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New Speedferries Terminal


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I am due to use this next week-end, having rescheduled the cancelled trip when they failed to start on 29th March as initially advertised.

What's the verdict so far (assuming someone on Forum has used it by now)? All running smoothly after the delayed start?

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Unfortunately no, I used them yesterday on the 13.30 from Boulogne to Dover and we left half an hour late. The crossing time was close on 70 minutes due to technical problems with one of the engines. This was, it has to be said, a bit disappointing after a month on refit. The old hoverport looks OK, although we did seem to struggle to get on the berth more in the brisk North Easterly wind, than was the case on the old berth on the Eastern Arm. Still all things considered, if Speedferries hadn't started the price war I couldn't afford the halcyon life I have now - the perfect home life in France, the perfect job in England. They don't choose to run late and certainly don't choose to have these continued engine problems.   
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Although they haven't got a second boat, it isn't for want of trying. .I've read that the terms of the lease at the hoverport call for a two ship service in 12 months ,the grapevine is saying a short term charter of a 74metre cat is under serious consideration , perhaps to be used at peak times only . Also a 78metre vessel ELANORA may be available as a short term option , until a larger cat becomes available .

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Having just used this new terminal (arriving at Dover) my advice is to allow extra time for Customs checks! Unfortunately the time i saved in a faster crossing was lost in clearing the terminal. Being the only ferry arriving there meant that EVERY car i could see was stopped and questioned and it took me 30 mins just to get out! My previous crossings at the other terminals, with 100's of cars arriving all the time, it was just 'random selection'. Whilst i'm sure we all have nothing to hide, it's probably best to allow some extra time for this.

France bound, the whole process is much quicker plus it saves time driving to the other docks.

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Update:

We went for day trip today - it was either that or lose the "free crossing" voucher.

Out and back - departure and arrival timing was spot on. The check-in was momentarily confusing as they now have different booths for different classes of tickets. A sign on the booths said that changes to tickets now cost £15 or €22. Wasn't it £10 a short while ago? Dover shop and lounge looked a bit small and sad, but there were signs of decorating in progress. To compensate it was cosy and personal as obviously it was only for the Speedferries users.  Speed One may have had a month's service only two weeks ago, but my seat was wonky, several light bulbs were blown and the hand dryer in the ladies didn't work. The window frames have had a coat of gloss paint and it looks like the Premier Class glass partitions upstairs have been extended in length. Long delay exiting Boulogne when the french decided to see everybody's passport - I have never been stopped here before.

No customs back at Dover just a police BMW with 2 officers waving everyone through.

All in all it was just about what I expected - a bit shabby but a great price (especially free!). Long may they continue.

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Just arrived back in UK after using Speed ferries. The terminals are still under refit and food was very limited, as it was onboard. I have to say it is a very cheap service and the old adage of you get what you pay for does seem to fit the bill. Going out we were an hour ish late boarding so 1 1/2 hours late departing, but coming back we were bob on time. As for the ferry itself, well it goes, relatively quickly, so for an hour on board, at the very cheap rate it appears good value for money, especially as it takes an hour off sailing time and an hour off driving, 10 hours travelling after leaving Dover is better than 12. I don't tend to use on board ladies as one or two comments from ladies leaving put me off but the toilets at both Dover and Boulogne were spotless. Have used them 3 times in all now, relatively happy with service.
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As an ex-regular Speedferries user, they will have to show a bit more compassion for those passengers who suffer as a result of their all too frequent breakdowns before I use them again.

Though not perfect, Transmanche is definitely a better all-round deal.

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'Though not perfect, Transmanche is definitely a better all-round deal.'

 

I agree with you on this! We had our crossing on 29th March cancelled and we were not e-mailed or rung! I just decided to check at 5.30pm on 28th! The Speedferry lady was not at all apologetic and said they had contacted nearly everyone! She did not seem to understand why I was upset! We were lucky as the tunnel was able to take us but it was not cheap!

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Similar to my last experience Athene.

My wife and I had arrived at Dover at 5.30am for an 8.00am sailing. We checked in quite normally, drove to our designated lane and parked. We could see their vessel was tied up in front of us and apart from one or two (not that many though) uniformed Speedferries staff apparently arriving for work, we saw no activity to suggest anything was wrong. Then, at 7.45am, we were told they would not be sailing due to a technical problem. A man in an adjacent car said this was the second time these circumstances had happened to him. We were then asked to remain in situ for a member of staff to come round to the cars to issue exit permits from the docks and ask us if we wanted a refund!

As an early arriver, we were seen fairly quickly, but still did not get out of the docks until after 8.30am. Then we had to drive out onto the public roads, come back in again and join the queues in the Travel Centre to purchase, in our case, an £80 one-way ticket with P&O.

Due to the lack of activity and the very small number of staff arriving for work, I suspect the technical problem was known overnight, but Speedferries let everyone arrive because they had no way of telling people in advance. Perhaps? But if this was the case, why was I not told at 5.30am when I arrived so that I could have rebooked much sooner? Perhaps they wanted all the prospective travellers to park up as normal to give the impression they were working until the last moment to get a repair carried out, if, of course a repair was actually needed? As I mentioned, there was no activity to suggest this was happening.

I have used Speedferries a lot and in doing so felt I was supporting 'the small man'. But it seems that this scenario has become reasonably common of late and, as you experienced Athene, the first sailing of the day does allegedly get cancelled quite often.

Sad really - they need to think a bit more 'PR'...

 

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[quote user="tonshun"]Having just used this new terminal (arriving at Dover) my advice is to allow extra time for Customs checks! [/quote]I'm suprised - I travelled with them over the Easter weekend. Travel out from dover was about 20 mins delayed but the weather was fine so no issues from the people waiting at the tables outside the cafe (although not completely finished, definately something you didn't get in the Eastern docks!). Return was perfect, boat left exactly on time from Boulogne and withing 5 mins of the ramp coming down in Dover we were off the boat and onto the M20 link road .... perfect!

As many have said before, yes, they do have their problems and having only one vessel will always compound these issues, but if it wasn't for them the cross channel routes would still be as outrageously overpriced as they were 4 years ago .....

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Having started this thread, I can now report that I was pleasantly surprised, also having gone out over Easter week-end and returned Sunday last. Both trips out on time and no delays getting off at either end. First time I can say that after about 10 return crossings.

The security checks have indeed been tightened up but I have no problems with that.

Still not sure how they calculate their 55 minute crossing time but I can live with 65 minutes for the price.

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Sounds like i was unlucky with my port delays then - I'll put it down to the new port area only being open for 3 days when i used it!

I'll still use and recommend them though as they save me both road time and money when all is running well.

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Travelled to France with them on Easter Tuesday. Left slightly early and arrived in Boulogne on time. Cars were cleared from vessel very quickly but it took about 30 minutes to get out of the port due to French passport checks. New road out of port to motorway improves this port by about 500%.

Delay getting out of port due to FRENCH authorities - nothing to do with Speedferries. Speedferries did what they said they would do.

This route is rather like a bus service, which is all I want. The vessel is quite adequate for this. If people want to dine at the captain's table, Speedferries is not for them.

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Got back yesterday on the 9.50 from Boulogne. On time and smooth in every way - checking in, loading, unloading and the sea as well! No customs checks at all at Dover, drove straight out without sight of anyone in uniform.
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