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Drive to Calais or Dunkirk for deals

It's worth the extra motorway tolls for the cheaper ferry fares

4 January 2011

I FEEL Mike Bevens is incorrect when he states Brittany Ferries fares are not extortionate (Connexion, November). I checked, online, for fares from Caen to Portsmouth sailing one way on December 19 at 8.30 with my Toyota 4x4. The fare was £150.

I fail to see how that is not extortionate, unless the distance between UK and France has doubled in the past 10 years and we haven’t been told.

I can assure you it is cheaper to travel all the way to Dunkirk or Calais and cross to Dover, rather than to cross Caen-Portsmouth and then continue one’s journey in the UK. This is confirmed by some friends who are visiting soon. The cost of crossing from Dover to Calais was £40 return.

Remember, not all the roads in France are toll roads, and there are good, free dual-carriageways to the ports in the north.

Mr Bevens also refers to P&O not being able to make the Portsmouth-Cherbourg route pay. They were generally inefficient, but the fares were cheap – £40 – and the ship was packed solid both ways.

Paul DOODSON
by email

I READ with great interest the letter in defence of Brittany Ferries from group commercial director Mike Bevens. The food on Brittany Ferries is good. I wish I could say the same for passenger safety.

The Safety of Life at Sea (Solas) regulation 13.7.1.5 requires that all passages and escape ways are kept clear of any obstructions, such as cleaning carts, bedding, luggage and boxes of goods, while the ship is under way.

This is defined as the moment of embarkation of the first passenger to the disembarkation of the last passenger.

One hour before arriving in port, it is normal practice, on most Brittany Ferries, for cabin staff to park dirty linen skips and cleaning trolleys in the corridors. At least 30 minutes before arriving in port, all cabin passengers are required to quit the cabins to allow the cabins to be serviced.

The corridors through the cabin areas, which are protected escape routes under the Solas regulations, then become seriously obstructed. Should there be an emergency, such as a collision, a fire, an explosion, a loss of engine power or loss of generating power, passengers may have the need to move quickly through these obstructed escape routes.

I brought this breach to the attention of Brittany Ferries some years ago. If Mr Bevens is really committed to good service, I suggest he starts with passenger safety.

Peter HINDLEY
Réans, Gers

Brittany Ferries group commercial director Mike Bevens told the Connexion: “Your correspondent’s claim in respect of our safety arrangements is totally without foundation. Brittany Ferries’ number one priority is safety and we are regularly audited on such matters by the French authorities, without whose approval we would not be able to operate.”

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