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Old 08.12.2014, 06:15
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Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

Any thoughts on the cost difference for those who have bought directly at the port and online? I am concerned about traffic conditions, and don't want, if I arrive late, to lose my booking. Any info on the subject will be much appreciated. Also, is there any difference from leaving from Calais, Dunkirque, or the next one over to the west? The name I cannot remember. Also, I might need to stay on in the UK an extra day or two. How much more is it to buy to one way tickets, as opposed to round trip? Can the round trip dates be altered?
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Old 08.12.2014, 07:36
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

The purchase of tickets on line is easy. We have travelled on P&O and DFDS with no massive problems from Calais and Dunkirk. The terms and conditions for the tickets are clearly explained around flexibility .


With DFDS the ferries are much less frequent so is you miss one you feel it more BUT they usually are much cheaper.




The Chunnel is more flexible but often a lot more expensive : but also they are really flexible on changing times.


Your key I think is the possibility that you might have to delay a day : this can move you into realms of more flexible tickets or as you say purchase single tickets perhaps at short notice. I would recommend look at what short term singles look like ( by look at prices in the next few days ) as I assume they run a similar model to Easy jet etc where process go up significantly on or around day of purchase.
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Old 08.12.2014, 07:39
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

I am having issues with my credit card as well, so might have to go the cash way. So far, the train/chunnel actually has been the cheapest so far I was looking. Is the rates the same for that online or not?
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Old 08.12.2014, 07:51
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

Like everything else it depends on when you're planning to travel. I haven't bought tickets at the port, only beforehand online.

If you're worried about being late book a later ferry to give yourself the extra time. If you arrive earlier, then you may well be put on a earlier ferry if it's not fully booked. We've had that happen a couple of times for us, once by the skin of our teeth.

Dunkirk adds another half an hour to the ferry journey, but can be a bit cheaper though for us we prefer to save the time rather than a few pounds. You only have a choice between Calais, Dunkirk or the Tunnel - nothing sails from Boulogne these days unfortunately.

If you pay for a flexible return then you can change things around somewhat, but it will cost you more. Here's DFDS's info for their flexi fares:

"Free amendments to your booking up until the the time of departure.
Full refund up to 48 hours before travel.
Flexibility to travel up to 72 hours either side of your crossing time, subject to availability."

Looking at their website flexi fares are £20 more each way than the cheaper ones so you'll add an extra £40 to whatever you decide to book.
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Old 08.12.2014, 08:14
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

I booked the flexible (aka Premium) with DFDS via Dunkirk - their 72 hour terms mean you can travel pretty much any time you like a couple of days either side of your booking. I like this as it means I can relax and enjoy the trip, stopping for as long as I like in France, treating it like a mini-break rather than a just a journey. What I never understand is that they still vary the price of these tickets by the crossing time, but you're not fixed to that crossing time. So pick the cheapest time, then cross when you want. I paid €146.00 return this time (compares with over €200 on tunnel, or much more for their flexiplus) - you may get cheaper depending on dates.
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Old 08.12.2014, 08:17
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

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I booked the flexible (aka Premium) with DFDS via Dunkirk - their 72 hour terms mean you can travel pretty much any time you like a couple of days either side of your booking. I like this as it means I can relax and enjoy the trip, stopping for as long as I like in France, treating it like a mini-break rather than a just a journey. What I never understand is that they still vary the price of these tickets by the crossing time, but you're not fixed to that crossing time. So pick the cheapest time, then cross when you want. I paid €146.00 return this time (compares with over €200 on tunnel, or much more for their flexiplus) - you may get cheaper depending on dates.
Or you could do what I did in October and buy the ticket online half an hour before the crossing - £25 each way - but I was travelling midweek (although middle of day - cheaper if you go early morning/ evening). Ferrylink, Calais - Dover
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Old 08.12.2014, 08:29
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

I tend to use FerrySavers to get a comparison of prices between the 4 major choices on the Dover/Calais routes: DFDS, P&O, MyFerry (or whatever SeaFrance is now called) and the tunnel.

We have travelled pretty much all options/routes (including LeHavre and Dieppe) and really boils down to where you are in your journey and the time. A lunchtime ferry works well if you want to eat, the same is true (for us) of an 7pm ish one.

The Tunnel is very flexible, and is good if traffic is much lighter or heavier than expected - and the turnround is quicker - and journey time less. If you are doing it in a single dash the time saving can be worth the premium. Especially true when coming back.
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Old 08.12.2014, 08:36
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

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I tend to use FerrySavers to get a comparison of prices between the 4 major choices on the Dover/Calais routes: DFDS, P&O, MyFerry (or whatever SeaFrance is now called) and the tunnel.

We have travelled pretty much all options/routes (including LeHavre and Dieppe) and really boils down to where you are in your journey and the time. A lunchtime ferry works well if you want to eat, the same is true (for us) of an 7pm ish one.

The Tunnel is very flexible, and is good if traffic is much lighter or heavier than expected - and the turnround is quicker - and journey time less. If you are doing it in a single dash the time saving can be worth the premium. Especially true when coming back.
Exactly. We prefer to leave fairly early morning here (around 5am) so we end up at our UK base around 4-5pm depending on the ferry we get. Others have written here on the forum that they prefer to leave late evening and drive through France overnight to get an early morning ferry which could be an option for you if you're worried about traffic problems.
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Old 08.12.2014, 09:25
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

I missed my Dunkirk to dover ferry and they put me on the next one free of charge.
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Old 08.12.2014, 09:26
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

I always book a slightly later ferry than I really want, that way if I'm held up in traffic I'll still make it, and if I arrive early they usually put you on the earlier ferry with no extra charge (my experience with DFDS and P&O).

It always worth checking the French sites of the operators as they sometimes have vouchers that aren't present on the UK sites e.g for my trip this xmas DFDS.fr had a 20% winter break coupon which brought the price down nicely.
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Old 08.12.2014, 10:16
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

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I always book a slightly later ferry than I really want, that way if I'm held up in traffic I'll still make it, and if I arrive early they usually put you on the earlier ferry with no extra charge (my experience with DFDS and P&O).
This is what we do as well. We've never had a problem, and they've always put us on the earliest availabel ferry at no additional charge. Takes the pressure off the journey.
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Old 08.12.2014, 10:30
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Re: Ferry from Calais, Buying Online, Buying at the Port

Really would not take the chance of buying at the port for peak holidays, like Christmas and New Year though. EuroTunnel are not flexible about times unless it is the train before or after- charges for missing your choice of slots can be huge. You can buy a Flexiticket, but they are much more expensive..

Some ferries have many crossings, others not. We've twice arrived much earlier than expected, then had to sit in the car for 2 hours anyhow because there was no earlier crossing!

Last edited by Odile; 08.12.2014 at 15:19.
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