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Halfcrown

Booking site swamped?

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7 minutes ago, jonno said:

I booked Caen for July 13th next year and the payment was very slow. Honfleur's top cabins are already sold out for the Saturday morning Pompey sailing.

Same when I looked in September, I think they must be being held back.

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Some of the Spanish sailings have dates and times available but you can't select them and it says 'call us' (or something similar).  Any one know why? 

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9 hours ago, neilcvx said:

Same when I looked in September, I think they must be being held back.

So what BF are doing is selling what they are sure they'll have available for next summer (baring any unforeseen breakdowns etc) on the assumption that if Honfleur is delayed they can still cover the demand by reverting more or less to the current schedule, hence Etretat being held in reserve for now. If come next spring they are 100% sure the new vessel will be delivered on time they will then be able to release further capacity and either allow people to upgrade their cabin choices or book new crossings. It seems quite a sensible move given recent events and one that can't easily backfire on them as nobody will get any less that what they expected. Ed. 

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I eventually got through in the end and thought I would chance my arm with a 4 berth cabin for 3 adults and 2 children, my eldest is now 16 so is classed as an adult now for travel. We have done this on all our sailings as our two youngest girls just share a bunk, but I did think I would have to book a reclining seat aswell .. it never asked me to ! ... do you think this will raise it's head at a later date or will we be ok .... thanks.

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When I was trying to book yesterday the sailing to Spain in Feb early March showed only Etretat and all the PF cabins were sold by the time I got through to book a return.  Then later last night the Baie de Seine suddenly appeared on the timetable and has PF cabins available.  But because of the layout of the ship only vehicles less than 1.83 metres in height and not towing caravans can be accommodated for pets and of course there are no kennels.

For most of February and almost half of March it's Economie only.  So if you've got a pet and want to travel at that time and haven't already booked, then forget it. (or get it put down)

Looks like the anti-pet brigade have scored a victory here as I think many pet owners will travel by the tunnel and BF may have shot themselves in the paw.  The topic of the best way to get to Spain is one that comes up from time to time on motorhome/caravan forums and the overwhelming feeling I get from these discussions is that BF to Spain is too dear and the tunnel is the best option.

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I've managed now to make all 3.5 of my bookings for the new season (The half a booking was for a return this November, where I had already booked the outward in October some time ago). Because of the crashing website making it impossible for me to complete a booking while there was still availability, I have missed out on PF cabins on two of the crossings. This means I am having to use the kennels instead, so not a catastrophe, but really not ideal either.

Because of the incredibly small supply of PF cabins (especially when travelling in a 2.1m vehicle) compared to the demand for them, there needs to be some way of rationing them. I can think of only 3 possibilities (and I don't particularly like any of them!):

a) By ballot - rather like Wimbledon tickets, another market where demand exceeds supply overwhelmingly;

b) By waiting list - rather like Morgan cars used to have;

c) By auction - the cabins being sold to the highest bidder...

The existing system is meant to be first-come-first served - but when the whole season's availability is released at a pre-determined date and time the demand for access to the booking system itself exceeds its own capabilities, and we end up having the kind of shambolic lottery we saw yesterday. 

So - what is the answer, exactly?

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And until those two arrive there will be a repetition of yesterday's problems next year at least. Of the three options suggested the third is the most logical and beneficial for BF as it will show them how much dog-owners are actually prepared to pay for a crossing (allowing them to price the E-Flexers cabins appropriately thereafter) or whether at a certain price point they realise that the tunnel is more realistic. The problem is I just don't see how an auction would function seeing as you need to go out and come back and the combination required might be unavailable. Ed. 

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3 hours ago, auchmill said:

 The topic of the best way to get to Spain is one that comes up from time to time on motorhome/caravan forums and the overwhelming feeling I get from these discussions is that BF to Spain is too dear and the tunnel is the best option.

I've never used the tunnel nor the Dover crossing and never will, it's just too short with zero chance to recuperate. When your sitting in a Moho which is speed limited due to weight distances take a lot longer to cover.

Most who complain about the ferry price never travel on toll roads and are obsessed with mile per gallon etc. To drive to Southern Spain from Calais in a 4 tonne motorhome costs around £400 in fuel, over £100 in tolls and takes 3 days if you don't want to spend all day behind the wheel. All in all it still costs around £700-£800 so to us it makes more sense to use Club Voyage, give a similar amount to BF and be refreshed on arrival.

For info... Re reading BF's media release for 2018, it says that due to the Hindhead tunnel Portsmouth is now quicker to get to from London than Dover.

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2 hours ago, Halfcrown said:

So - what is the answer, exactly?

Maybe to build something like this into more cabins between the lower bunks?

Wooden-Dog-Crates.jpg.0040df5d0d524daf26418cd27fd87473.jpg

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1 hour ago, jonno said:

I've never used the tunnel nor the Dover crossing and never will, it's just too short with zero chance to recuperate. When your sitting in a Moho which is speed limited due to weight distances take a lot longer to cover.

Most who complain about the ferry price never travel on toll roads and are obsessed with mile per gallon etc. To drive to Southern Spain from Calais in a 4 tonne motorhome costs around £400 in fuel, over £100 in tolls and takes 3 days if you don't want to spend all day behind the wheel. All in all it still costs around £700-£800 so to us it makes more sense to use Club Voyage, give a similar amount to BF and be refreshed on arrival.

For info... Re reading BF's media release for 2018, it says that due to the Hindhead tunnel Portsmouth is now quicker to get to from London than Dover.

I have used the tunnel a fair few times - especially for when we used to drive down to Italy to visit the in-laws.

Tunnel with a dog is almost as effortless as without... drive in, pull on the handbrake and switch off the engine, and wait. Then restart the engine, release the handbrake and drive off. For entertainment en-route you can always kick your tyres or have a rummage in the boot....  On the way back, you just need to take the dog into the pets' check-in reception on the side before you drive though the toll-booths..

The first time I drove to the place in Spain, I did the journey down by tunnel, and the journey back by BF.

In terms of cost, the tunnel worked out about 10% cheaper, after taking into account tolls, diesel, overnight stops. In terms of stress and wear on vehicle and driver, however, BF wins hands down.

In terms of stress on the dog, it depends: if it's really hot weather, then an 18-hour drive is a bit of an ordeal for him, otherwise he's fine. On BF - if in the kennels, then it depends largely on the other dogs in the kennels. If there's a dog there who is making a bit of a scene, then it can be pretty stressful for the other dogs. But a pet-friendly cabin is as chilled as it gets for a dog.

That's why I would go through the hassle of booking the PF cabin out of preference.

 

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OK, how about a Club-Voyage varient specifically for pet owners with a significant price supplement (to deter speculative time-wasters and give priority to regular travellers) which then gets you access to the booking engine 24-hours ahead of the masses but you then (once on-board - again to deter those who regularly cancel) get vouchers to use in the restaurant etc. equivalent to the membership fee hike. Ed. 

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I hope the new ferries will make a difference for the PF cabin availability for the Spanish routes, although it helps to book an unpopular crossing - there's still PF Cabins available on the 2 nighter I booked yesterday.  Last year's voyage wasn't very busy.

I suppose first come first served is the only way but I like Cabin-boy's idea of a CV variant.  We are their "most regular and loyal customers" after all, as they said in a recent email.  But FCFS does lead to an unholy stramash and is unfair on those who can't get to a phone or computer at the right time.

Re comparison between Tunnel and BF most who do the sums properly work out there's not much in it cost wise, and how much is avoiding the trail through France worth - though some make it part of the holiday.  As mentioned there are those who take a (perverse?) pride in not spending anything on tolls, campsite fees etc if they can help it, so it's the tunnel for them and camping on the beach until they get kicked off by the Guardia Civil.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Cabin-boy said:

OK, how about a Club-Voyage varient specifically for pet owners with a significant price supplement (to deter speculative time-wasters and give priority to regular travellers) which then gets you access to the booking engine 24-hours ahead of the masses but you then (once on-board - again to deter those who regularly cancel) get vouchers to use in the restaurant etc. equivalent to the membership fee hike. Ed. 

I rather do like that as an idea 

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Again re-reading the media pack, BF carried 91,289 dogs in 2017... that's a lot of dogs and would suggest that a more focused approach toward our furry friends wouldn't be a waste of money. 

Maybe they should consider reconstructing deck 9 and re brand it K9

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Tried booking as a foot passenger to/from Spain in November.  As it's being operated by Cap Finistere on my chosen days, there are no foot passengers allowed owing to limited car deck space.  That was news to me.  Was looking forward to leaving the car at home for once!  Oh well... 

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Foot passengers are rarely taken on CF. As far as I know it is never possible to book online as a foot passenger. If you ring to try and book, you may have more luck.

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I got booked up with no problem at all november crossing and a return in February ,I even amended my return crossing this afternoon with no problem at all and this was for pet friendly cabin in both directions.must of been a bit lucky.

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