The trip showcased Irish Ferries’ unique on-board offering, the ease of travel – with just a 90-minute crossing - and the multitude of hidden gem experiences that groups looking for something a little different can enjoy over a three-night break.
Staying just two hours from Calais port at Martin’s Dream Hotel, in the centre of Mons (previously titled the European Capital of Culture) meant that the beautiful 15th century buildings, unique artistic murals of the city and fascinating museums including Mons Memorial Museum were within easy reach. From here, operators were able to experience a series of day trips in the surrounding towns highlighting the Wallonia region’s exceptional history, gastronomy and culture.
As part of Irish Ferries’ way of encouraging travellers to “Sea Travel Differently” and open up a new world of experiences, additional features of the itinerary included a visit to the Hospital Notre-Dame a la Rose, one of the oldest medieval hospitals in Europe, a trip to and a tasting experience of some of Belgium’s finest beer at Brewery Dubuisson, the oldest brewery in Wallonia, and a guided tour around Pairi Daiza, a unique zoo that transports visitors all over the world through its collection of over 7,000 animals, stunning botanical gardens and cultural architecture.
Marie McCarthy, Passenger Sales Manager UK & Ireland says: “Irish Ferries has been operating on the Dover to Calais route for just over two years now, however the route offers so much more than just a quick way of reaching France. It is a gateway to exploring so much more of Europe, including destinations steeped in history and delight, like Belgium. We wanted to showcase a destination that offers so much more than meets the eye – and the Wallonia region does just that – with plenty of unique and surprising experiences on offer.
“We know the best way to showcase the Irish Ferries journey and how easy it is to visit all that Belgium has to offer, is by providing the opportunity to gain firsthand experience, and the trip has proved to be a huge success. Conversations have already progressed between operators and Irish Ferries to develop an all-encompassing product for consumers and agents to book.”
Irish Ferries operates a fleet of three ships on the Dover to Calais route, including Isle of Inishmore, Isle of Innisfree and Isle of Inisheer with up to 30 sailings per day. To book, visit www.irishferries.com