Taking the Stena Ferry from Ireland to Scotland

Looking for a way to get to my latest house sitting assignment I was scouring Skyscanner for some flight deals. I needed to be in Edinburgh, Scotland and it’s not as though that is particularly far from Ireland so I was expecting some decent deals. I was wrong. I needed to be there for the first week of April and my best options were around 50 euros each way. Not happening.  

Back to Google I went. “Getting from Ireland to Scotland” was my main search term. I ended up on trip advisor, a few bus sites, and various airline websites. Nada. Then I eventually came across Stena Line. And lucky me! They were having a sale! It ended that weekend so I hopped on booking my Five Pound Foot Fare IMMEDIATELY and got my tickets for the Stena Ferry leaving from Belfast into Cairnryan.  

I decided on Belfast as at the time I had these grand plans of going from Galway to the Cliffs of Moher; from there up to Giant’s Causeway, and then to Belfast. However, thanks to a lack of buses (besides organized tours for many, many, Euro when there’s usually a public bus) because of the Bus Eireann strike, these places will need to wait for another time.

Nonetheless, I made it Belfast, spent a couple nights there in a great AirBnb, and Uber’d my way to the terminal in time for the 11:30 sail.


The Ship

Once arriving at the terminal, the check-in process was incredibly short and simple. You hang out in a waiting area and an immigration person is walking around looking at passports. You can look out the window and the ships and this thing was much bigger than I expected – and as someone that gets a little seasick, that was a pleasing sight.

Once the doors open everyone grabs their stuff and makes their way onto the ship.

Stena Ferry

I was surprised at how nice the interior is. I guess I was too use to the tiny ferries that are just rows of seats. This “Stena Line Super Fast VIII” was much more than that. When you enter you come into a lounge area with a cafe. Nearby is a ‘duty-free – style shop’ like the ones you see in airports (perfume, alcohol, random souvenirs, etc.).

After a bit of a walk around I saw that this ship had TEN FLOORS! (or decks, if you will). Mind you, the first five are for vehicles.


Fast Facts about the Stena Superfast VIII

  • It was built in Germany
  • It is 203.8 Metres long
  • It can hold up to 1200 people & 661 cars!
  • It’s max speed is 22 knots (which means all of nothing to me, but might to some boat people out here). 

On the remaining decks, you’ll find various lounges, a full-service restaurant, a cinema area, multiple kids areas, a spa, an arcade, and even full-on suites. I was considering getting the suite but considering the ride is only a little over two hours long that seemed unnecessary.

Stena Ship

There’s also a top sundeck to walk around on – other decks can be explored outside as well – but it’s a windy one!

Stena Ferry outside
Stena ferry view

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By | 2017-04-07T17:34:22+00:00 April 6th, 2017|budget, Europe, Ireland, Travel, United Kingdom|2 Comments


  1. Bee April 8, 2017 at 11:08 am - Reply

    cool blog post! def something totry out! #glt

    • Ashley April 8, 2017 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      It was definitely a nice break from flying!

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