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Favourite Ferry Ports


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Hi Everybody,

 

While discussing the port of Poole, in a current thread, and how beautiful and impressive it is I got to thinking of all of the Ferry Ports that I have sailed into, and out of, over the years and which were/are my favourites and why.....I though that it might be fun and interesting ( let's see ) to compare league tables. Here is mine -

 

1) Bergen - sadly no longer possible by Ferry direct from the UK but still possible on Fjord Line from Denmark. The location of Bergen Ferry Port has to be one of the most spectacular anywhere in the world, the approach from Stavanger on Fjord Lines's MS Jupiter was particularly atmospheric as they played the Norwegian National Anthem sung solo beautifully by a young lady...yes, I know that sounds cheesy but it actually wasn't.

 

2) Hamburg ( the original Landungsbrucken Terminal ) - sadly no longer possibly by Ferry. The 5 hour sailing along the Elbe ended with a spectacular arrival right in the heart of Hamburg directly opposite Bloehm & Voss dry dock, on my first visit SS Norway was sitting in the dry dock there. The location of the terminal was superb - right amid the hustle and bustle of harbour tour boats and local ferries, walking distance to the U-Bahn station etc. etc. The terminal later moved around a mile further down the river, still a great trip with the sailing along the Elbe but not the same as sailing right into the city.

 

3) Llandudno Pier - yes, I realise that this might be stretching the description "Ferry Port" somewhat but this is where my interest in ferries and ships began - from the age of around 10 years old my Mum and Dad would take me on holidays and day trips to the Isle of Man, in those days King Orry, Snaefell, Mona's Isle and Manxman were regular callers at Llandudno Pier........the ships always seemed huge next to the pier, and the splintering of wood which occurred on each arrival and departure showed just how tricky a manoever it was.

 

4) Portsmouth - there is always something to see when arriving or departing from Portsmouth, even though naval ships are not my particular interest I always enjoy looking at the naval dockyard while sailing past.

 

5) Poole - a comparatively recent addition to my list, I did not know anything about Poole Harbour until realising that it was only around 2 hours drive from where I live so decided to book a day trip on Barfleur to see why she generated so many entries on this Forum :) It is a beautiful location, sailing through the narrow channel past Sandbanks and up to Old Harry Rock is spectacular, and arrival in the dark is amazing.

 

I deliberately kept it to 5 to make it difficult for myself, top 3 were easy for me but it became more difficult afterwards.....would be great to hear yours :)

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1 Maseline harbour on Sark is perhaps the most spectacular arrival for me, enhanced by size of the vessel compared to the cliffs all around and the unpredictable currents.

 

2 Any of the Scottish Islands would make the list but Lochaline to Fishnish on Mull is great. Oban too is a lovely port to sail from.

 

3 Generally I prefer it when the port gets you right to the heart of the city (as with Hamburg suggested above) so St Malo would be up there, as would Portsmouth but for nostalgic reasons too.

 

Ed.

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It's a shame that as mentioned neither Bergen nor Hamburg are accessible by UK ferry services any longer. If I remember correctly, one of the Dutch ferries also used to sail into the heart of Amsterdam too, again an experience still enjoyed by cruiseship passengers...

 

1 Stockholm. 2 Bergen. 3 Oslo. 4 Portsmouth. 5 Santander.

 

I'd also add St Malo.

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Tor Line (and later DFDS after the Tor Line takeover and before the move downstream to Ijmuiden) used to sail almost into the heart of Amsterdam. At first, with Tor Anglia and Tor Hollandia they used the Coenhaven just a mile or so short of Central Station. (You may remember I posted an observation within the last year sometime that King Seaways spent a couple of days moored at the very same Coenhaven berth that was originally used by Tor Line when she went to Amsterdam for refit and I cheekily suggested it might be a berthing trial!). When Tor Britannia and Tor Scandinavia came on the scene the Tor Line berth moved a little further west, away from the city, to Suezhaven. Must have been amazing passing through the Ijmuiden locks and cruising up the North Sea Canal to Amsterdam. Days sadly now long gone.

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I think my absolute favourites would be Bergen, Newcastle (there's something very special about sailing from the Tyne, for me anyway), Stavanger, Santander and St Malo. I also like sailing to or from Hull and Ijmuiden, but that's probably just because I'm a bit odd 😄

 

Also after visiting Oban last week that must surely tank as one of the UK's most picturesque sea ports.

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Dieppe, passing through the channel into the inner harbour, to berth alongside the quay that is now lined with restaurant terraces. Now seems so unlikely.

 

An even more remote memory: Princes Dock, berthing directly in front of the Liver Building on the overnight ferry from Belfast.

 

I think I have a bias toward breakfast time arrivals. The present day favourite that I can look forward to seeing again is, for me, St Malo.

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Poole is one for the top of the list of UK South Coast ports, it is the prettiest by a long way I think.

 

Sadly haven;t been on a ferry from Bergen, but have visited, so I would imagine it must be a really pretty journey out.

 

Something a bit different... Sailing out of Valletta, with all the historical fortifications, especially with some modern cruise ships in front - that is quite a nice sail out

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Hull - great sunsets/sunrises on departure/arrival, and not many other ports where you can go through a lock!

Douglas - being so close to the main town, a throwback to another age.

Rotterdam/Europoort because there is just a vast amount of stuff to see!

Poole - lovely approach past Sandbanks and Brownsea Island. St Malo - just stunning - my favourite of all.

Roscoff looked like it could be nice, but only been there once and the weather wasn't great so didn't hang around.

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My wife and I love Roscoff - almost even more than St Malo. Less touristy but an equal gem of a place.

 

The comment about the lock at Hull got me thinking. Yes, that's probably the only experience to be had today of a lock in a passenger ferry. However, once upon a time in a bygone age you could have experienced locking aboard a passenger ferry in the following ports:

 

Immingham

London (St Katherine's Dock)

Amsterdam

Zeebrugge

Dover (Train Ferry berth)

Liverpool

Preston

Tilbury

Antwerp

Dunkerque East

 

And probably one or two others I have missed?

Edited by Gareth
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Nice to see Poole mentioned a couple of times.😊 Not counting my own here, but out of ferryports I have tried, I do like Ouistreham for the beautiful beaches nearby. Very pretty town. And Dover, I did like it there sitting on the clifftops and watching the ferries, and seeing it's hive of activity.

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I do like Roscoff too it's my go to port almost every year although it's not the prettiest part of Roscoff that you sail into.

Not sure if it counts but there's a ferry between Hendaye and Hondarribia it lasts about 8 minutes and is a great sailing hearing the Spanish school children playing when your sailing across from France to Spain sand the view of the old church is really special.

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Stockholm - the arrival/departure through the archipelago is stunning (admittedly did this on a cruise ship, but we did pass the Viking Grace taking the same route in the opposite direction)

 

Not a port, per se, but departure from Oslo and the resulting scenery a few hours out is also memorable.

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Plymouth? Anyone? They have a nice coffee machine now, and the escalator is turned on fairly regularly!

:( Shame they have lost their Y. For some time now the terminal has been the FERR PORT. I think it was last Januarys' storms...

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Yes, Plymouth is up there with us. Makes a very pleasant alternative to Portsmouth, not as much going on to see (and Devonport is round the corner and out of sight of the ferry) but up there with Poole I would say as the most scenic ferry port on the UK south coast. My main gripe with Plymouth is that the experience of arrival is thoroughly tainted by how long it takes for traffic to get through the customs and immigration set-up. I think there is something intrinsically flawed in the design of the traffic flow logistics, involving 4+ lanes coming off the ferry having to merge into 1 or 2 lanes to get through the formalities and it seems to take vastly longer at Plymouth that it does anywhere else. But otherwise Plymouth is a gem, and particularly pleasant as a departure port.

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Agreed. Far from the bussiest port, but it has a certain quiet calm to it. Charming. And the redevelopment of Millbay, (albeit very slow and drawn out) is making the whole feel of the place much nicer. If you look down from the Octagon now (KFC area), there is only really one building which is blocking a clear view of the ships when they are berthed.

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