Newest Review: ... very efficient. The services on the ferry are reasonable, though not outstanding and the cooked food was pretty average for the price. Ho... more
You'd be quicker to swim!
Member Name: jrh2
Date: 23/01/13, updated on 29/01/13 (204 review reads)
Advantages: We got home
Disadvantages: Boat company
Condor Ferries is the only choice of boat to get between Guernsey and Jersey. Islanders often use them for local sports teams to get to inter-island sports events, see the Jersey Zoo which Guernsey doesn't have or go shopping as they have more UK brands than we do.
I always use it with my family to see shows in Jersey, as yet again we rarely have them in Guernsey. I use them regularly as there is no choice and usually go to Jersey every couple of months. I have been doing this for years and they have not gotten better in time.
When you arrive at the Guernsey harbour to check in, the queue is usually out the door as they casually let people through to the other side whilst chatting to their colleagues. When you get to the other side you usually have to stand as there is never enough seats. Although this is not Condors problem it is the only boat that uses the harbour.
About 10 minutes before you are supposed to leave they announce that the boat is going to be late. This happens nearly every time and can be between 10 minutes to 2 hours. This is a long time when you just want to get on the boat, especially as the only thing to do is watch one of the few TVs which you can't really see as they try and fit everyone going on the boat in the same small room.
When the boat finally gets to Guernsey people start queuing at the doors before the passengers on the boat have got off. It then takes longer to get on the boat as people are blocking the door even though they know they won't get on until wheelchairs and pushchairs have.
When you get on the boat staff are very helpful at assisting you in finding your seats, but if you go in a group you won't always be sat together. All the seats are different and there are seats I prefer to sit at, some are around tables, some in rows and my favourite is four seats around a table away from the others (which is the only quieter and private seat.) You can pay for better seats but they are noisier as they are right next to the children's area (a room with a TV blasting out and nothing else.)
Soon after the boat leaves the harbour the Duty Free shop opens until just before you arrive at the next harbour. This is a small shop which is always busy and if the boat is particularly rough it can be hard to stay standing as there is little to hold onto. The boat also has a small shop with magazines and a place to buy food and drinks.
When you arrive at your destination the people with cars are taken down first and the foot passengers stand around at the door. This is their choice as they weren't told to leave there seats. When they announce which door for the foot passengers to leave from, it is usually the door they are not queued at which is amusing as it means they are now the last to get out instead of the first.
From then on it is easy to get off the boat, through the harbour and you're free to do whatever you like. The problems begin as you arrive back at the harbour to go home.
When you arrive at Jersey harbour the check in staff are much more efficient than in Guernsey but the delays which happen every time are a lot longer.
The boat we always use is the fast ferry and it is supposed to leave at 8pm. Usually you don't leave until 10:30pm. Until last time I didn't even realise the boat was meant to leave at 8pm as it is always late and I thought it was meant to leave at 9pm (it never does though).
On one particular occasion a few years ago we didn't leave Jersey harbour until 2am the following morning.
When we arrived at the harbour in the evening we were told the boat was going to be a few hours late as it was working with two engines instead of three. They said we had enough time to go to the cinema if we wanted. We stayed in the harbour as their was nothing on at the time and waited. Thankfully they had free internet access which passed time a little but eventually I got bored of that.
They had since told us that it would be a hour longer on top of that. I started to read a 300 page book and although it usually takes me a week to read I had finished it and we still hadn't left the harbour.
As it was coming up to midnight they announced that food in the cafe was all free due to the long wait. They didn't announce it to everyone but people soon caught on to what was happening and basically emptied the cafe of all food and drink. The cafe owners didn't look amused.
Around 1am they let us through to the other side of the harbour to get ready for the boat. It wasn't there but they took us through anyway. On the way through they used the body / bag scanners which they NEVER use and this slowed up the process considerably. They probably did this because they knew it would take longer and it would put people off knowing the boat wasn't their.
Eventually we all got through to the other side and sat and waited for the boat for another half an hour.
Around 2am we finally got on the boat to be told it would take longer than usual (twice as long) because of the engines and an hour and a half later at 3:30am the following day we arrived back from our day trip.
People were furious and it made the front page of the local paper that day. I'm just glad I wasn't the people waiting in Guernsey harbour as when it got back it had to take those people back to the UK.
So, if you want to spend your day trip in a harbour this is the boat for you.
Summary: Perfect for day trips (not guaranteed to get back the same day!)