Kintyre Express

Kintyre Express, Campbeltown: Address, Phone Number, Kintyre Express Reviews: 4.5/5

Kintyre Express
4.5
About
Kintyre Express is a fast passenger ferry that links Campbeltown in Kintyre, Ballycastle in Northern Ireland and Port Ellen on Isle of Islay. With 12 airline style seats, centrally heated cabin and ample room for free carriage of bikes, luggage and golf clubs, Kintyre Express is a popular and convenient way to go and explore these amazing destinations.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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4.5
8 reviews
Excellent
6
Very good
1
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
1

Charles
1 contribution
Kintyre Express in force 6
Aug 2019 • Couples
A bit worried with a force 6 forecast and do suffer from seasickness, but joined the vessel outbound from Ballycastle to Campbeltowm and experienced the vessel crossing in very rough conditions. She handled extremely well, and with excellent visibility out through the windows, I did not feel unwell at any time. The skipper did confirm the F6 and said that was about the limit they would sail in. Very safe boat but the only problem with the journey was that the journey took 2.5 hours to cross due to these conditions. Excellent trip, and even with the conditions, was very enjoyable and will certainly use this company again.
Written 30 May 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jeff Johns
1 contribution
Last Minute Cancellation
Sep 2019
We had a horrible experience with Kintyre Express. We planned a trip two months in advance where we would be in Northern Ireland for a couple days then take the ferry from Ballycastle to Port Ellen on Islay for another couple days. We had hotels, rental cars, rounds of golf, and distillery tours all lined up. The date that we were supposed to take the ferry was Sat Sep 14 at 9:30am.

Here are the string of emails I received from Kintyre Express leading up to the trip:

Sep 12 at 1pm:
"This is an amber alert to let you know that the sailings on Saturday 14th September may be cancelled due to high winds that are forecast. As soon as I have had a response from the skipper I will get back to you. Apologies for any inconvenience."

Sep 13 at 8am:
"Kintyre Express Sail on Friday 26th July will be going ahead as scheduled."

Sep 13 at 8:30am:
"Kintyre Express will be going ahead as scheduled on Saturday 14th September. Apologies for the wrong date earlier."

Sep 13 at 5:15pm:
"Due to a maintenance issue with Kintrye Express all sailings on Saturday September 14th are cancelled. We sincerely apologies for any inconvenience."

This is all happening the day before the trip, with the final two-sentence email coming the evening before we were supposed to catch the ferry. At that point, we were scrambling to find anyone who could take us to Islay. Unfortunately, we couldn't find anyone and spent the next several hours calling hotels, airlines, golf courses, rental car agencies and distilleries to attempt to cancel our previous plans. I mentioned our plight to one of the Islay distilleries and the woman there said they have had multiple people calling in the last month and cancelling their distillery tours due to the ferry not traveling.

If you are thinking about making the ferry a critical part of your trip, I would advise against it. Find an alternate route to get to Islay.
Written 21 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
I'm very sorry you had a disappointing experience. The safety of our customers is our top priority and as such, we will not sail if poor weather conditions or mechanical issues prevent us from doing so. While we do endeavour to let our customers know as far in advance as possible, there are instances where things can change suddenly and late cancellations may occur. We stipulate this clearly on our website. In addition, upon booking we ask customers to accept T&Cs which include covering yourself with travel insurance to safe guard against any losses which may be incurred as a result of cancellations. There seems to have been a miscommunication on the 13 September, however it looks like this was rectified within the hour. I appreciate the emails must have been frustrating. If we do cancel a full refund will be offered or alternative travel arrangements provided. Our team has provided you with a full refund.
Written 9 October 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Walter P
Guelph, Canada45 contributions
Do it!
Sep 2018
We were visiting in Northern Ireland and wanted also to nip across the water and see the Islay whisky distilleries--50 km or 30 mi from Ballycastle to Port Ellen. We were intimidated by the idea of being out on the ocean in such small craft (35ft? 40 ft?) but our trip was handled so professionally! A mild appetite for adventure doesn't hurt because the crossing can be a bit ... hmmm ... exciting? But just a bit; I emphasize that. The boat is so secure that even in the roughest spots, we were all (ages 28 to 70) laughing and having fun. No seasickness among the 12 passengers aboard (though a motion sickness remedy might be advisable if you know you're prone). We had great views of the Irish coast and Rathlin Island. And then slipped in to Port Ellen to start our whisky whisky jaunts. The journey each way took over an hour and the time varies with the conditions. It was a GREAT trip and I'm so glad we didn't chicken out. The company that makes the boats that Kintyre Express uses is, I believe, Redbay Boats. They are located near Ballycastle and apparently they make pilot boats and ocean rescue boats--topnotch stuff. They looked damned seaworthy to me and our boat handled some moderate sea conditions without any stress or strain. On the way back, conditions were much smoother and we saw a school of dolphins; they swam and jumped right alongside us. Bonus!
Written 6 September 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

KA445566
Chapel Hill, NC23 contributions
Golf Trip
Aug 2018 • Friends
We privately chartered the Kintyre Express for two legs of our golf trip for four. Service was accommodating and vessel is top notch. We departed Campbeltown and made a day trip to Islay (Port Ellen) to play The Machrie GC (1,900 GBP). The boat waited for us while we played and had dinner.

And, when we left the Kintyre peninsula, we cut the drive by 1/3 with a two hour journey from Campbeltown to Troon Port (800 GBP). This enabled us to add Machrihanish and Machrihanish Dunes to our itinerary. The boat carries 12, if you have a big group. It was an expensive part of the trip, but the Kintyre peninsula (Mach Dunes) was very inexpensive, and remote, quaint and utterly different than Ayrshire.

Worth a look for golfing wanderers if you are trying to get to Kintyre or The Hebrides.
Written 10 August 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you very much for taking the time to post a review and we're delighted you found Kintyre Express to be convenient for your group and helped you avoid long car journeys, maximising your stay in Scotland.
Written 15 August 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Le Marquis De Salade
Dublin, Ireland9 contributions
Tour De Kintyre
Jul 2018 • Family
I booked the sailings from BallyCastle to Campbeltown and then back to Ireland from Port Ellen. We planned to cycle from Campbeltown to Port Ellen. This a great route for the less experiences road trip cyclists that I'd strongly recommend. The Kintyre Express is a fantastic service that opens up so many opportunities for anyone wanting to get to Scotland with their bike.
Unfortunately, the usual boat suffered damage the day we were to depart Ballycastle and our sailing to Campbeltown was delayed. Where some operators might have simply cancelled the crossing Kintyre Express laid on a replacement boat just for my son and I with our bikes. More than that, because we would now arrive in Campbeltown late, they laid on transport for us with our bikes and luggage to our first destination after Campbeltown - Carradale 15 miles away - that we had intended to cycle to. This was beyond good customer service; it was first class, excellent customer service.
An extra special thanks to the crew member (I'm sorry I have forgotten your name) who not only drove us to our campsite in the dark but also returned 15 minutes later to give us the tent we had left in the back of the van! Had he not done so our first night would have been a nightmare as the heaven's opened later and it was no night to have to sleep under the stars!
Written 27 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you very much for your review and recommending us to others. We're so glad that you appreciated our efforts in getting you and your son to your destination and hope you had a great holiday. We look forward to seeing you both again in the future.
Written 30 July 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Susan M
Scotland, UK52 contributions
Excellent
May 2018
A day trip from Kintyre to Ballycastle - beautiful weather which made for a lovely calm crossing. Gerry and Aaron were excellent crew. Highlighly recommend a crossing to Ballycastle, although next time we would stay for longer.
Written 11 July 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to post a review and we're delighted you had a great day trip and enjoyed your journeys on Kintyre Express.
Written 30 July 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Stephen P
8 contributions
Great crew, great way to cross to Islay, not always for the feint of heart.
Apr 2018 • Couples
This is a great way to get from Ballycastle to Islay. The crew are incredibly friendly and highly competent, and the boat is very comfortable and modern. Just be aware that at times the water can get rather choppy. And while I enjoyed the more rough going, my partner was a bit scared. Not recommended if you suffer from back problems; although a rough crossing could be considered tantamount to a chiropractic adjustment. I would absolutely do this again, in fact, I would do it just for the journey and not worry about staying in Islay.
Written 15 April 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Many thanks for taking the time to post a review and we're so glad you have recommended us to others and enjoyed the trip. You are absolutely right that the crossing can be choppy depending on wind direction and tides so we do suggest that those who have a tendency to get seasick check with us before they sail so we can advise about likely sea conditions.
Written 30 April 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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