Planning a trip to Amsterdam soon? Have you ever considered a ferry instead of flying? I had the chance recently to experience a DFDS ferry for myself and I was more than pleasantly surprised. If you’re thinking of traveling to Amsterdam, read on and discover how DFDS ferry makes it super easy to visit Amsterdam.
What is DFDS Ferry?
This large Danish shipping company, which celebrated its 150th anniversary, operates both passenger and freight services across Northern Europe. For this trip we would be onboard a DFDS ferry, the Princess Seaways, one of two ferries DFDS uses for this route.
TSG Tip: Did you know that DFDS has been named Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator for the sixth year in a row? They recently received the latest honors at the World Travel Awards Europe Gala Ceremony in St. Petersburg, Russia September 2017.
With two coaches departing daily from Bewick Street opposite Central Station in Newcastle, passengers are whisked directly to the DFDS Terminal. The trip takes about 20 minutes and the price of a one way ticket is £3.80.
DFDS Terminal at the International Passenger Terminal North Shields
The terminal was relatively quiet when my travel partner for this trip, Danielle Fear (CruiseMiss) and I arrived around 2:30 pm. This terminal is also used for cruise departures with Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Thomson Cruises, and Cruise and Maritime Voyages.
TSG Tip: Guests must arrive a minimum of 45 minutes prior to the sailing departure time for ferry crossings on the North Sea routes.
We presented our passports at the check in desk and received our paper cabin card, which worked without issue.
The 11-deck Princess Seaways not only includes the various guest cabins, but also restaurants, shops, bars, and lounges. There’s even room for cars and caravans, too.
Built in 1986, Princess Seaways was renovated in 2006. She measures 163m and has a width of 28m which can carry up to 1,200 passengers and 600 cars with more than 500 cabins.
Maybe those who’ve taken this DFDS ferry before might not get as excited as I did about this, but we had to walk through the car area to get to the elevators. I’d love to go away for the weekend to another country and bring my car.
Commodore Cabin 8111
Commodore cabin 8111 on this DFDS ferry isn’t your typical cabin. While standard and seaview cabins are available, this premium cabin offers more. This cabin can sleep up to three people and the full size bed can be split apart into two beds. The sofa effortlessly pulls down into a bed, which I slept on and was really comfortable.
When the sofa bed opens up, it doesn’t touch the chair or table, which makes it easy to get around the cabin even after you’ve made your bed. The windows allow for added light into the cabin, too.
The spacious the bathroom offers tons of storage, maybe even more than I’ve had on some cruise ships.
Commodore class cabins have flat screen TV’s, en suite baths, a wardrobe, and plenty of seating. Plus guests receive breakfast either in the restaurant or via room service as well as the complimentary mini bar.
Exploring the DFDS Ferry
After we quickly unpacked our things, we headed out to explore the rest of the DFDS ferry. Some people were just hanging out on the stairwells while others were already enjoying the bars onboard, which is where we were off to next.
With a departure time set for 5 pm, many of the guests onboard felt like regulars who knew exactly how things worked. There were several large groups of people sitting together as well as couples, but everyone looked like they were having fun.
The next morning I went in and took a quick pic to show how large this area is. The night before this bar was packed with no empty seats to be found.
Cocktails Before Sailaway
As for Danielle and I, we were interested in a beverage before sailaway. Individual drinks were priced around €8 or €9 and up at the bar.
After pricing things out, we decided to order pitchers of drinks instead of individual drinks. For €26 we got one pitcher of Sex on the Beach, equalling 6 drinks total. A pitcher of Cuba Libres for €26 resulted in about 4 drinks total because of all of the ice. Think small glasses and lots of ice for it all to make sense.
As we enjoyed our beverages, I looked over the convenient “our cruise hour by hour” that DFDS provides passengers. It’s a great way to spot the sites along the way from Newcastle to Amsterdam.
TSG Tip: Once you board a DFDS ferry for Amsterdam, the ferry’s time is Amsterdam time or one hour ahead so make sure observe the time change.
Sailaway from the Port of Tyne
At 5 pm we went out on one of the decks to watch our departure from the Port of Tyne.
This is definitely one of my all time favorite lighthouses I’ve ever passed on a sailaway.
What’s Onboard Princess Seaways?
We wandered around Princess after sailaway so I could see more of what this ferry had to offer.
If you think you have to sit in your cabin or in a bar for the duration of the trip, you’re wrong. Here’s a few things you should know:
There are several restaurants on board:
- Little Italy:
- The Explorers Steakhouse: Did someone say steak?
- Blue Riband: This á la carte restaurant will appeal to everyone, including vegetarians.
- Lighthouse cafe: Grab a light meal, snack, or coffee here.
- Seven Seas buffet: Up to 80 dishes are served every evening and 40 for breakfast in this all you can eat restaurant.
- Compass Bar
- Navigators Bar
- Neptune Sky Bar
If you’re looking for entertainment on this DFDS ferry, you won’t have to look far. There’s a cinema with the latest movie offerings, a casino, shopping (including clothing, jewelry, alcohol, chocolate, and so on), Kidz Club for kids, and the Columbus Club for adults to listen to live music and dance the night away.
Whether it’s your first time taking a DFDS ferry or your tenth, you can definitely have fun while traveling overnight to Amsterdam. Since we were up late the night before, we decided to call it an early night.
Disembarking DFDS Ferry
We didn’t want a big breakfast so we had room service deliver us coffee and juice in the morning to our cabin. Then it was time to grab our bags and head out along with the many other passengers waiting to disembark.
The queues started early and everyone was ready to get off the ferry promptly at 9 am. If you’re thirsty, you can see someone is right in this area selling water and other beverages.
Once off the ferry, we had to pass through the port of IJmuiden before exiting and getting on our coach. Have your passport ready to present to the officer while you’re waiting in line. Then exit out the back to the waiting coaches. Not sure which is yours? Have your tickets handy and show them to one of the drivers who can can direct you to the correct coach.
TSG Tip: Did you know that IJmuiden is 30 miles from Amsterdam? Passengers can utilize both cars or public transport to travel throughout the rest of Holland from IJmuiden.
Coach to Amsterdam
Coach transfers are included in mini and hotel break packages from DFDS and can also be arranged by contacting them directly. As for us, we quickly located our coach for the ride to central Amsterdam from IJmuiden and boarded. The ride was all of one hour and was easy and uneventful.
TSG Tip: Where the coach drops you off in Amsterdam is where you go to take the coach back to your DFDS ferry. Make a note of it to help you remember. Better yet, take a picture of the stop so you don’t forget.
Once the coach drops you off, take the stairs or escalator down to the lower level of Centraal Station.
Here you can exchange money, use an ATM, eat in a restaurant, or go shopping before heading into Amsterdam.
Don’t forget to stock up on essentials at the beginning or end of your trip at the Albert Heijn right inside Centraal Station.For an alternative to flying to Amsterdam, taking DFDS was fast, easy, and fun and an enjoyable way to make this short trip. Click To Tweet
For an alternative to flying to Amsterdam, taking DFDS was fast, easy, and fun and an enjoyable way to make this short trip. Would I do it again? Absolutely! I loved the cabin, the amenities, and really the overall ease in which we were able to get from point A to point B so effortlessly.
On my new SPONTANEOUS TRAVEL SCALE of 1-5, with 1 being super easy and spontaneous and 5 being you better plan far in advance, this is a 2. You probably can’t get same day tickets for travel, but if I wanted to leave this weekend, I might be able to get a cabin and a ticket back so that definitely falls under spontaneous travel.
While I was generously provided accommodations and passage by DFDS, as always all opinions and photographs, unless otherwise noted, are my own.