The ferry ports in both Belfast and Liverpool are much quicker/easier to reach than the international airports of both cities. Prices are also cheaper by ferry and you can travel with whatever you want. Cars, bikes, cats, dogs, and there’s no restriction on baggage. The ferry crossings are 8-hours but instead of enduring flights (flights suck) I prefer to enjoy the ferry crossing (boats rule). So it’s only really the time factor that would have us consider flying from Belfast to Liverpool. And we’re rarely in a hurry.
There are 2 daily ferry crossings from Belfast to Liverpool with Stena Line (online bookings here), one during the day with Stena Edda, then there is the night crossing with Stena Embla. Both ferries are pretty much the same with the same lounges and cabin options, although here we are sharing the day crossing from Belfast to Liverpool on Stena Edda. Be sure to check out our video of the Stena Belfast to Liverpool crossing below including the better facilities, deluxe cabins and premium lounges.
Facilities on the Stena Edda
Stena Edda is one of the 3 new Stena Line ships (2020) with its maiden voyage crossing the Irish Sea between Liverpool Birkenhead and Belfast just back in 9 March 2020. In short, the boat is new, it’s contemporary, and it’s a bit like sailing on a fancy cruise ship.
Given the length of the crossing from Belfast to Birkenhead / Liverpool (8-hours) there are more than enough facilities to accommodate a comfortable and entertaining crossing. These amenities include:
- Cabins and seating areas for passengers
- Passenger lounges with entertainment facilities
- Food and beverage services, including a cafe (Barista), restaurant (Taste) and bar (Sky Bar).
- ‘Duty-free’ shopping
- Children’s play area and arcade games
- 2 x cinema rooms
- Free Wi-Fi access
I share more about the better facilities below.
The 8-Hour Irish Sea Crossing
The Belfast to Liverpool Ferry time is 8-hours, so those who do not book cabins etc, will likely camp out in the better seating areas of the ferry. It’s kind of inevitable on any ferry, and even on the daytime crossings people are sprawled out and sleeping on seats. So a better area for a relaxed/less ‘homeless shelter’ atmosphere would be the downstairs Barista Cafe or the Taste Restaurant. Otherwise I would recommend paying extra for the comfort of a cabin to escape to during the journey by boat from Belfast to Liverpool. Again, enjoying the crossing rather than enduring it.
Private Seating and Cabins
There are a number of private seating and cabin options reasonably priced and we recommend them to escape through the 8-hour journey. We have tried a couple and share the experiences below. Otherwise, here is the list of private cabin and lounge seating options on the Liverpool to Belfast ferry by Stena Line.
- Hygge Lounge (Guest over 8 years)
- Stena Plus Lounge (Guest over 8 years)
- 4-berth inside cabin
- Disabled 2-Berth Cabin
- 4-berth outside cabin
- 4-berth Superior cabin outside
- 4-berth pet cabin, no window
- 2 Berth Outside Deluxe
Note, All cabin options above include en-suite facilities including toilet, sink and shower, towels and shower gel, Bazeport Infotainment Television etc.
The Hygge Lounge
Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is a Danish concept described as a feeling of coziness, comfort, and contentment. Warm and welcoming atmosphere and a sense of well-being or happiness that comes from feeling safe and at home. And it’s a bit like that. A quiet zone, no windows, no phone calls, reclined (not reclining) seating and a large mute TV with subtitles. It’s good for napping until the next person slams the door. Each seat has USB, plug sockets, a reading light, and there’s also a complimentary coffee maker for unlimited mochacinos (or coffee/tea of your choice).
2-Berth Outside Deluxe
Also known as the Premium Cabins (at least on our keycards), these fancy boutique-style cabins come with a comfy double bed and balcony access for panoramic sea views. This more or less means (rather than having a private balcony) you can walk directly from the bedroom onto the lower outside decks. Note, these are public decks but it is rare that anyone passes and the windows are opaque from the opposite side so they’re still private. Then there is the en-suite shower and toilet, free snacks, mini fridge drinks, coffees/teas… we brought our own wine, and there’s no real reason to leave for the duration of the crossing.
Stena Plus Lounge
So I haven’t really experienced this first-hand but I did sneak a peak at the end of one crossing when the Stena Plus lounge doors were left open when the passengers disembarked. It is a bit like a business/privilege lounge located just above the Taste Restaurant with great views out the back of the ferry. Most importantly there is a selection of free coffees, fine teas, soft drinks, wine and tasty snacks as well as complimentary daily newspapers and magazines. There’s also a waiter service for a special menu (extra charge) that’s exclusive to the Lounge. Free WiFi, power points etc. You can see it in the video at the top.
Food and Drink On-Board
Ignoring the truckers lounge (for truckers) there are 3 main eating/drinking options on board for normal passengers. These are:
- Barista Cafe: Light snacks/coffees etc.
- Taste Restaurant: Proper cooked food
- The Sky Bar: Alcohol and Bar Snacks
We normally board after breakfast along with our usual travel snacks of Polish sausage (me) and spicy Doritos (Fanfan) so we don’t need a whole lot more for the 8-hour journey. As well, in the cabins or Stena Plus lounges, we will have free coffees, snacks, and drinks etc. Otherwise the onboard prices are surprisingly fair and I did call for a quick portion of chips at Taste costing just £2.45 (2023).
When it comes to food and drink we normally cared more about where we’re sitting. So we would grab drinks from the Sky Bar, which again are standard drinks prices with doubles for an extra £1 on the most recent crossing (Fanfan enjoyed her gins). Then we would maybe grab bits from Barista before finding seats at the Taste Restaurant with better views of the wild Irish Sea Crossing. An attraction in itself. Anyway, like the Belfast to Liverpool ferry prices everything is relatively cheap despite the obvious opportunity for captive marketing.
How to get to the Stena Belfast Ferry Port?
This is probably the trickiest part of the journey and we often opt for a taxi with the most recent fare coming under £10 between the Stena Belfast Ferry Port and Belfast City Centre (Value Cabs). The same goes the opposite. Of course you could also try an Uber.
Bus Service to the Stena Belfast Ferry Port?
There is a bus service operating between Belfast City Centre and the Stena Belfast Ferry Port but it maybe unreliable during the quieter times of the year (it’s best to check with Stena Line directly before travelling).
Where is the Belfast Ferry Port (Stena):
Name: Stena Line, Belfast (Belfast to Liverpool departures)
Address: Victoria Terminal, 2 W Bank Rd, Belfast BT3 9JN (map here)
How to get to Liverpool from the Birkenhead Ferry Port?
Arriving to the Liverpool Port you will see the Liverpool skyline on the left side of the Mersey River and the massive Mersey Tunnel Ventilation Tower (it’s hard to miss) on the opposite Birkenhead side of the river. The Stena Line Liverpool Port is on the Birkenhead side of the river so you will need to cross the Mersey Tunnel to reach Liverpool City Centre.
Taxis from Stena Line Liverpool Port to Liverpool City Centre?
This is the quickest but most expensive option and the cheapest option we found was with the Alpha Cars App where taxis were half the price of Uber. There is also a free phone for the same company at the arrival terminal. Expect to pay between £13 – £23 to Liverpool City Centre depending on traffic at the time.
Train from Birkenhead to Liverpool City Centre?
The cheapest route would be to take the metro (Merseyrail) from Birkenhead travelling from Hamilton Square railway station to the main stops of Liverpool City Centre (i.e Lime Street or Liverpool Central).
This does mean travelling first to Hamilton Square station which is roughly 1-mile from the Birkenhead Ferry Port (directions here). There are various options here with the worst-case scenario of walking it taking roughly 20-minutes. It’s not the most exciting of walks.
Otherwise Stena Line will likely have a bus shuttle service to the metro station (it’s best to check Stena Line directly), and there will likely be a number of taxis waiting outside charging about £5 (I guess) to the station. Then it’s £3-4 for the train from Hamilton Square to Liverpool City Centre.
Where is the Liverpool Ferry Port (Stena Line)?
Address: Stena Line, 12 Quays Terminal, Tower Road, Birkenhead, CH41 1FE, United Kingdom (map here).