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2 hours ago, charlieboy2608 said:

Booking a combined ferry and/or train journey with your campsite through one of the caravan clubs could save you a large chunk of cash too :-)

I have used the Caravan Club before, but I have also booked independently. I used clubcard vouchers in the past to fund both ferry and eurotunnel crossings

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Don’t forget if travelling outside of the peak season, if you book BF, via CMC, on the Poole -Cherbourg route caravans go free (big saving and daytime sailings both ways) 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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15 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

Don’t forget if travelling outside of the peak season, if you book BF, via CMC, on the Poole -Cherbourg route caravans go free (big saving and daytime sailings both ways) 

Same is (or was last time I looked) true for Portsmouth Ouistreham, afternoon out morning back and Camping Riva Bella 5 mins from the docks is open for late afternoon arrivals

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fwiw ...

Will never ever book through a third party (CMC CCC etc etc) for a crossing after the debacle of late March 2020 & the CV19 lockdown / borders closing/ crossings cancelling fiasco - lest those who experienced it will never forget. When things are running smoothly & they are answering the phones all is sweetness & smiles but ......

M

 

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18 minutes ago, montesa said:

fwiw ...

Will never ever book through a third party (CMC CCC etc etc) for a crossing after the debacle of late March 2020 & the CV19 lockdown / borders closing/ crossings cancelling fiasco - lest those who experienced it will never forget. When things are running smoothly & they are answering the phones all is sweetness & smiles but ......

M

 

 

We booked the tunnel through the CMC thinking that safely in our car would be better than on a ferry.  (Normally we sail Hull - Zeebrugge).

 

Lock-down forced us to amend the date and the CMC were 100% happy to do this for us without fuss.  

We now have a tunnel booked for late August this year and, conditions permitting, will be in France until the end of September.

 

When this latest crossing was arranged we received a refund of £55 from the CMC as the new crossing was that much cheaper than the original.

 

Accepted we all may have differing experiences with the "third party" arranged crossings our experience has been 100% perfect and we've had no difficulties contacting the CMC to make amendments.  

 

In addition our Red Pennant insurance was refunded in full.

 

 

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59 minutes ago, montesa said:

fwiw ...

Will never ever book through a third party (CMC CCC etc etc) for a crossing after the debacle of late March 2020 & the CV19 lockdown / borders closing/ crossings cancelling fiasco - lest those who experienced it will never forget. When things are running smoothly & they are answering the phones all is sweetness & smiles but ......

M

 

 

We were booked through the CMC last year for Hull Zeebrugge with camping booked too. The CMC could not have handled it any better, IMHO.  We got a full refund, were always able to contact them and had everything explained fully (over what was quite a protracted process).   

 

I would recommend them to anyone.

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1 hour ago, montesa said:

fwiw ...

Will never ever book through a third party (CMC CCC etc etc) for a crossing after the debacle of late March 2020 & the CV19 lockdown / borders closing/ crossings cancelling fiasco - lest those who experienced it will never forget. When things are running smoothly & they are answering the phones all is sweetness & smiles but ......

M

 

 

 I had three crossings to various destinations all booked  via CMC. (To get the “caravan goes for free “ deal) 

 

When everything went pear shaped I opted for credit notes (All crossings with BF) got the three of them through within a few days. They have now all been used towards a single winter sun holiday for next April. 

 

I am a little puzzled as to why you have adopted such a negative attitude  as everyone else seems more than happy with how things have been dealt with by CMC..  

 

Perhaps you could tell us what the problems you had were??

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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fwiw ...

Would again agree that whilst sat in the comfort of an armchair at home Monday to Friday then CMC & CCC overseas bookings services & any alterations are normally most agreeable. 

Very different situation though after hours or at weekends or in difficult & or urgent situations.

Have previously posted a few times on this subject & theme at length in March & April 2020 when CMC & CCC ran for cover, news blackouts & Call Centres overloaded. Seems at the time my CT & CMC posts & rants became a news conduit throughout France & Spain for returning travellers and did receive PM thanks from some folk. Did at least get it off my chest at the time and my PTS has now slowly gone away.

Given the current & likely on-going difficult issues in overseas travel we will in the distant future book & just deal 'direct' with the Operator now & next time.

NB We put aside our Aldi weekly shopping savings to just pay for our crossings !

M

Await critic ....

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6 minutes ago, montesa said:

Would again agree that whilst sat in the comfort of an armchair at home Monday to Friday then CMC & CCC overseas bookings services & any alterations are normally most agreeable. 

 

While not sat in an armchair, I was able to contact the CMC in office hours via the online chat facility - obviously not an option if you are driving, operating machinery etc. Our concern was about a booking that hadn't yet happened, rather than being away on holiday at the time.  Perhaps that's where our experiences differ

 

I will say this though, the CMC were up and running with the contact team working fairly efficiently from home far quicker than P&O were who seemingly only had a couple of very friendly but under-informed Twitter staff

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29 minutes ago, montesa said:

fwiw ...

Would again agree that whilst sat in the comfort of an armchair at home Monday to Friday then CMC & CCC overseas bookings services & any alterations are normally most agreeable. 

Very different situation though after hours or at weekends or in difficult & or urgent situations.

Have previously posted a few times on this subject & theme at length in March & April 2020 when CMC & CCC ran for cover, news blackouts & Call Centres overloaded. Seems at the time my CT & CMC posts & rants became a news conduit throughout France & Spain for returning travellers and did receive PM thanks from some folk. Did at least get it off my chest at the time and my PTS has now slowly gone away.

Given the current & likely on-going difficult issues in overseas travel we will in the distant future book & just deal 'direct' with the Operator now & next time.

NB We put aside our Aldi weekly shopping savings to just pay for our crossings !

M

Await critic ....

 

And you think that the ferry companies website and call centres would have been sat idly by awaiting your email/phone call and not been even more swamped than CMC/CCC? 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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We went to France a few years ago using  ' Sites Independent'  ( a division of Eurocamp)

 

Chatting to other caravanners who wanted to compare notes we found we had made a significant saving on the site and ferry rather than booking direct.

 

The one word of caution I would offer for those on a long haul journey is to factor in the possibility of a delay. Last time we drove down to the Dordogne there was an accident, fortunately our SatNav helped us avoid the ( 2 hour) tailbacks, but we weren't towing so it was an easy diversion, not so much with a van on the back.  

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On 28/07/2021 at 10:17, montesa said:

fwiw ...

Would again agree that whilst sat in the comfort of an armchair at home Monday to Friday then CMC & CCC overseas bookings services & any alterations are normally most agreeable. 

Very different situation though after hours or at weekends or in difficult & or urgent situations.

Have previously posted a few times on this subject & theme at length in March & April 2020 when CMC & CCC ran for cover, news blackouts & Call Centres overloaded. Seems at the time my CT & CMC posts & rants became a news conduit throughout France & Spain for returning travellers and did receive PM thanks from some folk. Did at least get it off my chest at the time and my PTS has now slowly gone away.

Given the current & likely on-going difficult issues in overseas travel we will in the distant future book & just deal 'direct' with the Operator now & next time.

NB We put aside our Aldi weekly shopping savings to just pay for our crossings !

M

Await critic ....

We had an issue when on our way to the ferry on a Friday evening, we heard that my mum had died suddenly.  We were due to cross the following morning, with a crossing booked through the CMC (pre name change).  We tried to ring them Saturday morning to cancel our crossing, no luck, and of course it was a Bank Holiday weekend, so no one there until Tuesday as the office is closed completey.  We got straight through to the ferry company but they wouldn't talk to us because the crossing was booked through a third party.   However, they did very kindly offer to

record the date and time of our calls and we had to use that later to 'prove' that we had tried to cancel.  The CMC said that they couldn't reimburse us or issue a new crossing, since we didn't notify them until several days after we didn't turn up for our booked crossing.  We had a lot of shenanigans, about times/dates/etc., with the CMC and only after lots of difficult to get proof,  very grudgingly acknowledging that given the timescales there was nothing else we could have done, they offered to amend our crossing.   We said that we didn't want this, but wanted a refund.  Eventually, and even more grudgingly, this was given.   Needless to say we booked ourselves when we eventually wanted to travel again, because at an already stressful time, this was the last thing we needed to have added to the sorrow at losing my mum so unexpectedly. 

Edited by ValA
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54 minutes ago, ValA said:

We had an issue when on our way to the ferry on a Friday evening, we heard that my mum had died suddenly.  We were due to cross the following morning, with a crossing booked through the CMC (pre name change).  We tried to ring them Saturday morning to cancel our crossing, no luck, and of course it was a Bank Holiday weekend, so no one there until Tuesday as the office is closed completey.  We got straight through to the ferry company but they wouldn't talk to us because the crossing was booked through a third party.   However, they did very kindly offer to

record the date and time of our calls and we had to use that later to 'prove' that we had tried to cancel.  The CMC said that they couldn't reimburse us or issue a new crossing, since we didn't notify them until several days after we didn't turn up for our booked crossing.  We had a lot of shenanigans, about times/dates/etc., with the CMC and only after lots of difficult to get proof,  very grudgingly acknowledging that given the timescales there was nothing else we could have done, they offered to amend our crossing.   We said that we didn't want this, but wanted a refund.  Eventually, and even more grudgingly, this was given.   Needless to say we booked ourselves when we eventually wanted to travel again, because at an already stressful time, this was the last thing we needed to have added to the sorrow at losing my mum so unexpectedly. 

Shouldn't this situation be covered by your holiday insurance? 

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1 hour ago, Richard080561 said:

Shouldn't this situation be covered by your holiday insurance? 

Are you really suggesting that on top of this I try to take on my Travel insurers as well. Obviously you have never lost your mother suddenly, whilst on the way to a ferry!   In the end it was sorted out, but it was stressful enough without involving a fourth party!

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I think the point Richard was trying to make was that if you had been unable to sort it out as you did then your insurance would clearly have covered it.

 

Personally I think the last thing that would have been in my mind had I had the call you had would have been getting my money back for a ferry crossing. I

 

 We are if course all different.

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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On 01/08/2021 at 21:58, ValA said:

Are you really suggesting that on top of this I try to take on my Travel insurers as well. Obviously you have never lost your mother suddenly, whilst on the way to a ferry!   In the end it was sorted out, but it was stressful enough without involving a fourth party!

I was suggesting that the losses would have been covered by your insurer, without any stress.

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9 hours ago, Richard080561 said:

I was suggesting that the losses would have been covered by your insurer, without any stress.

Have you tried claiming through a travel insurer? Jumping through hoops of fire would be easier.   Even ringing them, in our circumstances, would have added yet another level of stress.   I suppose that had we paid for cover through the CMC Red Pennant it might have been more straight forward - but our travel insurer was a different provider.   In the end it was sorted out and we didn't lose out. 

It would have been simpler if we had been able to contact the carrier in an emergency, rather than having to go through a third party which was closed for three days with no provision for emergency contact.  The CMC are a professional travel operator, and there should be emergency cover.  Many others have repeated similar stories to me, and none will book through them again.  They are still carrying on as if they were a club.... doing members a favour.  They aren't; they are a multi-million pound business.

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The whole point though is that you wouldn’t have any need to subject yourself to all of the stress involved. Once you were back on an even keel you would merely have had to contact your holiday insurers and provided all the details and evidence and you would have had your money back. 

 

Its not up to the CMC to provide emergency telephone cover, they are a merely booking agent for the various ferry companies and not a travel insurance company. If, as you said, you had insured through Red Pennant then they do have an emergency contact centre manned 24/7 Expecting CMC to have a 24/7 emergency contact number is a bit unreasonable I think.

 

And yes I have been through a slightly similar scenario (cancelling holiday at exceedingly short notice due to a relative being involved in a serious car crash) I did exactly as I detailed above and my insurers paid out in less than a week once I contacted them (which was several days after the holiday should have started) 

 

I am sure it was an exceedingly stressful experience for you, but in my view you heaped a lot more stress upon yourself than was necessary by trying to sort everything out instantly, rather than dealing with the important matters first, and then claiming through your holiday insurance once the dust had settled a bit. 

 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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The point is that we book via the club to save money, without anticipating the service in such circumstances will not be available. Here are examples. You pays yer money and takes yer choice.

 

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On 22/07/2021 at 22:49, David P said:

Mr Plod

You can call it Israel, if you want. I call It home:) (Have you ever visited, not Israel!)

For our main holiday of 2021, if we are not in a 3rd lockdown by then, we are going to Gods affiliated land of Anglesey. (Listening to our 1st minister Mr Drakeford, Staycation, Staycation) France, perhaps next year or 2023?

I have visited both Israel and Wales and I can confirm that Wales is much the nicer.

From an Englishman

 

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8 hours ago, ValA said:

Have you tried claiming through a travel insurer? Jumping through hoops of fire would be easier.   Even ringing them, in our circumstances, would have added yet another level of stress.   I suppose that had we paid for cover through the CMC Red Pennant it might have been more straight forward - but our travel insurer was a different provider.   In the end it was sorted out and we didn't lose out. 

It would have been simpler if we had been able to contact the carrier in an emergency, rather than having to go through a third party which was closed for three days with no provision for emergency contact.  The CMC are a professional travel operator, and there should be emergency cover.  Many others have repeated similar stories to me, and none will book through them again.  They are still carrying on as if they were a club.... doing members a favour.  They aren't; they are a multi-million pound business.

I discovered when I had a dispute with them over quite a trivial sum that its an organisation untouched by modern day customer service ethos. I was fought to the "wire" over £45 and it ended up on the CEO's desk for a decision.

I have used them since but am very very careful,  keeping notes and treble checking everything because you can be sure if there is a chance of a "small print" wriggle it will be taken.

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On 28/07/2021 at 10:17, montesa said:

fwiw ...

Would again agree that whilst sat in the comfort of an armchair at home Monday to Friday then CMC & CCC overseas bookings services & any alterations are normally most agreeable. 

Very different situation though after hours or at weekends or in difficult & or urgent situations.

Have previously posted a few times on this subject & theme at length in March & April 2020 when CMC & CCC ran for cover, news blackouts & Call Centres overloaded. Seems at the time my CT & CMC posts & rants became a news conduit throughout France & Spain for returning travellers and did receive PM thanks from some folk. Did at least get it off my chest at the time and my PTS has now slowly gone away.

Given the current & likely on-going difficult issues in overseas travel we will in the distant future book & just deal 'direct' with the Operator now & next time.

NB We put aside our Aldi weekly shopping savings to just pay for our crossings !

M

Await critic ....

Would "tend" to agree with what you are saying but we got caught in the first lockdown and we'd booked directly with Brittany Ferries who just went AWOL.

 

An additional booking with DFDS was also tossed in the bin as we arrived from Cadiz to near Calais in just 2 days, a day early for the crossing.

 

Eurotunnel were fine, but we bought a fully flexible ticket - turn up and go!!! 

Oh, back to the real subject, I'd travel from Manchester and stay overnight at the Black Horse CMC site near the tunnel. 

Problem with crossing same day is you either need a flexible ticket or a big contingency to allow for traffic holdups.

I'd then get an early morning Eurotunnel and travel half way which I guess is about Lyon.

 

I've personally driven 560 miles from Cherbourg to St Jean de Luz and that was my limit for a single tow.

 

You have 750 miles plus so it may be a stretch if you are the only driver. You are probably gonna average nearer 60 on the Peage but it would still be a push in a day.

 

With multiple drivers you could head into France on day 1 and drive till say 1am. Stay at the services and a 7am start gets you to the South comfortably.

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Quote

we got caught in the first lockdown and we'd booked directly with Brittany Ferries who just went AWOL.

 

Snap! The really annoying thing was that we had to find out from the internet!

 

It should have been our first trip with them, from Santander back to Portsmouth. Instead we drove 1400 miles from the Algarve to the tunnel - and that is what I will continue to do.

 

BF will never see another penny from me:-(

 

Jim

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fwiw ...

Have so far found EuroTunnel very flexible, to date, with our bit early turn ups and usually within 2 hours they have offered earlier crossing without charge. Ease & speed of loading, comfort & fast crossing, together with having our dogs in the car with us. Sure there have been some hic-cups etc over the years of operation.

Full accept & agree if travelling from the West, Wales or South West or heading to say Western France or if time to spare / cost conscious or you just like Ferries then some of the Channel cruise options can be more convenient / cheaper.

For the Tunnel if having a night stopover going or returning have & would use Bearsted CMC if open or maybe the Drum Inn CL which we found fine & was 365 open. Have had issues at Black Horse CMC (Wardens & Traveller types on site last time) and it is a dead miles divert for the Tunnel Terminal for us from the forgotten North of England.

Await more critic as usual ....

M

PS Anyone planning & hoping for some over-Wintering sunnier climates for winter 2021 /2022 ?  

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I think it’s a bit unfair to heap such criticism on the likes of BF and others and the issues there were with contacting them at the start of lockdown.

 

Think how many individuals are carried by them on a single ship, on a single sailing, then imagine a high percentage of them all attempting to get through on the telephone to find out what’s happening (BF were probably trying to figure it all out as well). Then multiply that by the number of ships they operate every day, then multiply that number by at least thirty (one months worth of travel days) or possible a lot more and you are in the multiple thousands all phoning within a very short period of time!! BF and the like only have a finite number of staff at work at any one time (if, and it’s a big if, they were actually in at work due to the restrictions ) Some if the problem was doubtless that those actually away at the time, or due to go away very shortly after the lockdown, were unable to get through on the phone because those with bookings many months in the future couldn’t/wouldn’t wait somwere also trying to get through and blocking the phone lines.

 

How would you have dealt with the situation any better?? It’s not as if they could suddenly magic more phone lines and staff who would be familiar with their computer systems and, more importantly, know themselves what the situation was in regards to possible re-booking, credit notes or refunds!! 

 

Cut them a bit bit of slack chaps.  The companies are there for many thousands of travellers, and not  just for you! 

 

Yes it was (very) frustrating st the time  (I also had crossings booked and wondered what was happening)  but it was a totally and utterly unforeseeable event that no-one could reasonably have been expected to have made even the slightest provision for. 

 

14 minutes ago, montesa said:

 

PS Anyone planning & hoping for some over-Wintering sunnier climates for winter 2021 /2022 ?  

 

Yes, a months long stay Winter Sun holiday with BF  in an apartment at Benissa/Calpe Spain for all of April. Just over £2k (for two ) inc return ferry to Spain with car, cabin and food on board (very first sailing of their new ship Salamanca) plus 29 nights in an apartment. 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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