Ferries or Eurostar? Choosing your cross-channel travel

Ferry and Eurostar

If you’re mulling over whether to make your cross-channel journey with Eurostar or one of the many available ferry operators, then this short guide should help you to find out a little more about both.  In the end, it’s always your decision, and several factors such as budget will play a big part, but here is a little overview of both to consider.

The Eurostar – high speed rail

The well-known Eurostar is a rapid rail service connecting London with the French capital of Paris, and Brussels, in Belgium.  Leaving London from St. Pancras, and stopping at other points such as Ashford International, this train provides one of the most popular ways to cross the English Channel, and does so in style.  A Eurostar train service includes 18 coaches, and can reach speeds of up to almost 190 mph.

Eurostar offers a regular service, and onboard facilities, as well as a smooth and relaxing ride.  However, you can find yourself looking at a high price, and some destinations actually require a change at a station. For the convenience that is supposed to be synonymous with Eurostar, this can be a little frustrating. Whether you need to change will often depend on the season, as some locations, such as Avignon, have a direct Eurostar service during peak months.

You must ensure that you check the travel times, as even though this is a fast service, you may find yourself on the Eurostar for 5 hours or more, if you are travelling to a location like Lyon.  There are plenty of locations in England and France to choose from, and the website does highlight the option of hotel plus train deals.

If you are thinking of using Eurostar, remember that there is always the potential for delays, as is the way with any train service unfortunately, and the pricing can seem a little steep to some.  The timetable system can also appear somewhat baffling, especially if you need to change at a station.

Ferry travel – tried and trusted

The English Channel is one of the busiest stretches of water in the world, as it provides the link between Great Britain, which is famously popular with tourists, and the Continent.  Ferries have proven to be absolutely integral to crossing this famous channel, and even through changing times people have remained loyal to this classic form of transportation.   Ferries are used for channels around the world, and also provide a valuable method of transport between the UK and destinations in Spain, Denmark, Holland, Norway and Ireland.

The practical abilities of a ferry make it stand out; it is a simple, safe and enjoyable ride, and it still maintains that exhilarating quality, because there’s nothing quite like a blast of open sea air.

The number of ferry operators remains strong, with companies such as P&O, SeaFrance and Stena Line providing high calibre, rich competition, whilst smaller, niche companies such as Red Funnel operate the shorter routes regularly and efficiently.  A UK resident has an excellent chance of finding the right ferry provider, linking the desired destinations at an attractive price.  A ferry can take you to a key port in a country, and from there you have the gateway to stunning inland locations, such as Amsterdam in Holland or Lyon in France.

One of the main reasons why people stick with ferries is the impressive pricing; the large number of competitors keeps the prices affordable, whilst the service itself does not diminish as a result.  You can pay a fair price, but get a high quality journey, with onboard facilities such as restaurants, bars and children’s play areas, along with a gentle and seamless ride.  The value for money, combined with the choices available, leaves you with a memorable, efficient and high quality experience that delivers exactly what you want.

The travel times can vary, and sometimes people want a faster option, which is why other methods are used such as flights or Eurostar, but nonetheless a ferry can provide rapid crossing times, and delays are less likely than with other transportation methods.

Planes, trains and automobiles

There are pros and cons to every form of travel; a car is not going to get you across the water, trains face delays, a boat may lack the speed you need and a flight costs an arm and two legs now thanks to inflation.

Your decision has to be based on your priorities, which will probably include arrival time, budget and regularity of service.  The argument for ferries is exemplified by their lasting power; people still love them, and can enjoy plenty of relaxing space, refreshing sea air, onboard facilities and activities and a price that is consistently affordable, no matter which ferry company or route you choose.  

Compare ferry prices to find the right ferry offer for you.

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