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Ferry from Dover to Calais OR Eurostar from Ashford to Calais?

Ferry from Dover to Calais OR Eurostar from Ashford to Calais?

Old Mar 9th, 2012, 06:41 PM
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Ferry from Dover to Calais OR Eurostar from Ashford to Calais?

DILEMMA:
We need to travel from England(Ashford or Dover) to Calais, France, where we will pick up a rental car.
The Eurostar only runs ONCE a day from Ashford to Calais, at 7:35AM.
OR
The ferry runs every hour or so from Dover, upon which we would be foot passengers.

Has anyone done either of these? Preference?

We will have a rental car that we will need to return before heading to Calais, France. I am concerned the 7:35am(Eurostar) departure doesn't leave us enough time. On the otherhand I am concerned the ferry terminal is inconvenient and overall more difficult.

Your input is very appreciated...3 1/2 weeks to trip.

Thoughts? Experience?
Thanks
Tina
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 08:51 PM
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We've caught the Eurostar many times but I thought it only went to Lille, Brussels or Paris. Is it the train carrying cars that goes to Calais? If you don't have to go to Calais, but can go to another city in France, you could travel to Lille and get your hire car there. Eurostars to Lille would be more than once a day, they depart St Pancras frequently all day, although I know not all stop at Ashford.

We've also caught a ferry from the UK to France, but not the same routing you are looking at. If I had the choice I'd choose the train, it just seems simpler to me. Have you compared costs - not just the train/ferry fare but the getting to the train and port etc?

Someone else may know about the train going to Calais. I'm not sure if you can be a foot passenger on the train that carries cars, you could check the very useful website www.seat61.com

Kay
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 08:59 PM
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Assuming your start and end points are fixed, then it comes down to how you define inconvenient and difficult. How many of you are there, how much luggage do you have, does any of you have mobility difficulties, and how far away is the rental drop-off?

I've been as a foot passenger on the ferry, but I was driven there and we parked at Dover terminal and just sailed across for a few hours. Presumably you could get a taxi from your rental drop-off to the terminal (and from the terminal to your rental place in Calais), but would have to get your luggage on and off the ferry. If memory serves, that's going to involve staircases, possibly rather narrow ones, and possibly quite a walk from wherever the taxi drops you to the ferry itself.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 09:35 PM
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Kay is plain confused. Of course there are Eurostars to Calais-Frethun(has she really "caught the Eurostar many times" and seen neither the station at Frethun nor the departure boards that include Frethun as a stop?).

The faffing about as a foot passenger on a ferry takes literally hours, what with buses to the ship at Dover and taxis or waiting for buses at Calais. And that's apart from the luggage horrors. If 0735 really is too early for you, drive to Ebbsfleet, whence there are slightly more frequent trains. It'll still be quicker from a hotel in Kent to the Hertz or Avis depot in Calais than messing about with the ferry.

Or get the train from Ashford to Lille and collect a car there.

Cross Channel ferries just aren't designed for foot passengers any more. Many won't accept them and the cost of handling them safely makes fares astonishingly high, as well as making the experience extraordinarily unpleasant for people with luggage. Fine if you're a 17 year old backpacker. But even a school parties have their own buses these days to avoid all the nasties.

The anti-foot passenger bias applies to all cross-Channel routes: driving to Ramsgate or wherever won't make things any easier.
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Old Mar 9th, 2012, 10:35 PM
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The way you framed the issue, Ashford/Dover to Calais, pretty much boxed you into unsavory choices as you found out. If you can accomplish your objectives by crossing the Channel other ways, there are many other attractive options as others pointed out.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 12:14 AM
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Flanner, there is simply no need to be rude.

Neither my husband or I remember any of the Eurostar trains we caught at St Pancras going to Calais. Maybe they do, I don't give two hoots about it, and am simply trying to help the original poster.

Kay
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 02:01 AM
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I have done the foot passenger thing and its a bit of a pain. The ferry ride itself is fine, but getting to it from the Dover train station requires a taxi ride (with everyone on the train looking for a taxi if they are going to the ferry) which costs money and time. Then on the other side you also need to catch a taxi and fight with all the others to get one. Its a pain.

I would opt for the early Eurostar. Have you checked into getting your rental car at Lille? I think the eurostar has more options than for Calais.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 03:16 AM
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Avis have a car rental location right at Dover Eastern Docks and another at Calais port. Not sure how a foot passenger gets from there to the ferry (think you have to pick up the eticket from the Ferry Terminal and from there to the ferry is quite a distance so that could be the bus transfer). Car rental place might provide transfer to the ferry terminal, worth asking. I've only done the foot passenger thing once and that was when the Eurostar train from Paris to London broke down outside Frethun and they arranged a bus/ferry back to Dover. Even so, dropping off the car at another Eurostar location in the Uk and picking up car rental at Frethun TGV station or Lille might be better.
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Wonderful and helpful responses!!!
We will book the Eurostar from Ashford to Calais.

We are visiting the coast of SE England (thus the Ashford station) and continuing on to Normandy-Bayeux (thus the Calais Station)

I think the early morning wins over the unknown taxi/bus/luggage/ferry/luggage/bus/taxi problem.

Thankyou again,
Tina
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 07:09 AM
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Flanner, there is simply no need to be rude.>

Wasting your time telling that to flanner! Like water off a duck's back!
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Old Mar 10th, 2012, 07:12 AM
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Is it possible to drive to Ebbsfleet International station, return car and hop on Eurostar trains there to Calais-Frethun or Lille (not many trains stop at Frethun)

but if you collect your car in Calais town then the ferry may be fine - shuttle buses take you the few miles into town center and you will save money I think over the Eurostar train - I have taken ferries many times as a foot passenger - just show up at Eastern Docks and hop on. On a nice day it is a nice jaunt - seeing the Cliffs of Dover fade away and the French/Belgian coast in the distance.
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 06:03 AM
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Flanner, there is simply no need to be rude.

Neither my husband or I remember any of the Eurostar trains we caught at St Pancras going to Calais. Maybe they do, I don't give two hoots about it, and am simply trying to help the original poster.>

Most people would not realize there is a station at Frethun, at French exit of tunnel - it is just a small platform out in the middle of nowhere and practically no trains stop here.

Ironically a few years ago flanner did not even know there was a Eurostar station at Ebbsfleet! Pot calling the kettle black IMO.
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 07:18 AM
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"Ironically a few years ago flanner did not even know there was a Eurostar station at Ebbsfleet!"

Understandable since a few years ago - there was no a station a Ebbsfleet . . .
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 04:18 PM
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Well janis my dear it was well after Chunnel trains were indeed already stopping at Ebbsfleet - flanner criticizing someone else for exactly what he failed to note - sorry you feel like apologizing for such rudeness on flanner's part, but am I surprised?

Cheers!
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Old Mar 12th, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Just like I apologize for your white emulsion fueled rants . . .
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Old Apr 30th, 2012, 10:49 AM
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Update: We took the Eurostar from Ashford to Calais. Seamless. Thanks for the input everyone.
Tina
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