Ferry operators roll out their best offers for National Ferry Fortnight. Moscow drivers show old parking habits die hard. Belgium electronic truck tolls are on the way, the Slovakian truck strike is off for the time being, Bucharest sees a large demonstration against the hefty fuel tax rise while ferry safety is under scrutiny in Istanbul after a tragedy at the weekend.
SPECIAL OFFERS FOR NATIONAL FERRY FORTNIGHT.
Operators conjure up their best special offers for National Ferry Fortnight – especially good for families with children. Most sailings must be booked before the end of March.
Credit where credit is due, Condor Ferries was the first to come up with the ‘kids travel free’ offer. It must have worked because now both Stena Line and Brittany Ferries are in on the act too.
With Stena Line, book by 31 March and kids go free ‘on any sailing at any time this year’. We struggled to find any exclusions apart from kids meaning those aged under 16. This means two adults and two offspring, and car, can travel overnight both ways between Harwich and Hook of Holland in mid-July for £335.
No two ways about it that’s a good offer considering it includes two night’s accommodation (and that we paid £165 for a two-up, one-way day crossing – with no cabin – last year).
The Brittany Ferries version saves ‘up to £172’ and is available all year round too. The first two kids travel free, plus the cabin is free, as are any bikes on the back of your car.
The offer just applies to the operator’s day time conventional sailings, not high speed, and excludes the routes to Spain, and Saturday sailings from France in August. Book by 1 April.
Actually the kids-go-free offer might have worked all too well for Condor Ferries because this year it’s kids-go-half-price instead on its UK-Channel Islands-France routes.
However, the deal is available on all sailings until 24 March 2015 if you book by 31 March 2014. It applies to children 15 and under, has to be booked 60 days in advance, for a trip of six days or more, and with at least one fare paying adult plus car.
DFDS combines a 10% discount on all of its six routes between the UK and France, Netherlands and Denmark with a kids-eat-free offer. It’s available on selected dates until at least October though, on Newcastle-Amsterdam and Harwich-Esbjerg, kids only eat free on the outbound sailings, and only then if their parents buy dinner too. The 10% discount still applies either way. Book by 30 March.
Worth mentioning is DFDS’ Spring Offer: 20% off Dover-Calais and North Sea routes, available on selected dates until 18 December, if booked by 6 April.
To qualify for MyFerryLink’s ‘free child’s meal’, adults must order a three course dinner, and book a return crossing between 15-29 March and take it between 15 March and 21 April (is that clear?)
Much better are MyFerryLink’s short break fares from £19, and longer stay fares from £39, if booked by 29 March.
Finally, it’s either a lack of enthusiasm for National Ferry Fortnight, or because they just don’t need the business, but P&O’s ‘free family cinema tickets’ is hardly what we would call ‘unmissable’.
Mind you, when you consider how much it costs to take the family to the cinema these days…
Book from 15-29 March, for a trip longer than five days, on any of the company’s routes – between the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands – to get free tickets to any of a long list of participating cinemas.
Happily, P&O’s pretty amazing winter day trip special offer – £23 return Dover-Calais, Sunday-Friday, plus six free bottles of wine – lasts until the end of March.
.roundup: BELGIUM. In addition to the on-going GPS road tolling trial for cars, electronic tolling for trucks is on course to be introduced in 2016. Four companies have been short-listed. The system will replaces the Eurovignette scheme currently shared with the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and Sweden. ROMANIA. Up to 10,000 people protested in Bucharest at the weekend, the latest in a long line, over the 7c per litre fuel duty increase due on 1 April. Unleaded95 currently sells for €1.279, diesel for €1.293. SLOVAKIA. Nationwide roadblocks are on hold for the moment as hauliers wait to see how government promises over reform of the road tolling system pan out. TURKEY. A ferry pulled away from the quayside at Sirkeci Port, in European Istanbul, before the final car had finished boarding on Saturday. A young girl died after the car fell into the water. Update: watch a video here.