A Vodka Cruise

We’re booked on a 23:00 Stena Line ferry from Harwich to the Hook of Holland to meet up with a Dutch dragonfly buddy; let’s call him Antonio. We made this trip two years ago in August to meet Antonio for the first time when he guided me to some other Netherland resident dragonflies that I hadn’t yet seen. So we knew something of what to expect.

On that first occasion, Harwich ferry port had recently opened a new duty free shop which we were encouraged to try out. Who was I to complain? I was stunned at the low prices. My experience of the cross channel ferries is that the duty free saved you a little but not a great deal. Here, however, There were litres of my favourite Absolut Swedish vodka for a jaw-dropping £10. Alongside it were litres of a Finnish vodka, Koskenkorva, completely unknown to me, for $9. Well, it just had to be done, we bought one of each.

Being a new shop, I was expecting those prices to have been a sort of introductory offer but was keen to try the shop again. Well, not a bit of it: this time the Koskenkorva, still available, was £8 and there was another Finnish vodka called Finlandia for £9 a litre. OK, we’ll go for those two, just for a taste comparison. (Normal Absolut, i.e. unflavoured, did not appear to be available this time.)

PXL_20240523_194232287-01What was available this time really made me look twice. I’m used to BiB [Bag-in-Box] wine, either 3-litre or 5-litre, but here was a 3-litre BiB of French vodka, if you please, for a ludicrous £15. Jeez! It’s an interesting offering ‘cos I think you’d need three people or more in the vehicle to make it a legal import. Sense prevailed and I avoided it.

We equipped ourselves with 4×3-litre BiBs of wine, too, just to keep us going.

Boarding went smoothly and we were soon clambering up 7 flights of stairs from deck 3 to deck 10, where our cabin was. I must say that the Stena line ferry on this route is easily the most impressive that I’ve been on – spotless, neat and tidy, with apparently happy, friendly staff. The only fault I can find is that there were no glasses or cups in the cabin for us to sample our new purchases. Nor did there seem to be a self-service restaurant where we might borrow any glasses.

While searching in vain for glasses, I was amazed to see the same vodkas on sale in the shipboard duty free for very similar prices.

Bother! We’ll just have to sip it from the bottle.

Posted in 2024 Summer