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Cherbourg to Poole ferry

What is the best time of year to do this? May? June.?

Posted by
2684 posts

We took this exact ferry in early May. Of course the weather is always a bit of a gamble, but we had a calm, clear afternoon. Dramamine was helpful but sedating. I'd guess June is more popular so you may need to book well ahead. The boat had a snack bar and ATM-type machines for currency exchange (I'm sure the rate was not advantageous, but we didn't crunch the numbers, we waited until we were on the ground in Poole to find a bank the next day).

Be aware that the channel ferries are subject to cancellations, for example for labor disputes. This happened to us. We were booked on the overnight ferry from Caen to Portsmouth, but got a text message on just a few hours' notice (after having telephoned that morning to confirm our Caen booking) so we had to race to Cherbourg, otherwise we would have had to remain in France for another day or two while the ferry company got things sorted out.

If you're driving to the ferry port in Cherbourg, be aware there are two separate routes when you come into town that both say "Ferry" (or words to that effect). One has a picture of a truck on the sign; if you're driving a regular car don't take that route. It is less direct so it takes longer, but it avoids some sharp curves and steep ramps thus it is designed for trucks.

Also, if you have to return your rental car (we did), you're allowed to leave it in the ferry parking lot. There's a hotline phone inside the terminal where you choose your rental car company and notify them that you're dropping your car. You put your contract and keys in a dropbox right there. (It helps if you happen to have a manila envelope on you; ever the office supplies junkie, I did.) I took photos of our car in the parking lot just in case we later got accused of not returning it properly, but that turned out not to be a concern.

Upon landing in Poole, be aware to set your watch back an hour because UK time is 5 hours ahead of US Eastern whereas Europe (continent) time is 6 hours ahead. The Hotel du Vin in Poole is pleasant and has very helpful front desk staff. They also have a nice restaurant (except if you don't order any wine they may let their disappointment show).

Happy crossing!

Posted by
1063 posts

"(except if you don't order any wine they may let their disappointment show)."

That's a bit of a cheek, what if you don't drink wine?

Posted by
4248 posts

That's a bit of a cheek, what if you don't drink wine?

Don't stay in a hotel called Hotel du Vin.

Posted by
18140 posts

I've always been a bit uncomfortable having meals at places called "wine bars" for that reason. But no one has ever looked down his nose at me for ordering water.

Posted by
1063 posts

“Don't stay in a hotel called Hotel du Vin."

Shouldn't make any difference to the waiters and they certainly shouldn't express their disappointment, its the same as going into a wine bar and ordering a beer, which I've done many times without a problem.