This is just a warning for people who use Brittany Ferries!
I have a Club Voyage membership, not that I’ve used it much since I’ve been living here, and early in the year I went for one of their deals whereby you get a flexible ticket for the price of a fixed one. I did this because I’d intended to go across to the UK sometime during the year but hadn’t fixed a date.
I duly made the booking, paid in full (£233) and when it got close, I shifted it to later in the year and all was well.
However, I then forgot about it and remembered after the first part of the crossing had occurred, so wrote it off as my fault and shifted the second part of the booking to later. For this I was charged an extra £88 cancellation fee (presumably for the first half) plus £20 amendment fee, so the cost so far was £341.
Today I went to move the second half yet again and found that fees were being applied to the changes and also that I was no longer getting the reduced fares resulting from my membership. I decided to cancel the whole thing and write it off. However, they then charged me a further £210, bringing the total cost of 2 ferry crossings I paid for and didn’t use to £561.
I realise that some of this is a result of my carelessness but it still doesn’t make a great deal of sense. They can still book another car in place of mine for the second crossing and there is no way they can have lost the kind of money that they charged.
End of rant but just to advise that you check the terms and conditions for modifications or a no-show very carefully before booking!
I gave up using Brittany Ferries because of a variety of failings in pricing and duty of care. I am lucky in that I live sufficiently far from all the channel ports that there are several viable alternatives.
I used to find them excellent and the higher prices not at all extortionate with the loyalty card but things have changed a great deal in the last few years - starting with all the changes for Covid.
Unfortunately, where I live is 1 to 2 hours away from 4 ports but they are all served by Brittany Ferries Anything else is massively inconvenient to use.
What I have also noticed is that their recent notification of a (big) increase in the annual cost of the loyalty card includes a list of the wonderful extra benefits to be had from the card, none of which are of the slightest interest to me.
The jury’s out on whether I bother renewing - I’ve had that card or its predecessors for, I think, over 30 years…
I haven’t used Brittany Ferries - mainly because whenever I price up a trip to and from France DFDS on the Newhaven-Dieppe route wins hands-down on price - and the total travel time (from Guildford Surrey to the Loire Valley or Vienne/Charente) is similar, given that Dieppe is a bit further up the coast but the BF ferry takes almost 2 hours longer to cross.
The DFDS ships are a bit old and tired, but for four hours I can put up with that!
Yes, the flexible fares have to be treated with care. You only get a free amendment up until 4 hours before the outbound crossing (2 weeks for the standard fare).
The trick is to only book singles, so every crossing is outbound.
None of us like a price increase but the annual fee has been £75 for a long time, so the increase to £85 could be seen as reasonable, given how much operating costs will have increased over the past 20 months or so.
Given our location & general direction of travel once in the UK we don’t use the lower cost/shorter crossing options (the two are linked) further east. Club Voyage membership has saved us a fortune over the years, & we’re not frequent travellers.
Bit stuck with BF, have tried more easterly crossings but with the additional driving/tolls they don’t come out any cheaper and the combination of more driving/less rest is not a good one so reserved for the times we can’t get a convenient BF crossing.
But the overall lowering of quality of service has not gone unnoticed.
I can’t believe they would charge that much extra to cancel the booking😲. As you know, we’ve used BF quite a lot this year and haven’t had any major issues, except being kept on hold (and paying for it😡) for ages. We only started with their Club Voyage last year, it was £ 120, 60 to join and 60 for the year. I renewed earlier this year and think it was £65🤔, certainly not a massive increase. We can save that on a single crossing. Be interesting to see how much the renewal is next year.
Could always try phoning and having a rant. Might get you a credit note at least.
I am not surprised @AngelaR , despite banning myself from BF way back in the '90s for fraud and then much less than helpful use of a 5-day return, I tried to book with them (for the reduction in kms and use of a bed) for my trip back in June.
€ 890, or thereabouts. . Fortunately they withdrew the offer within minutes.
And I then proceeded to be ripped of by the Shuttle.
Ah yes - that’s the “new style” Club Voyage, with less discount off the crossings. I bought one of those as a special present for someone last year and the costs were exactly as you found, including the renewal price. The “old style” membership seems to cost more - I hadn’t realised that!
That’s been absolutely true for us as well - this is my first really major problem. I can’t believe I’ve paid over £500 for crossings that never happened, given that the actual crossing prices were substantially less than the cancellation charges
Being a dedicated avoider of any form of conflict, I think I’d have to try a different approach
Just gone up to £85 as @Badger noted.
Don’t ask don’t get
Were those charges definitely in the t’s and c’s that were clearly advised to you at the time of booking? If not or it they weren’t clearly notified to you then they can’t add charges later.
Even if they were in the T&C I’d have a go at getting a refund on the basis that they were unreasonable (though in my case probably happy with a credit note as odds of me being stuck with continuing to use them approach unity).
Yes that would be the second line of attack. Even if they have text allowing them to change ts and cs, I think this could also be challenged as unfair contract terms.
We have used BF for 40 years but the poor standard of food and the cabins being badly prepared we have taken our last crossing. The women who deal with changes to crossings I have found excellent but it was in the free time. However the people on the boats we have found quite rude. We would rather do the Newhaven « Dieppe crossing from now on .
Which is good if it works for you - the closest port to our place is St Malo which is about two hours drive, though we almost always use Ouistreham because the ferry times work out better for us.
Dieppe is more like a five hour drive.
We go to Spain in January and don’t want to risk possible bad weather driving through France. This means a BF crossing to Bilbao or Santander. It is more expensive than the Tunnel and driving to Spain but less wear on old bodies. We find the level of service acceptable.
In my experience, the winter weather in the Bay of Biscay is likely to be much worse than anything to be encountered on land!
Something else to note in favour of DFDS Newhaven-Dieppe (assuming the route makes sense for you geographically), is that they offer a 20% discount off their already cheaper fares for disabled passengers, students between the age of 18 to 27, young people between the age of 18 to 25 and seniors over the age of 60 years.
Note that these discounts are not available when booking on their website, you have to phone them up or book in person at the terminal.
Thanks Chris. I did have a look at them and may well give them a try but it’s a question of a 3 hour journey to Dieppe rather than 1 hour to the 2 nearer ports plus the fact that I end up in the SouthEast of England, where I’d rather not be …
However, I’m getting a bit p*****d off by now as you can probably guess