This is some advice for those of you who, like me, enjoy the odd trip over to France and prefer the speed and comfort of Eurotunnel. Beware of the website ferrycheap.com, it is to be avoided at all costs because, despite its name, it is generally more expensive than booking direct with the Operator. Furthermore a "protocol" exists which prevents Eurotunnel from amending your ticket (if this is required) without conferring with ferrycheap's "call centre" at Travel-Market in Dover. This so called "call centre" is nothing of the sort and consists of their normal office which is open 0900 to 1700 Monday to Friday only. This means that, at weekends particularly, if you need to change your travel arrangements this cannot be done and, if a period of 24Hrs. elapses before you can contact Travel-Market you will lose your entire booking and your money with it. Be warned!
Last time we used Eurotunnel, we booked a train at around 6.20 am. Arrived around 5.30 am and checked in. Proceeded to the terminal facilities and around 6.00 am discovered that our booked train had simply vanished from the information board without explanation. Re-scheduled for a departure at 6.50 am.
Could have used the ferry in more or less the same time (and it would have been cheaper).
20 minutes delay on a 35 minute crossing is 55 minutes. The ferry is scheduled for about 1 hour 30 minutes so you were still quicker - even without the considerable queue to get through passport control on the other side if you go by ferry.
(is it just me, or was there another thread on this yesterday?)
Having travelled to France for over half a century by car, and lived there for the last score, the ONLY time I have had my passport checked by French border officers was last Friday - 20 July, presumably because of the upcoming Olympics. This was at Calais, prior to passing through to the UK Border Agency control point.
In my personal experience Calais ferry port has never been over-zealous in its passport controls, and am surprised to read UFO's comment
Going to Germany or any points north we use Dunkirk now rather than Calais as it leaves you less time at the mercy of the frog plod.
I suppost this may be based on the hypothesis - and maybe fact (though I've never been here myself) - that the distance covered from Dunkerque's ferry loading ramp to the port's gates is shorter than that at Calais.
No it's based on the habit of frog plod of stopping english cars on sight and finding something wrong with them, Dunkirk is a lot nearer the border than Calais.
Never had any trouble with border officials, an occasional queue of 10-20 cars to go through (at either end), occasionally pulled in for a check by security and once took an hour to get through customs at Dover, but that was when the marshalling area was being worked on and all incoming vehicles funneled through one customs point.
No it's based on the habit of frog plod of stopping english cars on sight and finding something wrong with them
Ah. OK. Something wrong with the car or something missing from the legal requirements?
(Alcohol test kit, warning triangle, hi vis jacket, headlamp deflectors, GB sticker, fuses, spare bulbs, green card/insurance documentation ..... all required by French law regardless of the licencing country or nationality of the driver....)
Think you might have been unlucky ... but sorry you've had this inconvenience.
UFO Try smiling and saying Bonjour. Never had any problems in France. I asked a friend in Immigration, yes it's because of the Olympics.Is that a bad thing considering the reactions in the UK because a kid managed to wander through security and a reporter flew to France and back without being checked. Full cavity body search for him the next time then
GB stickers for GB registered cars, D stickers for German registered cars .... and of course you don't need a sticker if you have an EU plate with the nationality on. HOWEVER .... not all cars do, especially if you have what I believe was termed a 'vanity plate' ... in which case let's hope your car has a metal casing if you buy a magnetic 'sticker' .... and isn't aluminium!
And whilst the spare bulbs may not be mandatory, it's a hell of a lot easier having them to hand if you need them rather than have to find a dealer or spare parts shop ... but I'm grateful for the heads-up.
Was there ever a "requirement" to have spare bulbs? I was always under the impression that you carried them because the law said that your lights must work at all times, so carrying spares meant you could change a bulb at any time, and you also had to have the necessary tools to do so as well.
But hasn't that requirement been watered down due to the rise in the use of LED's instead of bulbs, as well as the small matter of it being almost impossible to change a bulb in some modern cars without removing several ancillary parts and/or panels?
Again, AS, was there a law that says you must carry spare bulbs!
There is one that says that all lights must be working at all times, so if you drive as much as a metre after being told by plod that you have a dud light you are breaking the law and are liable to a fine, but NOTHING I find says that there is a law stating you MUST carry spare bulbs!
And even the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office backs that up, no mention of the carrying of spare bulbs being MANDATORY here, and I reckon they would tell everyone about that.
Or is this another one that has been sneaked in like the ban on any device which can show where speed cameras are, not just radar detectors, irrespective of whether it is in use or not? Basically, if you even possess a GPS you are going to break the law as every GPS has the capability to show where speed cameras are.......
Regardless of local requirements it is always a wise precaution to carry a spare set of vehicle bulbs and adjust headlamp beams for driving on the right. A spare bulb kit will not prevent a fine if you are travelling with faulty lights, but it may avoid the cost and inconvenience of a garage call out. On some cars it is inadvisable or impossible for anyone other than a qualified technician to change a headlamp bulb or lamp unit e.g. high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps and carrying spare bulbs is not an option. However, it is recommended that spare bulbs are carried for any lights which may be easily and/or safely replaced by the owner/driver. Do not forget to ensure that you also carry any tools that might be required to change the various bulbs.
Yes, didn't work for me, was kept about 30 minutes while they tried to find something wrong and weren't very happy when they couldn't. However I was luckier than a mate who was pulled into a layby for speeding, when in a long string of cars heading for Calais, all doing the same speed (below the limit). Only the GB registered cars were being pulled in and an instant fine demanded by an officer without a speed meter of any sort on display.