The key things you need to know when taking a school trip by ferry

Kate Moore

6 Oct 2023, 15:59
by Kate Moore


Make sure you turn your mobile to airplane mode to avoid using the ferry's costly maritime satellite phone network

Embarking on a school trip by ferry is an exciting adventure, but there are some essential things you need to know about using your mobile phone and spending money to ensure a hassle-free crossing. So, before you set sail, here are the must-know details that will make your school trip an enjoyable experience.

Beware of using your mobile phone on the ferry

It is important to note that it will cost considerably more to receive and make calls, send and receive text and use data compared to using your phone on land. This is because ferries have their very own Maritime phone network which is operated via satellite.

What’s more, standard price caps only apply when phones are connected to terrestrial mobile networks. If you use your mobile onboard via the ferry’s satellite connection, the charges are much more than your normal tariff.

  • Make sure all phones are switched to airplane mode before boarding the ferry: You can even get caught out when the ship is still in port - if your phone can’t connect to 2, 3 or 4G network it may seek out the pricey satellite connection. So, our advice is to make sure everyone in your school group switches to airplane mode before boarding the ferry.
  • Use the ship’s free wifi: Most companies provide free wifi on board so your group can stay connected; to use the Brittany Ferries network you will need to login using the details on your boarding card. If you are travelling by P&O Ferry just visit the information desk onboard for their free wifi details.
  • Make sure students know their network's EU roaming charges (preferably before the trip!): Before turning off airplane mode when you disembark the ferry in France, be aware that the guarantee of free EU roaming ended in 2021. To avoid any nasty surprises, make sure students check the situation with their network provider before taking using their mobile in France.

Make sure you have the right currency to spend on the ferry

Some new ferries, such as the P&O ship "Pioneer" launched in June 2023, only accept card payments. 

Brittany Ferries is a French company which means that all prices in their onboard restaurants and shops are displayed in euros. If you choose to pay in pounds the price will be calculated at the checkout using a daily exchange rate. If you pay by cash you will usually receive change in euros.

The main currency accepted on P&O Ferries is pounds sterling. If you have any unused euros on your return journey you can spend them onboard, but you may lose out on their exchange rate.

More school trip planning advice from Voyager School Travel:

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