“ SpeedFerries Ltd / 209 East Camber Office Building / Eastern Docks / Dover / Kent / CT16 1JA / United Kingdom „
Support SpeedFerries. If they were to fold due to the current hiatus, you can guarantee the pirates on the Dover-Calais crossing would increase their prices again particularly with the current restrictions on the Chunnel. I reckon it cuts 90 minutes off my journey time to Paris compared with travelling by the lumbering giants serving Calais. I find parking on Speed One easier than my local supermarket and it's easier to get out of my car. Earlier this year I was travelling with double crutches. The road route from the ferry to the autoroute has been improved greatly in the last year and is now very acceptable. Boulogne is a more charming destination for a weekend than Calais. The tranquility of the hoverport in Dover and Boulogne is fantastic compared with the chaos of East Dover and Calais. I have been crossing the channel many times a year since 1977.
I used this service last week and found it to be very efficient and an easy journey to france. The staff were really polite. The ship was on time and crossed the channel without effort.It will be a very great loss if this service goes
Good service all round - I would say that the crossing is actually more like 60 minutes and not 50 minutes! - 50 minutes is definately a myth... Basic service on board - but remember getting booze on a Sunday is not good as all places are closed on a Sunday for this!The fantastic thing about Speedferries is that it cuts out 20 miles of driving south towards Paris (i.e dont go via Calais) and when the weather is rough (like mine) the Catermaran STILL runs!!! It was great!! Remember 60 minutes crossing - but well worth travelling to Boulogne and not Calais.
Definitely the best way to cross the Channel. Was slightly dubious on booking as the price was so low, but having read other reviews which all seemed to be extremely positive, decided that Speedferries was for us, and we were proved correct. The outward journey was delayed for an hour, but we were quite prepared for this, in the knowledge that the company still has only one craft operating. However, the speed and efficiency of loading and embarkation was really impressive, together with the light and airy feel within the vessel, the politeness of the staff and the lack of fuss with which disembarkation took place. The return journey was absolutely on time, and we were given full tannoy information of the vessel's manoeuvres on arriving in Dover, as these involved a slight crosswind which caused the vessel to rock a little - but with the information given passengers did not have the lack of confidence often experienced in such situations. So if you don't want to travel on an overcrowded vessel, but do want an extremely easy and flexible booking management service with efficient check-in at the port, together with a very pleasant and polite service and relaxing journey, then support Speedferries' operation - we shall, every time.
Speedferries. We first travelled with them in Febuary 2005, and found the service excellent. Since them we have travelled with them at least fourteen more times and have booked another load of crossings for 2006.
Loading is relatively promt and fast, but cars are often packed closely together, but this is nothing new after travelling with any cross channel ferry.
Onboard, the seating areas are clean and tidy (unlike many P&O boats or hoverspeeds). The other reviewer mentioned something about no obvious colour scheme. He is clearly colourblind as the ship is coloured blue and light green.
The boat has a very plesent atmosphere, you cannot fault the staff, they are always polite, helpful and friendly.
In the centre of the vessel there are aeroplane style seats and around the outside near the windows are the tables. Upstairs is more seats and the premier class seating area. At the back of the boat is the family area, which there is a soft play area with lego, tables with seats around and three TVs showing disney films.
The limited choice of food is excellent and typically priced (cheaper than hoverspeed) and the small 'speedshop' is average (the same as on the seacats).
The crossing takes 50 mins and unloading is very quick.
Although the other reviewer said that for people who travel often, speedferries is not much cheaper, i have yet to find another ferry operator who can offer us the same prices as speedferries. Once we missed our ferry due to heavy trafic on the M25. Speedferries was fully booked for the rest of the day, so we had to try someone else. Bearing in mind it costs £25 to travel one way with speedferries, we went to the P&O check in. For some reason P&O see it fir to charge £100 more than speed ferries and we ended up paying £125 for one way on an old P&O boat which, when we arrived in calais, the front doors wouldn't open, and the engineer on the boat told us this was nothing new, the whole boat is falling apart. JHow reasuring. So for P&O's £125 for one way, we could have crossed the channel 5 times with speedferries. Also, because we missed our ferry, Speedferries said that we can use that crossing again another time. Aswell as that, because we had booked five return crossings for one year, when we arrived at dover they said that they would give us one free.
SpeedFerries is a new kid on the block in the cross-channel ferry market.
We regularly pop over to France to take advantage of the cheaper and vastly superior food and drink available on the continent. Our preferred method of travel in recent years has been the EuroTunnel which is unrivalled (and unrivallable - if there's such a word) in terms of speed and convenience. The trouble is that Eurotunnel takes advantage of its monopoly by ripping you off; a return trip for a car has cost us an average of £100 on our last five trips. There are never any special offers to be had.
The established Dover-Calais car ferry operators - P&O, Sea France and Hover Speed - have been accused of closing ranks to operate a price-fixing cartel. Until last year a five-day return for a car cost on average £75. Enter SpeedFerries, a company launched in May 2004 by Danish businessman Curt Stavis, the "Stelios of the Sea". Their motto, "Fight the Pirates", is a clear statement of intent of what this company is all about. The similarities to EasyJet are clear for all to see.
We travelled with SpeedFerries in early September 2005 for a two night break to Calais. The on-line booking experience was easy, with a user-friendly website and a transparent pricing structure. I was pleased to note that SpeedFerries does not make a surcharge for payment by credit or debit card, as is the case with airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet. As with many modern 'no-frills' airlines, no tickets are issued: the customer simply quotes a booking reference number at the check-in.
At present SpeedFerries only has one vessel, a catamaran called Speed One which travels between Dover and Boulogne and holds 200 cars. It does not carry any coaches or lorries, or foot passengers, which might come as a disappointment to some. The Speed One certainly gets some mileage on its clock, travelling between Dover and Boulogne up to five times a day. You do ask yourself what kind of a mess this company would be in if its only ferry decided to break down.
The embarkation procedure at Dover docks is the same as for any other ferry, but it has to be said that getting your car on and off the ferry is a tricky business. Because it's not 'roll-on roll-off' like most car ferries, the Speed One catamaran has only one way in which is also the way out. Hence cars must be loaded and emptied in an elaborate procedure involving several floors, steep ramps and tight angles. If you're bad at hill starts and clutch control, I'd advise practising beforehand!
The stewards are efficient and helpful in directing you on and off, but you need good driving skills to be able to cope with this strange experience. Cars are jammed into the car hold like sardines, and if you have to park against a wall or railing you may have to get out of your car via the passenger door due to lack of space. If getting on was difficult, you then have to repeat the whole procedure in reverse as you disembark. Fuss-free it ain't.
The passenger area of the ferry is basic but clean and airy, with plenty of different types of seating and tables available. Smoking is only permitted on the outside deck, which can be a nice place to enjoy a fag while watching the white cliffs of Dover, depending on the weather. Because of the infancy of this whole operation there is no corporate 'look' to the boat, no colour scheme to the seats or carpets, and all signage is printed from a PC on A4 paper in Times New Roman font. Amateurish? Yes. But as an escape from corporate overkill, very refreshing.
There are two bars on board which serve hot and cold drinks and snack foods. We were very impressed by the Danish pastries which were freshly cooked and tasted so good we went back for more. Prices were typical but not extortionate, with a pastry and a coffee setting you back £2.60. I was, however, disappointed to find absolutely no prices on display at the two bars. Personally I don't want to stand there asking how much everything costs with a queue of people behind me. This is a real pet hate of mine and I can only guess that companies hope you will spend more if you are spending 'blind'. Well, I'd rather not spend at all if that's the case.
The on-board shop is extremely basic and fairly small, but nevertheless carried a reasonable range of those typical holiday purchases: fragrances, alcohol and tobacco. The prices for these goods are not particularly cheap, although this is mainly due to the abolition of Duty Free in 1999 which means that goods are now sold with French duty added. Cigarettes were about £35 for 200 (a small saving against UK prices), but there were some good deals to be had on cases of lager, with 24 cans of Fosters costing £11.00. It was particularly nice to be able to buy a British newspaper from the shop on our way back. Items like wine and perfume were no cheaper than in the UK high street.
The crossing takes 50 minutes when the weather is clear. The time goes by very fast and the ferry has everything you need for this short journey. For an additional £10 per person SpeedFerries offer a 'PremierClass' seating area which offers you a free newspaper and free soft drinks. My verdict? It's hardly a long journey, so it's simply not worth paying the extra. There was a tiny little childrens play area which had nothing in it apart from a few coloured building blocks.
Boulogne ferry port is a chaotic place, unlike Calais. Upon leaving the ferry you are immediately spilled out into the town centre, and face a trek of several miles to the nearest motorway. The port of Boulogne is undoubtedly Speed Ferries' achilles heel, just as EasyJet is renowned for dumping you at a small ex-military airport a long way from the city of destination. However, if you do some forward planning on the internet, there are good budget hotel chains and hypermarkets in Boulogne, so you can quite easily use this destination for a 'booze cruise' instead of Calais. If you do wish to head to Calais, which is more geared towards the Brits, it's about 20 miles away from Boulogne on the A16, a toll-free motorway.
Upon your return to the ferry, SpeedFerries has a shop at the port in Boulogne which, like the on-board shop, is very basic (it's just a Portakabin) but is handy for those wishing to make a last-minute booze grab.
SpeedFerries claim to be the most punctual cross-channel service with 95% of sailings being on time. Certainly we had no problems here, with our outbound sailing even arriving slightly early.
Overall, I found the SpeedFerries experience good fun, and the minor stresses and inconveniences were absorbed into the overall holiday experience. But serious regular travellers will certainly notice the shortcomings of this service and wonder whether travelling with SpeedFerries is a false economy.
The inherent problem with the launch of any budget service is the fact that the longer-established rivals will drop their prices to compete. And this has been the case, as P&O and SeaFrance have now dropped their short break prices to within a few pounds of SpeedFerries. Consider their superior services and their Dover-Calais route, and SpeedFerries doesn't seem like such a bargain any more.
It remains to be seen whether SpeedFerries will grow to capture a bigger share of the cross channel passenger market. I do admire what they're doing and would hesitate before levelling any criticisms at them over the difficult loading procedure, as every company has to start somewhere. They're certainly doing everything within their power and budget to achieve customer satisfaction.
Competition is always a healthy thing, so why not support SpeedFerries by giving them a try?
Current price when booked online: £54 return for a car and up to five passengers, regardless of time of stay or length of stay. If your stay is for less than 25 hours, it's half price. Book early for peak holiday periods. Bookings made by telephone cost an extra £10.
SpeedFerries offers you the fastest ferry crossing and a more direct link between Britain and France from just £25 one-way for a standard car including 5 passengers.