the signs to Dublin Port and if you go through the tunnel you will be asked to pay a €3 toll to pass through to the Port. Irish Ferries leaves from Terminal 1 and all the terminals and the ferry lines are well marked and easy to find.
Once you reach your ferry terminal you will go through a gate system where you are asked to show your booking ticket and your passports. You are then given a card to hang from your rearview mirror and sent along to an assigned row. During these times of travel, you are assigned a colour that is on your cabin keys or passenger ticket. When disembarking these colours refer to the sequence used to head to your car.
Each of these rows is then boarded in a priority sequence. You will note on boarding the ship with your vehicle that your vehicle is placed in a coloured area take a note of where your car is parked or you may find yourself wandering over several floors and areas to find it when disembarking. Along the bulk heads where you are parked, you will find the stairs and elevators that will take you up to either your cabin floor or the lounge if you have booked a lounge suite.
Amenities on the Ferry from Ireland to France
We took the Irish Ferries journey from Dublin to Cherbourg and at that time everyone was observing social distancing and many of the facilities were not open. There is a restaurant onboard, a small movie theatre and a bar/lounge that were open.
A long time passenger advised us not to bother with the movie theatre as the same movies were available in the cabin as they were downloaded. So save yourself €9 euro to see a film and watch it in the cabin.
I strongly suggest taking your own food as the food served on Irish Ferries was inedible and expensive. Even a bottle of water costs €2.50 and there is no re-filling water station which I found astounding. When we boarded we noticed the same food as in croissants and sandwiches sitting there on the second day untouched you can imagine how stale and soggy they were.
The so-called free wifi was for around 20 minutes at speeds that would make a DSL look fast and this was absolutely useless. You could pay more at around €5 for half an hour but if it was anything like the free a waste of money.
If I have to say one thing in praise of Irish Ferries it is that the staff were wonderful. They tried to be as accommodating as possible and they were very friendly and helpful. Apart from that is the staff in the shop on board – a more miserable bunch of people I have never met.
The shop onboard sells candy, chocolate, alcohol and you can find some newspapers there along with a few overpriced novels. There is not a great selection of snacks as obviously they want you to buy the food from the restaurant and bar areas.
On the ferry, you can head up to the top deck if you decide you need some fresh air and be treated to views of Dublin Harbour and the harbour of your destination when you arrive.
Disembarking is easy, the announcements will tell you what colours should head to their cars and from there it’s a simple process to wait until the gangplank goes down, start your car and head out into your next destination.
What was your Ireland to France ferry experience? Or have you taken a ferry from Ireland to the UK?