Top tips for travelling with kids on the ferry

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Boarding the ship

1. Settle the kids down to wait in the comfort of your own car

Trying to keep an eye on the kids for hours in a busy airport departure lounge is not most parents idea of fun. However, whilst waiting to board the ferry, you can wait in the car lanes in the comfort and security of your own car. Make the time pass peacefully by bringing plenty of things to keep them occupied.

Tablets, movies, and favourite toys will help the time pass quickly and you know that they are safe and comfortable in your car. And you can always pop over to the terminal building to stretch your legs - but remember you must stay inside your car after you're through security. If you're bringing the family pet, you can also take them for a walk before boarding.

Eating on board

2. Lots of choice for fussy eaters

There's so much to choose from that you shouldn't have a problem pleasing fussy eaters.The self-service restaurant offers a selection of family-favourite dishes such as fish and chips, salads, snacks such as baguettes and a range of cakes and patisserie.

Most self-service restaurants are located beside the kids soft play area so grab yourself a table close by so that kids can go play when they've finished their meal - and you can finish yours in peace whilst keeping watch on them. You'll also find microwaves at the self-service restaurants where you can heat up baby food so that all the family can enjoy their meal together.

The onboard cafés are also great for getting a snack such as sandwiches and cakes and are normally beside the kids play area too so you can enjoy a coffee while they play. Children are welcome in the main restaurant but bear in mind that the atmosphere is more formal than the relaxed approach in the self-service restaurant.

However, you might find that the buffet is perfect for fussy eaters with a huge range of starters and desserts that they can pick and choose from. The kids' menus in both the main and self-service restaurants are only £5.50 and come with a free Pierre le Bear rucksack goody bag. The restaurants also have breakfast menus for children too.

On board entertainment

3. Get them to join in the onboard entertainment

Travelling with kids can be difficult but there's so much to do on board our ships that the journey becomes a part of the holiday.

We've got lots going on aboard our ships for children this summer so make sure they join in! With group activities like Pierre's Party Time, live music and children's entertainers, silent (and noisy!) discos, quizzes and much more going on, there's no way for kids to get bored. Make sure you get your photo with Pierre le Bear when he shows up!

If you're travelling back from France on our St Malo to Portsmouth route aboard Bretagne, then you simply can't miss our summer panto. Completely free, this year it's Cinderella's turn to take to the stage. Previous shows have included Aladdin and Jack and the Beanstalk and are always a massive hit with children and adults alike so grab your seat in the bar area. 

4. Make the most of the facilities onboard

Maybe your kids don't want to join in the group activities but there's still plenty to do. Most ships have an arcade area for teenagers as well as soft play for children, so you can get them away from their tablet or phone for a while.

Or if you just want a couple of hours peace whilst they're all sat still doing something together, check out what films are playing in our on board cinemas. We show a selection of the latest releases including family-friendly films for young children as well as choices for older ones and grown-ups.

If you've forgotten to bring colouring books and magazines or want to pick up a small toy or puzzle, head to our on board shops. These are stocked with all kinds of children's games and books that will help to pass the time.

Sailing to Spain? Have a chat with our ORCA Wildlife Officers on board to find out about the whales and dolphins you can see from the decks of our ships. They'll absolutely love to talk to you out on deck and also do lots of activities with the children on board.

If you're sailing aboard the Pont-Aven or Cap Finistère, you can also pack your cossies in your overnight bag and head for the indoor swimming pool!


5. Get a cabin without a window and have a lie-in

Especially good if you're on one of our Spanish crossings, if you get an inside cabin without a window then your little early-risers may sleep longer without the sunlight to wake them up - so you get a bit of a lie-in.

6. Book a cabin on daytime sailings for some space to yourselves

There can be a lot of hustle and bustle on our busy summer crossings so you might want to grab a discounted day cabin. Little ones can take a nap if they need to (and you can have a rest!), you'll have some space for quiet time if your kids don't like being anywhere too noisy and you'll also have your own en suite bathroom.

The children can curl up with their games or a book and you can relax knowing that they're not about to run off somewhere. If you book a cabin with a TV, you'll find kids channels such as Tiny Pop are available too.

7. Bring whatever you need to make kids comfortable overnight

You can reserve a cot when you make your booking and bed guards are available on our ships (these stop children rolling out of the beds) that you can request from the information desk onboard.

But if you feel you want your kids to have their own things like bringing your own travel cot (please check the cot dimensions so that it will fit as space in the cabins is limited) or you want to bring a sleeping bag or readybed for little wrigglers then you can. Just bear in mind that you have to carry everything up and down to the car decks!

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