Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Booming ‘Car-Cations’ at Stena Line As Passengers Opt for Ferries to Avoid Flight Disruptions

4th August 2022
A boom in car-cations traveling with Stena Line has seen an increase in the number of motorists and notably the most striking rise is found on the Irish Sea
A boom in car-cations traveling with Stena Line has seen an increase in the number of motorists and notably the most striking rise is found on the Irish Sea Credit: Stena Line-twitter

Stena Line has seen their business bounce back in Ireland and Britain in 2022 as figures for the first half of the year show passenger numbers are back to pre-pandemic levels, while car numbers in particular are far higher than in 2019.

The increase in the number of cars is most striking on the Irish Sea. With the cost of car hire in Ireland being the highest in Europe it is no surprise that people are instead opting to travel by ferry and take their own cars to either Belfast, Dublin or Rosslare. However, the level of increase has been higher than expected, with the numbers of passengers taking their cars up almost a third (32%) compared to 2019.

While over on the North Sea it is a similarly positive story, with the number of passengers taking their cars on ferries travelling between Harwich and the Hook of Holland at higher levels than all their competitors combined. As well as also beating levels on the popular short-sea routes, as car drivers opt to avoid delays on The Channel by travelling via the North Sea, where cars increased almost 11% on this key arterial route that serves not only The Netherlands, but also Central, Eastern and Northern Europe.

Paul Grant, Trade Director for the Irish Sea says: “problems in the airline industry, high car hire prices and ongoing concerns over COVID, all seem to be encouraging more and more people to switch to ferries and take their own cars with them on holiday. Ease of check-in, no queues at security, no baggage charges, no car hire costs, the advantage of being able to put your full allowance of Duty Free in your car and drive from door-to-door, all make taking a ‘car-cation’ by ferry an attractive option for travellers.”

In recent years Stena Line has invested heavily in its state of the art ferries and luxury onboard. Its Stena Plus and Hygge Lounges, and range of cabin options, with extensive entertainment packages, allow passengers to travel in comfort. With restaurants and cafés, cinemas, games rooms, play areas and newly expanded Duty Free shops.

The company operates five passenger routes between Britain and Ireland and The Netherlands.

Published in Stena Line
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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About Stena Line

Stena Line is one of Europe's leading ferry companies with 37 vessels and 17 routes in Northern Europe operating 25,000 sailings each year. Stena Line is an important part of the European logistics network and develops new intermodal freight solutions by combining transport by rail, road and sea. Stena Line also plays an important role for tourism in Europe with its extensive passenger operations. The company is family-owned, was founded in 1962 and is headquartered in Gothenburg. Stena Line has 4,300 employees and an annual turnover of 14 billion SEK.

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