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Transport : Boating & Cruises

As part of our summer holiday 2016, we made our annual pilgrimage to Guernsey. Guernsey is my favourite Channel Island with incredible beaches and the cute harbor town of St Peter Port which has rightly won many awards for being the prettiest harbor town in Europe. Of course, being located between England and Northern France, the activities available during your stay will largely be dictated by the weather. If it is kind, Guernsey offers idyllic azure blue waters, butterfly filled cliff top walks, more beaches (both white sand and pebbled depending on which side of the island you choose to take a dip) than you could possibly make use of and the main town of St Peter Port, which is a thriving maze of cobbled streets and harbour side restaurants which can be enjoyed alfresco.

The best way to get your car or yourselves (as foot passengers) to Guernsey is on the Condor Ferry. You can book foot passenger tickets at the very last minute as long as you are not in the absolute height of the kids holiday. Last minute bookings are a great way to pick a sunny weekend for your channel Island break without paying the airline premiums for late purchase of tickets.

Onboard the Condor itself you have a choice of three classes of travel. Ocean Traveller is the standard class with bright blue airline style seating dotted around the boat. In this class, you have access to a cafeteria and some snack bars, but I can’t honestly recommend this class for the luxury traveller. The lounge next to the snack bar smells of food and the seats are also rather close together.

Ocean Plus (pictured below), which takes up at the entire front section of the boat named the “Horizon Lounge”, is arguably the best choice if you are budget conscious but still want a good level of comfort and luxury. This area of the boat also offers the best views with enhanced more luxurious seating (some seats are table seats, some do not have tables but do recline) with power supplies and its own self-service private cafeteria-bar. The lounge is accessed via a glass access door which requires a key code. All seats have their own power supply which is useful for working, although the Wi-Fi throughout the boat is limited to when you are within Poole harbour.

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Finally, Ocean Club is a private lounge to the right side of the boat when facing forward, with enhanced reclining leather seating, table service and complimentary newspapers and hot drinks. It also has its own (payable) exclusive menu (pictured below) which is served to your table. All the seats in the Ocean Club lounge have their own table and power supply and it is nice to have table service and meals served to you on proper plates. The Ocean Club lounge is also more private than the rest of the boat and offers a more relaxed ambience.

Is it worth upgrading to Ocean Plus and Ocean Club on Condor?
The price of a one-way upgrade to Ocean Plus seat from UK to the Channel Islands is currently £9.95 one way. The cost of upgrading to Ocean Club is £29.95. Without hesitation, I would recommend upgrading to Ocean Plus. Ocean Club is undoubtedly the best experience so the choice to upgrade to Ocean Club really depends on budget. For me, the major advantage above the nicety of the service is the fact that each seat has a table (whether you are in a 4 or a 2) so it is a better environment to work.

Last summer I wrote a more detailed review of the Ocean Club on Condor Liberation. You may also be interested in my article about the best way to travel to Guernsey.

Condor Ferries