Should we locate a packet or fly expostulate between Spain and a UK?

Woman on Brittany Ferries
Lou glancing opposite a open automobile rug that was full of RAF belligerent crew
vehicles (c) Jo Chipchase

This autumn, passengers travelling between Spain and a UK could be forgiven for meditative that “budget” flights unequivocally are not so budget. For example, during Nov 2015, a normal stand of “cheap” term-time flights between a South of Spain and a North of England showed an surprising spike in prices, with some weighing in during an unpalatable €790 or some-more for a family of 3 – similar to Jul atmosphere fares.

So since did that occur? Martino Matijevic of tellurian inexpensive moody hunt engine WhichBudget, says:

“In general, bill airlines will run a moody sale in September, when people get behind from summer holidays to their grey, stormy homes and start forgetful of holidays again. Then prices fire adult in November, when people start formulation Christmas holidays. With a difference of convenience flights between Christmas and New Year, prices will usually continue to go adult until Jan when airlines run their sales again to get absolved of remaining out-of-season inventory.”

Andy Cockburn of EasyJet stated:

“There are many factors as to since a fares competence fluctuate. Like all airlines and ride companies, Easyjet’s indication is built on supply and demand. The airline has a demand-led pricing complement that means that fares simulate what consumers are prepared to compensate for a flights.

“We always suggest that all business aim to book as early as probable to secure a lowest fares.”

However, this does not wholly explain since a series of flights on a Malaga to North of England routes was reduced during Nov 2015, forcing adult a prices for a existent flights. The prices were hence sky high, even when searched in early October.

Fly Drive vs Ferry

The cheapest one-way Nov moody with Easyjet from Malaga to Newcastle was €108 per person. Meanwhile, a cheapest moody from Malaga to London Gatwick airport, a busier ride hub, cost €24 per person.

So, an apparent choice would be to fly to Gatwick and afterwards sinecure a automobile for leading travel. For a fortnight’s usage, a sinecure automobile collected and forsaken off during a same location, and suitable for a family of 3 and their luggage, generally costs from €200. Extras, embody  “damage waiver” word to cover opposite a vast additional cost if we prang a car. Child automobile seats cost from £4 per day to hire. Expect to compensate a reward if a dump off indicate opposite to a collection point. Not such a inexpensive undertaking.

An choice ride choice would be a “no frills” packet use between Bilbao and Portsmouth. The “Economie” use was introduced by Brittany Ferries behind in May 2015 and would meant we could take a possess car.

Could a newer use give a “fly drive” thought a run for a money? Would it be Ryanair on Sea? How would it review to Brittany Ferries “cruise”, in terms of a mislaid perks, such as newcomer party and fewer open areas? Would it defect us after previous trips on a flagship vessel, a Pont Aven?

I knew that a land and sea tour in a possess automobile would have advantages, nonetheless this tour would also engage a estimable 3,300km expostulate on motorways. As good as formulating coherence with a outing itinerary, we could boat a vanload of British products behind to Spain, instead of being singular to 20kg per chairman carried by Easyjet or Jet2 in reason bags costing €30 each.

Brittany Ferries’ “Economie” service

Aimed during budget-conscious travellers, a Brittany Ferries’ “Economie” use starts during €263 one approach and is operated by a Baie de Seine, a 22.4 tonne vessel that carries 600 passengers, 160 cars and 84 trucks. According to Christopher Jones of Brittany Ferries, a Economie sailings are proof popular, generally with pet owners who wish to ride their dogs between a UK and Spain.

From 2016, a Baie de Seine will work roughly exclusively from Portsmouth to Bilbao and Santander, with one lapse outing a week to any – so around 200 sailings a year. It takes over where a “no frills” use formerly operated by LD Lines, now joined with DFDS, left off.

That use operated between St Nazaire, France and Gijon, Spain from 2012; and also between Poole and Gijon/Santander from Nov 2013 until Sep 2014, when it sealed down.

Upon boarding a Baie de Seine during a Port of Santurtzi, Bilbao we detected that Brittany Ferries’ thought of “no frills” is unequivocally not “Ryanair of a Sea”. Although a Baie de Seine is not as well-appointed as a company’s flagship vessel, a 2,400 newcomer Pont Aven, it exceeded a expectations in terms of equipment and facilities.

While some bill ferries are liberally embellished with brownish-red melamine, a Baie de Seine has beautiful décor. The soothing furnishings are sourced from European manufacturers and we was tender by a comfy yellow duvet covers in a cabin.

We were accommodated in a customary 4-berth outward cabin costing €175. Inside 2-berth cabins start during €100. Passengers who wish some-more room can opt for vast Economie Plus cabins, costing €260, that underline a TV, lounge and table.

Some cabins on a tip deck, open directly on to a Reading Lounge, where passengers lay sensitively with books and inscription devices… this competence not be ideal if we have screaming infants or hyperactive teens!

Little child on DFDS ferry
Archie reposing in a outward 4-berth cabin, Baie de Seine (c) Jo Chipchase

Passengers were a reduction of 50+ caravanners, a RAF Wittering belligerent organisation being ecstatic from exercises in Spain, lorry drivers and a few singular travellers. As it was not a propagandize holiday, we were a usually family with children.

My boys desired a Baie de Seine’s restaurant, ‘Formulae’, that serves a choice of prohibited and cold dishes in plenty apportionment sizes. The kids’ menu, costing €4 for breakfast and €5.20 for lunch and dinner, includes a “surprise box” containing toys and sweets.

Adult dishes cost €7.90 for a categorical course; €11.20 for a starter and main; and €10.20 for a categorical and dessert. Hot drinks cost €1.50. Wine is dear at €5.20 a tiny bottle though a grill was good value. And nothing of it tastes like aeroplane food.

Although Brittany Ferries’ Economie category is advertised as carrying “no family entertainment”, there are things to entertain youngsters on house a Baie de Seine. The boat comforts a kids’ games room and a video console area. On ask during a information desk, PG certificate DVDs can be played in a games room and several house games are accessible to guest giveaway of charge. We played ‘Snakes and Ladders’ on a Sun Deck and sniggered during a diversion named ‘Rock a Boat’.

Playing 'Snakes and Ladders' on a ferry
Playing ‘Rock a Boat’ (c) Jo Chipchase

While strolling a decks, we met Lou, an English walking beam operative in Galicia who creates unchanging trips to a UK. She prefers a Baie de Seine to a Pont Aven and a sister vessel, Cap Finistere, for cost reasons. A singular bill traveller though children, she says:

“I don’t need a vast cabin or family entertainment. Economie suits me fine.”

We also met Gary and Margaret from Portsmouth who ride frequently from Calpe, a city located between Alicante and Valencia, and a UK. Said a couple:

“I can’t see what we’ve mislaid by travelling Economie. We don’t ride on a boat for a cruise: we ride to get somewhere. We don’t need piano bars, a sauna or hairdresser.

“We used to expostulate by France, a Channel Tunnel, and have also taken a LD Lines packet from Newhaven to Dieppe. Driving by France doesn’t unequivocally save money. Flying offers a advantage of time, if you’re not delayed. We used to fly from Southampton to Alicante and sinecure a car.

“I don’t cruise anything unequivocally is ‘cheap’ these days. It is a box of what’s easier to do.”


We found a “no frills” packet use both courteous and enjoyable. The boys favourite it so most that they were demure to disembark during Portsmouth. As Christopher Jones of Brittany Ferries suggests:

“The Baie de Seine doesn’t have all a party and comforts of Pont-Aven though it does have a certain attract and ambience all of a own.”

For a bill traveller who is not in a precipitate and enjoys driving, it does yield a possibly choice to drifting between a North of Spain and South of England.

As for a costs of a trip: since of a non-vital spending on overnight hotels during a highway outing and stuffing ourselves with grill food, we exceeded a cost of fly-drive. However, a additional splurge was equivalent by regulating a outpost to boat useful equipment behind to Spain – we even had a soaking appurtenance in a back.

And a highway and sea outing was an knowledge in itself, with noted moments for a family to recall… even if some of these regard how a Sat Nav misbehaved nearby Bilbao. On a lapse to a Sierra Nevada environs, we were confident that we’d enjoyed an “epic journey” that a moody from Malaga would never have achieved.

Fly Drive vs Economie Ferry: Cost Comparison

The following total are formed on a dual week, 3,300km, outing for a one-parent family of 3 pushing a outpost between Granada, Spain and Tyneside, England during Nov 2015, and formed on a possess experiences. Prices for cars on a packet are reduce than for vans. Hire automobile cost is for a mid-range indication with space for family luggage. Some prices are approximated. All prices are in Euros, formed on a GBP to EUR sell rate of Nov 2015.

Cost-cutting hints and tips

Dos and don’ts – fly-drive

  • The cheapest flights are frequently those on weekdays. Avoid drifting on Fridays.
  • Try to book a month forward for a good deal.
  • Do we unequivocally need a reason bag to ride 20kg of your clothes? It competence be cheaper to revisit Primark and buy new garments on arrival.
  • Don’t forget to imitation your boarding pass if there’s a cost for producing one during a airport.
  • When employing a car, check out online reviews of a automobile sinecure companies and cruise holding out eccentric repairs waiver additional insurance, instead of regulating a company’s possess understanding during an arrogant price.
  • Ensure, before booking, that a automobile can accommodate all your luggage!
  • It competence be cheaper to buy second palm child automobile seats during end than to sinecure them.

Dos and don’ts – highway and packet trip

  • The cheapest accommodation is supposing by inside cabins though porthole. Book early if we wish a full choice of accommodation.
  • Don’t spend Euros on house a vessel if we have Sterling. On Brittany Ferries, a GBP to EUR sell rate is 1.53. Hence, a cooking that costs 20 GBP will be charged during 30.60 Euros. Oof!
  • Do take your possess ride kettle, cosmetic cups and tea bags if we wish to equivocate regulating vending machines for prohibited drinks.
  • If we don’t wish to spend income in a ship’s cafes and restaurants, take your possess cold box installed with snacks.
  • Do buy booze during a Spanish supermarket before boarding.
  • Don’t make mobile phone calls around a nautical network: these cost a fortune.
  • Remember to invalidate information roaming on your phone. Otherwise, when we strech a end port, we will catch charges.
  • Don’t rest wholly on a GPS device: they are not infallible. Be certain to refurbish a maps before usage. Take a genuine map as good (yes, paper!), in box your device or a battery fails. We squandered both time and fuel with several Sat Nav problems.
  • Fill your automobile with inexpensive fuel in Spain and equivocate a UK gas stations.

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Posted by on Feb 26 2016. Filed under Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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