Car ferry to (Northern) Ireland - anyone done it? (Also prices)

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I'm think of taking the other half to Northern Ireland at the end of March to see the Giant's Causeway.

Thought I'd take the car ferry from Liverpool to Belfast as a bit of a road trip, but looking at the prices it's north of £380 to go on a Friday night and back Sunday morning :eek: or £550 if you want a private cabin (as it's an 8 hour trip).

Has anyone done such a ferry trip? If so, what's it like? Do you need a cabin? (Doesn't necessarily have to be that specific sailing route).

I can get two flights for the same time for £150 quid, and hire a car the other end for circa £80. Flying would mean parking and another night in the hotel, but still it would be cheaper than the ferry.

It would seem that flying is the cheaper and quicker way to do it, but I would like to take my car...so just interested on folk's experience in such trips and any insight on how to get cheaper ferry tickets.

Thanks
 
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Fly and hire a car, you'll have more time for exploring, it's a beautiful part of the country. Mountains of Mourne, Strangford Lough. Besides, the Irish Sea can be a bit of a bastard.
 
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just wait for borises tunnel or was it a bridge cant remember but dont forget the customs post mid channel that wont be needed as it an easy "ping" ready microwave afair (y)
 
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I always get a cabin, even for a daytime crossing, for several reasons:
Overnight journeys are more convenient, arrive early morning refreshed.
Need a sleep after some tedious driving, and more to come.
Some where to stash bags, etc.
Shower and freshen up
I even get a four berth these days, even if there's just two of us. Too old to be climbing in and out of bed!
 
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I'm in the same boat as you Andy, wanted to do a road trip of island for years but as it'd be a road trip I'd want it to be in my car but I refuse to have the **** taken with the ferry costs
 
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I'm think of taking the other half to Northern Ireland at the end of March to see the Giant's Causeway.

Thought I'd take the car ferry from Liverpool to Belfast as a bit of a road trip, but looking at the prices it's north of £380 to go on a Friday night and back Sunday morning :eek: or £550 if you want a private cabin (as it's an 8 hour trip).

Has anyone done such a ferry trip? If so, what's it like? Do you need a cabin? (Doesn't necessarily have to be that specific sailing route).

I've done a couple times, Holyhead to Dundreary, also Stranraer to (where ever). With kids and dogs. The Irish Sea can get quite choppy, but the natives over there are quite friendly and very helpful :) There is a cafe, just off the ferry turn right in Dundreary which does a brilliant breakfast - sausages to die for.
 
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Get a flexible ticket if your itinerary permits, it costs more, but delaying a “rough” sailing across the Irish Sea even by a few hours, when the weather can improve dramatically, can be worth it if your prone to sea sickness.

Blup
 
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Never been to NI but I've been to Rep.of Ireland several times...I prefer the ferry over flying, it's more adventurous!

Once on the night ferry from Holyhead on a cheap fare; it was torture, freezing cold, couldn't get warm anywhere on the boat.

Most crossings have been lovely though. Sometimes the sea is perfectly still all the way and you can watch all the birds dipping by.

If you take your car, don't be too eager to be first on, because it means you will be last off!
 
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Trip I've done many times used to show dogs both in Belfast and the Republic. Always went Stranraer (now Cairnryan ) to Belfast
Preferred cheaper ferry and least time on sea and more driving.
Only thing against North channel can be very rough!
 
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Road trips are my favourite type of holiday, sadly the missus isn't yet retired so we cannot devote much time to explore.

I used to do Portsmouth to Caen for Le Mans regular on the bike with a bunch of mates, a cabin was unwise on those trips. If you were daft enuff to book one you'd be sharing it with 15x hairy bikers & miss all the fun the other 15 were up to on the boat.

Doing similar trips with the missus I find a cabin is essential, it's no fun at all trying to get comfy in the lounge while she's moaning & whinging about not having a cabin.

When all this nonsense is done with we'll be doing the NW200, which is Portrush country. Planning to book a cottage, take the car & bike (on a trailer) then explore the whole north coast area for a couple of weeks.

Need to keep this quiet tho', 'cos 15+ hairy arsed sweaty bikers will want to fill the car with gear & doss on the floor of that cottage :)
 
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Thanks all. Looking to do the trip at the end of March or start of April so hopefully the weather will be ok. Good tip on the flexible ticket, thanks.

Seems like the price of the ticket is what it is, but the journey on the boat is part of the adventure I guess. I did look at travelling from other ports, but the net time saved isn't all that great and the cost is only the saving in the cabin.

Therefore the plan will be:

- Finish work on Friday, dinner at home and then the 10.30pm ferry from Birkenhead to Belfast.
- Arrive 6.30am Saturday, breakfast and then a drive up the Northeast coast to the Giant's Causeway for a mooch about.
- Time dependent I'd like to go to Magilligan Point and get the short ferry across to RoI (as I've never been to Ireland).
- Saturday evening tbc. Not sure whether to stay around the North of Northern Ireland for Saturday night or head back to Belfast and have the evening there...so opinions welcome??
- Sunday return ferry at 10.30am (So I'm leaning towards staying in Belfast to avoid a mega early start).

It's very much a whistle-stop tour, but my other half's a teacher so trying to work around her availability outside of the normal holiday times.
 
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Thanks all. Looking to do the trip at the end of March or start of April so hopefully the weather will be ok. Good tip on the flexible ticket, thanks.

Seems like the price of the ticket is what it is, but the journey on the boat is part of the adventure I guess. I did look at travelling from other ports, but the net time saved isn't all that great and the cost is only the saving in the cabin.

Nobody mentioned the Holyhead to Ireland crossing, which i have also done using the Cat. That is a very fast crossing and I think only runs when its a calm sea anyway. When we went on it, it was when hand portable GPS's first appeared and I half remember clocking it at close to 50mph, and perfectly following the line on the Satnav's map.
 
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Friend of my brother bought a house just north of Lisbon, Portugal early last year, but unfortunately he succumbed to Corona end of September. His widow can't get out there this year due to commitments and wants me to go out there for a few months to keep an eye on it. Will likely take the van on ferry to Santander/Bilbao. Anyone done this route?
 
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