Disrupted Irish Ferries passengers have few alternatives

Those whose affordable ferry trips to France are cancelled will pay far higher rates now

Irish Ferries has confirmed that  5,000-10,000 customers are affected by cancelled bookings on a new ferry, the WB Yeats

Irish Ferries has confirmed that 5,000-10,000 customers are affected by cancelled bookings on a new ferry, the WB Yeats

 

There are few alternatives for passengers whose holidays have been disrupted by the cancellation of summer sailings to France on Irish Ferries.

Irish Ferries has confirmed that in the region of 5,000-10,000 customers are affected by cancelled bookings on a new ferry, the WB Yeats, the delivery of which has been delayed. The delay affects passengers booked on the WB Yeats from July 12th to 29th.

Irish Ferries is offering a full refund to people disrupted by the cancellation, and a €150 voucher to use next year on the Irish Sea corridor.

Many of those affected would have booked these summer holidays last year, at significantly lower prices than those now available – perhaps as low as €600, including ferry and campsite, as opposed to the current cost which is over €1,000 and covers the ferry only.

Camping holidays to France are popular with Irish families, often using companies like Eurocamp, Keycamp, Keller Holidays, Pierre and Vacances. Their sites will have long been booked – usually direct with ferry or campsite companies. Such bookings leave passengers uncovered for “exceptional circumstances” like these. Bookings through travel agents, by contrast, are covered for such disruptions.

The cancellation leaves affected holiday-makers with limited alternatives – and when they exist they are likely to cost a lot more than the original bookings.

Other ferry companies that operate out of Ireland are now heavily booked for the summer.

Stena Line says it is unlikely to have much capacity, and its current price to France during this period is €898.

Brittany Ferries, which will introduce a new ferry on the Cork to Roscoff route this year, says it too is heavily booked for the summer. “Most of our guests book up to a year in advance,” says Hugh Bruton of Brittany Ferries.

Prices for the remaining places on Brittany Ferries to Roscoff are now €1,283.

From Northern Ireland, passengers have the option of using P&O Ferries from Belfast to Liverpool and Stena Line from Belfast to Cairnryan. Those options would require a long drive through Britain, another ferry to the European mainland, and the extra cost of fuel.

At current prices, travelling through the UK would cost €330 return (P&O) or €392 return (Stena) from Northern Ireland to Britain, and a further €300 from Portsmouth to Calais.

Alternatively for the Britain-France leg, Eurostar Le Shuttle – which allows you to take a car – costs £180 (€205)return.

The alternative of flying and then hiring a car is likely to be higher again. Renting a small car in France in high summer can cost from €300 per week. Flights for four to fly to La Rochelle in July now cost around €895 with Ryanair.

Freight traffic will also be disrupted during this period. Extra costs are unlikely to be covered by travel insurance unless you have disruption cover.

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