Check in at the port closes half an hour before sailing.
We only travel on the Liverpool-Belfast-Liverpool crossing. It takes 8 hours.
We travel by car, we take the dog.
We book a cabin for an overnight crossing as a preference, but if they're not available then we book the Lounge + where you can stretch out on a seat, help yourself to complimentary drinks and snacks and have meals served to your table.
If you don't have a cabin and need one, then visit Guest Services on Deck 7, right by the door where you enter from the car deck. They have a waiting list and will call your name if one becomes available.
The other option for sleep is the HYGEE lounge, with reclining allocated seats.
The dog can either stay in your vehicle or go into the kennels for an additional charge. The kennels are clean, located on the right of the ship Starboard. There is an area to walk the dog and the kennels are secure with a key code to enter. They are clean, there is bedding and bowls and access to water.
So once onboard, what can you do to entertain yourself?
Well on a night crossing, I'd recommend you get straight to sleep, if you can. If in a cabin car alarms will go on and off most of the night, but at least you can lie flat and have a shower in the morning.
If you're on a day crossing, find a seat, settle in. Read, watch downloads on your device, chat with your other passengers, order a meal, watch the waves, walk your dog if you have one, watch the TV with subtitles, sleep.
Alternatively you could explore the ferry, find out for me what the restaurant and bars are like, how much the cinema costs and is there anything else to find out about.