Dover to Calais Ferry
The Dover to Calais ferry was my first experience with a ferry and I was very excited when we boarded. Unfortunately my excitement didn`t last long because I didn`t feel well for most of the trip. I was definitely not born with sea legs.
Why is this route so popular among travelers?
Calais is the traditional entry point for cross-channel ferries into northern France and gives easy access to most of the north-east, including the French capital, Paris. It is also well situated for excellent transport links to Belgium and further into the continent. The Dover – Calais ferry route is one of the busiest in the world, with many crossings available everyday.
The Port of Dover is very busy especially over weekends. Not only do they transfer passengers but also vehicles. It was quite a sight to see our tour bus going on board. We also didn`t have to worry about our luggage as it was taken care of by Contiki. Our check-in went smoothly and before I knew it, my passport was stamped and I was admiring the White Cliffs of Dover from the deck.
The ride takes about 90 minutes and there is a lot to do on the ferry -shopping,eating and drinking. If you are tired of sitting inside and you want to get some fresh air then pop outside to the deck to admire the view. It is quite windy and can get cold. I felt worse inside the ferry and spent most of the time outside. The ride can be rough and make sure you have some tablets for motion sickness if you are prone to getting sick on a boat or ferry.
This is a very popular route and prices are very competitive. A number of ferry companies transfer passengers between England and France daily. Booking through Contiki definitely had its advantages and we were saved the hassle of buying tickets as it was included in the price of the tour. If you are traveling on your won then you will be pleased to know that all the companies accept online bookings.
Ferry companies that travel between Dover and Calais includes
P & O Ferries (poferries.com) has 5 ships and makes 23 trips a day between England and France. They have the most frequent service has by far. It takes 90 minutes to cross the channel. Return fares are from £70. (Please check their website for up-to-date information and special offers.)
DFDS Seaways (dfdsseaways.co.uk) is a new company that operates one ship five times per day (return crossings). Their prices are very competitive and return fares are available from £58 or £39 for a five-day break. (Please check their website for up-to-date information and special offers.)
There are more companies that travel the channel. I have only mentioned two of them.
How to get to the Dover Ferry Port:
The Dover ferry port is located on the south-east coast of England and is easily connected to the local rail and road networks. Dover’s ferry port is directly linked to the M2/A2 motorways via Canterbury and M20/A20 via Ashford and is just 70 miles from London.
If you are travelling alone and don`t have transport then the best option is to get a train to Dover Priory railway station which is about 5 minutes from the ferry port of Dover by a taxi. The other alternative is to take the regular shuttle bus services that is leaving from outside the station entrance every 20 minutes to Dover Eastern docks. These shuttle services operate between 7:00 am and 21:00 pm daily and the charge is minimal.
Where: Dover (England) to Calais (France)
When: March/April 2004