Great "Cheap Ferry Tickets": Comparison and booking tips.

Former_MSE_Andrea
Former_MSE_Andrea Posts: 9,614
Combo Breaker First Post I've helped Parliament Rampant Recycler
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edited 14 October 2014 at 10:17AM in Overseas holidays & travel planning
MSE Update 14 October 2014

Hi everyone! This original post was last updated by us in 2009. The links are still up to date but the posts are in chronological order so some info from people who've replied may be out of date now. Go to the last page of the discussion for the most recent replies.


What's it about?

When you want to book a ferry, it should be easy to find the cheapest. Yet there are a variety of deals and none quite live up to it. Of course there's always comparison sites, yet these don't quite have the same accuracy and finesse of the cheap flights searches.

So we'd like to tap MoneySaver's knowledge of the top ferry booking tips and sites. .


The Comparison sites

These comparison provide a useful starting point if you're travelling via a route covered by more than one operator. Yet sometimes cheaper deals are available by going direct to operators so always check.


  • Ferrysavers/Aferry.

    Aferry is the underlying comparison search for Ferrysavers and many other price comparisons.

    These give you the prices for all ferries between selected ports for the nearest times to the ones you specified in price order, lowest first. If you want to search for other sailings by a particular operator you can do so by clicking “more” in the price results column on the results page. Links: Ferrysavers / AFerry

    However, if once you've booked you need to change your details Ferrysavers charges a "minimum fee" of £25 per booking as well as any other charges made by the ferry operator.
Some other sites also use Aferry's same underlying system to provide comparisons meaning results can be similar but could be worth trying if you have spare time:
  • Ferrybooker. Here the amendment fee is £30 per booking. Link: Ferrybooker

  • Eurodrive. It also charges a £30 amendment fee per booking. Link: Eurodrive
Book by Route Sites

Some sites look on first glance like comparison sites but instead simply provide a one-stop shop listing of individual routes and operators on those routes. This means you need to check each operator separately rather than search eg for Dover to Calais you may need to check prices once for P&O and once again for Seafrance.


Some claim to give the cheapest price through special deals so they could be worth checking once you've done a comparison but always check the ferry operator's site to ensure the price does beat booking directly.
  • Online Ferries. Includes Isle of Man and Isle of Wight services but strictly speaking it's not a comparison site as you must check prices for each individual operator's route individually. Link: Online Ferries

  • Direct Ferries. Lets you know the operators for your planned journey but you need to check each individual operator separately. Link: Direct Ferries

  • Cheap4Ferries. Links to individual operators for each route. Has a "Best Price Promise". Link: Cheap4Ferries

  • Ferrysmart. Ferrysmart uses Aferry's system to search routes, again individually by operator. Link: Ferrysmart

  • Ferrycheap. Again, Ferrycheap allows you to check operators separately but not together for one route. Link: Ferrycheap
Please give your feedback

We'd like to gather feedback on these sites and others. If you use them, or have used others you think MoneySavers should be aware of then please let us know how well or not they worked by clicking reply below.

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Comments

  • richardw
    richardw Posts: 19,456
    First Anniversary First Post
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    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • Hi,
    I have used this site and found it unreliable and usually more expensive than booking direct with the ferry companies. I always travel with Norfolk line Dover - Dunkirk because Im travelling into belgium and Holland if your going south then calais or le Havre is better but usually more expensive.
    Norfolk line offer trips from £19 each way for car +5 depends what time of
    day you travel. Always helpfull and staff very pleasant. if its just travel U want then this is the way cos few frills tho boats are of the best standard on the cross channel routes.
    Ferry savers have been known to charge £5 more for the same ticket

    I travel this route four to five times a year.

    Mike
  • Tarry
    Tarry Posts: 11,195 Forumite
    Does this just cover the Dover - Calais etc ferry routes or does it cover the ferries to Ireland?
    The Very Right Honourable Lady Tarry of the Alphabetty thread
    -I just love finding bargains and saving money
    I love to travel as much as I can when I can
    Life has a way to test you, it's how you deal with this that matters
  • I use cross-channel ferries a lot and regret to say that I have NEVER obtained a better price by using this site.

    Nowadays I mostly use the western crossings which although longer and more expensive get me to where I want to go much faster (and save wear and tear on me and my motor). The main operator, Brittany Ferries is tres cher but has stiff competition from the no frills LD lines running from Portsmouth to Le Havre, which has also recently launched a loyalty discount scheme. ( I have yet to try this). LD lines will be running a new service from Folkestone to Boulogne soon so expect to see some price wars on the shorter crossings too. (Plus which Boulogne is much nicer than Calais.)

    The company is also the only one I know where the Chairman personally answers queries, complaints, comments and suggestions on the company web site. If only some of the big UK companies of all sorts would do this! Most of them make it as hard as possible to contact them and rarely if ever give out the names of senior staff. This being said Pierre (for that is his name) was a bit put out when I pointed out that his on board shop had been offering a special deal on whisky - ' 2 for the price of three'. Not one that Martin would have picked up for the newsletter but it had a certain Gallic charm.
  • Tojo_Ralph
    Tojo_Ralph Posts: 8,373 Forumite
    MSE_Andrea wrote: »
    If you're planning a trip to the continent but don't want to fly Ferry comparison site Ferrysavers can save you time when searching for the cheapest price across all the major ferry operators. It also gives you the cost for going via Eurotunnel............. We'd like to gather feedback about the site so if you use it please let us know how well or not it worked by clicking reply below.

    It's an obvious question really, but why select ferrysavers in particular? ..... has some initial MSE research into the various ferry comparison websites indicated that ferrysavers are in some way going to be the best ferry comparison website for MSE'rs to book with? :confused:

    If not, how about posing a more general question and requesting feedback on all the various other ferry comparison websites? ... Examples being.....

    www.onlineferries.co.uk

    www.directferries.co.uk

    www.cheap4ferries.com

    www.aferry.co.uk

    www.ferrybookers.com

    www.ferrysmart.co.uk

    www.ferrycheap.com

    etc.....
    The MSE Dictionary
    Loophole - A word used to entice people to read clearly written Terms and Conditions.
    Rip Off - Clearly written Terms and Conditions.
    Terms and Conditions - Otherwise known as a loophole or a rip off.
  • jolizzie
    jolizzie Posts: 29
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
    Forumite
    It isn't any cheaper that individual web sites, now speedferries have gone we use LD lines or if we wish to travel from Plymouth, Brittany ferries.
    On the comparison site there was no mention of Brittany Ferries and their routes.
  • Like other posters I have visited this site, but it has never bettered the prices available direct with the operator and is quite often more expensive
  • I use www.aferry.co.uk quite a bit, and find there prices quite reasonable. The site provides good timetable information and of course you have the benefit of being able to compare prices, which you cannot do directly with the ferry operators. I travel by ferry to France at least 2 times a month and visiting all the individual operator sites becomes a pain!! Not sure about all the other sites mentioned above, but I can never seem to get a quote using direct ferries.
  • I'm a regular traveller to France and usually avail ferry service to cross the channel. Previously,as i had little time to book direct ferry tickets, used to book tickets through different sites which i found later on pretty expensive.Then one of my colleague suggested me to book ferry tickets by Norfolkline .com which offers £19 each way which i think quite reasonable comparing to other sites.Now a days i use this site quite often to book my ticket though i keep visiting other sites also looking for a better deal.
  • MSE_Andrea wrote: »
    Has anyone used Ferrysavers and would like to give their feedback?

    Andrea :)
    I've used Ferrysavers to remind me of who operates the various routes but it's definitiely patchy in terms of getting the best prices and invariably i've ended up booking direct on the individual ferry company's websites at the same or lower price. Worryingly, i think i discovered last year that Ferrysavers was in fact powered by the same search engine as one of the lesser-known ferry companies, making me believe it was created by them to help raise their visibility in the marketplace - can't remember, could it be LD?? Either way, i wouldn't rely on their quotes.
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