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Hi all,

Just booked our Portsmouth to Santander crossing for next May with Brittany Ferries. Never traveled on the ferry with my bike before and I just wondered if there were any top tips? Things to take (extra straps?), can you leave luggage safely on bike (soft panniers)? Get there early, get there late? That sort of thing.

Many thanks for any wisdom.

Mike.
 

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Hi all,

Just booked our Portsmouth to Santander crossing for next May with Brittany Ferries. Never traveled on the ferry with my bike before and I just wondered if there were any top tips? Things to take (extra straps?), can you leave luggage safely on bike (soft panniers)? Get there early, get there late? That sort of thing.

Many thanks for any wisdom.

Mike.
Park the bike in gear on the side stand. No need for extra straps, Brittany ferries will strap it down (their responsibility). They use a padded strap over the saddle and ratchet it down pretty tight so you may find some creases in the saddle cover afterwards, but these should disappear over time. No-one other than crew are allowed on the vehicle decks during the voyage so security is good - Would think your soft panniers should be safe, but I am fortunate in having hard luggage.
Don't take more than you need to your cabin - they park the cars, bikes etc tightly together and carrying loads of gear through the tight gaps can be a bugger. Also, remember which deck and the location you are parked in :laugh:
I usually arrive early because I don't want to be stressed if I am running late. However, last people on are usually first off, which can save a lot of time & sweat come disembarkation.
If you suffer from seasickness, the some seasick pills, as the Bay of Biscay can be rough at times, although the ships are well stabilised.
 

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Good hints, above.
Regarding time of arrival, usually (at least here) bikes are embarked first because they are place against ferry's bulkheads. So you'll usually find bikes at the top of the embarking queue.
Obviously this also means that you're going to disembark late... don't rush to the deck when you arrive at destination
 

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Pack just a small bag with only the stuff that you'll need for the night in the cabin and just take that up with you.
Leave the rest of your luggage the bike.

You think you'll remember the deck and stair number in the morning don't you...?
Believe me, after a few beers and a night's sleep (if the sea is calm) you won't.

And... since you parked your bike it will now be hidden behind a row of huge lorries and motor homes.

My top tip is...
Take a couple of photos with your phone, one near your bike at the bottom of the stairs on the vehicle deck and one at the top on the passenger deck you emerge at making sure you include the sign/s that say " Deck 8 - Blue stairs" or such like.

HTH Paul.
 

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Literally just back from the exact trip ...

Checkin as a group if you travelling with mates they will only let you check in together.. not as you arrive at port .. we had one guy Scotland two from London ... he arrived early and had to wait.

Cap finisterre isn’t exactly a premier ship old n tired ...it has one proper restaurant and it is very good ...top tip book as soon as you get on ..that way you eat when you want. The WiFi is crap so you will end up paying premier WiFi that way you can use in cabin .... cabin is fine showers surprisingly good.

Crossing for us was good time 1700hrs depart ... board dinner few beers bed ... luckily we had RWC to watch in Mng.

As above disembarking was slow so don’t get kitted up too early there is no rush.. guys provide all gear to secure bike and they insist on doing it ... suits me.. as above saddle will be creased comes out after a few days

We arrived Santander 1730hrs and rode straight to Unquera about 70 km and bottom of Picos... make sure you go them absolutely stunning

Our tour took us unquera Picos Burgos Pamplona San Sebastián biarritz La Rochelle st malo then st malo Portsmouth return ferry was far better quality.

All hotels we booked en route via booking.com... top tip if there are a few of you consider apartments often cheaper than hotels come with fitted kitchen and washing machine so allows you to clean any gear mid trip cuts down on luggage.

Hope that helps .. have a great time
 

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Hi

Don't forget that if we have actually left the EU by then you will probably need:

International Driving Permit for Spain (available from Post Office for £5; just take a passport photo and driving licence with you. If you are also going to France you need a different IDP!

Green Card from your insurer; should be free but may not be

No idea if Spanish police will be asking for them but better safe etc
 

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All good tips .... as mentioned something to put across the seat to protect from the ships industrial straps...... I take a small rear footwell car mat, rubber one side material on the on the other, protects the seat, and it takes up very little space.
Also a small bicycle lock to lock my helmet to the seat ( saves humping it round the boat with a likely hood of damaging it as it is tight on the stairways.
Sea sickness tablets, can get rough towards Spanish coast ?
 

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If you have an alarm on the bike make sure it is disconnected, always carry a pen with you because sometimes, they give too much info and depending on nationality you'll need to fill the immigration card, so pen is handy !


But I've been all around Scotland in may and ferries even from the same company, all have different requirements, some ask center stand, some side and many let me attach the straps myself, which I honestly prefer !
 
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