Ferries To Belfast

Ferries To Belfast

Belfast & Larne Ports

Northern Ireland relies heavily on ferries crossing the Irish Sea and has two main Ferry Ports, they are Belfast and Larne. The Port of Larne is a wholly-owned subsidiary of P & O Ferries and it is P & O which operates the fastest route (as its the shortest route) between Larne in Northern Ireland and Cairnryan in Scotland, which journey times taking approxiamately 2 hours.

There are three main ferry services to Northern Ireland which are operated by Stena Line, P&O Irish Sea and Steam Packet. Stena Line can be regularly seen travelling up Belfast Lough heading for its berth which P&O sails only into the Port of Larne. Timetables are seasonal but both operates are essential to Northern Ireland's supply chain so sailing throughout the year are regular and reliable, subject to rough seas and severe winds of course! Full timetable and booking information is available on their respective websites.

In the past P&O sailed from Cairnryan in Scotland whilst Stena Line had its base in the small town of Stranraer but in 2011 Stena Line moved its base of operations to a new multi-million pound purpose built terminal in Cairnryan. With both operators sailing from the same location in Scotland passengers can now decide on who to both based on destination, onboard facilities and journey time.

The P&O ferry between Cairnryan to Larne has approximately 7 daily sailings whilst the Stena Line ferry crossing between Cairnryan to Belfast has approximately 5 daily sailings. The cost of each journey depends on you, your mode of transport, any passengers and of course the time of year. Many people think the prices to travel by ferry to be unacceptably high and with little competition there is nothing compelling these companies to lower prices. In the past Stena Line used to extend some excellent three day offers for you and your car - but I haven't seen any real offers to speak of in years, if you know of any let us know!

Other routes to Northern Ireland include from Douglas on the Isle of Man and from Liverpool. The Belfast to/from Douglas route is operated by Steam Packet and has 2 weekly sailings whilst the Belfast to.from Liverpool ferry is operates by Stena Line - this route is has by far the longest journey time and can be uncomfotable in bad weather.

One missing absentee from this article used to be the Sea Cat which was a catamaran type car ferry from the heart of Belfast to Heysham. If you were travelling to for example the South of England rather than travelling to Scotland and travelling the whole way down the Sea Cat landed you half way down for the same price in just over 4 hours - It was a fabulous crossing!

Note details in this article are correct at time of publication - you should check with the operators for up to date information.

share your belfast photos