Are you trying to reduce the amount of flying and travel by other means? Then taking the DFDS Ferry between the UK and Europe is the way to go. We took a day trip to Dunkirk and found that the ferry was far cheaper and easier to take, than flying. And we share with you our experience of travelling with DFDS from Dover to Dunkirk in this review.
There are a number of ferry providers that connect England with Europe, which include DFDS. DFDS have many routes covering northern Europe, the English Channel, the Baltics, and Scandinavia. The two main ferry services from Dover to France, are DFDS and P&O Ferries. DFDS routes is between Dover and Dunkirk or Calais in France, whilst P&O Ferries only route is between Dover and Calais.
Ask yourself, why fly, when you can take the ferry to other regions of Europe.
Road trip around Northern France to visit some of these beautiful towns and villages.
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How to embark and disembark the ferry?
If you have never taken a ferry before, it is very easy and seamless.
The Dover to Dunkirk crossing does not allow foot passengers, so all travelers will be driving. Other crossings such as Dover to Calais have a mixture of foot passengers, personal vehicles and commercial vehicles.
If you are planning a trip to either Dunkirk or Dover, you will need a vehicle.
Embarking DFDS ferry between Dover and Dunkirk
As you enter the port, your first stop will be passport control. Expect long queues depending on the departure time.
Show all relevant documents that the officer requests, before proceeding to the check in desk. As you make your way to the check in desk, stay in the correct lane for DFDS. As P&O do run from Dover too.
At Check in, you will show your booking, at which point they will provide you with a ticket and a lane number.
Make your way to the correct lane and wait there, until you are told to board.
We had to wait about 30-45 minutes before we could board the ferry.
On boarding, just follow the cars in front to your spot to park the car for the journey.
Unfortunately, you are unable to stay in your vehicle, but head to the upper deck to stretch your legs, have a bite to eat. On a lovely day, head to the top deck, where you can sit outside with the wind in your hair, watching the Dover Cliffs disappear.
Disembarking DFDS in Dunkirk and Dover
The crossing takes about 2 hours.
Disembarking is simple, just follow the cars in front. You can’t go wrong as the cones in the road determine your direction and where to go to exit the port.
As you exit the port, follow the road to your next destination.
We have a video to help you embark and disembark the ferry ready for your trip to Europe.
DFDS Dover to Dunkirk Review
We share our experience travelling with DFDS from Dover to Dunkirk, so you can make the right choice and travel with them or not.
Service provided on DFDS from Dover to Dunkirk
This was our first time of taking a ferry from England to Europe, so we weren’t sure what to expect. But after the trip, we were pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to take the DFDS Ferry from Dover to Dunkirk.
The staff are very helpful, especially with boarding the ferry and parking the vehicle. The whole process was quick and smooth.
Once we had parked the vehicle, the helpful staff pointed us in the direction to exit the car deck and gain access to the rest of the ferry.
On our way back from Dunkirk to Dover, we purchased the additional Premium Lounge.
The member of staff managing the area, was very helpful, polite and catered to all our needs.
Luckily, the premium lounge was lovely and quiet which made it a place of relaxation.
When it came to the service prior to boarding and during the trip, it was outstanding.
There is a small refreshment area, where you can purchase food and drinks, from cakes, biscuits and savory food, to hot and cold drinks.
Unfortunately, you won’t find lavish restaurants and cafes, but the food and drinks are very good, but a little overpriced.
To travel on the cheap, bring your own refreshments for the journey.
In our experience the price was reasonable, we booked tickets for 1x car with two passengers and on the return the premium lounge.
The Premium Lounge is an additional extra, but you do get some additional privileges.
The price of a ferry crossing will depend on when you travel. During high season (summer months), ferry prices will be the most expensive. The shoulder months (spring and autumn) and off season (winter), will be far cheaper.
Premium Lounge on the DFDS crossing from Dover to Dunkirk
The Premium Lounge is an additional extra, that offers a little comfort with complimentary snacks and drink.
On our return journey, we wanted to relax a little, instead of sitting in cramped chairs with so many other passengers. (We are not being snobs, after a long day in Dunkirk, we wanted to relax a little and try out the Premium Lounge).
In our opinion, the Premium Lounge was lovely. A code is given on your ticket, to allow you special entry to the lounge, where we were offered a complimentary glass of wine, or soft drink.
There are a few comfortable chairs to sit back and relax in one room, with a separate room with dining tables and chairs, to eat and relax at.
Enjoy the basic refreshments, such as tea and coffee, soft drinks (Coca Cola, Sprite, Fanta), to sweet and savory snacks (croissants, pain au chocolat, crisps, chocolate bars and fruit).
You don’t need to leave the Premium Lounge to use the toilet facilities and there are plenty of charging points on the ferry for your mobile, tablet, laptop, or electronic device.
All of this, is included in the fee of £12.00 per person.
Is this reasonable?
Yes and no.
If you want quiet and comfort on the two hour or so journey between Dover and Dunkirk, with some refreshments, then yes, it is worth it.
If you don’t need it and happy to sit around the communal area with the rest of the guests and buy refreshments, then don’t buy the additional Premium Lounge tickets.
Travelling to Europe on the cheap and looking to save money, then don’t get the Premium Lounge.
We really enjoyed the experience and would happily book the Premium Lounge again, when traveling with DFDS.
For a ferry, the communal areas are all clean, tidy and to a very high standard.
The staff do their best to keep the table and chairs clean and wiped down after use.
While the ferry relies a lot on how good the weather is, for the crossing to happen or not.
On the day we travelled, we didn’t encounter any problems and felt that DFDS service was reliable.
It felt like we left Dover and Dunkirk on time and we can’t report on encountering any problems.
Facilities on board DFDS Ferries
We discussed the highlights of the Premium Lounge, but what are the facilities like on the DFDS Ferry from Dover to Dunkirk?
There is a large food and drinks area, with a small refreshment café, where you can order food and drinks.
Families traveling with small children can keep them entertained in the small soft play area, while the bigger kids and kids at heart have the small games room, with arcade games.
Head to the top deck at the rear of the ferry for some fresh air, watch the scenery and for smokers.
And previously mentioned, there is the relaxing Premium Lounge and refreshments, that is only exclusive to passengers who have purchased the additional extra.
Toilet facilities are available around the ferry.
For a two-hour journey between Dunkirk and Dover, there is some entertainment and basic facilities.
In our opinion, DFDS is definitely a great way to travel in Europe, especially if you are trying to avoid air travel. We couldn’t fault any aspect of our journey with them and would use DFDS again.
DFDS are definitely a contender against the other ferry companies that offer connections between the UK and Europe, although we would need to travel with P&O and other ferry providers to make a comparison.
We would definitely recommend that you use them too.
Have you travelled with DFDS before? How was your experience with them? Maybe you have an upcoming ferry crossing with them? Would you use DFDS again? Let us know in the comments below.
Continue your Europe travel planning, with these useful posts:
- Things to do in Halifax
- Tips on Driving in the UK for the First Time
- Tips on Driving in France for First Time
- Things to do in Dunkirk on a Budget
- Things to do in London with Kids
- Travel Guide to France
- Travel Guide to the UK
- Hotel Ibis Gard du Nord – Hotel Review, Paris
- Eurostar Review
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