Author Topic: Negotiating the ferry and France...  (Read 8399 times)

Negotiating the ferry and France...
« on: June 29, 2009, 09:44:40 am »
Any hardened ferry goers around?  Finally getting there with the trip in July.  We’re planning to drive from Oxon stay the night at a Dover Travel Inn, and go for an early 5.50am (Sat) P&O Dover-Calais crossing.    What’s the best time to queue/check in for the ferry etc?  We’ve not taken the car on a ferry before, only bikes, quite a few years ago.

We then plan, on the same day, to drive to Chamonix; basically N toll routes via Rheims, Troyes, and Dijon.  I think we’ll have to get one of those portable DVD players for the minis.  On the return we’re planning a shortish drive from Chamonix to Dijon/Bourgogne region, stay overnight, then the next day do Dijon-Calais for a Sunday 7pm-ish ferry.  Sound OK, any thoughts?
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2009, 09:50:16 am »
Get to the ferry approximately 1 hour before your boarding time and pay the small supplement for priority boarding / disembarking (about £10). You do this either over the phone or on line before hand. It's worth it as they board you first and more importantly you get to drive off first thus avoiding the queueing through the security and traffic as you exit the ferry terminal. Can save you up to an hour as you exit the ferry.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2009, 11:31:40 am »
Ok thanks pc - good tip.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2009, 11:45:40 am »
That supplement is an interesting tip...

We go over there two or three times a year.  Usually once or twice for a holiday, and then however many day-trips we feel like.   We've never paid a supplement, nor have we had much of a queue.   Especially on the really early morning ferries such as teh one you're booked on.

iakobski

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2009, 11:50:25 am »
... to Dijon/Bourgogne region, stay overnight, then the next day do Dijon-Calais for a Sunday 7pm-ish ferry.  Sound OK, any thoughts?

We normally stay at Beaune, S of Dijon on the way back, we don't hammer it and normally get to Calais about 4pm. If you turn up before your booking, they normally just put you on the next sailing unless it's totally rammed.

urban_biker

  • " . . .we all ended up here and like lads in the back of a Nova we sort of egged each other on...."
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Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2009, 11:52:03 am »
I just checked the website of the ferry comapny I'm using (LD Lines - Portsmouth to LaHavre) and there is no mention of a suplement for fast boarding. I'll just rely on getting their nice and early and making sure the kids have their DS's fully charged ;)

BTW - The U-B family will also be venturing to France for the first time this year so I'm also watching this thread.
Owner of a languishing Langster

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2009, 12:22:46 pm »
Supplement thing applies only to Dover Calais so far as I know. I use Hull Zeebruge a lot and you cant pay a supplement on that one. Its a simple lottery sometimes first on is first off sometimes last depends on how they load the thing. Made a big difference on our midday Sunday Calais Dover crossing though.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2009, 01:23:37 pm »
I've booked the P&O ferry, and paid the £12 priority boarding on the outward journey.  It's an early crossing but a peak time early in the hols - so just in case. :)
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2009, 01:26:19 pm »
Watch out for that first roundabout :)
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2009, 01:59:36 pm »
Watch out for that first roundabout :)

Yes!  I remember having an iffy moment at St Malo with the bikes a while back.

I now have to check what we need for the car - fluorescent jackets etc...
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

andym

  • Expat Cyclist
    • AndysRockets
Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2009, 07:29:01 pm »
I only go via Calais, and I certainly wouldn't pay a priority boarding to go there.  You clear all immigration, security etc. in Dover and at Calais just drive straight out on to the Autoroute.  For Dover on the way back, you will get stuck in a queue anyway, since you have to do everything apparently twice.

Harwich-Hoek van Holland would be handy to have priority boarding (if they do such a thing). Not sure about other ports.
AndyM

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2009, 10:58:34 pm »
We'll see what happens - have gone for the 5.10am ferry.   :o  Gets into Calais at about 7.40am.  Booked a Novotel in Troyes for the return.  May have a look around Troyes the next am before heading for Calais...

What do you reckon Michelin Road Map 2009 or a EU mapping Sat Nav..?    :)
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2009, 12:03:01 am »
Both real map and sat nav. Use your sat nav in the cities and the real map everywhere else as you will have a navigator. You might need the sat nav to find the Novotel in Troyes as its a bugger to find. It's on the edge of a small airfield well out of town. It's quite nice though once you find it :)
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2009, 09:42:39 am »
Both real map and sat nav. Use your sat nav in the cities and the real map everywhere else as you will have a navigator. You might need the sat nav to find the Novotel in Troyes as its a bugger to find. It's on the edge of a small airfield well out of town. It's quite nice though once you find it :)

OK, thanks. Yes, this Novotel wasn't too expensive, in the right bit of France, and got reasonable reviews on e.g. tripadvisor.com  Apparently, it has a pool, which may be good for the minis after several hrs in the car.

What do people think about going via Paris to take in the Eiffel tower (mini request) on the way back to Calais?  May be pushing it and not do anything for stress levels, but I think Troyes is only 1.5-2hrs away, down the Seine. And about 2.5-3hr from P to Calais.

I've been resisting getting a Sat Nav, but the time may have come - have to do some research as I have no idea about what's good value.

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2009, 10:12:53 am »
Paris - avoid in the car.

Sat Nav - TomTom One Europe is good value and easy to use.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2009, 10:45:12 am »
Thanks.

Paris - avoid in the car.

I suppose the parking is pretty dire.  Many yrs ago, when I lived in London, I went to Paris with friends by car and it wasn't too bad - even went around the Arc de T; but then I wasn't driving...

Quote
Sat Nav - TomTom One Europe is good value and easy to use.
Seem to go fro £140 ish - quite pricey, but perhaps is a good 'investment'.

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2009, 10:59:55 am »
I've booked the P&O ferry...
I bet Norfolk Line would have been cheaper, and they are very efficient at the embarkation/disembarkation thing.

I wouldn't venture into a large city on the Continent without satnav. We went unintentionally into Brussels a couple of years ago after taking one wrong turn (Continental road signing is rubbish compared with British), and were spat out about an hour later on the same side we'd gone in!
Profit or planet?

LEE

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2009, 11:00:24 am »
My tip is to use Eurotunnel instead (but we shop with Tesco so it's "free" with clubcard vouchers).

Eurotunnel deposits you right on a lovely Autoroute out of town.  The whole thing has been very slick for me in the past.

Euro Map SatNav was great last year.  Road signs are fine on Autoroutes but, until you get used to it, their "A & B" roads can get messy (they can have 2 numbering schemes overlayed on same stretch of road).

Also the Michelin Maps, for me, have way too much information on them for clarity (I really don't need them to label the distances between every village, that's what the map scale is for)

Satnav every time now (whilst keeping an eye on the signs, for the occasional dubious Satnav decision, of course)

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2009, 11:47:04 am »
I've booked the P&O ferry...
I bet Norfolk Line would have been cheaper, and they are very efficient at the embarkation/disembarkation thing.
I think you're right  - if I'd have booked 5 months ago... When I checked them all recently NL was about the same price as P&O for our dates.  Live & learn I suppose, next time we'll be able to book much earlier and get cheap deals.  

Quote
I wouldn't venture into a large city on the Continent without satnav. We went unintentionally into Brussels a couple of years ago after taking one wrong turn (Continental road signing is rubbish compared with British), and were spat out about an hour later on the same side we'd gone in!
 I'm coming around to the idea that we'll probably give Paris a wide berth.

Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2009, 12:12:08 pm »


Paris - avoid in the car.

I suppose the parking is pretty dire.  Many yrs ago, when I lived in London, I went to Paris with friends by car and it wasn't too bad - even went around the Arc de T; but then I wasn't driving...



Depends on the day.   We went through Paris one time on the way home.  Friday night in a hotel on the southern outskirts (nightmare to get to).

Got up Saturday, drive into the centre of Paris.  Free parking everywhere, no people, had a pleasant few hours walking around then drove home.  Navigation method was panic around the Arc De Triumph and then spot a local (i.e. Southend based) coach and follow it out of Paris  ;D


Another time we hit Paris on the way out, and it was the equivalent of the M25 in rush hour :(


Usually we avoid the area.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2009, 12:46:43 pm »
Thanks.

Paris - avoid in the car.

I suppose the parking is pretty dire.  Many yrs ago, when I lived in London, I went to Paris with friends by car and it wasn't too bad - even went around the Arc de T; but then I wasn't driving...

Quote
Sat Nav - TomTom One Europe is good value and easy to use.
Seem to go fro £140 ish - quite pricey, but perhaps is a good 'investment'.



Sometimes yiou can get a refurbed one. I have a "one" at home, but can remember if it's got european mapping on it. I'll check and if it has I can loan it to you.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2009, 01:12:43 pm »
My tip is to use Eurotunnel instead (but we shop with Tesco so it's "free" with clubcard vouchers).

Eurotunnel deposits you right on a lovely Autoroute out of town.  The whole thing has been very slick for me in the past.

Euro Map SatNav was great last year.  Road signs are fine on Autoroutes but, until you get used to it, their "A & B" roads can get messy (they can have 2 numbering schemes overlayed on same stretch of road).

Also the Michelin Maps, for me, have way too much information on them for clarity (I really don't need them to label the distances between every village, that's what the map scale is for)

Satnav every time now (whilst keeping an eye on the signs, for the occasional dubious Satnav decision, of course)
 Thanks. Perhaps we should start using the Tesco credit card to boost our available tokens.   ;)  

Have just checked the price again ~ £130 rtn  non flexi, so not too bad & comparable to the ferry.  Quicker too I guess.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2009, 01:14:02 pm »
Sometimes yiou can get a refurbed one. I have a "one" at home, but can remember if it's got european mapping on it. I'll check and if it has I can loan it to you.

OK cheers raf.
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2009, 06:30:19 pm »
& comparable to the ferry.  Quicker too I guess.

Unless they set fire to the tunnel two days before you're booked to use it!  >:(

That's what happened to us last year.  We did manage to get onto a ferry crossing at about the same time as our original chunnel shuttle.  There was only one car behind us on the car deck (they were squeezing every available square inch into use!) but we weren't that long getting off. 

The upside of the fire is that, as we'd used Tesco vultures to pay they don't give a refund.  But as it was entirely their fault they did give a credit note so we're off to Belgium this September for £1.  As MrsC is currently unemployed this was the only way we would have been able to get abroad this year.

S
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

Re: Negotiating the ferry and France...
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2009, 09:34:10 am »
Sometimes yiou can get a refurbed one. I have a "one" at home, but can remember if it's got european mapping on it. I'll check and if it has I can loan it to you.

OK cheers raf.

You're in luck, it does have the European mapping on it (though not updated for a couple of years, not that that means a great deal)  so you're welcome to borrow it. Comes with windscreen sucker and ciggie lighter (sorry, accessory socket) power lead.  One tip - NEVER leave the sucker on the screen when you leave the car parked up, and preferably make sure yiou use a duster to remove the tell tale circular marks from the screen too - scrotes look for these tell-tales and break in anyway just on spec!  Let me have your address and I'll get it off to you so you can have a play before using it in anger.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)