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Are the ferries reducing their fares?


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We haven't had cause to use a ferry for nearly two years now so I'm not particularly uptodate.  However, I have noticed that our uptake of Brit bookings for our B&B is way down this year.  It's picking up a bit now but all are last minute bookings with about 3 days notice, unlike previous years where they book months in advance.

I also heard that one of the only areas of commerce that is doing well this summer in the UK is guesthouses and campsites because less people are going abroad this year.  Has anyone noticed if any of the ferry companies are trying to encourage use by offering decent reductions?  Especially Brittany Ferries?

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I certainly don't think BF are reducing their fares - we are paying nearly £140.00 for two of us to go from Caen to Portsmouth and back as Foot Passengers!! Can't afford to take the car - they wanted almost £260.00 for that!. Luckily our family live in Portsmouth so we don't have to worry about onward travel.
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Report in my local paper from Cumbria Tourism says bookings are up 37% on 2007 figures and with 20% shift in value against the euro compared with last year, I can't see many making the trip to France. A report in the papers also showed car hire in France to be one of the most expensive in Europe.     
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[quote user="Mayennaise"]I certainly don't think BF are reducing their fares - we are paying nearly £140.00 for two of us to go from Caen to Portsmouth and back as Foot Passengers!! Can't afford to take the car - they wanted almost £260.00 for that!. [/quote]

When's that for though?  If it's during the school holidays then it's very cheap compared to previous years when we've had guests paying between £400 and £600 for a car and 5 passengers.

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Is it really, Russethouse?  When we lived in Taunton and our son went to school in Surrey, he always had to change at Reading.

As I remember it, we used to send his luggage in advance so that he himself only took a suitcase.  Don't remember it as being especially expensive.

Only drawback was he always went back to school on a Sunday and would have to change about 4 times and took all day to get back.  Always engineering works or some such.

Mind you Bridgend to Paddinton day return was in excess of £140 if you need to get to London before 10am.

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[quote user="Mayennaise"]Next week - for twelve days - and we are members of the owners club so that amount includes the discount![/quote]

Have to agree with Russethouse, for the time of year I think with or without the car these prices are pretty reasonable.  Like I said, we\ve had guests pay in excess of £400 and as much as £600.

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[quote user="sweet 17"]

Is it really, Russethouse?  When we lived in Taunton and our son went to school in Surrey, he always had to change at Reading.

As I remember it, we used to send his luggage in advance so that he himself only took a suitcase.  Don't remember it as being especially expensive.

Only drawback was he always went back to school on a Sunday and would have to change about 4 times and took all day to get back.  Always engineering works or some such.

Mind you Bridgend to Paddinton day return was in excess of £140 if you need to get to London before 10am.

[/quote]

You could probably do better but thats what the web site said, in fact in future I think nearly all fares will be substantially cheaper if they are pre booked.

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  • 5 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...
Just booked Norfolklines Dunkerque  - Dover for 19th to 26th Oct for €80 including fuel surcharge.

Silly timings for some perhaps, 06:00 outbound and 00.00 return, but for a silly price, both of which suit us though and also mean that we can blast straight through Paris both ways.

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Just booked Calais/Dover & return by P&O 2-8 October for £64 return, including a £4 fuel surcharge which is clearly stated on the site. Travel times are midday/early afternoon, so no tiring night trips without food.

The shuttle was at least twice as expensive, even travelling first/last thing, and 3 times if during the middle of the day.

I see, however, that you can buy 10 shuttle trips for £390, so only £39 per crossing if you do enough trips.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all

Just to let you know what happened to us in August, I booked a retun trip Portsmouth - Le Havre with LD £149 + 20 extra for club class seats, same as we did last year, last year my car broke down so could not make the return crossing, OK they charged us £10 to alter the booking.

This year I could not make the return trip on the booked date, I needed a couple of extra days in France, so phoned them and was told

£70 to change the booking, I had no choice so went with it hoping I had heard the French girl wrong, my bank statement came in a couple of days ago they have charged me £80, I sent them a snoty email this morning asking what they were playing at to be told sorry it should have been £70 they will refund the £10, I went straight back to them and asked why £70, I was told £10 for changing the booking and £60 the differants in the return journey, so the return journey cost me £134.75, same boat same ports same time, just two days later, what a rip off, I have been back to them again, they are not interested they have an answer for every question you ask, I have told them I will not use them again.

The first email I had from them was utter rubbish the second not much better, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

 

Colin

How can they do this, there seems to be no control over anything thses days.

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[quote user="Compo"]Checked crossing costs for a car and three people for October. Dover/Calais, all companies averaged about £75 - £90 return. Dover/Boulogne similar. Newhaven/Dieppe, £145. BF, Portsmouth/Caen £245. [/quote]

Missed this first time round as we were in France, but are you surprised, given the length of the journey from Portsmouth to Caen, compared with the much shorter crossings further east?  Think how many crossings a Dover-Calais ferry can make in a day, spreading the overheads and making each journey much cheaper. Elementary arithmetic, but no-one ever seems to work it out before indulging in the usual BF-bashing. [:(]

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How can they do this, there seems to be no control over anything thses days.

It looks as though they are following the T&Cs to thge letter.

Tickets are non-refundable but can be modified. Where, under the terms of an offer, an amendment is allowed, an administration fee of £10/15€ will be payable for any change to the booking (time and day of departure, itinerary, number of passengers, vehicle type, etc..). Some amendments may be subject to an extra charge due to the difference between the initial charge and the current fare at the time of the amendment. Even when the change is made to a less expensive crossing, the difference will no give right to a refund. Special offers may be subject to specific amendment fees and sales conditions.

IE They refund youir money less £10 then treat you as though you were making a new booking. Seems pretty equitable to me.

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I have some sympathy with ColinE despite the fact that the terms were as he (and we all) agree to at the time of booking. I was booked to come back on the Shuttle the day after the fire. I called them to ask what was happening to be told that my booking was effectively cancelled and I had to make my own arrangements for a return ferry. Eurotunnel were making arrangements for clients to be carried by the Ferry companies on the day of the fire (Friday) but subsequently travellers were on their own. I would get a refund of the price I had paid for my ticket.

No chance for me to charge them an amendment fee. My ticket was a frequent traveller and had cost me £59. The ferry that I booked cost me £160 - last minute bookings don't come cheap. Admittedly I elected to come back Cherbourg to Poole as there was little point in driving all the way to Calais to take a ferry and in any case I had been told that the Calais ferries were full. These were the T&Cs I signed up to so I'm not complaining other than to make the comment that they are one sided. Unfortunately this was the first trip on a new batch of 10 tickets so I've now got 9 tickets to use and am hoping the Tunnel will be open for normal business in sufficient time for me to use them.

I prefer to look on the bright side as there were a number of positives - at least nobody was killed in the fire, in order to arrange return bookings we joined our local library in France to get internet access and found they have a great range of local information books. Perhaps best of all we had not used the Cherbourg-Poole route before and found it a real joy. Return in the evening and home for bed and a very good dinner in the restaurant made for a much more relaxing return trip. At that price we won't be using it too often but if we can get lower prices by booking ahead will do so.

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As a general rule, you will probably get better prices with LD Lines when booking well in advance. The opposite often applies with Brittany Ferries, as I often hear of people checking fares after booking and finding prices are slightly lower. If BF has spare capacity the company will sometimes reduce fares to fill the space; the system is driven by expected demand and actual supply. Bear in mind that with all ferries except the small high speed ones it's the freight traffic that provides the bulk of the income. You and I are either a bonus or an inconvenience, depending on company policy. That's why you don't get the same 'seat sales' offered by budget airlines. You did in the days of duty free sales, but that was a different situation altogether.

LD Lines tends to follow its terms and conditions to the letter as far as amendments are concerned - but can sometimes be sympathetic if you speak to the right person.

I have had some very good fares with BF for crossings booked at the last minute, and have also made changes to bookings; even getting a refund when the new voyage is in a lower price band than the old.

With the cost of oil at its current high level - and environmental regulations in force in the Channel, North Sea and Baltic dictating the use of low-sulphur fuels rather than the cheaper bunker fuel permitted in mid-Ocean - ferry prices are highly unlikely to fall.

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We used to live not that far from Will and one of the so called benefits was to get to Caen Cherbourg Le Havre and if needed St Malo pretty quickly.  Less than an hour in most cases and thus day crossings and as a traveller member 'free' cabins for day crossings.

Now the Vendee and to catch the 09.00 crossing its up at a very early hour to get to Caen.  The say the afternoon crossing back say 22h.00 in Caen then perhaps driving in the dark say 03h.00 getting home.  As I am getting older driving in the dark is a very real pain.

The end result is that cabins overnight both ways and coming back to St Malo so about 2 and a bit hours to home overall cost now £350 even in October November.  Thus a disadvantage in costs but I have to say the weather here and the cultural side is better than where we lived in Normandie but at the same time Normandie is wonderful and has lots of attractions that the Vendee does not.

However travelling home is now a problem especially as La Rochelle is effectively close to aircraft for the winter.

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We travelled back BF Caen to Portsmouth on Thursday afternoon - the boat was packed, so much so that I could not get the door of my vehicle open sufficiently to get into the driver's seat until the car in the next row moved!  Obviously they are filling up because of the tunnel problem, so they are doing well.

 

 

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