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carol
28-11-2016, 09:40
Hello experienced Snowbirds. Which port would you recommend and why? Also, someone said there might be snow getting across to the coast. What's the best route? I may go anti clockwise round the coast to Spain. Have other people done that?

grath
28-11-2016, 10:21
Carol, I have not doe either for quite a few years, since I retired from Trucking, but both are good. I have recently booked Santander as a little treat, we usually go for cheaper crossings as BF long crossings are a monopoly and expensive, not really cost effective!
If you are going west, then Santander will be better and nearer to some nice places. If going east, then Bilbao.
Then you need to check if you want Portsmouth or Plymouth, and juggle the prices to see which is best value.
Regarding snow, don't worry about it, they clear it quickly and you do have your kitchen and toilet with you!

rockape
28-11-2016, 10:22
I've done both routes and there is nothing between the two. Yes, it does snow but they deal with it well.

John H
28-11-2016, 11:34
I echo what has been said above - nothing to choose between them; if you are heading west, Santander is probably more convenient but either is fine. Snow is not a problem because they are very efficient at keeping the main routes open (but you might want to head down here to the sun quicker!).

wakk44
28-11-2016, 12:42
Carol, I have not doe either for quite a few years, since I retired from Trucking, but both are good. I have recently booked Santander as a little treat, we usually go for cheaper crossings as BF long crossings are a monopoly and expensive, not really cost effective!
If you are going west, then Santander will be better and nearer to some nice places. If going east, then Bilbao.
Then you need to check if you want Portsmouth or Plymouth, and juggle the prices to see which is best value.
Regarding snow, don't worry about it, they clear it quickly and you do have your kitchen and toilet with you!

It depends on what you want,we have done both-travelled through France and also gone on the N.Spain ferry.I see your point that it is more expensive on the Spanish ferry but for us the convenience and less driving makes it a more relaxing trip which we think is a price worth paying.

We went through quite heavy snow in the Spanish mountains but there was plenty of snow ploughs working constantly to keep the road clear.The Spanish know how to deal with snow,unlike our local councils.

iampatman
28-11-2016, 13:15
We've done both Carol and as folk say there's not much to choose between them. Unfortunately either way you cross the Bay of Biscay!!

Pat

jann
28-11-2016, 13:20
Not much distance between them, go for the cheapest price

r4dent
28-11-2016, 15:08
As Jann says not much between them (60 miles ish) but since BF don't have a regular service you are best going to the one that suits your timetable.

On the way back you can overnight on Bilbao dock if you have a morning sailing. The only problem is that vagabonds and ner do wells also camp there. (I met Beemer in the car park).

carol
28-11-2016, 15:21
We've done both Carol and as folk say there's not much to choose between them. Unfortunately either way you cross the Bay of Biscay!!

Pat

I know. Maybe the gods will be looking out for me?

iampatman
28-11-2016, 15:29
I know. Maybe the gods will be looking out for me?

Well, they say God smiles on the righteous:)

Pat

carol
28-11-2016, 15:40
Well, they say God smiles on the righteous:)

Pat

That's me sorted then 😇

moonshadow
28-11-2016, 15:56
We went to one and back from the other, didn't see that there is any difference really, we were influenced on price. Having mentioned price we got a better deal by phoning Brittany Ferries, he looked around at the different sailings for us - a tedious job online, than by booking online. Let us know what you decide, we are going to think about booking when we get home 2nd week December, actually considering the drive one way or possibly both through France.

spigot
28-11-2016, 16:01
Hi Carol,

As said above, they are near enough to each other so choose whatever is convenient.

Last Jan we went Portsmouth to Santander as the times (& price) suited us, the Bay of Biscay was as calm as a mill-pond. On the motorway heading towards Bilbao, the navigator espies a minor road A629 heading south which will by-pass the nasty pay road, which was great, until I noticed we were getting near the snow line, but all was OK & we spent the 1st night at the aire by the river at Miranda-del-Ebro.

The next day we had a leisurely drive down the A232 to Tudela & stayed at the aire at Cascante, a few km south of the city. After that we drove on the A121 down to Carinena, picking up the A23 motorway here, thereby cutting out Zaragoza & it's environs. We kept on the A23 down to the Med where we stayed on the beach at Pobla-de-Farnals. The next day we drove to Cullera where we relaxed for a few days.

We hope to do the same next Jan hoping they haven't put the block on Cullera.

carol
28-11-2016, 16:01
I'll be driving back through France when it's warmed up! �� Thanks Mike. I do hope Cullera is still ok as only stayed 2 nights last time and didn't get to find the bar that Mike recommended with cheap beer and tapas!

witzend
28-11-2016, 19:30
. What's the best route? I may go anti clockwise round the coast to Spain. Have other people done that?

Usually go directly South on way down and come back up west coast slowly as weather is better then. Euro still creeping up

Caz
28-11-2016, 20:06
Bay of Biscay? You'll be fine Carol:

"Winds blow from America to Europe and the waves grow all the way as they travel from west to east," says Prof Adrian New, from the National Oceanography Centre.
"These swell waves can be felt in the Bay of Biscay if you're still in deep water 100 miles out. They then become shorter choppier waves when you hit the continental shelf."
Swell waves are long sloping waves that are around 20ft high, but high winds can make them both bigger and steeper. Gales are most likely in the bay from October through March.
Modern ships should be able to survive the rough weather of the Bay of Biscay
But losing power and shifting cargo can increase the danger.

So don't lose your power or let your cargo shift. Simples. :dog:

carol
28-11-2016, 20:38
Cheers Caz! I have experienced a good and an awful crossing. Maybe I should just drive down?:scared:

spigot
28-11-2016, 20:56
Maybe I should just drive down?:scared:

If you're going down in Jan & the weather is crap in France, maybe that's not such a good idea.

iampatman
28-11-2016, 21:00
Cheers Caz! I have experienced a good and an awful crossing. Maybe I should just drive down?:scared:

We sailed Portsmouth - St Malo this time because we didn't fancy the Bay of Biscay. Three days driving and we were at Vitoria-Gasteiz, just south of Bilbao. Mind, a couple of those days were longish drives but you could take a couple more days if you're not in a hurry and see a bit more of France rather than 20ft waves :)

Pat

5andy
29-11-2016, 02:54
We are travelling Portsmouth to Bilbao on the 15th December. The decision was based on convenience of times as much as anything else, certainly not experience. We will sail through the Bay of Biscay with hope rather than expectation! Thanks Spigot for sharing your last route it pretty much follows the route we were planning which is reassuring, including a stop at Cascante. We will also have a look at Miranda-del-Ebro, hadn't picked up on that one.
Cheers 5andy

carol
29-11-2016, 10:45
We are travelling Portsmouth to Bilbao on the 15th December. The decision was based on convenience of times as much as anything else, certainly not experience. We will sail through the Bay of Biscay with hope rather than expectation! Thanks Spigot for sharing your last route it pretty much follows the route we were planning which is reassuring, including a stop at Cascante. We will also have a look at Miranda-del-Ebro, hadn't picked up on that one.
Cheers 5andy

Let me know how it goes 5andy. Good luck with the crossing. As I said, I had a really pleasant one but I've just remembered it was in July! Weighing it all up, a 4 or 5 drive, by myself in wintry weather or 24 hours on a bumpy ferry ride..... hmmm?

grath
29-11-2016, 11:42
Let me know how it goes 5andy. Good luck with the crossing. As I said, I had a really pleasant one but I've just remembered it was in July! Weighing it all up, a 4 or 5 drive, by myself in wintry weather or 24 hours on a bumpy ferry ride..... hmmm?

And if a person wants to pay about 500 extra to save a couple of days drive:idea:
By the way, did you know that Newhaven/Dieppe offer 20% discount to old farts, but must be booked by phone!
Works out cheaper than Dover Calais, when you take fuel in the equation!
And saves two hours drive each way!
Myself, I am doing a Santander return and a Dieppe return in 2017

carol
29-11-2016, 11:46
And if a person wants to pay about 500 to save a couple of days drive:idea:

It's less than 300 so not loads more than driving. And it's more than a couple of days! I'll be going back through France.

grath
29-11-2016, 11:55
It's less than 300 so not loads more than driving. And it's more than a couple of days! I'll be going back through France.

Worked out at 500 (return) for me, taking vehicle size, fuel and everything in mind
Yes more than a couple of days taking a persons time. but can be done in a day and a half in a truck, keeping to tachograph rules.

carol
29-11-2016, 12:05
I'm just quoting the cost of the ferry, Grath. I did it overland in March and while I can't remember the exact amount I spent in fuel and tolls I don think the difference will be huge. My main reason is not financial though. It was quite a cold wet journey last time with little chance of enjoying France . Also, I was travelling with another van and this time I'm on my tod ��

grath
29-11-2016, 12:12
A few weeks ago, I costed it via DFDS and BF, and taking the mileage at 24mpg, No tolls as I don't use them.
I can understand Carol, been on your own, and a Lady! Different when I was Trucking, but in the end, it is up to each person to do it the way which suits them.
Myself, I am treating Mrs G to the Santander ferry for our 40th wedding anniversary, but that is a lot of bottles of wine we could drink!:tongue::tongue:
We will be doing two trips next year, the first is via Dieppe, but don't yet know where we will be driving to, maybe even Spain.
The second is via BF to Santander and onward to Portugal
Can't wait!

carol
29-11-2016, 12:15
I really like Dieppe so I may go back from there. Enjoy your trips. Unfortunately Mr C isn't around to drive me so I have to do it on my own or not at all! 😳

grath
29-11-2016, 12:16
I really like Dieppe so I may go back from there. Enjoy your trips. Unfortunately Mr C isn't around to drive me so I have to do it on my own or not at all! 😳

I was going to Like your post Carol, but as Mr C is not around, I couldn't.
Thanks and you also enjoy your trips!

carol
29-11-2016, 15:15
I was going to Like your post Carol, but as Mr C is not around, I couldn't.
Thanks and you also enjoy your trips!

Thanks Grath, it's been a long time but just started driving a campervan about 3 years ago. Couldn't be without it now 😊 This site has been a godsend.

spigot
29-11-2016, 15:36
And if a person wants to pay about 500 extra to save a couple of days drive:

More likely three days if one is travelling in Jan, considering the shorter daylight hours & the possible foul weather at this time of year.

Our crossing to Santander last Jan cost 319, the passage cost 219, plus 100 for the cabin, which we didn't want but it was mandatory.

The mileage down through France is about 750m, so we saved about 200 quid there, add on the P&O fare & there's not much difference in the cost. Also we're starting out fresh for the drive south.

Having said that, we love France, coming back in June we'll take about a couple of weeks meandering along rural roads to Calais.

grath
29-11-2016, 16:02
It depends entirely when a person is going, the size of vehicle and mpg
I have just done a check on when we are going for our second trip and
DFDS Newhaven/Dieppe is 179 return with 20% discount
The mileage i get is 1430 return and at 24 mpg = roughly 60 gal =273 litres, costed at 1'20 per litre, which equates to 328 rounded up

So Ferry = 179
and fuel = 328
Total 507


The up to date BF price with cabins, for my vehicle is 978, making it 471 more expensive, excluding wear and tear
These are prices I just got, but I did pay a little less as I booked a few weeks ago.
Regarding driving distances, in my trucking days, I could easily get to Santander in a day and a half, but now I would probably take two and a half! maybe longer if I wanted to stop longer

grath
29-11-2016, 16:20
Just checked our exact prices and it is 432 more expensive with BF, but we have saved wear and tear, had a little cruise and rest. But then spent more on BF Food and drink, while we enjoy the sea view.
I hate to say it, but it looks worth it for a change!
Obviously for you snowbirds, winter crossings will be cheaper, therefore it could be cost effective!


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