27 October 2009

Stena Line Ferries come on board

Drive-Alive Holidays is very pleased that Stena Line Ferries are now partnering with us, along with all the other major ferry companies. The Stena Line routes are from the UK to Holland and between England, Scotland and Ireland.

This is good news for our users as we can now offer you links to book these crossings directly from our website. Since we have several hundred hotels in Ireland and a good selection of self-catering cottages and holiday homes you can plan a driving holiday to Ireland without leaving our website. Click to find out more about Stena Line ferry crossings to Ireland.

The Stena Line route from Harwich to the Hook of Holland is very convenient for those in the East and South-East of England who want a more direct way of getting to the Netherlands, Germany or further into Scandinavia. Click for more information on the Stena ferry crossing from Harwich to the Hook of Holland.

23 October 2009

Brittany Ferries new ship the Armorique - Plymouth to Roscoff

Earlier this year Brittany Ferries launched their new ship the Armorique on the ferry crossing from Plymouth to Roscoff. We've just taken a return crossing and thought you might like to know our opinion of her.

The first thing that strikes you is the sense of space everywhere - even the car decks are completely free from the feeling of claustrophobia all too common on old ferries, and there's plenty of room for manouvering. Everything is fresh and new, although we did find the bright and lively colour scheme throughout the ship a little garish. Subtle and restfull it is not!

The basic 2 berth cabins are comfortable enough, and all have their own little en-suite shower room and loo. 4 berth cabins are also available as well as more expensive options with all mod cons, including TV, right up to the luxurious Commodore class cabins.

The spacious theme is continued even in the public toilets, a far cry from the cramped loos of older vessels. The two cinemas on board are extremely comfortable, with 21st century surround sound which actually shakes the floor!

We ate in the self-service restaurant, and the food was well up to the standard set by previous Brittany Ferries self-service eateries. However, we were disappointed to find no proper restaurant on board. One of the pleasures of using the ferries to France instead of Eurotunnel or flying is being served a lovely meal while gazing out of the window at the ever-changing sea-scape. A strange omission from a French-owned ship whose clientele would surely have appreciated the restaurant experience.

But overall the experience was positive, with the added benefit of the faster daytime crossing time of just five and a half hours. And the staff are very friendly and helpful and really go out of their way to help make this crossing an enjoyable way to start and finish your trip.

Click to find out more about the ferry crossings from Brittany Ferries.

13 October 2009

Book your winter train journey in France now

From Wednesday 14 October ’09, French trains running on the new winter timetable will go on sale. The timetable change from summer to winter schedules takes place on Sunday 13 December ’09.

The winter timetable features increased services on routes popular with skiers, such as the Paris to Bourg St Maurice overnight service, which runs every night throughout the winter ski season.

Normally, French trains can be booked a maximum of 3 months in advance of the date of travel, but the change over to the winter timetable means that the booking horizons change slightly for a couple of months.

From 5am UK time on 14 October ‘09, passengers will be able to book rail travel in France for dates between 13 December ’09 and 13 January 2010 inclusive.

The 3 month rule applies again from 15 October, until 5 November ‘09, when sales open for trains running between 5 February and 8 March ’10 inclusive.

For any trains running after 8 March 2010, the usual 3 month booking horizon will apply, so anyone wanting to book a train on 9 March will need to wait until 9 December ’09.

Click to book your train journey in Europe

6 October 2009

Change of vessels for LD Lines ferry crossings to France

LD Lines' fast catamaran ferry Norman Arrow is transferring from the Dover Boulogne route to the Portsmouth to Le Havre crossing, although she will only operate for six months during the Spring and Summer, from Easter to September next year.

The benefit is that journey times will be reduced to three hours 15 minutes compared to conventional ferry crossing times of five hours 30 minutes (daytime) or eight hours (night).

The downside is that the Norman Spirit ferry is being transferred in early November from its current Portsmouth to Le Havre route to begin operations on LD Lines' Dover to Boulogne service. This means over the winter LD Lines ferry users from Portsmouth will only have the year-round conventional ferry Cote d'Albatre to use until the Norman Arrow arrives at Easter.

But the Norman Spirit can carry many more vehicles than the Norman Arrow fastcraft, and the popular Dover Boulogne service is in need of this extra capacity.

Book all LD Lines' ferry services with Drive-Alive.
For information on all ferry services from the UK to France.