channel rough seas?

Jun 20th, 2003, 05:34 AM
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channel rough seas?

I was planning to take the ferry or hovercraft from Calais to Dover. After reading some of the posts about the rough water I am beginning to second guess my self. Is the channel routinely very rough? We will be traveling July 19th does the season help dictate the water? I am from Seattle, it can be a bit stormy here in the winter, but it has never caused the ferry to pitch enough to cause seasickness. We are leaving on a cruise from Dover, and if we took the eurostar we would still need to get from Ashford to Dover. Ferry seems to make more sense. Any comments to help me make a choice?
virginia1919 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 06:09 AM
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There are no hovercraft running any more. Hoverspeed run fast catamarans, but they are best avoided. The ships run by P&O and Seafrance are mostly between 20,000 and 30,000 gross tons, which is bigger than many cruise ships. They are big ships and it is very unlikely that you will notice much movement on a crossing in July. Sea-sickness is largely psychological: if you are worried about it, you are more likely to be sick, the same as you can be sick if you are very nervous about anything else. The ferries have bars and restaurants, and open decks where you can breathe the sea air and see the white cliffs approaching.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 06:18 AM
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And if you're worried about it; take the train instead! Although I don't think you will have a problem on the ferry in July.
Tulips is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 06:18 AM
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I've only ever heard of people having trouble with the longer crossings. The Harwich Hook of Holland trip can be a bit rough sometimes.
However when you get about halfway from Dover to Calais you can see the white cliffs on both sides. It's really no distance at all.
Jun 20th, 2003, 06:36 AM
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Have crossed the channel on a ferry on numerous occasions, but the only time I felt really seasick was on a hovercraft! and as Geoffhammer says, they don't run anymore. And part of the fun is roaming around the duty free shops and restaurants onboard.
EnglishOne is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 07:21 AM
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I used to be very susceptible to travel sickness as a child, yet my school and family trips often entailed trips across the Irish Sea or Channel. When it's bad it is difficult to walk and the items in the shop roll around the shelves (and even the floor), so I recommend taking travel sickness pills 30 - 60 minutes before setting off. They worked for me. You can also get wrist bands to help with travel sickness.

As others have mentioned, it's largely psychological, so the act of taking the pills has a placebo effect as well as a genuine curative effect. And it's also unlikely to be so bad during summer.

Bon voyage!
melr is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 07:27 AM
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I'm not sure why GoeffHamer says that the Hoverspeed is best avoided. We took it from Dover to Calais in late May and it was a fast and smooth trip. I wasn't particularly aware of rough water and the trip itself took 35-40 minutes - A reasonable experience from start to finish.
mamc is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 07:48 AM
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Hoverspeed's catamarans are scheduled to take one hour, compared with up to an hour and a half for this ships. Obviously, if the sea is calm, you will have a smooth crossing whichever vessel you use - they use the same stretch of sea. However, the catamarans are much smaller and lighter than the ships, therefore if the Channel is not smooth, the fast craft will be less comfortable than a bigger ship. The ships also have better catering facilities and more open deck space where you can get fresh air and see the white cliffs.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 08:18 AM
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Whoa whoa WHOA!! Seasickness is largely psychological?? I don't THINK so!! That can only have been written by someone who has never gotten seasick.
Marilyn is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 12:38 PM
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having done this route trip 50+ times I would say :

1)Very unlikely to have rough sea in summer
2)Fast catamaran is worth taking. If it is rough, you only suffer for 45 minutes (and in Dec last year it was the cheapest option)
3) The catamaran we took used to do Goteborg : Frederikshavn which can be much worse
4)If you're still worried ........... take the tunnel

just another point : there are no duty frees any more.
But you can buy at French prices during the crossing (and French prices are often much cheaper than the previous "so called duty frees")


mpprh is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 02:01 PM
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We're taking the EuroStar from Paris to Ashford International on July 18... also picking up a cruise. Are you on Celebrity's Constellation?
SandyR is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 02:08 PM
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As you're already planning to join a cruise, I can't see why you'd be worried about the ferry. As has been said, the ferries are very large, car carrying ferries. It's also a very short, 20 mile trip (people swim it remember, mad though they might be), and in July you'd be very unlucky to get severe weather. I really wouldn't worry about it.
Kate is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 02:15 PM
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Thank you Marilyn! Not only do we get touring advice on this site, we also get medical advice - much of it wrong in both fields.
CharlieB is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 03:44 PM
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Marilyn is not wrong. And I don't know why people who are fortunate enough not to get motion sick are so contemptuous of those who do. Have someone put you in a spinning chair with a blindfold on and see if you think it's all psychological after 2 minutes of being spun. And I suppose the problem with the astronauts who lose their lunch is that they need psychotherapy.

It was a sweet day when my college roommate, who used to repeat that same impatient "it's all in your head" refrain, came back from crossing the Indian Ocean by ship and said "I'll never say another word about motion sickness again. I thought I would die."

As it happens, I have some actual information on the science of the problem because an employer required some tests before assigning me to a particularly heavy travel-related job: an EEG, a "caloric" (a gothic test in which they inject ice water into your inner ear to freeze your brain stem), and a few other neurologic charmers. Upshot: some people lose the coordination between vision and balance much more easily than others, and some of those have trouble re-establishing balance once it's lost -- inner ear doesn't do its job. I'm ok if I can orient with the horizon and the shifts in trajectory and changes in G-forces aren't too sudden and repeated. But once I've lost it, I don't get my equilibrium back for about 24 hrs.

Now then, about the channel: I'll never forget my first crossing. There were boards by the Folkestone ferry reporting the water condition, and they said "light chop." I soon learned that "light chop" meant that if you stood in the bow, the horizon would shift from below you to hidden behind the tops of the nearest waves. When they asked us to go below decks to have our passports stamped, I refused and managed to keep my cookies down until we docked -- got the passport stamped then. All I could think was "if that's 'light chop,' what on earth is 'heavy chop' or even 'rough'?"

Now I fly.
cfc is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 06:57 PM
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Sandy R,
we are on the Constellation. Have you gotten it all together? I am getting excited trying to finish up these last minute details! And thanks to all who responded. I do not have a fear of seasickness, but reading some of the other posts about barfy smelly crossings made me curious enough to ask if others thought it would be an issue. I am now confident that we will be seeing the "White Cliffs of Dover" from the sea side of things. I guess if you are unlucky enough to have a rough crossing just position yourself near someone who looks like they have sea legs and not a predisposition to motion sickness!!!
virginia1919 is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 07:35 PM
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Thank you, cfc. I pride myself on being a tough traveler, no fears, no phobias, I can drive any vehicle ever made, I don't get motion sick or airsick and I am as far from a hypochondriac as you can get.

But I DO get seasick, more often than not. I love the water and being on boats and wish like hell I was one of those lucky people to never get seasick. (Although I have been in some situations where even THEY were feeling a bit queasy.)

Anyway, scopolamine patches are back on the market, thank god. They work like a charm.
Marilyn is offline  
Jun 20th, 2003, 07:49 PM
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Thank heavens the Hovercraft has been withdrawn. The only time in my life I have ever been seasick was on an especially rough Hovercraft crossing to Dover.

Even the attendants were amazed we left port because it was so rough. We had to hug the coast then dash across and back along the coast and into Dover. Ours was the last sailing because conditions got even worse and all other trips that days were cancelled.

You can't believe what it was like - sitting down below in an enclosed cabin, surrounded by very green people, and getting whafts of fuel and other smells.

I fish off the CA coast and have been on a lot of boats - but that was the worst EVER!
janis is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 12:53 AM
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Janis said lt;You can't believe what it was like - sitting down below in an enclosed cabin, surrounded by very green people, and getting whafts of fuel and other smells.>

Oh I know alright! You have described exactly how it was for me on my hovercraft trip (see above post). The only way I kept my Calais light lunch down was staring at a picture on the wall opposite to get some kind of 'steadiness' and praying. It makes me feel sick just to think about it. My friends I was travelling with said I was actually GREY - and they couldnt stop laughing, they found it hilarious. Hmmm.. I wouldnt wish sea sickness on my worst enemy, then again.......?!!!. amp;

EnglishOne is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 09:17 AM
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Janis, can top yours - was on a Channel ferry crossing in weather where the hovercraft did stay in port, European flights were cancelled, double digit deaths as fishing boats went down with all lost, and Margate pier was smashed in half (I think the other half went down in the "hurricane" of 86), waves crashing against the windows. All the booze was running down the boat in rivulets with everything smashed. Oh yeh, and when it came to the scheduled arrival time, we were told we could not get into Dover harbour and we would be another hour going to Folkestone. Never mind, everything in most people's stomachs had well and truly come up and we were all just wretching. Psychological on that trip - do not think so. I am all for planes and trains.
Travelnick is offline  
Jun 21st, 2003, 09:52 AM
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Travelnick: I concede - that sounds even worse!!

EnglishOne: I had a hard time even writing that - the memory was too vivid (and the trip was about 30 years ago! ). You obviously KNOW what it was like too.

The last three posts illustrate - the Channel can indeed be VERY rough - even in Summer.
janis is offline  

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