* Prices may differ from that shown
I booked to travel with Condor from Weymouth to Jersey and from Jersey to Poole on the return route. I was travelling with a car, caravan and two dogs. I intentionally chose the Poole return route because the boat would arrive in time for me to book into a caravan site for the night. As I live in Gloucestershire and store the caravan at a depot in Devon, I could not possibly return home on the night the ferry arrived. The outward journey went well and arrived only slightly late. I found the booking-in and loading arrangements at Weymouth very efficient. The services on the ferry are reasonable, though not outstanding and the cooked food was pretty average for the price. However, a week later, I was devastated to discover that the Poole service was suddenly cancelled (maintenance problems, apparently). My only option was to take the much later service back to Weymouth - this did not arrive until after 11 pm. I knew that no camping/caravan site would allow me to book in so late which left me, as a woman travelling alone, to try and find somewhere safe to sleep for the night. I have to say that the ferry staff were extremely dismissive of my worries and are obviously used to telling their customers that they are not responsible for any consequences of service cancellations. The only solution they could offer was to let me sleep in the port at Weymouth. This left me sleeping in the caravan with no power, no toilet or washing facilities and certainly no sense of being "safe". I had a sleepless, uncomfortable night and arrived home looking more tired than when I left. I wondered how some of the other people who were booked on the Poole ferry managed.
So, if you are planning to travel with Condor, just be aware that they have no compunction about leaving you stranded - it seems that they are not required to make any provision for your comfort or even your safety if they let you down by cancelling their own service. If, like me, you get very little holiday and want to make each day of it as pleasant an experience as it can be, then you would probably be advised not to include Condor in your holiday plans. I love Jersey with a passion, but will not be able to return there while Condor is providing the ferry service. Their contempt for their customers is obviously attributable to the fact that they have no competition - the Jersey States must urgently address this situation if they don't want further damage to their tourist industry.
Condor Ferries is the only choice of boat to get between Guernsey and Jersey. Islanders often use them for local sports teams to get to inter-island sports events, see the Jersey Zoo which Guernsey doesn't have or go shopping as they have more UK brands than we do.
I always use it with my family to see shows in Jersey, as yet again we rarely have them in Guernsey. I use them regularly as there is no choice and usually go to Jersey every couple of months. I have been doing this for years and they have not gotten better in time.
When you arrive at the Guernsey harbour to check in, the queue is usually out the door as they casually let people through to the other side whilst chatting to their colleagues. When you get to the other side you usually have to stand as there is never enough seats. Although this is not Condors problem it is the only boat that uses the harbour.
About 10 minutes before you are supposed to leave they announce that the boat is going to be late. This happens nearly every time and can be between 10 minutes to 2 hours. This is a long time when you just want to get on the boat, especially as the only thing to do is watch one of the few TVs which you can't really see as they try and fit everyone going on the boat in the same small room.
When the boat finally gets to Guernsey people start queuing at the doors before the passengers on the boat have got off. It then takes longer to get on the boat as people are blocking the door even though they know they won't get on until wheelchairs and pushchairs have.
When you get on the boat staff are very helpful at assisting you in finding your seats, but if you go in a group you won't always be sat together. All the seats are different and there are seats I prefer to sit at, some are around tables, some in rows and my favourite is four seats around a table away from the others (which is the only quieter and private seat.) You can pay for better seats but they are noisier as they are right next to the children's area (a room with a TV blasting out and nothing else.)
Soon after the boat leaves the harbour the Duty Free shop opens until just before you arrive at the next harbour. This is a small shop which is always busy and if the boat is particularly rough it can be hard to stay standing as there is little to hold onto. The boat also has a small shop with magazines and a place to buy food and drinks.
When you arrive at your destination the people with cars are taken down first and the foot passengers stand around at the door. This is their choice as they weren't told to leave there seats. When they announce which door for the foot passengers to leave from, it is usually the door they are not queued at which is amusing as it means they are now the last to get out instead of the first.
From then on it is easy to get off the boat, through the harbour and you're free to do whatever you like. The problems begin as you arrive back at the harbour to go home.
When you arrive at Jersey harbour the check in staff are much more efficient than in Guernsey but the delays which happen every time are a lot longer.
The boat we always use is the fast ferry and it is supposed to leave at 8pm. Usually you don't leave until 10:30pm. Until last time I didn't even realise the boat was meant to leave at 8pm as it is always late and I thought it was meant to leave at 9pm (it never does though).
On one particular occasion a few years ago we didn't leave Jersey harbour until 2am the following morning.
When we arrived at the harbour in the evening we were told the boat was going to be a few hours late as it was working with two engines instead of three. They said we had enough time to go to the cinema if we wanted. We stayed in the harbour as their was nothing on at the time and waited. Thankfully they had free internet access which passed time a little but eventually I got bored of that.
They had since told us that it would be a hour longer on top of that. I started to read a 300 page book and although it usually takes me a week to read I had finished it and we still hadn't left the harbour.
As it was coming up to midnight they announced that food in the cafe was all free due to the long wait. They didn't announce it to everyone but people soon caught on to what was happening and basically emptied the cafe of all food and drink. The cafe owners didn't look amused.
Around 1am they let us through to the other side of the harbour to get ready for the boat. It wasn't there but they took us through anyway. On the way through they used the body / bag scanners which they NEVER use and this slowed up the process considerably. They probably did this because they knew it would take longer and it would put people off knowing the boat wasn't their.
Eventually we all got through to the other side and sat and waited for the boat for another half an hour.
Around 2am we finally got on the boat to be told it would take longer than usual (twice as long) because of the engines and an hour and a half later at 3:30am the following day we arrived back from our day trip.
People were furious and it made the front page of the local paper that day. I'm just glad I wasn't the people waiting in Guernsey harbour as when it got back it had to take those people back to the UK.
So, if you want to spend your day trip in a harbour this is the boat for you.
Condor Ferries takes advantage of the fact they are the only company going to the island. I presented a complaint to the email I was given and they never even answered back! I think it is lack of respect! On the website it says that the boat departs at 14h 30m and when we arrive at 14h we were told we couldn't get on boat that late. The ridiculous part of it, is that 10 minutes before, they had called us and we told where we were and the woman said "so you will be on time!" And then they don't let us go, knowing that there are no boats until 5am!! We didn't have car or bikes and not big luggage, just the two of us. It was mean. She actually told us there was nothing she could do because the boat had left. Half an hour earlier!!!! But life is ironic and after a week, in our return, they departed 15 minutes after the hour!!! To all my friends I tell to go to the islands, it's great, but by PLANE!!!!
I would never use Condor Ferries again, after they cancelled the Fast Ferry we were forced to use the slow one and even though we paid for comfy seats on the way to Jersey they couldnt offer us anything on the slow ferry other than a cabin which we ended up paying £80 extra for!!! even though my wife was pregnant they wouldnt help, they said they other than a cabin she could only sit in the cafe if there was space.Ferry was late with no announcements as to what was going on, had to go and ask multiple times.Cabin was dirty, the shower wasnt useable.Would not recommend and would not use again, next time we're flying.
Having read a few other reviews I thought I'd give my thoughts.
My first thought is that boats aren't for everyone!!! If you're a little queezy on the Dover to Calais crossing or Isle of Wight ferries then boats aren't for you!! Or try the boots travel tablets I've mentioned in previous review!
We have travelled with Condor for over 6 years, in my opinion they have been the cheapest crossing from Portsmouth/Weymouth to Cherbourg/St Malo I've found. It is not delux style travelling because they're a small company and they are cheap.
The best way to do this is book in advance, they save you the best prices if you ring up and pre-book the times you'd like, you don't have to stick to this and when all the prices come out you can check what's best for you. This year we had return travel Portsmouth to Cherbourg end of May and returning two weeks later for £350.00 on the commodore cllipper.
The website is easy to use it brings up your dates and times and then has the option to see the other times and prices so that you can choose a cheaper price if you wish.
Boats & Sailings
Condor have two routes; Weymouth or Poole to St Malo (sometimes via Jersey or Gurnsey) and Portsmouth to Cherbourg.
The Weymouth/Poole to St Malo is on the fast speed boat, it is said that this sails in all weathers!! we have had a couple of rough crossings! This takes about 4 to 5 hours but can take a little longer if they stop off at the channel islands.
The Portsmouth to Cherbourg is a conventional ferry and takes about 5 to 6hours.
The boats are not huge there are two car decks, you have to arrive an hour before sailing because they start booking in and loading straight away at the actual time you have booked is the sailing time - ie they shut the doors and are off!! We have a few tales to tell and one is of setting off from the Midlands to arrive an hour before and also leaving an hour for any extra's. We got on the M40 and imediately hit a huge traffic jam due to a major accident we couldn't get off - it felt horrible we were stuck in the same que for about 40 to 50mins. We'd only just started the journey so it was pretty stressful, we carried on down towards Poole but as we arrived in Bournemouth it was bank holiday Saturday all the roads were jammed, every road we tried to turn down had a que we were already late for getting there an hour early and had about half an hour to spare, eventually with 10mins to spare before the departure time we drove up to the check in desk - no other cars to be seen - they said we were literally about to close the doors, we drove on and as we were getting out of the car they were locking the doors of the boat and sailing away - I can honestly say it's not a good idea to get there that late!
Usually once you arrive and book in you are directed to a car park in rows of types of vehicles so they can load you on in the order they want, ie Campers in one line, Caravan's in another, large cars in another, small cars in another and then you have to wait for the majority of cars to be booked in before they start to load the cars on.
Once you've driven your car onto the boat the staff guide you to where they want it, you then have to take anything with you that you need because you will not be allowed back on the deck - not even to change your clothes should you need to as we discovered when one of ours had been sick! We tend to take on colouring, ds's etc, I've seen some families with a mini DVD player from the car so the kids can watch DVD. A few biscuits and our own drinks for the kids so we don't have to keep buying drinks all the time.
Anyway back to the boats, they are quite nicely laid out although I agree with one other review that says they are not enough chairs, I would agree that in the height of the season it would seem very crowded. There are a row of comfy chairs which you have to race to get to to get one! then there are lots of tables and chairs all around. There is a bar area and comfy seating for club class but obviously you have to pay for that, if you can afford to it would be good to have it. There is a small room for children to watch a video that the captain has chosen to play. Just recently there has also been 4 televisions in the main area with different things on each so you can choose which one to watch.
The food on the boat I would say is reasonable, it's about £5 to £7 for a main meal, they also do light bites and a children's menu plus a breakfast if it's a morning sailing. As long as you've had your sickness tablets then eating on the boat is fine. The crew keep the boat clean and are constantly round clearing tables. There is not a great deal of variety on the boat but then it's a boat not a restaurant! they sell tea and coffee and snacks.
There is a duty free on the boat although I have to say it seems to sell less and less over the years we've been on it but if you would like some perfume, beers or cigarettes it's worth having a look.
There are two small outside area's on the conventional boat again it would be crowded in the height of the season. The toilets again aren't anything special and usually are fairly clean although this time I have to say it wasn't particularly clean but again it was rough crossing.
The worst crossing we had when the children were small when lots of people were sea sick, I have to say the staff were excellent and really helpful, constantly cleaning up and providing ice water for everyone on the boat and coming round asking if they could do anything.
Another story to tell is when the fishermen in Cherbourg were on strike and we arrived in Porstmouth with no idea that it would affect us, no-one had said anything there wasn't much on the news about it and it hadn't crossed my mind. It was out of condor's hands but what they did was sail to St Malo instead, it was a bit of a shock because we'd booked a hotel in Cherbourg but we cancelled it and re-booked one in St Malo the only difference that this trip had now gone from a 5 hour journey to a 10hour journey, we decided to book a cabin and we were glad we did, just to have somewhere different to go to and to unload all our stuff, we could relax on the beds it also had it's own toilet which was really handy and ours had a little window. It was about £35 extra for a cabin.
We have liked Condor Ferries, it's not the delux cruise ship or anything near, but it gets us from A to B and is a good quality service for the price. Our car has always been looked after and we've had no problems with that.
Don't take your car if you don't have to, to Jersey or Guernsey, you are packed in like sheep, and staff don't care if your car is damaged or not. If is is damaged they will say that they are not liable. The ships that they have are so unreliable, they are always breaking down. you will be all stressed out even before holiday starts. Once on the ship the crossing is so boring, you think that they would play some dvd on all the tv's that they have on board, food is not very good, and you got to think about if it's a rough crossing your children and maybe even you will be very unwell. Hire cars are so cheap on the islands you would be much better to fly(and its quicker) flights are very rarely delayed.
Jersey and Guernsey are such beautiful islands it would be ashame to start your holiday with a bad experience with getting there, take my advise and fly drive it's less stressfull. mike(Jersey resident)
Having travelled on their Commodore ferry on Portsmouth - Cherbourg return last summer, I would not use it again. It was the start of August, but the ferry could not seat the number of passengers, or provide reasonable service in the cafeteria, as there was only 1 person serving and taking money, so there was a huge queue. We could not go anyway without losing our seats, which were in short supply. We ended up with fish and chips in Portsmouth at 10 p.m., tired, hungry and grumpy. All the purser could say was "write to the company if you want to complain".
Just returned from the latest trip to visit my parents in France - July 19th to 29th 2010, so we have travelled a lot on ferries to and from France over 15 years.
Our most recent crossing was via Condor Ferries Poole to St.Malo route - our first time via Poole, but our third trip with Condor Ferries.
Having read some of the reviews, I find some comments a little unfair, as they relate to difficulties outside of Condor's direct control. I am also puzzled at some travellers who think their price was reasonable - there ARE cheaper alternatives with other companies. However many issues ARE down to poor management within the company... so which are which?
Firstly, we have never found decent port facilities anywhere, so now never plan to use them. They are all overpriced and offer a poor choice.
We walked into Poole and ate there - it's not far. I don't think Condor operate them so it's not fair to criticise them over this.
We had elected to pay £60 more for our crossing than one with another company, because the destination port - St.Malo was only 65 miles from our eventual destination, saving three hours of driving from Le Havre, as well as fuel, and tolls.
So were Condor worth it?
Yes - we were treated courteously enough by the staff ashore and afloat, but as mentioned elsewhere, the food was poorer quality and more expensive than other companies we have used - LD Lines have always been better!
We also paid less than Condor have advertised this route this year - £369, rather than the £548 we were quoted back in January, so it is worth comparing prices over and over on the chance you will get a bargain... and don't forget to take into account the travelling to and from the port in your calculations of costs.
Previously we have booked Weymouth to St.Malo with Condor for as little as £269, which also proved to be the best ever crossing with them.
If you smoke, it is worth remembering that the tobacco and alcohol products are truly Duty Free - and ALL adults in your party qualify for an allowance whether they drink and/or smoke or not!
The strangest experience this time was being boarded in Gurnsey by their customs officers who wanted to see our passports - we had left ours secured in the car, as this has never happened to us before, and there was no prior warning!
CROSSED LAST YEAR WITH CONDOR FROM PORTSMOUTH TO CHERBOURG FOR £209, THIS YEAR SAME CROSSING £518, I THOUGHT ROBIN HOOD WAS LIVING IN DOWNING STREET, BUT HE MUST HAVE MOVED TO CONDOR H.Q
Further to my first review we now have Condors first response from their General Manager in answer to the article in the Guernsey Press which I attach here.
Disabled tourist left upset after ferry 'humiliation'By Jess Stevenson
A DISABLED man has described his humiliation after Condor staff refused to help him board a boat to Guernsey.
**** ********(pictured), who struggles to walk more than 50 metres at a time, was repeatedly refused help to board the boat in Jersey after having asked for wheelchair assistance.
The 63-year-old from Kingston-upon-Hull had been on a day trip to that island. He was on his way back to Guernsey, where he and his wife *******, **, had come for a seven-day visit.
He said he was told that porters had refused to push people in wheelchairs and that if he had got off the boat in the first place, he could get back on it without any help.
'When you are treated like that in this day and age, you feel anxious and stressed,' said the 63-year-old, who claimed the experience had left them upset for days.
The pair became increasingly desperate as they watched other passengers move to the waiting area, fearing they would be left behind in Jersey because the ship was running late.
The retired university lecturer and trained nurse were also told that the poor service was down to the fact that some staff had a poor grasp of English.
Condor offered Mr ***** a full apology on Friday morning. General manager *** ****** said the company would like to reassure Mr ******* that it was fully investigating the incident to ensure any shortcomings in procedure were dealt with.
Several positive comments were recieved with others saying they had had less than favourable experiences.
This was my reply to them
Thank you all for your support. We had a fantastic time on Guernsey (probably one of the best holidays weve ever had) and certainly found the Islanders extremly friendly and helpful. It was just this one unfortunate experience that was just so unexpexpected. It took two days out of a wonderful 7 day break for my wife and myself and was so disappointing (the enforced walk and handling made me physically ill for two days, a fact that seems lost on Condor). So far we have had one phonecall apologising for the service. We are hoping that when the Managing Director returns and and responds, the situation will become clearer. As we pointed out to Condor it was not only the way a disabled person was treated but also the elderly and mothers with small babies. I was told by Condor that they have not had complaints in the past and that they give their staff training in handling passengers but I saw no eveidence of this on Jersey. The level of health and safety was also questionable in the use of an unattended service lift for disabled, elderly and parents with small babies but I'm led to believe that the Channel Islands have their own laws and do not abide by European or English laws. Following this experience I noticed a lot of the Island was inaccessable with signs stating that wheelchairs might find difficulty. I was also told that buildings were refused permission to install ramps as this would spoil the look of the building. If this is true then of course it is discrimination in the extreme. On the mainland this in itself would be against the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act)
I suppose theres always going to be some journalistic licence ie 'humiliated'. No I didnt feel humiliated just unwell and upset by such poor service in this day and age.
We decided to visit jersey while staying at weymouth. I decided to make sure this was possible by looking up the times for weymouth to jersey on condors website. From this we saw that thursay gave us the most time in jersey. However this meant the ferry set off at 6am and didnt arrive back til midnight! This was going to be a long day.
With the time and day sorted I booked the tickets via the website. This was very easy to do. Upon arrival to the ferry terminal we parked in the car park opposite the office. However the signs in the car park were confusing and we had to ask a steward what we should do.
We then made our way into the arrivals suite (we were foot passenges) where I prented the print out which acted as our tickets. These were quickly checked and we made or way through customs. Here we had our bags searched and asked a few general questions.
After a while we were allowed to bored where we made our way to our pre allocated seats suitated on the top deck. The ferry departed on time.
During the journey we decided to have something a breakfast. The food wasnt very good and tasted rubbery. Also on board was a duty free shop where you could buy all the usually duty free goods. There was also a newsagents which would accept both pounds and euros.
After a while sat down I decided to stretch my legs and have a walk outide. This proved to be a mistake as there was so much wind blowing you couldn't walk on the deck outside.
When we arrived in jersey we disembarked easily.
On the return journey there was a long queue to check in. We later found out that the reason for this was that no flights could leave jersey airport due to fog so they were all put on the ferry instead. This made the ferry very full with nearly every seat taken.
On both journeys we stopped via gurnsey which added extra journey time. The journey back was very rough and quite a few people were seasick.
On arriving back to weymouth at midnight we were expecting to have to go through customs however there was no-one there!
The plus points of condor ferries the vessel was clean and spacious. The staff were friendly and helpful even though they had to put up with some very rude customers.
What an amazing journey. Well where do I start. Crossing Time advertised an amazing 3 hours 25 minutes. Actual time 5 hours there and 5 hours back, nothing to do with the weather, but the fact that there was only 3 engines working. Apparently this has been like this for years from what I can glean from other websites and the grumpy staff.
Boarding the vehicle was more like organised chaos at both ends but more so the Jersey end where the layout of the embarking and disembarking has to be seen to be believed. You have to criss -cross aside from one part to another,each row of cars keep the other one waiting not a good system when you are trying to board.
Now here's an idea rearrange the car park, that should be easy enough to do. I worked that one out whilst waiting to get on the boat which took a long time too . Boarding took over an hour plus the boat was an hour late.
We were not kept informed as to what was happening, maybe someone did but the loudspeaker system was inadequate to say the least.
Now at last on board we go to our allocated seats on the boat, E ,where the seats are falling apart, well the arm rests were and the fall down tables.And there was less room in between those seats than on an aircraft
The advert says relax in the spacious lounges,if you could relax in those seats you must be used to sitting on a park bench. Bearing in mind the boat has been going for 10 years those seats are well past there sell by date.
We travel P and O quite a bit and they manage to have comfortable seats. I did a small survey on board with some of the passengers and everyone complained at how uncomfortable the seats were and were going round the boat to try and find ones that were not quite as bad.Providing they didn't get told off by a member of staff to get back to their allocated seats.
Upgrade you might say to the recliners, which although looked comfortable were set out in rows with not much room in between. Not exactly an upgrade more like paying for a cushion.
Upgrade to club class you say, well that may have looked ok as long as you liked being close to your neighbour and didn't suffer from claustrophobia. A lot of money for a piece of cake and cup of tea.
That brings me on to my next point. There is only one place for purchasing food and they were described as delicious hot meals, well I would say more like overpriced barely acceptable food.
I also believe the smile was extra from the cafe staff. Mind you when you are trying to serve 750 passengers and the queue goes round the boat I do not think you would have time to smile.
Another point only one set of toilets for men and ladies for 750 passengers worse than the local borough councils!
All this to be charged a substantial amount of money because I now believe they have the monopoly. I think that will be the last time I will be travelling Condor and the talk among my fellow passengers was of a similar ilk.
I do recommend the managing director of Condor travels on the boat to see how valid my complaints are.
We were really impressed with Condor Ferries. Very competitive price and convenient crossing times. Travelled from Poole to St Malo August mid week and the ferry wasn't full. On time outward, but bad weather coming back caused 2hrs delay.
Don't pay extra for the reclinging seats unless you think you'll want to sleep. The normal seating is all allocated, has much more natural light (and, if you're by a window, good views) and there are tables for kids to do colouring etc. The air conditioning is ferocious - take plenty of warm layers or a blanket / duvet if you've got one with you! (When we asked why we were told that fewer people were sick if the ferry was kept very cold!) 2.80 get you a bottomless cup of tea or coffee - highly recommended! The food's not bad and reasonably priced, and the staff all helpful and friendly.
After deciding to visit Jersey, we thought it would be easier to have our own car to explore the island. Therefore we needed to book a ferry as near as possible from our home, which would be Weymouth. Friends of ours had used the Condor Express operated by Condor Ferries which operates from Weymouth and Poole and they said it was fairly quick, so after obtaining a reasonable quote (£370 for the car + 5) so we decided to book.
A few days later the tickets arrived, no problem, all in order, times all correct. Finally the day came for our trip, all excited we arrived at the port with plenty of time, as they ask you to be there an hour before the departure. When we arrived we were told all day trips were cancelled, I feel sorry for people who travelled a long way to get the 7.30 ferry to find their day trip cancelled. The ticket office staff informed us there was a problem with one of the engines and there would be a delay.
Three hours later we started queuing ready to board the ferry, after spending most of the time in the dirty café! Finally we were aboard, car all parked up, seats found we settled down for what should have been a 2.5 hour trip. All the excitement fell away when an announcement came over the ship, we will be running on half speed due to an engine problem, happy days we thought.
Once on board the seats were comfortable and the food was reasonable and the staff were friendly enough and it would have been fine for 2.5 hours. Therefore after five hours we arrived at our destination (Jersey) feeling very exhausted and some of us pretty sick from the rough seas. We should have arrived at 10.30 we did not arrive until nearly 2.00pm.
After a fantastic holiday in Jersey we arrived at the Condor Express at 7:30pm one hour before our departure time with a little apprehension. We saw a sign flashing saying next sailing to Weymouth was an 11.30pm not 8.30pm. We went in to the terminal and it was explained there was engine trouble and the catamaran was running behind schedule and on half speed and they were hoping to board us from 11.30 and to come back later. Luckily we found a bowling alley to occupy a couple of hours after experiencing the Condor hospitality before but as it got later it became more difficult to amuse children as the nightlife was more suited to adults.
We finally boarded and set off at 12.30am, a kind employee gave us some blankets for the children. We arrived in Weymouth at 5:00am (not happy). We were told that in the peak summer months the catamarans sail continuously and have no maintenance time built in to the timetable so they repair and maintain en route and travel at half speed while shutting engines down to work on. This caused the delays to ever increase. As you may have guessed by now, if we ever plan to return to Jersey we will fly and hire a car. Our children christened the company Condor Letdown and one member of staff agreed with us!
Summing up this company was obviously having a few bad weeks, but I just cant recommend them to anyone, unless they keep their maintenance schedule operating all year round and dont just try to grab the quick buck. The food prices and quality were similar to a motorway service station and the ship was fairly clean, unfortunately not much to entertain.
As I spend a lot of time travelling between Britain and France I’m always looking out for cheaper, quicker or more comfortable methods of transport. As a student in my gap year abroad I chose the civilised option of the Eurostar as bad memories of childhood sea-sickness still haunted me. Now with a boyfriend down in the south of France, I find the 15-hour train journeys a bit too much to handle. I've tried land, air and sea to get back and forth and I will be reviewing other methods shortly. Meanwhile here is my view on Condor ferries: When I discovered that I could do Poole-Saint Malo in four hours with Condor Ferries I decided to brave the sea once again. I was surprised how comfortable and swish these ferries are. I suppose you could say they are the Ferraris of the cross-channel ferry world. At 40 knots per hour they're pretty nippy, but you feel it when you hit those waves!! There aren’t any cabins, but it is not really worth it considering the journey length. There is a bar and food counter which are quite expensive and nothing to write home about, but if you must fill the gap… ! The staff were friendly and helpful and although mostly French, spoke good english. In peak season it can be a bit chaotic with kids running around and there's not much entertainment so the journey can be a bit boring. There's a small shop selling perfume, confectionary etc. Luckily, the journey is broken up by stops in the Channel Islands (to let passengers on and off)and it was nice to get a change of scenery other than a monotonous, vast expanse of sea. The only drawbacks are the price and the sailing schedule. It can be very expensive when travelling with a car. I always travel as a foot-passenger which is around £50 return. If your planning a two week camping holiday in the Dordogne with kids and a caravan then it’s probably better taking the night ferry; cheaper in pe
ak-season and less likely to be booked-up. However, for day trips to France and the Channel Islands then this is the perfect option. The journey is so short that you arrive feeling refreshed and there is none of that overnight, sleep-deprived . For me, this is great as I can hop on a train and head off down south and be ‘home’ with my loved one by late evening. As I mentioned above sailings are not as frequent as with normal ferries. They run from the end of May until the end of September which means early spring breaks aren't possible. This is due to the incapacity of the boats to stand the harsh winter weather...or more likely the incapacity of the passengers' stomachs!! I would definitely recommend Condor to anyone with a bit a spare cash who fancies taking off for a weekend's wining and dining in St Malo, or if like me finds long ferry journeys too traumatic!