Travelling from the Netherlands by ferry from Hoek van Holland to Harwich will take approximately seven hours during the day. At night the journey takes about eight to nine and a half hours.
Other options are via
- Dover Dunkirk or Calais (France)
- Or from Newcastle to IJmuiden (Netherlands).
The ferry from Dover, Harwich or Newcastle?
So what’s the best option? What are the pros and cons of departing from Dover, Harwich or Newcastle?
Does the optimal choice depend on your preferences and budget? For example, do you want to drive? Alternatively, do you prefer to cover as much distance as possible on a boat? Are you prone to seasickness?
travel time car – travel time boat
You will spend at least seven hours on a boat from Harwich to Hoek van Holland. At night the journey takes even longer. From Calais to Dover, the trip is only an hour and a half. Of course, it will take time – approximately three hours – to drive from France to the Netherlands. Check here for prices and availability of tickets.
In short, it strongly depends on where you live and what you prefer. For example, do you want to drive yourself, or do you choose the space and freedom of a large boat?
sensitivity to seasickness
A seaworthy ferry is a lot more stable than a small boat. Nevertheless, you can still get quite nauseous in bad weather if you are sensitive to it. Crossing one and a half hours is much more pleasant than spending a whole day or night on board.
cost of a ticket
If budget is a factor, compare the tickets of the different companies. Also, don’t forget to consider other costs, such as local transport (car rental, train, petrol, bus).
Combined ticket ferry – train
When travelling as a foot passenger from Harwich to Hoek van Holland, buy a combination ticket train and ferry. This is a lot cheaper than buying tickets separately. However, public transport in the Netherlands is equally as expensive as that in the United Kingdom.
Onboard ferry Hoek van Holland – Harwich
Duty-Free shopping Stenaline
Tax-free shopping in the duty-free shop sounds good. I always like to stock up on those costly items, like my favourite perfume and a bottle of whiskey. However, the price onboard for Chanel n.5 50 ml Eau de perfume was €75, precisely the same as in a regular shop in the Netherlands. Whiskey, Highland Park 16 Years Wings of the Eagle, cost €79 on board, which I can buy online for €75!
Of course, I did not check every product. But this small sample doesn’t bode well. I would even call it deception. Usually, I would have Googled prices first. But unfortunately, the wifi was another problem.
Wifi on board HvH – Harwich
The wifi onboard is terrible. Passengers get 20 minutes for free. The quality of the connection is awful. After that, staying connected comes at a steep price. I choose not to test it, but I suspect the quality would also be lacking when paid.
There is also the option of data roaming, which functions via satellite at an international rate. However, this will set you back fifty euros within a few minutes. Therefore it is probably wise to put your phone on aeroplane mode when boarding to avoid high costs.
Cabin onboard HvH – Harwich
During the Covid-19 pandemic, passengers must book a cabin during the day. It only cost €28 extra. And although I didn’t need it, it was nice. A bed, bathroom, TV (untested) for myself and a place to store my luggage safely while I roamed the empty boat. I have slept in hotel rooms that are a lot less comfortable.
Moreover, if you are sensitive to seasickness, it helps to lie down. I know this after having sailed the North Sea during a storm. It doesn’t seem like it at first. But it’s better than walking around.
If you can’t lie down, keep the horizon in view.
Restaurant on the ferry to Harwich
There is a restaurant on board and several cafes. A cappuccino costs four euros. A warm meal is approximately 15 euros. The quality is fair. Breakfast was offered for fifteen euros per person, bloody expensive in my view.
With children on the ferry
The advantage of a large ship is the availability of space. Children can use their energy on the fenced basketball court on deck. The ferry also features a games room and a tv room. I would bring a book and when travelling in the company of friends or family may be some games because when it’s cold, you probably don’t want to spend much time on deck. When the weather is nice, marvel at the hustle and bustle of the North Sea.
Remember, it is about the journey, not the destination.
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