Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

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danielb
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Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby danielb » 7 May 2019, 10:24pm

Just planning a supposedly simple tour with my 10 year-old to Belgium and Holland and I have fallen at the first hurdle:

DFDS's website doesn't seem to let me book for Dover to Dunkirk for an adult, child and two bikes. It only allows me to book for one bike. Nor will it let me book for us separately with a bike each as it won't accept a child booking on its own. I could book two separate adult bookings but she is not an adult and I would pay much more (I think).

Surely this must be a common issue, and their website advertises their services as ideal for cycle tours to Northern France. Does anyone know how to get round this? Can I just book us for one bike and hope for the best or will this fail at the port.

I am reluctant to call them up because it is a premium number and there is also a premium for phone bookings. Also, it should be simple shouldn't it (as cycling groups normally travel with one bike each)? I use GWR to book train tickets with bikes for kids all the time and it is no problem.

Thanks

robing
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby robing » 7 May 2019, 11:14pm

They have live chat during office hours.

brynpoeth
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby brynpoeth » 8 May 2019, 5:07am

Try searching these fora, like problems have often been mentooned
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simonhill
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby simonhill » 8 May 2019, 11:07am

I've travelled on that ferry 3 times in recent years.

First time, I booked a return with bike, but due to delayed train on outbound ex Dover, I missed ferry and just caught the next one. On return, due to rain, I caught a ferry a day earlier. Both times they just let me board, no charge, etc.

Last year (Saturday in early July), I just turned up at Dunkirk port and bought a ticket for the next ferry.

My point is that booking doesn't appear to be necessary - there is usually always space for a bike and one more (foot) passenger. Not sure if this would be more expensive than pre booking, but you could at least make your booking face to face.

captain offensive
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby captain offensive » 8 May 2019, 12:28pm

Might be worth trying them on Twitter or email but I suspect you'll be good with just one bike booking. Used the ferry (from Dunkirk) in the summer and they just strap the bikes onto the deck. They don't have limited number of proper bike racks or anything that could limit numbers

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mjr
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby mjr » 8 May 2019, 12:58pm

captain offensive wrote:Might be worth trying them on Twitter or email but I suspect you'll be good with just one bike booking. Used the ferry (from Dunkirk) in the summer and they just strap the bikes onto the deck. They don't have limited number of proper bike racks or anything that could limit numbers

DFDS Dover-Dunkirk do have a limited number of proper bike racks near the doors (visible in a pic described as "a small corner with railings" on this travelogue), but they do also let people just strap the bikes onto rails around the deck if they're busy.
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captain offensive
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby captain offensive » 8 May 2019, 1:03pm

mjr wrote:DFDS Dover-Dunkirk do have a limited number of proper bike racks near the doors (visible in a pic described as "a small corner with railings" on this travelogue), but they do also let people just strap the bikes onto rails around the deck if they're busy.


Interesting. The ferry I was on there were three of us with bikes and no sign of that rack; they did just direct us to strap onto the deck

simonhill
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby simonhill » 8 May 2019, 5:23pm

There is more than one ship.

On my last trip I was directed to the open deck area towards the bow. It was a bit rough, so I sneaked my bike back a bit to avoid any spray. About 10 other bikes were on the ferry, they were on the open deck.

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mjr
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby mjr » 8 May 2019, 7:10pm

simonhill wrote:There is more than one ship.

Three of them, ordered from Samsung at the same time and with the same bike racks. I've travelled on Dover and Dunkerque Seaways and the link above shows Delft Seaways.

I wonder why the crew told you to use the open deck instead of racks or rails :(
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danielb
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby danielb » 8 May 2019, 8:53pm

Thanks for the comments.

I have found out some more through painful email exchanges with 'customer services'. It seems that you cannot book a group of cyclists on-line, only one-by-one (which always risks finding that the capacity has been reached before finishing booking the group - I don't know how likely that is, though). Also, price seems to be per bike not per person so it is not cheaper for a child. Turning up on spec is not a good idea as the price is more than double.

However, children cannot be booked on their own and I think that it is probably risky to book a child separately as an adult and then turn up without a child booking. (Incidentally, they don't take foot passengers at all now, which seems to be because it is too much hassle to have a separate system for dealing with the very few that there would be at the port.)

So I think the only way to book more than one cyclist together on there same ferry, whether or not it includes a child, is by phone, at a premium, which is somewhat galling not to mention more of a hassle.

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mjr
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby mjr » 8 May 2019, 9:06pm

I'm surprised DFDS don't waive the phone premium for bookings their website can't take, like Stena do.
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danielb
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby danielb » 8 May 2019, 9:15pm

I'm surprised DFDS don't waive the phone premium for bookings their website can't take, like Stena do.


I'll find out tomorrow. I really hope Stena aren't as difficult to deal with as I want to come back from Hook of Holland to Harwich!

robing
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby robing » 8 May 2019, 9:40pm

Have you thought about using the channel tunnel?

https://www.eurotunnel.com/uk/traveller ... /bicycles/

The booking number is a regular phone number, not premium rate.

captain offensive
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Re: Booking Dover - Dunkirk ferry with child and bikes

Postby captain offensive » 8 May 2019, 9:52pm

I've taken a look at 'say no to 0870' website and you should be able to avoid the premium rate number by trying 020 8127 8303