The Channel Tunnel turns 20 this year (like me!), and having taken the ferry home from France recently due to a lack of last-minute Eurotunnel crossings, I can safely say my respect for the train o
The Channel Tunnel turns 20 this year (like me!), and having taken the ferry home from France recently due to a lack of last-minute Eurotunnel crossings, I can safely say my respect for the train over the ferry is similar to that of Coke over Pepsi and real money over monopoly money. Here are six reasons taking the Eurotunnel is better and easier than taking the ferry.
In this busy, busy world we live in, time is of the essence. And who has the time to sit on a ferry with nothing to do for an hour and a half when the train can whizz you to France in 35 minutes? It’s almost mind-blowing to think that it only takes half an hour!
…is a misconception when you take the ferry. Perhaps you imagine the gold bannisters and butlers of the Titanic, but what you really get is the whiff of a questionable-smelling toilets and the high-pitched scream of young children running around without restraint.
You don’t get luxury on the train either, but you do get your own space, your own comfy car, privacy, and as much noise as you choose to expose yourself to. Plus, car alarms don’t start going off as soon as you leave the harbour.
At face value it seems like there would be much more entertainment on a massive ferry than within the confines of your own car on a claustrophobic train, but in reality there is entertainment for some at the expense of others.
My best example of this is that I walked around the whole ferry, both decks, and couldn’t find a seat that wasn’t near a set of fruit machines. Doesn’t sound too bad, but after an hour and a half of bleeping, binging, and gushing coins, you want to go over to the guy who’s spent the whole crossing on the same machine and tell him where he should insert his coins next.
Going on deck
One of the things I get falsely excited about with the concept of ferrying is going on deck. Blowing the cobwebs away, freshening up, etc. In reality, five minutes is plenty of time up there with all the wind, and in that five minutes, despite the clearly marked ‘no smoking zone,’ the area gets filled with smokers anyway and the air is no longer so fresh.
There’s nothing more frustrating than meticulously planning a trip across the channel to get to the port and find out your ferry has been cancelled due to bad weather. Going under the sea means that the conditions of the sea itself don’t affect you.
With all of these factors, you would think price becomes a consideration, and certainly this used to be the case. People used to grin and bear horrible, lengthy ferry rides because the train was so pricey.
However, last time I cross-checked P&O and Eurotunnel, both cost around £50 for a return journey. Both are drive-on, drive-off, both are significantly less hassle in terms of passport controls and security checks, so why pay the same amount for the ferry when it takes three times as long to go the same distance?
Happy Birthday Chunnel, and thank you for saving me from the fruit machines.
What do you think? Do you prefer the Chunnel or the ferry? Have your say in the comments section below.
Image: Oxyman / Wikimedia Commons