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Portsmouth-Caen-Portsmouth overnight ferry

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We are due to sail on this ferry in May, and have never done the overnight run before. With sailings at 23:00 hours and arrival at 06:45 hours, I am wondering about the on board shops being open and evening meal/breakfast being available. Some info in this respect would be much appreciated.

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You should get breakfast ok, and I understand the self-service will be open for a late evening bite to eat. I doubt the restaurant will be open though that late.

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We are due to sail on this ferry in May, and have never done the overnight run before. With sailings at 23:00 hours and arrival at 06:45 hours, I am wondering about the on board shops being open and evening meal/breakfast being available. Some info in this respect would be much appreciated.

 

Shops will be open for a period of time after you have embarked, and usually for an hour before arrival in the morning.

 

The self-service restaurant will be open for dinner and breakfast - as Gareth says the 'main' waiter service restaurant *may* be open, but this depends on how busy the sailing is.

 

In short - you'll be able to eat dinner/breakfast somewhere and shopping will be available.

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I would eat in Portsmouth before you sail and go straight to bed on the ferry - you will have little enough time there.

 

With the arrival in Caen at 0645 French time being 0545 UK time I doubt whether you will be up in time for a leisurely breakfast either. Perhaps a bar in the town when you get ashore? They are not customer friendly crossing times, are they?

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Not a sailing I would do again in a hurry, everything was open when we got on board in Caen not sure for how long though and both restaurants were open for breakfast in the morning although we just had coffee.

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I think the northbound sailing is (slightly) more civilised than the southbound one, leaving France at around 2200 UK time and getting into Portsmouth an hour later at 0645. Still not great though. The southbound timings are far from conducive to relaxation and I'm inclined to agree with wortley, eat ashore and get all the sleep you can on board. It still won't be long.

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With the arrival in Caen at 0645 French time being 0545 UK time I doubt whether you will be up in time for a leisurely breakfast either. Perhaps a bar in the town when you get ashore? They are not customer friendly crossing times, are they?

 

Sound advice. You will no sooner have had one bite of your croissant when you will hear the vacate-your-cabin

announcement. I'm sure there must be one cafe open in Ouistreham open at that hour.

 

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The café in the ferry terminal at Ouistreham is normally open in the morning. The tourist office is also open.

 

The cafe at the terminal is actually fairly decent.

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We are due to sail on this ferry in May, and have never done the overnight run before. With sailings at 23:00 hours and arrival at 06:45 hours, I am wondering about the on board shops being open and evening meal/breakfast being available. Some info in this respect would be much appreciated.

 

 

There won't be any problem getting something to eat in the evening or the following morning. The shops have always been open when we've sailed previously.

 

It all boils down to what suits you personally in terms of how much sleep you need, when you like to eat, and what sort of car journey you want to do.

 

This is our favourite route, which we've done for many years. We like to do the long drive down to Provence, the Alps or whatever in a day, and the early departure from Ouistreham means we can get down there at a decent time.

 

We generally hava a picnic in the car whilst waiting to board, straight to bed before we embark, then breakfast the following morning at about 6.15. Generally you'll be encouraged by housekeeping staff to vacate your cabin at this sort of time, so you might as well plan to get up and go down for breakfast! Down to the car decks around 06.45 then we're en route in the car by about 7.15 usually, and get a good 2 hours driving in before our first break.

 

If we were only visiting places up to 4-5 hours drive away, we catch a different ferry. (We miss the now defunct fast ferry on the Poole - Cherboug route; a 30 min drive from home, then a 2 hour crossing. But the timings of this route wouldn't suit us for a one day drive down South).

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Thanks for all the replies. We will only be looking to shop on the return trip, but an evening meal and breakfast is preferable in both directions.

We have booked a cabin for both ways, so a very early rise with a shower will be the first order of the day. Carrying only an overnight bag, we can then vacate the cabin before going for breakfast.

Eating ashore is not an option, as we would not leave the caravan unattended either side of the channel.

Our destination in France is only 85 miles from Caen, so a three-hour drive would be a maximum - probably considerably less, depending on traffic.

 

We have done the Portsmouth- St.Malo-Portsmouth run which puts us with only a 28 mile drive to our destination, but the morning return trip is a bit of a rush, and there can be holdups in St Malo due to works traffic.

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You can always cross overnight to St Malo sailing out (very civilised) and then do the return from Ouistreham.

 

The Wednesday afternoon sailing from Ouistreham (Friday out of season) has very civilised timings if you want to avoid the overnight crossing. And, of course, when Pont Aven arrives to take over the St Malo route in a couple of years' time the daytime departure from France is likely to be somewhat later, which may suit you better. But in the mean time, in the immediate future, might be well worth using St Malo out and Caen back next time you go. You can take a view on that once you've experienced the overnight crossing to Caen once!

Edited by Gareth

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You can always cross overnight to St Malo sailing out (very civilised) and then do the return from Ouistreham.

 

This occurred to me too late - after I had booked Ouistreham (Caen) both ways.

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This occurred to me too late - after I had booked Ouistreham (Caen) both ways.

You can modify any aspect of your trip online with no charge, so Gareth's suggestion is an option.

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You can modify any aspect of your trip online with no charge, so Gareth's suggestion is an option.

 

We booked in January, the full amount has now been paid, and we are due to sail in 4 weeks time. I doubt that a change of route outward would be possible now without cost; if possible at all.

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We booked in January, the full amount has now been paid, and we are due to sail in 4 weeks time. I doubt that a change of route outward would be possible now without cost; if possible at all.

 

You can free of charge obviously the STMalo sailing might cost more.

http://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/faq/amendments-cancellations/how-can-i-change-my-ferry-booking

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The other issue you might face though, trying to change at this stage, is the availability of cabin accommodation of your choice.

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We booked in January, the full amount has now been paid, and we are due to sail in 4 weeks time. I doubt that a change of route outward would be possible now without cost; if possible at all.

 

 

You can modify your trip online with no charge, (assuming the sailing you want isn't fully booked), or for a small fee phone BF. Check also that cabins, if required, are available. We recently changed our return sailing with just 2 weeks to go, and got an £84 refund due to the price difference.

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I've always had my doubts about Portsmouth-Caen as an "overnight" crossing. It's too short and I once encountered a travel company which did the booking for you who advised customers not to use the crossing overnight. And I'm not sure about trying to get from Ouistreham to Provence in one day after a short night which could have been disrupted by eg noisy people in the cabin next door. You only need to fall asleep at the wheel once and you won't be doing it again! Travel experts advise a more leisurely journey especially in France with its many attractions.

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Yes HT, done just that a few times!

 

We live in the Deep South and once did the Pompey - Caen overnight followed by an attempt to drive down in 'one hit'. It was stupid and sheer madness - never again.

 

We have now settled on our crossings of choice - St M - Pompey by day (take a nice cabin) and the overnight return to St M. En route hotel halfway up and halfway back.

 

Not saying this is the best option for everybody, nor by any means the cheapest, but it suits our normal venue (Thames Valley, so Dover / Folkestone is a pain with the M25), it's safer and at our time of life ............

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We will be going overnight Portsmouth-to-Caen, and landing about 06:45 in the morning. As we will be heading for north Brittany, the periferique (anticlockwise) and then the A84 are an easy run, and our destination is only 85 miles from Caen. Regarding noisy neighbours in an adjoining cabin - that can happen on any BF boat.

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We will be going overnight Portsmouth-to-Caen, and landing about 06:45 in the morning. As we will be heading for north Brittany, the periferique (anticlockwise) and then the A84 are an easy run, and our destination is only 85 miles from Caen. Regarding noisy neighbours in an adjoining cabin - that can happen on any BF boat.

 

 

Sounds like it should be a very pleasant trip, and having travelled the night before, you'll have the whole of you first day in France. If you're a good sleeper like we are, you'll be able to get enough rest; aboard by 23.30 (French time), we go to straight to bed, before getting up at 05.30, in for breakfast around 06.15, then usually through customs and en route by 07.15. We've always enjoyed our long drive down south, but at least you should arrive at your destination by 10.00 latest!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do; we've done the return crossing at least once a year since '92! We're going next week, and again in June.

The only time we've heard any noise from neighbours has been on day crossings.

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That's a nice, positive reply, almosthere. We are hoping to get to our campsite and have the caravan all set up by lunchtime. Trip to the supermarket for a few groceries, and then a nice evening meal - with a bottle of red, of course.

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Sounds like it should be a very pleasant trip, and having travelled the night before, you'll have the whole of you first day in France. If you're a good sleeper like we are, you'll be able to get enough rest; aboard by 23.30 (French time), we go to straight to bed, before getting up at 05.30, in for breakfast around 06.15, then usually through customs and en route by 07.15. We've always enjoyed our long drive down south, but at least you should arrive at your destination by 10.00 latest!

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do; we've done the return crossing at least once a year since '92! We're going next week, and again in June.

The only time we've heard any noise from neighbours has been on day crossings.

 

You've been lucky! Maybe I've been unlucky on a few occasions. But it only needs to happen once for next time to be the Dover ferries or the Tunnel!

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