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Sorry, I don't know about Hoseasons but I know that you did need a passport to visit France.  However, a one year British Visitor's Passport could be used for western Europe at that time. You could buy one quite cheaply over the counter at a main post office providing you showed proof of identity.

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We had a canal boating holiday 1979 - we looked at Blakes and Hoseasons, both offered BF, but comparatively expensive (we thought)

We actually booked and traveled by  Sealink,  Weymouth to Cherbourg, I think the ship was called "Maid of Orleans"

My dad had a full passport which I think covered him, mum and my younger siblings

Wife and I had Visitors passports

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Ship from Weymouth to Cherbourg was the Maid of Kent, she operated on that route until 1981.  She was powered by steam turbines and a real classic, although her car decks were not freight friendly.  Had you crossed with Brittany Ferries, you would have travelled on Cornouailles, Penn ar Bed, Prince of Brittany or Armorique.

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