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Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 25 May 2016, 2:53pm
by hamster
LeBrignall wrote:No the booking is for 17 August (a weds) and coming back the following Sunday night. It's peak period, but I can't see how foot passengers can any cost to the operation. A bike hardly takes any space….


They have a limitation on the number of passengers they can carry for the safety classification (lifeboats etc). So, they make a quota of the number of cars, trucks etc they allocate for the sailing.

Book early and you are fine...book late when it's busy and you risk problems. For example, all cycling places were gone by December 2014 after the 2015 TdF route came out for the days around the Normandy / Brittany stages.

Condor via Poole and the Channel Islands seem more flexible.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 25 May 2016, 5:05pm
by meejozzz
What Hamster ^ said. We booked last October from Pompey overnight to Caen with cabin (with a porthole!) and the fast cat back home from Cherbourg to Pompey and it cost £100 all in.


I'm a trendy consumer. Just look at my wobbly bog brush using hovercraft full of eels

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 25 May 2016, 5:58pm
by manybikes
I am using BF on Friday, Portsmouth to Caen. Booked last November. Price £50 each for two of us, one way only.
I don't think this is too much - after all they have to run a business and make a profit (or at least not too much of a loss). Six hours cruising, enjoying the views leaving and reaching port with the possibility of seeing some marine life as well.
Turn up to the booking in booth, ride down the car park, and straight onto the ferry where you are directed where to tie it up.
So much easier and less stressful than trying to pack a bike up to fly and worry about its condition upon arrival.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 25 May 2016, 6:18pm
by nmnm
I haven't used them for a few years but I used to wait until all the cabins and £3 reclining seats were sold, and buy a ticket without accom. I suppose the lifeboat capacity must've been more than the accom capacity on the old Quiberon.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 25 May 2016, 6:31pm
by horizon
Space for people to report good experiences and cheap tickets with BF

I tried to get away from our local port Plymouth to France or Spain in February. I was refused a booking by BF because I wanted to go by bike and leave the car at home. This was a painful incident for me as I passionately believe that travel by bicycle is better for the world. The ship that might have accommodated me was having its funnels altered to be less polluting. Distraught by the ironic lunacy of it all, I eventually flew with the bike-hating Ryanair and left the bike at home. To avoid my falling into the trap of thinking that companies like BF are blinkered and ignorant and lack a sense of fairness and responsibility, I would appreciate it if you could list on this thread all the good experiences you've had with BF and thus obliterate what is obviously my false memory syndrome. Thank you.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 25 May 2016, 8:04pm
by ChrisF
horizon wrote:Space for people to report good experiences and cheap tickets with BF

I would appreciate it if you could list on this thread all the good experiences you've had with BF and thus obliterate what is obviously my false memory syndrome. Thank you.

I've been on BF from Plymouth to Roscoff loads of times, sometimes alone and sometimes in a group. Sometimes booked the same day and sometimes months in advance (never been in 'high' season though, always May or September). Cabins are no problem if there is a group of you; if alone I just book a reclining seat (but there's loads of empty space around the seats so I always end up lying on the floor in my sleeping bag).
Only once have I had any issue with BF, when once (on the return journey) there was docker's strike (it was their own staff) and the sailing was cancelled at the last minute. We had to find emergency accommodation in France for an extra night and BF refused to compensate us (eventually they gave us a £25 voucher each).
Apart from this one incident (one sailing out of 20 or more) I have been very happy with BF and bikes.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 25 May 2016, 8:48pm
by horizon
I've been using BF for years on most of their routes. They were never cheap but as I said, that's due to their crossing at the widest points or even to Spain. P&O have pulled out so it obviously wasn't a brilliant money spinner. They are also not the only ferry company to ban bikes.

My anger was about a matter of principle: a car shouldn't go free and bikes should always be allowed. Like FGW, faced with a problem, they just banned bikes. That's not the action of a responsible company. I will use them again later in the summer and I expect I'll get a reasonable deal. But I would like them to wake up to the world they live in - one that isn't just about commercial realities.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 26 May 2016, 2:41am
by nmnm
horizon wrote:Book your bike on in February. Sorry, all bikes banned!

I don't see this blanket bike ban - the website is not accepting bookings for 2017 yet but Plymouth-Roscoff is quoting £90 return in November for 1 person with bike (w/ reclining seat for accom).
The car+ 4 adults price is only £20 more than 4 cyclists price, which is irritating though, for sure.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 26 May 2016, 3:27am
by Snow
Could they not just reserve a couple of car spaces for bikes? Then if money is the issue just charge accordingly to off set the cost for those with bikes, though if they only use say 2 car spaces it shouldn't be a huge financial problem and you can fit in a few bikes.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 26 May 2016, 4:28am
by nmnm
Snow wrote:Could they not just reserve a couple of car spaces for bikes?
It sounds like they were running out of passenger space upstairs, not vehicle/bike space downstairs. As Hamster says, they're running a quota system to make sure they sell as many of those dearer +car tickets as they can. Maybe they ought to consider dynamic pricing, like airlines, rather than quotas and shut-off points and bans. Hopefully, their next boat has fewer car spaces, more passenger capacity. :D

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 26 May 2016, 7:10am
by MrsHJ
Is £120 the total return price for you and your bike in July? It doesn't sound wildly expensive to me or am I misunderstanding something? Flying would be more expensive once you added the cost of carriage of the bike in. My main problem is funding the whole family but I have get on with it or not travel- the boy and I are flying to Amsterdam with our bikes from Exeter in August and it's way more than £120 return each plus we have to pay extra to transport the bikes.

I use Brittany a fair bit and agree with other views that the economics are a bit challenging for them- ferry crossing use to France is gradually falling and isn't economically that great (as you can see from the number of routes closing). Dover Calais crossings are a lot cheaper but I'm not up for the 6-7 hour drive to get there.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 26 May 2016, 8:39am
by psmiffy
Ive used Brittany a fair amount - sometimes I book - sometimes I just turn up on the quay - sometimes due to the trains being banjaxed Ive taken a different boat than I intended (my somewhat lackadaisical approach to tour planning allows for this approach) - never had a problem - and never felt particularly outraged at how much Ive paid.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 26 May 2016, 11:54am
by ossie
£120 return during August doesnt sound that bad to me......£60 each way peak season ..

Even off peak I usually pay in the region of £50 just to get home from a French port...perhaps £40 to get out (£60 from Harwich overnight) .

Just looking at Condor, in the region of £40-£60 plus each way..UK/France in June for a foot passenger..

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 26 May 2016, 10:18pm
by RJS
Slightly off at a tangent but, horizon, there are two Dartmouth/Kingswear ferries the higher one is the cheaper, 50p. It was actually free to cyclist for a while after they introduced their new bigger, faster ferry.
Cheers, Rob.

Re: Brittany ferries - crazy prices

Posted: 27 May 2016, 7:19am
by MrsHJ
RJS wrote:Slightly off at a tangent but, horizon, there are two Dartmouth/Kingswear ferries the higher one is the cheaper, 50p. It was actually free to cyclist for a while after they introduced their new bigger, faster ferry.
Cheers, Rob.


And there is a card for frequent users (£12 for 40 journeys by foot/cycle) that's about quarter of the cost to visitors ....maybe just me that needs it here of course!