View Full Version : Sleeping in the van on the overnight Portsmouth ferry to Le Havre

23-12-2013, 20:26
Has anyone ever done this? How would they know? It would save the price of a cabin and be a darn sight more comfortable!
BTW it's blowing nearly 50 knots in the Channel right now!

23-12-2013, 21:00
Well you'd have to hide in the back until they bolted the car deck doors, show no lights etc

Not sure i'd want to really , the car deckwould be a dark smelly place to be for quite a few hours and if they did catch you you've probably broken your booking terms and if any cars have been broken into you are suspect number 1 !

Let us know how it goes


23-12-2013, 21:08
Has anyone ever done this? How would they know? It would save the price of a cabin and be a darn sight more comfortable!
BTW it's blowing nearly 50 knots in the Channel right now!

Hmmmmm, I'm Scottish, BOE make 50 & 20p's thus shaped to get out our hands using a shifter. I'd be reluctant to go cargo, despite the potential savings!!

23-12-2013, 21:10
Well, it was just a thought. POP and all that!

23-12-2013, 21:12
I've done Portsmouth le Havre a few times in a car. Just kip in one of the lounges, you don't need a cabin for such a short crossing. I'd also think it would be possible to stay on the car decks but you'd have to maintain black out and not move or make a sound. I'd prefer to be up on the boat.

23-12-2013, 21:14
You don't need to stay in your van,
as others have said it's likely to be smelly,and dangerous if trapped there.

I always take an extra blanket (and sleep mask) up to the passenger decks with me,
and have never failed to find a comfortable (and dark,quiet) spot to spend the night on..
with the advantage of access to toilets,showers,WiFi,open decks,views ...and restaurants

I've done this for the last few years,
never having paid for a cabin

23-12-2013, 21:29
Plenty try to do it evey crossing in the back of lorries and dont even pay the fare.:have fun:

23-12-2013, 21:34
Done it with a car a few times and just kipped in the lounge. Ear plugs help. Tried the floor and had trouble walking the following morning. Few beers also helps.

We were on one once in the lounge at the front. There were a couple of families with kids and us. One family tucked away on the side had just got the kids sorted when another family turned up and asked them to move because they were in their reserved seats. There was so much empty space but this guy wanted the seats he had booked. The family refused to move and off he went to find a crew member who reluctantly had to tell them to move. So they gathered everything up and moved to the opposite side in exactly the same position.

As regards kipping in the van .. Hmmmmmmm .. You could get yourself banned :rulez:

23-12-2013, 21:40
Good luck to you! I'm near Portsmouth and it's windy as hell here!!
Walk that bit further to seek out the lounge no one else can be bothered to go to!
At least it will rock you to sleep!! :-D

23-12-2013, 21:42
Hey guys, I'm not suggesting that I or anyone else should sleep in their van, merely asking if anyone had ever done it!

23-12-2013, 21:48
I've often wondered if anyone does sleep in their vehicles but never fancied it my self as if there was a problem mid channel I don't recon I'd have much chance in the water but if down below I'd have none at all. I remember that several lorry drivers where trapped in their cabs when the Zebrugga ferry sank Imagine what a ferry would be like to move about in if it was on its side doesn't bear thinking about does it.

I think that with Brittany Ferries on overnight crossings you have to purchase some type of accommodation so possibly no saving to be had there anyway

24-12-2013, 07:46
Stayed in the cab of a 7.5 tonner on the Sea France boat once because they parked us that close I couldn't get out. When I explained to a crew member he just shrugged and left me there. Trouble was I was desperate for a pee.

24-12-2013, 08:19
Stayed in van Dover-Calais when dog was ill. I preferred it to going upstairs but you won't get much sleep as car alarms are going off all the time. You can make a nice breakfast on the crossing though.
I crossed Portsmouth-Le Havre-Portsmouth with no cabin last week. I thought I'd try it as I was only going for 4 days so it was 1/2 the normal return price. Gale both ways and got zero sleep with bottles and trolleys crashing around, pi$$ed passengers shouting and lights left on all night: never again! Even going to Brittany, Calais with the extra driving is just as quick and no more expensive than the 5 day return offer and you have much more flexibility with so many crossings.

PS: Like your avatar

24-12-2013, 08:20
we used to do it in the late 70s going on the midnight ferry to the IoM TT, Buy a old transit fill it with bikes, bodies and tents and just pay for van ,driver and one passenger and then sell the van when we got back home. Ahhh those were the days.:cheers::cheers::cheers:

24-12-2013, 09:22
We always do it. Even Dover Calais. We have even slept in on the dover Calais SF. Woke up to a crew member banging on the van, looked out the window and he's standing there arms folded and stamping his feet, deck was completely empty, had to jump into the drivers seat in my pj's, down the ramp and everyone throwing us daggers, truck drivers shaking their fist, loaders shaking their heads, were we bothered? not a bit, we done it again next crossing.
The advantage is you get on the road refreshed and can make good time in the run for the sun.

24-12-2013, 10:56
Never done it but always tempted. My nice warm comfortable bed or crowds of noisy people but :rulez: is rules.


john t
24-12-2013, 11:55
Same thing here especially on long crossing where ya trapped beneath all an sundry, if owt ever happen like the Zeebrugger, i'd like to know i have a fighting chance of survival how ever remote, you aint got that if ya locked in down below.!


24-12-2013, 15:31
.................. Even going to Brittany, Calais with the extra driving is just as quick and no more expensive than the 5 day return offer and you have much more flexibility with so many crossings.


Agree, five years ago we were with friends at a campsite in the Loire valley. We were both towing trailer tents. They left the campsite 2 hours before us to come home via Le Havre/Portsmouth, we came Calais/Dover. They caught us up on the M42. Our ferry cost a fraction of what their's had, the difference much more than offset the extra fuel.

n brown
24-12-2013, 17:58
we picnic and sleep on floors because we canīt spare the cash for a cabin. but we always make up egg sandwiches the day before,this ensures us a litte space in cattle class

24-12-2013, 18:25
we picnic and sleep on floors because we canīt spare the cash for a cabin. but we always make up egg sandwiches the day before,this ensures us a litte space in cattle class

the aftermath of egg sandwiches is prob why folk leave you alone:lol-053::raofl:

29-12-2013, 15:52
Last year I was travelling across the channel, just a short crossing, and the van got a puncture while we were boarding. We had trouble fitting the spare wheel. The ferry left with us down there. When we finished we were in sight of the port and were able to open the door . No problem. Any help?

29-12-2013, 16:54
Well, I have to say my experiences differ. Flying for me is not an option as I have a dog ( I know you love them ;)) and carry kayaks, bikes etc. I can buy multi trip carnets on the Dover-Calais route which, though they are not significantly cheaper, make travel far more flexible as you do not need to plan for delays - if you miss a boat just get the next in an hour or so rather than pay a hefty extra to travel the next day. You can also depart at a time that suits you - not the ferry company. Since I started crossing to France 20 years ago the Western Channel crossings have steadily risen in price against Dover-Calais while vehicles have become more economical. Unless you are nervous of driving or see being on the ferry as enjoyable, which I certainly don't - cabin or not, I can see no advantage of the longer crossings.

29-12-2013, 17:03
I am on that ferry on new years day ! I shall sleep on the long seats in the cafe,got my return crossing with a very large Iveco van for Ģ109 ! bargin. Going to France for a month to do some work on my house in the loire valley and on my van, good time to leave the Uk for a bit me thinks !

29-12-2013, 17:45

29-12-2013, 19:00
I still don't see what difference that makes other than I have more experience of the shortcomings

29-12-2013, 22:23
I still love driving and I only like short Ferry rides and dislike tunnels so no contest for me, I love France so every extra minute I spend there is worthwhile and a night spent on a French Aire is far better than one on a Ferry.

30-12-2013, 12:04
Sleeping on Ferry Car Deck not a good idea see this link to Runnachs post from yesterday


Ferry Fire: Man Arrested Over Suspected Arson (http://news.sky.com/story/1187972/ferry-fire-man-arrested-over-suspected-arson)

30-12-2013, 14:04
I wouldn't dream of sleeping in the van. Those lorries have been known to move in rough seas, I just wouldn't risk being squashed. That said I did sleep in my car on the very first ferry crossing I ever did. I had no idea that it was not allowed. I put my head down and slept for about 12 hours, but I was young and needed the sleep.

30-12-2013, 17:11
There are a lot of large horseboxes travel on the Western Channel routes and they open the back of the vehicle up and come down to tend them during the crossing. Those horses are damned noisy b*gg*rs.

30-12-2013, 17:58
Wrong all of you! What you need to do is beat the drunks at their own game. Last long ferry trip I did was a boys trip to Shetland from Aberdeen which takes 12 hours. Did we book cabins? Did we hell. No. The evening started with a few beers on the top deck followed by a session in the bar where I ended up playing guitar in an REM tribute band that were on their way to a festival. This went on until 4am when the last person collapsed. I then snuck into the club lounge which was empty for 2 hours kip before nearly missing getting off the ferry as nobody could find me and when they did wake me.

Happy days

IT was the same when we all used to meet up and Holyhead and go to IReland on the midnight ferry. What I find funny is the crowd that spread out on the sofas at 6pm in the afternoon, claiming their space and pretending to be asleep. Whats that about!

31-12-2013, 08:31
Nowadays it takes me all night to do, what I used to do all night: if at all that is....

n brown
31-12-2013, 08:34
kid's play area on night crossings,entirely made of foam rubber,very comfy

31-12-2013, 08:36
Yes you might have a point there. The Shetland trip was about 8 years ago and even then at the tender age of 39 I seem to remember it took me 2 whole days to recover. Its still fun trying to keep up with the younguns and I can still do it but at a price! :)