/ Dover-Calais ferries. To book or not?

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Dave Kerr - on 12 Mar 2013
Heading down to the Alps for Easter and thinking about ferries.

Previous times I've booked a non-flexible ticket and built in a bit of leeway in terms of travel time and I had planned to do this again.

However, a colleague told me that last time they didn't book and had no trouble turning up and getting on a boat. She also said it costs the same as the pre-booked price.

Does anyone have any experience of this? I'll be in a van if that makes any difference.

Ta.
The Papa Lazarou on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr: may depend on size of van. i.e if its a car van like astra or berlingo type or if your talking about a large transit type
Scott_vzr on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr: go at 2am, price will be same or similar.
Enty - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Can't remember who we went with last time but we were about 5 hours early and they put us on the next one for an extra tenner.

E
Enty - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Enty:

It went into a much more expensive time bracket.

E
The Papa Lazarou on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to The Papa Lazarou: forgot to add. always used to use Sea France & book a return ticket that was flexible. dont think we ever returned on the ferry we provisionally booked & there was no extra charge for it. never paid anymore than 130 for it but they dont appear to be around anymore. I think myferry are now operating as them??? spotted them last month on way back from France. heres a link http://www.myferrylink.com/uk?packedargs=site%3DSF_Pax_Uk&campaign=googleukppc&gclid=COnxiK3... maybe give them a go?
Heike - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Dave, from experience, it was always cheaper to book online, even if you just go into the internet caff in Dover and book it there before you go. It's not millions, but from my experience it can be 40 -100 cheaper to book in advance for the return journey.
Enty - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to The Papa Lazarou:

Yes Sea France went tits up at the beginning of 2012 - I know why, because I don't think we ever paid more than 30 quid for a crossing.
Myferry now operate the same boats.

E
In reply to Dave Kerr: I've only booked Dunkirk-Dover in recent years and was amazed at how cheap it was, anyway one time we ended up at that terminal a day earlier than we had booked for, so I asked how much to go on the next crossing (it was something like 4 am!) and it was about 20 or 30 euros more than we had already paid. Not a massive difference but still some and I imagine if it had been a more normal time of day it would have been more again. That was with Norfolk Line.
The Papa Lazarou on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Enty: aye I guessed it was because of that. we did Dover Calais last month & saw what we thought were the old sea france boats in their new livery. we also changed ferry times then by a few hours early & it cost us 10 in the booking office. that was with P&O
Bruce Hooker - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Always book in advance, some companies charge more if you book on the phone rather than internet and often it has to be at least 24 hours in advance. Your friend may have been referring to the situation many years ago before phone and internet booking was common - back then you could just turn up, choose the next ferry and buy your ticket, but that was a long time ago.

Apart from the price at certain times of the year ferries can be full up - I just got an email from Eurotunnel warning me that for Easter some days were nearly full already for the "frequent traveller" ticket I use (10 trips to be used over 12 months). Nowadays with internet you can check out the few companies concerned quite easily.

If you do book you can usually go earlier or later without paying more unless they are full or the change puts you in a more expensive crossing - they all seem to have about three different prices. It's well worth planning in advance, which is a pain but it's the way the world has gone, like for trains and planes spontaneity seems to be out of fashion.

PS. I worked out the other day that I must have crossed the channel for getting on for 400 times now and it changes fairly often so it's always worth checking rather than assume that a company that was cheap still is, or exists even!
Run_Ross_Run - on 12 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Book in advance. Dont just turn up and buy at the counter.

Cost us 3 times what a internet booking would have been to get home when we went to the port and purchased there.

Crazy.
Dave Kerr - on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Seems like a strong consensus for booking. Cheers folks.
Kimberley on 13 Mar 2013
In reply to Dave Kerr:

best to always book, I've been stung in the past.

Previously used Norfolkline but it's now DFDS so for my trip leaving on Friday tunnel was best at 75 with 2hrs leeway either side of 8am. Also no extra for vehicle with roof bo, you just have to tell them.
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MooseMouse - on 13 Mar 2013
To confirm, you will pay much more if you pay at the counter. Last time I travelled last April the price went up about 6 hours before and I ended up buying on line for about 50 more than than the earlier online price, but about 70 less than the counter price.

I pushed the buy button as we rolled into the ferry terminal to make sure I was paying for the right sailing time.
They always seem to sting you for about 20 if you sail turn up early or late, plus the difference in the fare price.

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