More pets choose the ferry than ever before (+FREE wine!)

One of the (many) attractions of a motorhome holiday is that taking a pet along is much easier than it would be if travelling by car and staying in hotels. On our travels around Europe it was always obvious that many motorhomers did just that.

Dog on Brittany Ferries

This trend appears to be showing no signs of slowing down, either. According to Brittany Ferries, the number of pets carried on its ships rose from 37,766 in 2008 to 67,462 in 2015. That’s a 78% increase.

One reason for this is that since 2012, the UK’s pet passport rules have been relaxed. Pets only need to be vaccinated against rabies 21 days before travelling, rather than six months. The previous requirement for a blood test to prove the vaccine was effective has been scrapped.

I’m also not sure if Brittany is unusually pet-friendly of if similar figures will apply to all ferry operators.

A further point is that the fashion for having a dog seems to have reached a new high over the last eight years. Perhaps dog ownership numbers have risen?

On-board choices

For non-pet owners (like us) of course, ever-increasing numbers of pet dogs isn’t necessarily great news. Other people’s badly-behaved dogs are, let’s face it, a pain in the proverbial.

The good news is that pets are not yet allowed free run on ferries. Brittany provides a number of facilities aimed specifically at pets. This gives owners several choices depending on how much money and forward planning they are willing to invest.

At the top of the pile are Brittany’s pet-friendly cabins. These are “always the first to sell out”, according to the firm. They come with an attractive and hygienic laminate floor and offer plenty of room for a dog basket.

Next up are the ships’ on-board kennels. More have been added and the Brittany fleet now has 114 kennel spaces in total, including open deck walking areas.

The final, cheapest option is that you can leave your animal in your vehicle. Regular visits to the car deck are allowed so that you can check on your pet and make sure they are ok.

What about the free wine?!

It’s currently Ferry Fortnight, an annual event aimed at encouraging more people to travel by ferry. Ferry operator DFDS is currently offering passengers booking a Newcastle-Amsterdam or Dover-France crossing 6 free bottles of wine when they book through DFDS. This offer is valid until 21 March 2016 — click here for more details.

DFDS is also offering 20% off ferries to Holland for vehicle passengers. That’s the Newcastle-Amsterdam route.  The offer only applies to cars, motorbikes and bikes — not motorhomes — but still seems quite a good deal. This offer is valid until 21 March 2016 — click here for more details.