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Crossing Time

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How long does a ferry to France take?

With the increased awareness of ferries to France thanks to the various news issues surrounding the new routes and increased availability combined with the recent National Ferry Fortnight offers many people may now be considering taking a ferry to France for their next business trip or holiday instead of a plane or the Eurotunnel! However, one of the main questions that people as is “How long does a ferry to France take?”, many assume it is time consuming and the savings gained just aren’t worth the money but thanks to the increased routes, facilities on board and flexibility the ferries can now start to overcome some of this stigma and attract new passengers.

A ferry to France crossing from Dover to Calais will take approximately 1 hour 30 minutes and costs from around £15 per person each way depending on whether you are taking a vehicle and so on. This is compared to a flight from London City airport to Paris which costs £90 each way and takes almost the same time at 1 hour 20 minutes, so you would be on the ferry just as long as you would be on the plane but saving almost £150 on fares! This is a great option for those who have a fear of flying and just want to get onto the continent as quick as possible!

When you are on board the ferry to France you will find significantly more facilities than you would if you were on a plane! There is spacious accommodation in cabins if you wish along with restaurants, lounges serving a variety of drinks and some shops if you would like to pick up some gifts on your return ferry!

Travelling by ferry is ideal for families with small children who are worrying about upsetting fellow passengers if their child gets bored or tired of the flight. The kids area on the ferries to France are perfect for children who do not want to sit still for the journey and includes a range of play zones and entertainment from games and children’s cartoons.

More Routes

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Once again things are hotting up news wise on the Channel crossing this week! The opening of the Dover to Calais route last month by DFDS and partner ferry operator LD Lines has been so successful that capacity is going to be increased even further!

DFDS and LD Lines announced that their new ferry to France, Dover to Calais route would be doubled in capacity going from their five current sailings to ten trips across the Channel from each port every day! They will be chartering The Bafleur ship from Brittany ferries and the new sailings will be starting on the 27th April 2012. Doubling the frequency of the service will of course result in more choice for passengers and more convenient sailing times.
In total the DFDS and LD Lines route to France have provided jobs for 300 people which is great news considering the job losses caused by the collapse of SeaFrance earlier in the year.

In addition to the increase in capacity on the Dover to Calais route, DFDS is also increasing capacity and potential routes in other ways. A new deal is resulting in DFDS acquiring four of the ships and three routes from the French ferry operator Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) and is expected to bring a new lease of competition to the industry which of course will ultimately benefit the ferry users and workers in the industry.

This deal between DFDS and LDA will create a new venture with DFDS having a majority 82% stake and will prove strong competition for Eurotunnel who are also looking to purchase some of SeaFrance’s ships to take a share of the Channel crossing ferry market. And this is a deal which is not looking too promising at the minute due to P&O’s recent threats of reporting the potential deal to the on the grounds of competition to the European Commission.
The new venture is expected to start in July and will be operating five routes across nine ships and two of these are on the Dover to Calais crossing as well as a Marseille to Tunis route, DFDS’s first return to Mediterranean crossings since the 1980’s.

Easter in France?

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If you are looking for your next break away to relax from the stresses of work how about spending your Easter break in France? Spring is a beautiful time to visit France and as it is currently National Ferry Fortnight you can use this to your advantage and pick up a great late deal on a ferry to France.
There are many potential destinations in France you could choose to visit. Paris for instance is a three hour trip (or two hour train) from Calais and is an ideal city destination for the weekend! The bustling streets and shops of Paris can also be found to be a little quieter than usually expected due to many Parisian families taking trips to the countryside over the Easter weekend.

As an important religious event in France you will find many attractions offering Easter events and shops decorated with spring flowers, chocolate eggs, chicks and rabbits, all of which are popular symbols which represent Easter. You will also have the opportunity to sample some of the authentic French Easter traditions such as chocolate shaped fish, a church service and Easter egg hunts, perfect if you are travelling with children!

Although Easter eggs were a tradition spanning from the early 1700s the chocolate eggs were introduced in the 19th century in France and of course, being France you will find many authentic Parisian chocolatiers all of them offering a range of the finest traditional chocolate Easter eggs and fish.. You cannot go away without sampling at least one of these fine French treats. The range of chocolate eggs available would please any chocolate fan with rich chocolate eggs filled with caramel, fudge and toffees which are colourfully hand decorated alongside the hand crafted chocolate rabbits.

In regards to the bank holidays, Good Friday (6th April) in France is not a public holiday so you will find all of the shops, attractions and museums open for visitors. Easter Monday on the other hand is a bank holiday across Europe and you will find many facilities closed for the day and those that are open are exceptionally busy such as The Louvre so if you would prefer to avoid the crowds this would be the ideal day to take the ferry back to England.

France from Poole

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With all of the recent goings on in the Channel Tunnel other ferry routes to France have been quite neglected in the news arena but there has still been lots going on you should be aware of. Last week Condor Ferries made an important announcement; due to the Weymouth berth undergoing some considerable repairs which have so far been unsuccessful, ferries to France and the Channel Islands will now depart from the Port of Poole this summer.

This is considered to be excellent news for the Port of Poole after the loss of the Barfleur ferry service last October. As well the port it is also thought to be a fantastic injection to the Poole economy and welcomed by many, especially the local councillors who consider the move as evidence that important businesses are looking to invest in the Poole area in order to help bring the city forward. With the ferry service contributing over £7 million to Weymouth’s economy annually you can why this is a welcomed change for Poole!

The ferry service will run from the Poole port to St. Malo in France, a perfectly traditional Brittany tourist destination and a welcome alternate for those looking for a more relaxed port compared to Calais. The service will also travel to Guernsey and Jersey, an essential route which shows the importance of the relocation of the UK port. Services will be available 9 times per day in March departures starting at 6.30am, the last being 1pm taking approximately 8 hours. In April there will be 22 services throughout the day from 4.30am to 2.30pm. The routes will range from direct Poole to St. Maro services and some connecting services which will require passengers to switch ferries in either Jersey or Guernsey.

The Poole to France ferry service will run for at least the entire summer period; routes after this period are currently unknown.

Anyone who has already booked a ferry to France from the Weymouth port don’t need to worry about changing their bookings or cancellations as any current bookings will be transferred automatically by Condor and you will be contacted in writing in due course.