1 October 2015

Ferries of the Future - The Condor Liberation.

condor ferries, liberation,
Is it a bird?  Is it a Spaceship?  Er, no.  It's a 102m Ferry!

We're big fans of family travel by ferry in this house.  We love the convenience and, living on the coast, we can get to ports pretty easily.

On this occasion we were travelling from Poole Harbour, in Dorset, to the Channel Islands (again).  I wasn't very impressed with a 4.30 am sailing time but whizzing through what is normally very busy town during the daytime, straight on to the ship definitely had its advantages.  And doing so in the dark certainly added an extra frisson for the children!

Little did we know that we would be on board a fast ferry from the future - the brand new Condor Liberation - the first of its kind in Northern Europe.  It has a trimaran (three-hull) design which gives it greater stability and provides a smoother, more comfortable and reliable crossing for passengers than normal.  We're talking a whole new era in sea travel and all from just £34.75 per person with a car. 

So what did we think?

Well, we'd been put into the poshest of the three seating areas on the way over and into the middle grade one for the return journey.  We actually preferred the location and layout of the latter, cheaper one, though, because it has floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and, therefore, a fantastic vista for the the whole of the three or four hour journey, depending on whether you are travelling to Guernsey or Jersey, respectively. 

But seeing as we were travelling outward in the dead of night, those views would have been wasted on us.  Instead, we really appreciated the quieter more cosy Ocean Club Lounge, with its all-leather reclining seats and first-class at-seat steward service.  We were greeted with complimentary hot chocolate and fresh pastries and hadn't even realised we'd set sail before we setted down for some sleep, so silent and serene was the ship.  

condor liberation, ocean club lounge,
The ultimate luxury in ferry travel - the Ocean Club Lounge @ £19.95 per person supplement, each way.

And true to its word, it delivered such a crossing the entire way and my eldest, who has a tendency towards travel sickness, wasn't bothered in the slightest because its movement was minimal - something not to be underestimated.  This was particularly important coming back when the weather was rougher.  He was able to relax and walk around and generally enjoy himself in a way that he doesn't usually, which, in the end, would drive me mad as I couldn't keep tabs on where he was!

condor liberation, ocean plus lounge,
The middle grade Ocean Plus Lounge @ only £4.95 per person supplement, each way.

The Ocean Plus Lounge is self-contained and entered via a code you're given with your embarkation tickets.  There's a funny sign outside to keep out the riff raff ;)  Please excuse the flash thing.

condor liberation,

In fact, funny signs abound, but their safety video really takes the biscuit.  It's done rap style and never before have I seen one so watched or paid such avid attention myself.  Although it gets the message across, it's done in a lighthearted and generally hilarious, tongue in cheek way and definitely worth a watch just for fun. I've popped it on at the end of this post for a laugh.   

Anyhow, once you've gained access to the Ocean Plus Lounge, you'll find an exclusive bar that serves snacks and a variety of drinks, but you will need to go outside to the main Ocean Traveller Lounge to the buffet style Casquets Bistro for a wider range of hot and cold food, all of which can be brought back to your table. 

There, you will find - 

  • A wide selection of sandwiches, ciabattas, baguettes and wraps.
  • A delicious full English Breakfast including a vegetarian option.
  • Main meals including favourites such as Fish & Chips, Steak & Ale pie, Pasta Dishes and Curries.  
  • Scones and cakes, pizza, paninis and Croque Monsieurs.
  • A surprising selection of hot and cold drinks
  • Meal deal offers

And here is where you will feel the difference between the two upgrades.  It's not waiter service nor served with linen napkins, proper plates and cutlery.  But it's exactly the same food. #Justsaying.

For entertainment on board, the children can go to the Kids Zone and watch a movie while you can have a proper peruse in the genuinely discounted Adore Duty Free shop, where things are up to 40% cheaper than the mainland - wines and spirits, cosmetics and confectionery, toys, gifts and fragrances, all for a fraction of the price they normally cost.  It's very enlightening and a must.        

condor liberation, adore duty free,

The Condor Liberation offers seating for up to 880 passengers in three optional areas and carries up to 245 vehicles. It's fast, it's family friendly and a ferry of the future.  

Their special offers to the Channel Islands can be found HERE and other travelling times are available.  Being on St. Brelades Bay beach before brunch is a bonus though.  

condor liberation, jersey, guernsey, st brelade's bay,
Guernsey 8am, Jersey 9am, St Brelade's Bay beach before brunch. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, we're familiar with Jersey because I used to live there.  You don't need a passport to travel between the UK and the Channel Islands with Condor Ferries, but you do need suitable proof of identity.  I think it's always worth taking your own transport this way, because it's the perfect way to explore - especially if you're staying in a Wildlife Conservation Centre, situated in the middle of the island, which I'll be writing about soon! 

The supplements for upgrades are Ocean Club Lounge - £19.95 per person each way and Ocean Plus Lounge - £4.95 per person each way.
Here's the silly Safety Rap as promised -

Disclosure - We were provided with both crossings and upgrades for the purposes of this review but all words and opinions are my own.    


  1. Oh this does indeed look luxurious. People often think that flying is easier than sailing with children but it is quite the reverse. When Aaron was 2 or 3 we went to Ireland by boat with my Dad and whereas on the plane I have to keep him in his seat he loved the boat where he had freedom to roam. We spent ages in the Curious George play area our boat had and of course in the souvenir shop where he got a fire engine. He even sat down in a lounge to eat a full meal. Your experience is way way way more luxurious you lucky thing and good to get the limited view on the leg of the journey where you travelled in the dark - sounds like you got to experience the best of both. xxx (P.S. your lucky boys) xxxx

    1. I completely agree Liska - it's very convenient this way with little ones. Sounds like you and Aaron had a lovely time too :) Thank you xxx

  2. Travelling on the water is so exciting for children, we have booked a mini cruise for next year but I am beginning to think I could possibly get similiar excitement levels for them on one of these ferries!!

    1. And it's not just the children that love it, thank you - some of us grown ups do as well! :) I agree with you re the ferry / cruise ship too, but much would depend about how much time you're all happy to be on board. I was quite sorry to get off with them happily occupied and me relaxing xx

  3. How lovely. Comfy seats win every time on ferries and well worth upgrading for!

    1. Definitely. And seeing as the initial crossing can be quite inexpensive, it's definitely worth a little extra :)

  4. The ferry looks very James Bond doesn't it? I'd love to try it out. I love travelling across water and my dream is to one day go on a cruise.

    1. It does, Mari, thank you! It's probably not too far for you - especially as you like going to Dorset - and I have full faith in you making that cruise happen. This will definitely work as a warm up! ;) xx

  5. Wow! Amazing! Ferries have changed a lot since I last went on one, quite clearly! I was born in lovely Poole. Glad you had a great time. Leather seats - who knew?! xx

  6. Ohh it looks good, I'll definitiely travel Condor again and I loved their first class table service, it made the kids feel so posh! Mich x

  7. Hi there! I've just stumbled across your post looking for information on Condor ferries, and perhaps you could answer a question for me. We're travelling to Jersey with an almost 2 year old in May, and at the moment we're in standard class. I am wondering whether it is worth trying to upgrade to Ocean Plus? I'm not even sure that we can at the moment, and I'm worried about taking a rowdy toddler into 'the posh bit', but would also like to make things as pleasant and easy as possible. Thanks in advance:-)