Dover to Calais

Dover to Calais Ferry Service

Port of Dover

Port of Dover Ferry Terminal by Christiaan Triebert, on Flickr

The 21 miles between Dover and Calais make it the shortest English Channel crossing route between Great Britain and the European continent. Whilst many bypass the ferry in favour of the high-speed Folkestone to Coquelles Chunnel train or discount air flights between London and Paris, there is no substitute for the romance and relaxation of experiencing the sea crossing of la Manche firsthand. Moreover, the 90-minute ferry ride is a boon to families who wish to bring their pets and their cars along for the ride. Most ferry ships servicing this route provide a variety of dining and entertainment options, as well as activities for children.

The following are among the ferry services offering daily trips between Dover and Calais:

DFDS Seaways
On the Dover to Calais route, DFDS Seaways offers six to ten sailings daily (except Christmas) around the clock in each direction, with typical car-and-passengers prices of £39-£59 one-way on weekdays to £139-£249 on Saturdays.

Food options include a coffee shop and self-service dining (including vegetarian options) at all meals. Travellers can relax with a drink at several bars and lounges equipped with large screen TVs. Shoppers may browse a selection of wines, liquors, fragrances, snacks, magazines and travel essentials. A children’s play area and kids’ menus are available.

English Channel crossings on MyFerryLink’s ships the Rodin and the Berlioz are advertised “from £35” and typically run £42-£65 one-way for a car and passengers. Nine sailings are offered daily (except Christmas) around the clock in each direction on the Dover to Calais route.

Dining choices aboard ship include Le Relais restaurant (from yogurt and fresh fruit to steak dinners and fish and chips), French bakery Le Latitude, and sandwiches, pizza and drinks at Le Pub. Perfumes, liquor, chocolates and souvenirs are for sale at La Boutique. The Play Zone provides games and cartoons to keep the kids occupied.

P&O Ferries
With five P&O ships making the cross-Channel sailing around the clock every day of the year but Christmas, typical car-and-passengers prices (“from £45”) vary from £50-£70 one-way on weekdays to more than twice that on weekends. Lowest fares are generally on the late night sailings, at which time some onboard services may be unavailable.

A wide range of meal choices at sea include fine dining at The Brasserie (on all ships but the Spirit of Burgundy), the family-friendly Food Court, drinks at The Bar and Starbucks Coffee. For adults, the casino offers gaming from fruit machines to blackjack tables. Multiple onboard shopping options are available.

Club Lounge upgrade is available at £14 per person, which includes such amenities as newspapers, power point docking for your laptop and a complimentary glass of champagne (or tea, coffee or soft drink).

Families with children can enjoy the Junior Kids Club (including a children’s entertainer), video games for the teens and special kids’ menus.

About Dover
Dover, located in Kent in the southeastern United Kingdom, is known the world over for its seafood (Dover sole) and famous white cliffs. Dover is about a 1¾ hour drive from London (via the A2, A20 and M20 motorways) and is connected by rail to St. Pancras station and by motor coach to Victoria Station (about a 2½ hour trip).

About Calais
Although just a short car or rail trip from the cultural mecca of Paris, Calais is a standout in its own right due to its sandy beaches and cool sea air that draw sun worshippers au bord du mer each summer. Calais is a 3 hour drive from Paris and Euro Disneyland via the A26/E15 and the A1/E19. The A16/E40 motorways provide a direct route to Brussels, the Netherlands and Germany.