Would give Stena a GOOD rating if there was one. Could be very good/excellent.
We have always travelled to Denmark with DFDS before. Lovely small ferry but expensive. Decided to try Stena as an alternative.
Harwich to Hoek (overnight). We had a comfortable, clean and relatively spacious cabin. NO WELCOME ABOARD OR SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS OVER TANOY!!!!! The food in the Taste buffet bar looked good (we had already eaten) but it was a bit of a "bun fight"with a long queue.. Decided on that basis to have an early breakfast. Arrived for breakfast earlier than official opening time and dining room was fully operational so we had an EXCELLENT leisurely breakfast.
Hoek to Harwich (day sailing) Did get a welcome and safety instructions, hoorah. Because the buffet food was good we decided to treat ourselves to a meal in the a la carte restaurant. The menu was unimaginative, however we ordered for starters smoked salmon & deep fried camembert, grandmas chicken and steak with herb butter & gratin potatoes for our main course. Salmon was pleasant, but served with salad leaves & olives!!!? drenched in olive oil. Camembert ok but no better than a supermarket purchase.
BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!!!! The gratin potatoes turned out to be 2 miserable hash browns!!!!! The steak looked ok and was served with few (very few) soggy vegetables. Spoke to the waiter about potatoes, who spoke to the chef and we were asked if there was something else from the menu instead. Opted for chicken. The menu was snatched from my hand and we had to ask for my husbands meal to be returned to be kept warm. The waiter returned and apologised saying that he had not been told about the change in potato with the steak. The chicken was pretty bland but OK. Would strongly recommend eating in the buffet. This a la carte restaurant is pretending to be something that it isn't. NEVER AGAIN.
PLEASANT SURPRISE. We had booked seats in the Stena plus lounge. A small and extremely comfortable & quiet area, with coffee, tea, soft drinks, wine, fresh fruit, nibbles and newspapers included. Would HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Check in was at 12.30 for a 2.30 sailing. Check in opened promptly and we were on board by 12.50. so if you did not have a Stena Plus seat there would be no problem in finding a comfortable spot to pass the time.
On balance would rather pay the extra on DFDS for a better overall experience and a shorter drive to our destination. Combine the best points of both ferries and it would be perfect!!!
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