Ferries from France to Portsmouth

(18 Posts)
GnarlyOldGoatDude Wed 04-Nov-15 13:17:53

Advice please- can anyone compare travelling back from either St Malo or Caen to Pompey please? Going to Vendee this summer, going out on overnight ferry to St Malo. Could come back either the same route or from Caen instead as seems a bit shorter- any advice? Are the boats any different? Thanks in advance smile

whattodo12 Wed 04-Nov-15 18:24:10

Sorry I only have experience of Caen, but the ferry back leaves around 4.30 from memory and gets into Portsmouth about 9.30 - worked for us for 3 yrs running. We didn't bother with a cabin as it's day and found enough seats together for it not to be a problem.

seaswimming Wed 04-Nov-15 20:04:22

we went to the vendee 4 years in a row and always got the Portsmouth St Malo overnight one out as you spend most of it asleep, kids think it's dead exciting and you arrive nice and early so can be at your vendee campsite around lunchtime.
Coming back always more difficult to decide - we have never done the same crossing back as it's so long - takes all day.
There is a high speed one from Cherbourg which takes 3 hours (have not done this but did the previous high speed one from Caen which doesn't run anymore) - I'd be tempted to go for this if times suit as so much faster.
Otherwise the rest of them are all about 6 hours which are OK.
We do tend to get a cabin - for a daytime crossing is only about £20 for a cabin and we have either done a morning crossing so have had to get up early to get there and then taken it in turns to doze on the boat. Or we do an afternoon one and get the kids showered and in PJ's on the boat so they can sleep in car home and then go straight to bed. Is also nice to have your own space on a longer crossing.
We've met other people in vendee driving back to Calais which is also possible as then far shorter crossings and much more choice of times.
Have not noticed any difference in the boats really - all are pretty good.
Think is just the ones for the really long crossings (to Spain) which are different - have swimming pools etc,

SwedishEdith Wed 04-Nov-15 23:53:05

Have a look at Le Havre - not much further a drive. I was a little worried about how basic the boat might be as it was "economique" or something, but it was fine. Great food in the restaurant plus a smaller self-service place. We got a day cabin as well and, although we didn't use it that much, it's still nice to have in case you just want a rest.

GnarlyOldGoatDude Thu 05-Nov-15 09:19:56

Brilliant, thanks everyone. Will have a look. Wasn't going to get a cabin on the way back, but the idea of getting them clean and into PJs is a great one.

We did Eurotunnel and Calais last year, and the 7 hour drive was just too much for us and the kids, hence trying ferry this year.

Dazzalm Thu 12-Nov-15 00:04:16

We have done this twice. The first time we sailed to Caen arriving around 9pm and stayed in an ibis hotel overnight before driving to the Vendee next day. We had left it to late to book a cabin on the overnight St Malo ferry.

This year though, we booked early enough to get a cabin which was much better in my opinion.

Both times we have come back from Caen as the ferry is in the afternoon (rather than the St Malo one in the morning ) so we could leave the Vendee at a reasonable time and have the day to get back to the port. I think the drive from/to Caen adds about an hour on to the journey time.

GnarlyOldGoatDude Thu 12-Nov-15 07:36:25

Thank you- we've ended up going to and from St Malo, with a cabin both ways. Will be interesting to see how long it feels and how it compares to the lonnnggggg drive via Calais!

BrendaandEddie Thu 12-Nov-15 07:41:34

warning - we barely slept on the ferry. THey wake you up at silly oclock way before arrival time

SwedishEdith Thu 12-Nov-15 17:52:02

Yeah, you don't get long to sleep but it is such a nice start to your holiday. Especially if you eat in the restaurant and drink wine in the "Yacht Club" bar grin. There's also a reading room on some which is like an old gentleman's club and is very quiet.

lavendersun Thu 12-Nov-15 17:57:22

I would recommend joining Brittany Ferries Club Voyage. I joined recently and saved £300 on two trips, one is bikes only no car so the fare was only about £260 and I paid £148.

The other one includes car, trailer and bikes on the car and I saved £190!

You get 30% off actual ferry fares (car, people, etc..), a free cabin on some sailings (not night time), a £7.90 breakfast allowance if you have got an overnight cabin and some other discount on overnight cabins (can't remember what).

Membership in the first year is more expensive (£135 comes to mind) but after that it is only £60!

Jenijena Thu 12-Nov-15 17:58:35

The st malo overnight crossing there is long enough to have loads of sleep - hurrah. The Caen overnight ones you don't get enough time to have a proper sleep
IMHO. The problem on the way back from st malo is that unless you're in the area, it leaves fairly early. I've done both return trips before but this year came back from St Malo, we were out on deck and saw Dolphins. For that reason alone, it's my favourite crossing. (Done cross channel ferry loads of times and my first time ever seeing them!)

Also yes yes yes to cabin on the daytime crossing. Lovely having somewhere to dump stuff. If you pay for the slightly better one (I think it was £35 rather than £30) you get a TV with CBeebies which may or may not be the best £35 I've ever spent

Jenijena Thu 12-Nov-15 17:59:35

It will definitely be better than the long drive from Calais!

GnarlyOldGoatDude Thu 12-Nov-15 22:54:40

Lots of extra tips, thank you. Yes we've booked the fancier cabin with a telly grin

We were thinking of staying in a hotel near/ in St Malo on the way back, so that the earlyish departure the next morning wasn't too painful.

Jenijena Thu 12-Nov-15 23:04:37

St Malo is a beautiful city and well worth exploring if you get there the night before...

TomHaverford Thu 12-Nov-15 23:08:31

We took a Portsmouth to Le Havre crossing this year. Was much cheaper than Caen and not much longer. 11pm ferry arriving at 8 so a decent sleep in a lovely little cabin. Would def recommend!

IlPorcupinoNilSodomyEst Thu 12-Nov-15 23:14:07

We've just come back, St Malo morning ferry to Portsmouth - Brittany Ferries, lovely ship Bretagne. We got a cabin, so had a mooch around on deck, lunch, did the quiz in the entertainment area then snoozed to Portsmouth. Very relaxing. We stayed in St Malo the night before so it wasn't too much of an effort to get to the ferry for about 9.30am.

Morgan Thu 12-Nov-15 23:14:27

Stay at the Ibis Styles port ( new this year ) with parking in St Malo then you can walk to the old town in 10 mins for dinner and 2 mins from ferry . Second looking around St Malo intra muros it's lovely .

GnarlyOldGoatDude Thu 12-Nov-15 23:15:48

Fab thanks- especially for hotel recommendation and that St Malo is worth a visit. Love mumsnet!! flowers

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