As some of you may already know we enjoyed an amazing break to Amsterdam during the summer as I have mentioned it a few times on the blog but in this post I really want to focus on the journey and not so much the destination. We are avid travellers and love sharing our passion with our kids and for myself personally it's very much about enjoying the ride and as quick and convenient flying is taking an alternative route can be so much fun and really open up a whole different adventure. We have done the Eurostar to Brussels and Paris as well as high speed trains across France and thought it was time to take to the high seas in a little overnight crossing from Harwich to the Hoek of Holland.
|The Stena Hollandica|
Before heading over to Holland we spent a few days in London, something which we do as a family every year, taking in all the museums, coffee shops and open spaces before hoping on the train to the coast with our rail sail tickets from Stena Lines, basically one ticket that covers your rail from London to Harwich, your ferry crossing and then your onward rail travel through Holland. We decided to take evening crossings both ways, taking advantage of being able to get a good night sleep before docking at our port. Our outward journey was delayed which meant a longer wait in the departures lounge than expected and as it was late evening it meant none of the shops were open and nowhere to get anything to eat so lesson learnt for next time always pack something just incase. Once the gates opened however passport control was quick and easy and Mr A loved walking up the gangway to the ship.
We had no problem finding our 4-berth cabin on the Stena Hollandica, which had a queen size bed with bunk above and another set of bunks plus a shower room, TV & small desk space it was perfect for a family travelling overnight. Once we dropped off our bags in the room we headed downstairs to see what the ship had to offer in terms of entertainment and food. The Hollandica has an on-board shop, cinema, teenage lounge and kids playroom which Mr A loved as it had a large captains wheel where he could pretend to be steering the ship. When it comes to food and drink there is pretty much something for everyone from a Coffee bar, Wine bar, Taste restaurant and the Al A Carte Metropolitan restaurant which we had reserved a table at and it's something I would highly recommend if your looking to make your crossing that bit more special and relax as the table service was excellent.
The Superferry was large but not overwhelming and had everything you needed including a Bureau De Change, Casino and places to read and have quiet time. Both crossings were very smooth and there were often times we had totally forget we were even at sea. We docked early the next morning and you don't have that much time to get dressed packed and ready to disembark so while John sorted out the boys I headed downstairs and picked up some breakfast snacks.
Our eldest found the whole experience very exciting and often asks when are we going to go back on a big boat and I have to say both John and I also enjoyed our time at sea as it was a totally stress free way to get from one country to another in comfort and style. After arriving in the Hoek of Holland the terminal, with train tickets in hand, walk out the terminal and right in front of you is the train station with regular trains that take just under 2 hours to get into Amsterdam Central.
|Baby G & I on the train towards Amsterdam|
Our crossings were complimentary thanks to Stena Lines