Last updated on November 25, 2023
A holiday on a cruiserboat (or houseboat), isn’t that terribly expensive? Is Ireland an expensive country? How much does the flight actually cost? What do I need for a houseboat holiday?
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Questions like these and many more come up quickly when you think about a houseboat holiday in Ireland.
But don’t worry, I’ll help you shed some light on your holiday planning:
For a one-week houseboat holiday on the Shannon, according to our example, a couple should expect a total cost of around €3,730. This includes rental costs of €2000 and travel and incidental expenses of €1730.
In the rest of this article, I will break down the costs for you, give you sources where you can enquire further and give you valuable tips on how you can save many euros in costs.
Important to know: I will show you costs that I think are relevant and give you a calculation example. This should give you a starting point for your individual cost calculation. Your own holiday scenario will probably look slightly different from the example and then you can easily add or subtract further costs. In any case, you will have an easier start.
My family is from Germany, but we have been living in Ireland for several years (second home). We run our motorbike rental business here, south of Dublin, in the summer (www.easycruiser.tours) and also offer nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie).
We have travelled the island several times in all directions and I also have a good background of my own experience with holidays on various boats, such as sailboats, motorboats and even houseboats.
So, let`s get started:
Example of a holiday with a cruiserboat
My calculation example looks like this: A young couple from Germany (or another country in Europe) wants to go on a one-week houseboat holiday on the Shannon, so they want to spend 7 nights on the boat.
9 days is the total time available. But the arrival and departure also cost time and a full day in Dublin should also be included in the planning. So the 8th night will be spent in Dublin.
The starting point and the end point should be the same in order not to complicate the logistics unnecessarily. In our example, we choose Carrick-on-Shannon as the start and finish of the trip.
Since both of them have never been on a houseboat holiday before, the boat should not be too big so that it is as easy to drive as possible. In addition, the budget is limited and it should not be too expensive. But there should be some comfort, so it shouldn’t be “too cheap” either.
They want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the high season and have chosen September as their holiday time. The exact period is somewhat flexible, so they can take advantage of good offers.
Shopping costs before the trip – waterproof clothing
On the water, it can rain from time to time. Not bad if you are warm and dry in your cabin. However, it can also rain (heavily) while you are mooring, casting off or going through the locks. In these cases, waterproof clothing is a must in your luggage:
If you have trainers or trainers with soft soles, you’re already in good shape. Even better if the shoes are also waterproof or at least water-repellent.
If you also have a waterproof jacket and a suitable hat, then bring them along. A pair of waterproof trousers to put on is by no means too much – better to have than to need!
Is anything else missing? Then we already have the first costs, namely for shopping before the trip: I estimate a flat rate of 200€ for two rain trousers, which many people don’t have. Of course, you can adjust the costs for yourself.
Costs of arrival and departure by air
There are several airlines flying to Dublin from Germany (and Europe). We ourselves usually book well in advance, then the prices are much better. We usually fly in spring or autumn with two people for about 100€ per flight, so return for 200€.
In summer you have to calculate much more and therefore we use 400€ for our example.
See for example the prices at www.ryanair.com.
Costs of the transfer from the airport to the rental station and back
How do you get from Dublin to Shannon? Of course you can take a taxi and pay several hundred euros – one way. Or you can get on one of the many intercity buses directly at the airport, for example from www.buseireann.ie. There are several bus connections.
There are several bus connections that take about 2-3 hours. The fare is about 20€ per person and trip, so 80€ for two people there and back. The bus stops very close to the marina, so you can walk the short distance to the boat.
Want to see alternatives or find other routes? You can find them via Google Maps or this helpful page: https://www.rome2rio.com/.
Rental costs and deposit for a houseboat
Our couple in the example check boats and availability at www.carrickcraft.com and at www.locaboat.com. They find several boats around 1600-2600 euros per week and finally decide on a Penichette P.1020FB from Locaboat for just under 2000Euro for a week with early bird discount.
The boat is designed for about 4 people, making it very comfortable for a couple, but it is still manageable and easy to sail for beginners.
A deposit is required before departure (about 1500€) which covers the insurance excess. If the boat is returned at the end of the holiday without any defects, the deposit will be refunded.
Fuel costs for the boat
Some boats have a large diesel tank that covers a week’s holiday well, others need to be refuelled en route. There are usually refuelling stations at all marinas, the on-board documentation will inform you about them.
An average day trip takes about 3-4 hours of pure sailing time. That doesn’t seem much, but if you add meals, various breaks and locks, the day is quickly over.
A medium-sized houseboat needs about 6-8 litres of diesel per hour at a leisurely pace. This quickly adds up to about 12-15 euros per hour. For our example we assume 50€ operating costs per day, so 350€ for the week.
Fees for marinas on the way
Some marinas are free of charge and even filling up the fresh water costs nothing. In some marinas or moorings, you have to pay a fee, about 15€ for the night. Let’s assume that you have to pay for 3 nights and calculate 45€ in our example.
Locks are not chargeable.
Costs of food on the boat
Food in Ireland is about the same price as in many other countries in North-West Europe. Most marinas have supermarkets where you can buy food. Let’s assume 30€ per day for two people, including the odd beer or wine, and we’ll end up with 210€ for the week. Of course, there are cheaper ways – and more expensive ones too, but that gives us a good average.
Costs for pub, restaurant and other incidental costs on the road
Our couple in the calculation example does not have an unlimited budget, but the one or other pub visit is allowed, so let’s calculate 200€ for it.
Cost of an extra night and day in Dublin before departure.
Dublin is a great city and definitely worth seeing. However, accommodation is often expensive. With long-term booking and a good search (for example with www.booking.com), our couple finds an overnight stay in the city centre, near Templebar, for 120€. With meals, some sightseeing and a bit of souvenir shopping, we calculate 250€ for our example.
Example calculation and result
Below we summarise the costs mentioned:
|Different costs||in Euros|
|Transfer to rental station and back||80|
|Rental costs cruiser boat||2000|
|Diesel costs for the boat||350|
|Food and groceries on the boat||210|
|Pub, restaurant, miscellaneous||200|
|One night and day in Dublin||250|
|Sum in Euros||3735|
Valuable tips for saving money
As you can see, the rental price of the boat is important for the holiday budget. But the other costs can also add up considerably.
It’s good to know how to keep the cost explosion under control on holiday. Here are a few tips:
Very important: Book well in advance. This applies to boats as well as flights and accommodation. There are often early booking discounts if you book in the autumn for the next season.
It can be worthwhile to call the rental company and ask for help with your booking. A different boat, an earlier or later rental day or a different period – and you’ll get completely different rental prices.
Generally, the early or late season is cheaper than the main summer months. From the end of June to mid-August, it’s mostly Irish families with their school-age children on tour – and the prices are accordingly (and it’s more crowded everywhere).
Of course, you should also have fun on holiday, but if you have already booked an expensive boat, then make use of it: Buying groceries and cooking your own meals with a view of the water is wonderful – and cheaper than the pub!
A houseboat holiday is a wonderful experience – especially in Ireland!
Of course it’s not cheap, but now you have an idea of what to expect – and what you can do to keep the costs in check.
Now nothing stands in the way of your Irish holiday – enjoy the Shannon or Erne on board your cosy houseboat!
So let’s go to Ireland!
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Picture credits Cover image: Photo by Bradley on Unsplash