Reader Travel Awards 2018
Cruise holidays are more popular than ever for Irish people… but which cruise or ferry line is your favourite for 2018?
Winner: Irish Ferries
“Irish Ferries have really upped their game,” you told us. “Sea travelling is now something you might look forward to, rather than dread!”
You shared takes on its “great service”, while commending routes that were “efficient, safe and cheap” and “fabulous value”.
Irish Ferries is a company our readers view as “dependable”, “a game-changer”, “very reliable and reasonably priced for a small group or family with their car.”
Many of you laced your comments with nostalgia, remembering bygone family holidays to France, or the then-novelty of facilities like an onboard cinema (“amazing when you’re eight years old!”).
Of course, times have changed. This year, Irish Ferries launches the €144m WB Yeats (above) on its Dublin-France routes — a state-of-the-art vessel with space for 500 cars and 1,885 passengers and crew.
Ferries may not be sexy, as our judges noted, but they offer a cost-effective alternative to budget flights and car hire… without the annoying baggage fees.
Irish Ferries “really make you feel at home,” you said, highlighting onboard Wi-Fi, “restaurant-style” food, “speedy boarding”, “friendly and efficient” staff and a fleet of “very comfortable” ships like the Ulysses and Oscar Wilde (one reader was lucky enough to spot dolphins swimming alongside).
Details: irishferries.com; Car plus driver to UK from €99 each way
Ireland’s favourite cruise line
It was pipped at the post overall by Irish Ferries, but Royal Caribbean ranked as our readers’ top cruise line for 2018.
“Quality is the key,” you told us, citing an “unbelievable experience”, “lots of destination choices”, “magic” ports of call and a family-friendly line-up of activities that at times made you forget you were on a ship.
This year sees the line launch Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest ever cruise ship, complete with family suites (above, slides and popcorn machine included) and a 10-storey waterslide. It sets sail in April. royalcaribbean.ie.
A family suite with a slide, so children can whizz from their bedroom to the living room, and a mobile check-in service that uses facial recognition technology are among the “cutting edge” features to be offered on Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel, Symphony of the Seas.