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“Outstanding way to cross North Sea to Continent”

Stena Line Limited - Day Trips
Ranked #5 of 33 things to do in Holyhead
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Stena Line, one of the world's leading ferry companies, offers low fares and a speedier ferry travel service to Ireland, Britain and Holland. With our extensive route network, Stena Line gives you more flexibility and choice. As well as a range of hotel breaks, self-catering, landbridge holidays and the option to travel by car, by rail, by coach or on foot, you will enjoy excellent service and value for money. Book early and online for our lowest fares
East Anglia
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Outstanding way to cross North Sea to Continent”
Reviewed 16 September 2013

Just back from a week in Europe having crossed the North Sea outbound on the Stena Hollandica, returning on the Stena Britannica.

Both ships are identical, the only superficial difference is the Hollandica is Dutch crewed, the Britannica English crewed. In practice though the crew is international on both ships.

Both sailings were the overnight crossings - giving at least 8 hours onboard.

Check in and boarding opens around 2.5 hours prior to sailing at its the only part of the service that lets Stena Line down. At Harwich there was total chaos with one marshall trying to direct four lanes of cars into the two open check in desks. It all descended into a free for all. When finally reached the check in kiosk the check in agent was more interested in arguing with her fellow check in agent about who was to blame for the chaos than serving customers.

On the return in Holland things were slightly better thanks to a quieter sailing but still chaotic as four lanes of cars fought to get through two check in desks.

Once onboard the ships are impressive. Passenger facilities are located all on one deck (deck 9) with cabins on decks above. Car decks are on deck 3 or 4 so there is some way to go but lifts are available (though busy)

There are a choice of bars and restaurants we used The Metropolitan restaurant serving a high quality three course evening meal and the Taste restaurant for a self service breakfast. There is a choice of food available though for all tastes.

The cabins are a great improvement on those normally found on ferries. Our outside Comfort Class (Business Class) cabin on deck 10 was surprisingly spacious, spotlessly clean and well equipped. This class of cabin includes a complimentary mini bar and large window. The room is quiet compared with other ferries with no engine hum audible (something that afflicts many other ferries).

The return sailing was during a force seven gale so was a rough crossing but the ships stabilisers limit pitch and roll and a comfortable nights sleep was had.

A much more pleasurable way to journey to Europe than the hassle of flying

Visited September 2013
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2 Thank Skywalker3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Netherlands
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Good experience”
Reviewed 10 September 2013

I traveled from Hoek van Holland to Harwich and back. Outward Hoek van Holland I took the night crossing. The cabin was clean, but very small. This is not an issue though for just one (short) night and everything was there. I do like the look and feel of the boat. There are a couple of restaurants/bars and other facilities. At night I didn't really sleep much. I could really feel the drum of the engines at times and the room was a little shaky. I also had the feeling that the see was a little rough at night, because I could feel the boat rocking (couldn't check for sure because I had a room without a window). Therefore if I would travel with Stena again I think I would prefer the day crossing.

On the return journey I took the day crossing which was fine. There weren't may passengers on the boat at all. I bought an item in the tax free Stena Shopping which really provided to be much cheaper. Lunch was OK. The taste of my hamburger was a bit peculiar. Food/drinks are not on the cheap side if you know what I mean, but everyone (including myself) pays it anyway.

Baggage pickup at the end of the return journey could have been a lot faster. It takes quite a walk from the ship to the entrance of the building and there I had to wait 10 minutes. Considering there was only one trolley with bags (that few people where collecting luggage) that should have been a lot faster.

Oh and one BIG complaint.. WiFi-access.. I had an iPhone and a laptop with me at the crossings and the quality of the WiFi network is abysmal. Most of the time I couldn't use the internet at all and if it did work is was horribly slow. This was quite irritating to me and my friend. I understand that the quality of the WiFi network is depending on how many people are using it at the same time, but on the return journey the boat was almost empty when it comes to passengers.

Visited September 2013
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Thank DutchTraveler9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
156 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Stena Britannica Hook to Harwich - the best.....”
Reviewed 6 September 2013

Of the 4 ferries used in August / September. DFDS Harwich to Esbjerg was OK but boring. The Colour line ferry from Hirtshals to Kristiansand was just like a big shopping centre on the sea. Fjord line from Stavanger to Hirtshals was nothing special, but Stena line from Hook to Harwich was actually 5 star compared to the rest of them. It is also a British Ship, therefore you are able to use pound sterling and the prices are not laughable. In addition, the ship is newish and it has got the feel of a cruise ship, not just an over-nighter. Would happily travel with this ship again.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Elis T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dunboyne, Ireland
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Deliver what you promise please”
Reviewed 3 September 2013

We recently travelled Stenaplus to Holyhead and returned via Fishguard. Checkin on both legs of the trip we quick and pleasant. We had booked Stenaplus so we could be guaranteed seats we wanted, wifi access and decent food. It's a scramble for seats, so there isn't much benefit in paying the premium. The Free Wifi didn't work on either ship, and there isn't any motive by company for sorting it out. The kids area xbox didn't work and so our kids were bored alot of the time. Food in Stenaplus is strange. On the breakfast we weren't allowed to order food until after we left port, so the prepared hot breakfasts were get "more" prepared while we starved waiting for the ok to order from the waitor. Strange approach to customer service. On the way back we sat to order lunch, menu very limited, and my daughter ordered a toasted sandwich. Waitor said it's not possible as they were very busy on ship, on both sides. I don't know what that meant so she left the table and nibbled on snacks. We discovered in the standard food area that they do toasted paninis, so why can't we get them in stenaplus. In fact the food appeared much nicer in standard area, bigger variety. There is a long wait in stena plus. Also lots of seats available, big screens and movie for kids. I can't see what really is the benefit in the Stenaplus with exception to free drinks and snacks.

I was impressed with speed, friendliness and efficiency of the trip. Just Stenaplus I didn't think was good value for what is promises. You should get a pre-booked seats, wifi, and good food menu that is quick.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank mebo40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Food let Stena down on the return trip!”
Reviewed 1 September 2013

Travelling with my wife and 2 teenage children. Outward Harwich to the hook on the night crossing. All went really well cabins clean, food satisfactory and staff helpfull and polite. For the return journey we had booked a day crossing with airline seats. Owning to having enjoyed our holiday so much we missed the boat. The staff at Stena could not have been more helpful. They arranged a crossing for that night with 2 cabins and only charged us £13 admin fee. We obviously expected a similar experience to that of our outward journey, how wrong we were. The food was cold and undercooked sandwiches with very little filling, staff were at best rude and often surly to other pasengers. Our conclusion was that outward had been a ND crew Homeward had been a uk crew. If this is always the case that the boat is maned by a UK crew for people visiting the UK what message are we sending out about the UK? Rating outward 4 homewood 1

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Trevor J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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