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Christmas Shopping with P&O Ferries

Posted by SussexMummy | Posted in Information, Sponsored Posts | Posted on 05-12-2011

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On Sunday I was lucky enough to get a free trip on board the Spirit Of Britain, P&O Ferries’ newest and biggest ferry travelling to France. I had been invited to take a look at their on board shopping experience, to coincide with their new stocking filler game on Facebook. Here you get the chance to win over £600 worth of goodies from their on-board shops – take a look here:

Our child-free day out began bright and early on Sunday morning with a 6am alarm and a two hour journey down to Dover. Upon arrival checking in was a breeze – hi-tech car registration recognition meant I was greeted by name immediately before being given our passes. We were very pleased to discover we’d been given priority boarding and complimentary access to the Club Lounge. Being the first car onto the ferry was a little daunting but it would ensure a speedy getaway upon arrival in Calais.

The ferry itself was incredibly impressive. The Spirit Of Britain is the biggest cross-channel ferry carrying 1000 cars on three parking levels and 2000 foot passengers. There is a large shop – more on that later – on board Costa Coffees, a restaurant, a gaming zone and plenty of seating all around. Our passes allowed us into the Club Lounge, and may I say “Wow.” I rather enjoyed being offered complimentary champagne as I walked in! Tea, coffee and a range of soft drinks were free so we settled down on some rather comfy seats to check out the menu. Being only 9.30am we were rather hungry and we weren’t disappointed by what arrived. I ordered a continental breakfast – thought I’d best get into the French mindset – and my husband went, rather predictably, for the waffles.

It was delicious, and despite being in the Club Lounge it was very reasonably priced. When this was all polished off and I’d made the most of my complimentary tea we decided we’d best go and investigate the on board shop – any excuse really! Now we’ve already done the bulk of our Christmas shopping – though I don’t seem to have bought my lovely husband anything as yet… – but I think we’d have managed to tick off most people if we’d been looking. A huge range of fragrances and beauty products were available, as were designer handbags and accessories – I stroked several Radley handbag before my husband suggested I backed away slowly – a range of electrical goods, confectionery in all shapes and sizes, toys for the children, and your traditional offerings of alcohol galore. There was even a selection of products from high-street store Accessorize. We picked up a few bottles for Christmas, some chocolate, some headphones for my husband and a gorgeous Radley umbrella for me! Little Man was even treated, getting a very festive rubber duck for his bath. Prices in the shop were incredibly reasonable as you’d expect and the choice and range of products was amazing.

The 90 minute sailing time flew by and we soon found ourselves being called down to the car deck to retrieve our vehicles. Whilst I was one of the first cars off the boat I did let a few vehicles go in front of me as I’d been inwardly panicking about driving on the “wrong” side of the road for most of the journey. I can confirm that whilst I did master roundabouts quickly it was at a T-junction that I scared some poor resident of Calais as I turned onto the wrong side of the road. Oops. We spent the few hours we had driving around a sadly closed Calais and then taking a trip up and down the Northern coast towards Dunkirk.

On our return journey we were on board the Pride Of Kent – a much smaller ferry but still brilliant. Once again we found ourselves in the Club Lounge, and I must say I thought this lounge was much better than on Spirit Of Britain. It was a lot larger and the floor to ceiling windows gave a great view of the busy Channel. The sofas were also much larger and more comfortable. The service was equally good on both though.

Now we did order lunch but photographing it was forgotten when it arrived – apparently we were rather hungry. Lots more tea followed and we relaxed our way back to England. My husband spent most of the return journey watching the other traffic in the Channel and getting rather excited – I went for another trip around the shop!

We had an amazing time, and would like to thank P&O for their incredible service and generous hospitality. I would highly recommend a day trip over to France with them, and I think the Club Lounge is something everyone should experience if only once.

Take a look at the P&O website now to book yourselves a getaway.

If you can’t make the trip before Christmas why not enter their stocking filler game now for a chance to win goodies from the on board shop!