to their size motorhomes are often charged quite a substantial premium over
cars on ferries and through the 'Chunnel'. All those tempting
special offers widely advertised at anything from £19 upwards will say
'cars only' somewhere in the small print but some do offer good
motorhome deals albeit more like £40-£50 each way at the time of writing. Typical list
fares for high season are £3-400 return for a short crossing and maybe
£7-£800 for a return to Spain with a reasonable cabin.
Eurotunnel have been very expensive until recently with peak fares in
the £5-600+ range but the recession seems to have changed all that! The fierce competition
since 2004 plus the ongoing results of the 2008 financial crisis seem to
have brought fares down considerably.
paid under £100 for return ferries and under £150 for the tunnel
of late - and these are for summertime daytime crossings.
Other than the ferry companies' own websites - obvious or concealed -
the cheapest deals can be from the Caravan Club, the Camping and
Caravanning Club and the Motorhome Ticket Club. The best deals
vary from club to club depending on the routes chosen. Shareholder
deals can be attractive too but often pale into insignificance compared with
the highly competitive short crossing discounts as above. The
longer crossings are not subject to the same fierce competition and are
not usually discounted by much, so shareholder discounts can be
This whole topic is a bit of a thorny one since fares can vary
enormously with the booking method and can also be very high compared
not only with cars but also against caravans. Even worse the fares
have been impossible to fathom in recent years as the ferry companies
play strange marketing games with each other sometimes under somewhat
concealed identities on the web. Speaking of the web did you know that
prices are often dynamic and go up and down with the rate of booking as
well as the booked capacity - so it can be well worth checking at
very-off peak times!
Let me give you an odd example of varying fares; we wanted to book a
short crossing in July and the price given by 'phone by quoting a
"special offer code" was nearly £300 but after much searching and
playing the internet at varying times I got a return crossing on exactly the same boat, on the same day
and at the same time for less than £100. Amazed? Well yes maybe
you are but what if I tell you that the call centre and the website were
owned by exactly the same company?
now owned by DFDS Seaways,
are slightly different, they concentrate mainly on commercial traffic and seem
to charge less for motorhomes - maybe they're babies compared with the
trucks they mostly carry! They operate the Dover to Dunkerque/Dunkirk
route rather than Dover to Calais. On-board there's no McDonalds,
no ball pit, no video wall and very little in the way of shopping but
there is an excellent quiet lounge if you want it. Of course if the big
boys on the Dover Calais route choose to be
aggressive they are unbeatable on price. Eg.
P&O of course but also DFDS and Sea France now reborn as MyFerryLink.
Many of the old companies have gone but others like LD Lines have taken
up old routes to Boulogne and Dieppe, elsewhere look also at Brittany Ferries
and Condor Ferries.