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Trip Report London to Amsterdam via Overnight Ferry - A Weekend Adventure

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Bikerscott and I just got back from a weekend in Amsterdam and thought I would share this mode of transport with all of you.

I had always thought getting to Amsterdam was best via plane from London. However my parents planned a last minute trip to Europe this month and wanted to visit Amsterdam. As they are on a budget it was too late to book affordable flights. So looked into plan B – the overnight ferry. We booked at www.stenaline.com two weeks prior to this weekend.

It works like this… Depart London Liverpool Street Station at 19:18 by train to Harwich International. The train arrives directly at the ferry terminal; we simply walked off the train into the ferry terminal, checked in at the Stena Line desk & walked through passport control onto the ferry. We boarded the ferry from around at around 21:00. Check in closes at 23:00. You can have dinner on board as they have a couple restaurants, or bring food along.

We sailed from Harwich to Hoek van Holland on Stena Line's overnight superferry, leaving at 23:45 & arriving at 07:45 next morning. This is Stena Line's superb new superferry 'Stena Hollandica', the largest ferry of her kind in the world. She's a floating hotel with over 1,400 beds, as all passengers travel in a cosy private cabin with en suite toilet & shower, satellite TV, free WiFi internet access, power sockets for mobiles or laptop, and soap, shampoo/shower gel, towels & bedding all provided. The ferry has a bar, wine bar, self-service & à la carte restaurants, shop, cinema showing the latest releases, Guest Services desk, & children's play area. The crossing is almost always smooth & comfortable which makes it very easy to sleep, as do the top quality Swedish 'Dux' mattresses. Although I could definitely tell we were on the water so may not be ideal for those that get seasick! A cooked breakfast is available in the restaurant in the morning. At Hoek van Holland, the ferry terminal is right next to the station, we walked off the ferry via the passenger gangway, through passport control and straight onto the station platform.

We then travelled from Hoek van Holland to Rotterdam Centraal by frequent Sprinter train, leaving every 15-30 minutes from platform 2. There's a train at 08:07 arriving at Rotterdam Centraal at 08:38.

We travelled from Rotterdam to Amsterdam by InterCity train, leaving Rotterdam Centraal daily at 08:58 and arriving at Amsterdam Centraal at 10:03. Many of these InterCity trains are double-deckers, we took a top deck seat for the best views.
Travel tip: In Rotterdam, the sprinter from Hoek van Holland normally arrives at platform 1 and the train to Amsterdam & Den Haag normally leaves from platform 8 or 9.
We checked into our hotel and were out and about by 10:30! We had breakfast, then took a canal boat ride to get our bearings. Then we wandered around the old and new side of town, and of course the famed red light district. We sampled many pubs and had a few drinks. We visited the flower market, then had dinner at an Indonesian place nearby for an excellent meal. After that we headed back to our hotel and played pool and drank wine until midnight.

Sunday my parents went to the Anne Frank house while we had breakfast. We then took them for lunch and then took the 3 hour walking tour, which was excellent. We had a couple drinks then headed back to the hotel to pick up the luggage and were back on the train at 19:00 to head home.

The train left Amsterdam Centraal at 19:00 by InterCity train to Rotterdam Centraal, arriving at 20:02.

We then travelled from Rotterdam to Hoek of Holland by a local Sprinter train. This local train runs every 15-30 minutes, normally leaving from platform 1. There's a train at 20:13 arriving at Hoek Van Holland Haven at 20:42.

We jumped off the train, went through to the ferry check-in and sailed from Hoek van Holland to Harwich by overnight Stena Line superferry, leaving at 22:00 & arriving at 06:30 next morning. This isn’t the new superferry but was still huge and had a restaurant, lounge etc. There were no tvs or hairdryers in this ferry and you can tell its slightly older by the decor. At Harwich, the ferry terminal is right next to the station, we walked off the ferry through passport control and onto the station.

We then travelled from Harwich to London by train, leaving Harwich at 07:10, arriving London Liverpool Street station at 08:48. Bikerscott and I were both back at work this morning by 9:30!

Total cost:
London Liverpool Street – Any Dutch station return train £168
2 berth cabin return (you can pay more for bigger/nicer berths) £80
Credit card fee £5
Total £253

So we got all the transport tickets and 2 nights stay for £243 per couple! Much cheaper than planes, transport to the airport, and 2 nights hotel.

Hope this helps others, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have!!

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