Condor Ferries recently got in touch to invite us to travel to Jersey for the weekend on one of their high-speed ferries. This would be our first family cross-channel ferry trip and we were all very excited to go on an adventure.
Jersey is the perfect destination for a family short break. The largest of the channel islands it has lots of things to see and do, there’s something for all ages. From beautiful coast line to fascinating history and everything in between.
Condor Ferries have four ships in their fleet, connecting the UK, Guernsey, Jersey and St Malo. The Condor Liberation and Condor Rapide are both high-speed passenger and car carrying ships. They are backed by the all-weather car and passenger service of the Commodore Clipper. They also operate a daily freight service by Commodore Goodwill.
For our journey to Jersey we would be sailing on the Condor Liberation from the ferry terminal at Poole, in Dorset. The Liberation is a Trimaran and is the newest addition to Condor’s fleet.
Our journey from home began very early in the morning and the drive down to Poole was smooth. We arrived at the ferry terminal and easily located the check in and got in the queue. Check in opens two hours before for car passengers and closes one hour before sailing. Check in was fast and easy, we were directed where to park and it wasn’t long before it was time to drive through customs and board the boat. I really liked that we could take the car with everything packed inside, not having to check luggage in is a huge bonus.
The Liberation hold 245 cars and 880 passengers which is just mind-blowing !
We were directed onto the ship and parked up. I did feel that parking was very tight, getting the kids and our hand luggage out was a challenge. My tip would be to make sure you have everything within reach that you want to take on board with you as there was no way we could access the boot once parked up.
We made our way up the stairs to the passenger deck to find our seats. There are three choices of seating on board, pre assigned airline style seating in the Ocean Traveller cabin or upgraded seating in either the Ocean Plus or Ocean Club lounge.
We were seated in Ocean Plus which has amazing panoramic views and table seating. It was fantastic to be able to view the ocean all around us, the kids loved the huge windows. Our seats were really comfortable and we had lots of room to move about.
The kids quickly made friends with some other kids on board which kept them occupied for most of the journey. There is a children’s TV room on board but this gets bust really quickly and is a little on the small side. It did look comfortable inside though. There are power points for charging your devices at each table. This was great as we could keep the kids entertained on their tablets when they started to get fed up.
There’s a great duty free shop on board with lots of great savings to be had. No visit to duty free would be complete without buying a Toblerone the size of your head or some delicious smelling scents.
It was soon time for lunch and we all tucked into a tasty meal from the on board Casquets Bistro. There’s also the Horizon and Island bars which both serve Costa Coffee, drinks and snacks.
I felt there were a good range of prices on the menu, something to suit all budgets. The food we ate was delicious, of course I went for fish and chips, only fitting when you are at sea.
The sea was incredibly rough on our journey there which made it more fun in my opinion, I seem to have sea legs and a stomach for turbulent waters. Chris wasn’t quite so lucky and got a little sea sick.
I had a good look around the ship and found everything to be really clean, especially the bathrooms. All the crew on board the Liberation were super friendly and very helpful too.
The views up on deck are spectacular, especially the coastline as you approach Guernsey and Jersey. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of some marine animals, sadly we didn’t spot any but it was fun looking anyway.
The whole experience on board the Liberation was enjoyable but we did run into problems after sailing from Guernsey to Jersey on the last leg of our journey. The ship was unable to dock in Jersey due to the bad weather, the captain explained to us what was happening and took the decision to turn back to Guernsey where we would all need to board the Commodore Clipper to travel into Jersey.
I must admit I did start to worry a little at this point, the bad weather had already made us over and hour late. The kids were starting to get fed up and tired and Chris and I had been up since 2 am. Of course we knew there was nothing to be done, safety comes first and the captain made the right decision.
Unfortunately once we disembarked the Liberation and got in the queue to board the Clipper, I felt that customer service and communication began to suffer due to the pressure of ensuring people got to their destinations. This part of the journey felt chaotic and we were incredibly exhausted with a two hour journey still ahead of us. After giving feedback to Condor they assure me that lessons have been learned from the events of that day.
Finally arriving in Jersey we could begin our weekend after a good nights sleep in the Ommaroo Hotel. Look out for my review of our accommodation and the fun things we did while visiting Jersey.
Our journey home was a smooth one, calm seas and excellent service. We had an amazing time in Jersey and we would definitely travel this way again. Being able to take our car, having no luggage restrictions and the super easy check-in process cut out so much of the usual stress we face when travelling on holiday.
Disclosure: We were invited by Condor to travel complimentary to Jersey. All opinions are my own.