Our roadtrip begins: Taking the ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle

Hamburg – Ijmuiden (Amsterdam): 503 km | Ferry from Ijmuiden – Newcastle: 17:30-09:15 (+1 day)

The resolution to leave at a certain time is usually not kept with small children. Even if you have packed the car almost completely the night before and only have to “throw in” the things you can’t do without during the night (baby monitor, bottles, milk powder and co.) or the next morning (toothbrushes).

Although the ferry only leaves tonight at 17:30 in Ijmuiden behind Amsterdam and theoretically there is enough time to leave comfortably around 9:30 and arrive before 16 clock – then is check-in end for passengers with car. With a good 500 kilometers, a buffer of 1.5 h is well planned and if we are earlier at the ship.

A sick parent and thus little help with “the last things to pack” as well as traffic jams around Hamburg and on the further route, a threatening diaper gate immediately after the departure from home (the first major intersection was hardly passed, there peeked only the smallest personality with high red head from the passenger seat, only so that shortly thereafter an unpleasant smell spread in the car): so the buffer melted away until the approximate arrival time in the navi in the meantime advanced to ominous 15:45. Even the obligatory pee break, after all already behind the Dutch border, did not contribute to the relaxation of the driver.

However, something also happens in 5 hours on European roads and the traffic situation relaxed again, so that we arrived with a good half-hour buffer, including the break, and could finally greet grandma and grandpa, who had arrived a good two hours earlier and had passed the time with a trip to the supermarket.

“Thank Brexit”, we could breathe a sigh of relief for the first time when we joined the queue at the ferry terminal and were able to get the kids out of their seats, as it was slow going due to check-in formalities and passport control. At least one gets in the course also directly his cabin cards handed out.

The parking procedure on the ferry was problem-free and so we could start the short way to the cabin with the luggage packed prepared for one night. Since you are not allowed to the car during the crossing, everything really had to go. We booked the cheapest cabin class and got a quad room with bunk beds. Admittedly not the most ideal choice to spend the night with a nine-month-old explorer and a two-year-old bouncer, and a travel cot really didn’t want to fit in what felt like a 10-square-meter cabin. We had taken precautions and brought a fall-out protection for an adult bed (the smallest got it) and put the remaining bedding on the floor as a cushion, so that the big one at least falls softly if she falls.

Not the most comfortable night in the world, but ultimately no problem and the money saved compared to the larger cabin category will certainly benefit us on vacation.

On the ferry, we were able to pass the time well until bedtime. Until the start of the live music we sat comfortably in one of the bars, however, although not bad, was a little too loud for small children’s ears, so we looked for a neutral seat on deck 9 with the drinks. The weather didn’t exactly invite us to explore the outside of the ship, but since it was also bedtime at 8pm, we weren’t mad about it. By the way, the quad cabin had a sea view, unlike my parents’ double bunk bed. However, they had a slight noise advantage on deck 8, because two decks further down in our domicile we could hear the engine noise and some other irregular creaking quite clearly. Very good for newly hatched earthlings and a free and power-saving alternative for better sleep instead of hairdryer noises or Spotify’s permanent extractor hood playlist. For the rest, it will take some getting used to.

Also in this category, even a year later, is still the Brexit and the associated consequences. Passport control number one on Dutch soil was followed by passport control number two the next morning. This made deboarding a test of patience. The barge docks at 9:15 a.m. local time, and drivers are allowed to return to their vehicles about a quarter of an hour before arrival. From then on, it’s a matter of waiting. First waiting for something to move off the ship, because of course there is not only one car deck. Then in a queue directly in front of the berth. Last but not least in the passport control itself. This whole procedure took a whopping hour and a half, so we couldn’t really leave Newcastle until 10:45.

Our way led us through the Tyne Tunnel (under the river), for which, due to the lack of toll booths (great booth), we pay only online or by phone 1.99 GBP per trip and car, stating license plate, name and address. Don’t worry, you can still do that until midnight the day after you pass through – you just have to know. It’s a good thing that one of us was paying attention, otherwise we would probably have received a British parking ticket months after our vacation (or would we have been spared it, thanks to Brexit?).

We quickly got used to left-hand traffic, even without a steering wheel on the other side. And since our car has a digital speedometer, we were able to trim the family car to miles per hour, so that our cruise control with traffic sign recognition no longer thinks it wants to slow down to 70 km/h when 70 mp/h (about 110 km/h) is allowed.

// DFDS ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle

// Tyne Tunnels Toll

// Children fall out protection for beds

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