SEA VIEW

911 Porsche World - - Letters -

Over or un­der? By which I mean Tun­nel or Ferry. To­gether with one snap­ping com­pan­ion or an­other – mostly Antony Fraser – I make the jour­ney to con­ti­nen­tal Europe sev­eral times a year, cov­er­ing events or vis­it­ing spe­cial­ists, and there’s the choice of tak­ing Euro­tun­nel’s Shut­tle from Folke­stone or the aquatic op­tion which is a DFDS ferry out of Dover. For longer cross­ings, Portsmouth or Plymouth to Caen or San­tander I sail with Brit­tany Fer­ries, and from Har­wich to Hook-of-hol­land it’s Stena Line; in ei­ther case, there’s no other choice. But for the short hop from Dover to Calais it’s re­ally down to speed ver­sus chill-out. There are pros and cons ei­ther way. Euro­tun­nel of­fers a rea­son­ably de­cent ter­mi­nal ex­pe­ri­ence (not know­ingly fa­tal) with nu­mer­ous cafes and duty-free shop­ping, plus the revered chuck wagon ladies pur­vey­ing ba­con and eggs at the Folke­stone end. For the nau­ti­cal shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence you have to be ac­tu­ally on board the ferry, and in DFDS’S case the op­ti­mum mode of travel is their top deck Premier lounge, which, if cou­pled with Pri­or­ity board­ing, means you speed quickly out of Dover, fully re­freshed, onto the mo­tor­way. The tun­nel train takes 35 min­utes, the sea voy­age 1hr 30mins. In both modes, pass­port scru­tiny is much length­ier when leav­ing Calais than de­part­ing Blighty. So, we tend to take the Tun­nel to get on the Au­toroute faster, and the Ferry for a more re­laxed re­turn pas­sage where time is not of the essence. Hold-ups are rare in ei­ther con­text. But whether this re­mains the case six months from now is an­other ques­tion.

Who pays the ferry man? For op­ti­mal travel re­lax­ation, ferry trumps tun­nel, but tun­nel wins if speed of travel is the pri­or­ity

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