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Post-cruise Dover-Paris

My husband and I (seniors) are taking a cruise that arrives at Dover on June 15th at around 5 am. We are going to Paris, and it seems that the trip is a nightmare. Astronomically expensive and taking all day.
Would anyone give me a good option. We will have heavy luggage and can't walk a lot.
Is a car rental realistic (money wise)?
Thank you very much for your help

Posted by
533 posts

If what you're considering is taking the ferry from Dover to Calais and then the train to Paris, I can confirm that yes, that trip is a real pain. There's a lot of walking involved getting to and from the ferry on both ends, and you need to carry your own luggage the whole time. That's not a good option for you.

Have you considered going to Ashford International train station and then taking the Eurostar to Paris? You could probably take a taxi from Dover to Ashford for around 30 pounds (based on what a taxi driver offered to charge me for a similar trip from Dover to Canterbury), or you could take a taxi to Dover Priory train station and then a train to Ashford. I have no experience with Ashford International, so I don't know how easy it is to get around the station, but it's got to be better than the ferry option.

Posted by
31519 posts

The trip shouldn't be a nightmare.

You are landing on a Wednesday, and although Eurostar aren't offering timetables for download after 28th May, I'm sure that tickets are available.

You won't be kicked off at 5am, but I expect that you will need to be off not too much later depending on which disembarking group you are put in.

Eurostar trains run from Ashford International to Paris Gare du Nord at 6:24, 9:55 and 14:55 on Wednesdays. The 6:24 wouldn't likely happen, so try to get the 9:55 (arrives Paris 12:47). Tickets are available for £112pp in standard, £157pp in Standard Premier which is like First Class Light. They would have been less if you had bought them 2 months ago.

If you would like to wait 5 hours for the 14:55 you can go for £79pp Standard, £110pp Standard Premier.

You would need a taxi from the boat to Dover Priory station, an easy half hour train trip (£11pp) to Ashford International station and an easy change onto the Eurostar. If you look at the moment, due to recent storms, the trains from Dover are replaced by buses - by mid-June that should all be back to normal.

Or you could take the 90 minute P&O ferry from Dover to Calais, taxi to Calais and take one of the occasional French trains (slow) to Paris for much less money overall but much more complicated and there aren't any porters so you will be hoping the taxi driver will help with your steamer trunks.

It is hard with a cruise, but doable, to cut down on luggage, but I'll tell you this for no money - lighter is better. Your back will thank you. Lots of great information on this website and from the Man himself, on how to travel light and still have a great time...

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks a lot!
I think the 14:55 Eurostar would be the best option. The other ones are too early. We usually disembark late, less crowd.
Don't tell me about luggage, I know (sigh). But we are going there for 6 months, actually trying to move to the south of France, so we need clothes for every weather (and no, we won't buy there, we have more than enough... and they must go back) and the proper amount of toiletries and medicines.
For what I saw, the ferry is 180 euros!!! There is a shuttle, but there is no price yet, and I am not sure what it is. And there are some TGVs from Calais.
I can't see your previous messages in the same screen, so I am not sure I replied correctly. Please forgive me.
Thank you again.

Posted by
16893 posts

Now that you've mentioned staying for 6 months, I'll just bring up the issue of limitations on tourist stays for Americans. Time spent in the UK and Ireland counts separately from time spent in France and other countries party to the Schengen agreement (where you tourists are limited to 90 days within any 180-day window). See also recent discussion and links at, for a start, which touches on getting a long-stay visa from France for the Schengen area.

Posted by
8 posts

Oh... thanks for the information, but I am French and my husband has a "titre de sejour", so not only he can stay but he MUST stay 6 months a year.
But that's very nice of you.

Posted by
533 posts

I'm not sure where you're seeing 180 euros for the ferry, but when I checked for your travel date at, it's showing 30 pounds each for two foot passengers (or 40 pounds each if you don't want to commit to a specific sailing). That's about what I paid when I took the ferry the other way, from Calais to Dover, last month.

But the worst aspect of the ferry is not the price but the amount of walking. Going from Calais to Dover (all the steps might come in a slightly different order from Dover to Calais), after we checked in at the terminal as foot passengers, we had to board a bus (carrying all our luggage) which took us to a little building for French exit passport checks and another one for UK entrance passport checks (we had to carry everything with us through both these steps - we couldn't leave anything on the bus). Then we got back on the bus and it took us to the ferry, where we had to climb up a long, steep ramp to get to the passenger decks. Again we had to carry everything, and I didn't see any porters anywhere who would have been available to help. I'm fairly young (late 30s), in reasonably good shape, and was carrying only a backpack and a day bag, and I still found the climb exhausting.

Getting off the ferry in Dover was similar: a long climb down lots of ramps and stairs to get to ground level, then a bus ride to the terminal, then a bit of a walk to get to the bus and taxi stand.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you very much for this invaluable information. Walking and climbing stairs is a major issue. So I am now in the process of booking the Eurostar.

Posted by
8 posts

UPDATE.... I took the problem the other way around, I booked a trip from London to Paris. The Eurostar leaves at ~1:30 pm. We have to be there about an hour in advance. At what time should we take the train from Dover Priory? There is one at 10:03 and one at 11:03. Is the connection in London complicated and long? We will request reduced mobility assistance.
Thank you

Posted by
31519 posts

Get all your train times at the official National Rail website.

From Dover Priory choose the high speed Javelin train into St Pancras. The 11:03 from Dover (as in most with one easy change in Ashford International) is the last possible.

There will be nothing to hold you in Dover, so if I were in your shoes I'd just the first available train after you disembark.

Regarding the connection in London St Pancras is both very easy and step free. As you get off the train from Ashford or Dover (a few direct) and walk to the front of the Javelin train you will pass through a ticket barrier with an attended wide gate for luggage and disabled, and then your choice of either an escalator or lift down to the main floor. Just around the corner downstairs, about 200 feet or so, is the check in for Eurostar. Put your Eurostar ticket in the ticket gate or have the attendant scan it, and you go straight to security, then both English and French border control, then to the waiting room, and then up an inclined travelator to the platform.

There won't be anybody to help you with luggage anywhere along the line, except there will be a Eurostar staff member at the door to your Eurostar carriage. They can't help either but will likely give you a hand up.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you Nigel, you try very hard to help :)
I have no idea what the Javelin train is, I found that nowhere. But I booked the Eurostar from London because I thought is would be easier to connect there. I was not aware that I had to change train in Ashford, that's what I wanted to avoid by all means, my husband is handicapped and can't breathe so stairs and changes are very difficult. It didn't really matter at what time we would arrive in Paris. We will just spend the night. We could have waited to get the 14:55.
Can you by any chance tell me at what time there are direct trains from Dover to London, I can't find any. As for disembarkation, we can chose to do it early (with all the cattle) or later.

Posted by
31519 posts

The best description - although it is a bit self serving and salesey - is at

If you watch the video at the bottom of the page it shows the Javelin, or also known as a Class 395, or HS1 (for High Speed 1) departing from St Pancras on the same platform that your train will arrive on. The Javelin is the dark blue train; on the adjacent platform you can see a waiting Eurostar (white with yellow underneath). The ticket barriers are just visible at the head of the platform.

Changes at Ashford International are step free (except for the usual steps down from the train and up into the train) because of lifts to all platforms. That is from memory because National Rail is having a few glitches at the moment. You may very well not have to do more than off one train, wait 10 minutes and onto the next one on the same platform.

I wish you had mentioned your husband's disability at the beginning.

All you gave us was that you are seniors (so am I) and "will have heavy luggage and can't walk a lot" which is common to many cruisers.

If he is disabled you can arrange for you both to be met by staff to assist you on and off the trains at Dover, Ashford and St Pancras (both services). They can often assist with one or two small bags, but the one person won't be able push a wheelchair and handle lots of heavy luggage, and they have limits of the weight they can lift on and off trains. I hope that all your luggage has wheels?

Each railway company has a different assistance contact number, and they all require minimum 24 hours notice for assistance.

If your husband can't do the steps up into (or off) the train the assistance person can fit a ramp - the same if he is in a wheelchair.

You may find that the Ashford change is pretty easy, and with the Javelin terminating at St Pancras, and the Eurostar originating there, it will give the assistance folks time to do their job.

There used to be direct services from Dover Priory to St Pancras and there was an 08.xx something direct to St Pancras when I looked this afternoon, with the remainder a 10 to 13 minute challenge. With the National Rail hiccups this evening I can't check.

Posted by
8 posts

Hi again,
That's true that I don't post all my details in a first message, I like to keep it general.
My husband is not in a wheelchair (sometimes), but he has had a lobectomy (lung cancer) 3 year ago and has what they call COPD. He has problems to breathe.
I am happy to read that the change is easy. We will request assistance anyway and last year (coming from Southampton), the Eurostar staff has been very nice and helpful, but we had to change trains twice and that was not so easy. For what I understand, it is not urgent to book this one, the tickets rates are valid until May 14 at the moment.
I went to the site you mentioned, I find it not very clear (sorry).
Nice to meet you on the site :)