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Is it always going to be like this at school holidays?


Ford Anglia

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Coming back through Calais, last saturday night, we took over an hour from reaching the port until joining the stack on the quayside. THEN the P&O ferry was running half an hour late.

Holdups included a queue of over a km, which began on the port approach road, before even freight traffic had turned off. This was for UK passport control.

A further queue of 20 minutes to clear UK security control, and at least 15 minutes queueing for tickets to be cleared.

To cap it all, when we arrived at Dover, we queued from off the arrival ramps, over 20 minutes to clear UK customs.

It's worse now by far than before the EC borders opened[:@]

I could accept it, if it wasn't for the FACT that illegals are still streaming in!

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I'll ignore the illegals comment.

However, I have never understood why the ferry companies cannot make like Eurotunnel/star and complete all the formalities pre-boarding so you can just drive off the other end and get on with it.  It seems that you have to be punished both ends when travelling by ferry.

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I'm hoping that now Eurotunnel seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as their finances are concerned that they will be able to make the investment needed to speed up clearance on arrival and perhaps even run a few more trains at busy periods.
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Yes I have to confess that it was. [:$] I'll avoid the obvious comment about the light at the end of the tunnel being that of an approaching train as I see that some of the creditors who did not agree the re-financing package are taking legal action.
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[quote user="David"]

You should try SpeedFerries.  We have never had any delays at Boulogne sur Mer, except perhaps for 5 minutes at the ticket check in.

David

[/quote]

There are many people who would not wish to use ferries and especially high speed craft during the winter months. Anyway there is a big delay for Speed ferries approaching as their services are suspended between 1-28 March.

Baz

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I travelled with them last week, on the return journey the captain apologised for leaving (Dover) 30 minutes early due to spring tide restrictions at Boulogne, the loading was completed very quickly and we were under way before people had made their way up from the car deck.

When we got to Boulogne 30 minutes ahead of  schedule there was a huge backlog of vehicles queuing right back along the road before the check in desk, given that it was the last sailing of the day and our own quick loading time I wonder how many of these people actually got on board?

I had got quite used to ariving only just before the 30 minute deadline but will now allow more time, the above mentioned cars had all arrived one hour ahead of the scheduled departure time.

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Baz,

Why are you so down on SpeedFerries?

I fully agree that there are many people who would not wish to use ferries and especially high speed craft during the winter months.  However, I was referring to the OP, who was using a ferry during the winter months, and who was complaining about delays going into Calais to catch a P&O ferry.  I have edited my post to make this clearer.  Your point about SpeedFerries services being suspended in March is not relevant to this post as that is a planned suspension for annual maintenance.  I was referring to delays of over an hour on the approach to Calais including a queue of over a km, which began on the port approach road, before even freight traffic had turned off. This was for UK passport control.  A further queue of 20 minutes to clear UK security control, and at least 15 minutes queueing for tickets to be cleared, as described by the OP.  None of which I have yet experienced with SpeedFerries at Boulogne sur Mer, but we do arrive one hour before sailing so as to get onto the ramp in a position reserved for disabled people.

Sorry if I was not clear in my first post.

In my limited experience, in bad weather I have found that highspeed craft can be as reliable as the Dover Calais ferries.  On one crossing we found to our great surprise that SpeedFerries were running when P&O and SeaFrance were stopped due to high winds.  It all depends on wind strength and direction, and wave height and direction.

Hope this clarifies my post, as I would still recommend that the OP may wish to consider trying SpeedFerries during school holidays.  He may even find the crossing itself more comfortable and relaxed as SpeedFerries do not carry coaches, but only carry cars.  I have tried all the Kent to Europe crossings, and I now use SpeedFerries as my preferred operator.

David

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On reflection the long queue that I saw at Boulogne was on the Saturday afternoon at (I think) the end of half term. It would only have been a problem if the craft departed again ahead of the scheduled service.

For me it is always a vary fast transit at Boulogne which is why I had been leaving it later and later, I am hopefull that when Speedferries services resume in April from the new berth at Dover it will be as quick a check in as at Boulogne.

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[quote user="David"]

Baz,

Why are you so down on SpeedFerries?

I fully agree that there are many people who would not wish to use ferries and especially high speed craft during the winter months.  However, I was referring to the OP, who was using a ferry during the winter months, and who was complaining about delays going into Calais to catch a P&O ferry.  I have edited my post to make this clearer.  Your point about SpeedFerries services being suspended in March is not relevant to this post as that is a planned suspension for annual maintenance.  I was referring to delays of over an hour on the approach to Calais including a queue of over a km, which began on the port approach road, before even freight traffic had turned off. This was for UK passport control.  A further queue of 20 minutes to clear UK security control, and at least 15 minutes queueing for tickets to be cleared, as described by the OP.  None of which I have yet experienced with SpeedFerries at Boulogne sur Mer, but we do arrive one hour before sailing so as to get onto the ramp in a position reserved for disabled people.

Sorry if I was not clear in my first post.

David

[/quote]

 

David,

I read your reply without noting it was in response to Ford Anglia which obviously lead my misunderstanding. If you have read my comments on other topics about Speedferries you will now that I am full of praise for their low cost approach. Whilst, I do not use their services, they have over recent years saved me large amounts of money by forcing down P&O prices and some Eurotunnel fares. However, if they do manage to acquire another boat then they will become even more reliable in the future and it may give them stronger leverage to be able to agree reciprocal arrangements with other companies on the occasions when they are forced to cancel crossings.

Baz

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Baz,

Unfortunately I have not read your other posts about SpeedFerries.  I will look for them now.

I do agree that the lack of reciprocal agreements is a drawback, but I sympathise with SpeedFerries being unable to reach such an agreement with the other operators.  I understand that the other operators refuse to co-operate with SpeedFerries precisely because SpeedFerries has cost them a lot of money by forcing fares down, so even more I try to support the little man.

However, SpeedFerries has let me down, and I will be seeking advice on another post.  Would be glad to hear your suggestions Baz.

David

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