The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and 12 other leading ferry operators have joined forces as part of an annual celebration of ferry travel, to showcase the extensive network of ferry routes available on the doorstep of the British Isles.
Big Ferry Fortnight, which runs from 23rd March - 6th April 2019, will see the launch of a public ballot with more than 2,400 free ferry tickets up for grabs on routes across the UK, Ireland and British islands - worth a total of around £80,000.
Orchestrated by Discover Ferries, the industry body for the ferry sector, Big Ferry Fortnight is inviting UK and Isle of Man residents to bid for tickets on one of over 50 routes. Its purpose is to encourage people to discover, or re-discover, the freedom, comfort and convenience travelling by sea provides to families, couples and travellers with a passion for adventure.
The Steam Packet Company has contributed a number of tickets for both a car plus two people and pairs of Foot Passenger tickets to the ballot, meaning lucky winners could have the opportunity to experience what the island has to offer in 2019.
The beautiful Isle of Man, just 33 miles by 13 miles, is the perfect holiday destination for families, couples and solo travellers - with spectacular natural scenery, a multitude of activities and attractions and 10,000 years of history and Celtic and Viking heritage to discover.
The island was made for outdoor explorers, with mountainous trails, miles upon-miles of coastline and stunning greenery around every corner. Visitors can take to the wide-ranging terrain on two feet or two wheels (bicycles are free to take on the ferry) - with short and long-distance footpaths and cycling routes to suit every type of visitor.
No trip to the Isle of Man is complete without an evening spent under the stars. With 26 Dark Sky Discovery Sites dotted around the island, it offers the perfect opportunity to wrap up warm and see what astronomical delights can be spotted with the naked eye or, even better, binoculars.
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Big Ferry Fortnight is the perfect opportunity to showcase the fantastic network of ferry routes available to residents in the UK, Ireland and British islands. For those unfamiliar with travelling by sea, it may be surprising to see how far and wide you can go.
‘It is a fantastic initiative to help people discover, or rediscover, the joy of ferry travel. It gives you the freedom to bring your car, the opportunity to stretch your legs, relax and look out for wildlife as you sail as well as the added bonus of no luggage fees - which begs the questions, why would you travel any other way?
‘We’re pleased to take part and look forward to welcoming the winning ticketholders on their visit to the Isle of Man. Sailing to the island and taking in the sea and coastal views as you travel, particularly on a clear day, is all part of the fun and adds to the sense of excitement and adventure – the perfect start to any holiday. We wish all entrants the best of luck and hope to see lots of interest in our special isle.’
The ballot also includes tickets for short island-hopping routes across Scotland and larger island escapes such as the Isle of Wight, Channel Islands and Isles of Scilly, to cruise-style ferries across the North and Irish Seas, as well as cross-Channel trips and scenic river journeys across London.
Ferry operators taking part in the Big Ferry Fortnight ballot include the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Brittany Ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne, Condor Ferries, DFDS, Hovertravel, Irish Ferries, Isles of Scilly Travel, MBNA Thames Clippers, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Stena Line and Wightlink.
To pre-register your interest in the Big Ferry Fortnight ballot, visit www.bigferryfortnight.com.