Ferry to Bilbao / Northern Spain

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  • Ferry to Bilbao / Northern Spain
  • Premier Icon Lucas
    Subscriber

    We might be off on holiday to the Northern Pyrenees. Seeing as we’ll be bringing two small boys and the associated load of stuff I wondered if it’d be better to take our own car and get the boat from the South Coast to Northern Spain. Its not that much driving (3hrs to south Coast and 3 or so in Spain) and the kids will love being on a boat.

    I’ve had a quick search which is suggesting a price of £650 for the car and 4 of us and a 24hr journey time, this is the first week in the school summer hols so not unsurprising.

    Is it worth doing, a good idea? Can it be found any cheaper?

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    Check that price includes cabins.

    Mackem
    Member

    I’ve never managed to find anything “cheap” on the ferries between Bilbao and UK. I always drive thru France to the Chunnel. ( I live in Bilbao btw).

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Subscriber

    Worth doing? Yes – my parents did it this summer and the boat was fine, and having your own car is obviously a massive advantage.

    Any cheaper? No idea!

    stumpy01
    Member

    It is quite expensive. As above, what does that price include? Someone at work was talking about this recently and I thought that it was nearer £1k…..

    My sister used to lvie in Santander and I visited her at the end of her stay so I could see the place, but also to help her bring her stuff back.
    We were foot passengers and opted for a reclining chair thing rather than a cabin but luckily for us, a girl she was over there with had booked a cabin and had 4 beds just for her; so we crashed in her cabin.

    It was pretty comfy and there was plenty to do, but we didn’t have kids to entertain….
    I got sunburnt on the deck, sunbathing as we left Santander – I think it was the sun reflecting from the water that added to the burn factor!

    I quite enjoyed it and wouldn’t mind doing it again.

    Premier Icon Lucas
    Subscriber

    will have to check about a cabin – I’d want one of those other wise the kids would be a nightmare!

    I can see it being expensive so need to balance it up against driving through France and flying. I quite like the idea of a little cruse and having the car.

    jekkyl
    Member

    I’ve made that journey on the pride of bilbao. Watching the water from ‘the swimming pool’ spill over into the bar was interesting. Were delayed into by 3hrs due to mad sea, make sure you get a cabin & take seasick pills.

    Premier Icon Stoner
    Subscriber

    It is expensive bu tthe Brittany Ferries Pont Aven from portsmouth/plymouth to Santander is a great tub. Very relaxing trip down, excellent food, even a podcast to put on your phone to accompany a walk around the ship looking at the Breton artwork theyve put everywhere.

    In the end it works out only a few £100 pounds more expensive but I think it’s a much more relaxing way of starting a holiday in SW France/N Spain

    Premier Icon hot_fiat
    Subscriber

    Done this once with Brittany ferries to Bilbao. It is expensive but does cut out the dull 600 mile autoroute journey. The infamous Bay of Biscay was quiet & we got to watch whales & dolphins on the way down. Try and pre-book food on-board as this can save a wad of cash. We always take a box of wine with us on crossings like this. Makes the whole experience much more fluid 😉

    LD lines have started running a competing service from Poole – Santander. Check the timings of this: Britany’s ship, Cape Finisterre is stupendously fast for a car ferry & the speediness of their crossing was one of the reasons that P&O pulled out (it was something like 18 vs 27 hrs). LD also run from St Nazare to Gijon cutting out a wad of motorway.

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    Nothing can beat the Dover Calais ferry prices at getting you over the water and with the fuel to drive through France to Spain it is certainly less than the ferry to northern Spain.

    The main advantage is not driving as far.

    Premier Icon hot_fiat
    Subscriber

    Hmm, I reckon that it’s probably not too different: £150 in fuel and £80 in tolls each way, couple of overnight stays & yer soon up to about £600

    Premier Icon doug_basqueMTB.com
    Subscriber

    Yeah, not a cheap option but it is very convenient and is meant to be a lovely journey. Driving down is cheaper, just. Or flying and hiring a vehicle.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    I’ve just done a quote with LD lines and its £500 cheaper than the equivalent Brittany Ferries fare – just need to check the boat out.

    bikebouy
    Member

    Yup I’ve done it too, quite a few times. Sure beats the loooooonnngggg drive down through France (getting from Dover to Bordeaux along the autoroutes takes at least 8hrs and quite a bit in tolls) Way the cost up of loosing a day or so driving to that of relaxing enjoying your trip on the ship and I think it’s a no brainer on cost vs time enjoying yourself..

    Premier Icon BigDummy
    Subscriber

    I enjoyed it enormously on the way to Bilbao. At the end of the holiday, when I was finished and wanted to go home, it drove me absolutely nuts it was so slow.

    🙂

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    We saw loads of whales on the Ferry to santandar

    well in the sea near the Ferry

    Premier Icon hot_fiat
    Subscriber

    @geoffj. Ld lines ships on that route look suspiciously similar stenas Lagan Viking / Mersey Viking. In which case there’ll be sfa to do on board apart from get drunk. Might not be so much fun for kids.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    @geoffj. Ld lines ships on that route look suspiciously similar stenas Lagan Viking / Mersey Viking. In which case there’ll be sfa to do on board apart from get drunk. Might not be so much fun for kids.

    That is my fear. iPads can only entertain them for so long!

    Never Again!
    The last time was Portsmouth-Bilbao about 8 years ago and that took 36 hours (2 nights).
    I suppose it all depends on how good a sailor you are and your tolerance for bladdered up northern women looking for a shag on their £20 “mini cruise”.
    The last time we drove to Spain it was an overnight ferry from Portsmouth- St Malo and a leisurely 10 hours drive to well inside Spain.

    My Bro went on the LD tub from Poole in December .
    £160 rtn with a Honda Fireblade. He rode around the Pico’s and out to Cap Finnesterre.
    Very basic boat , tiny bar , small restaurant , no wi-fi , no chairs on sun deck, no big tele’s to watch . He got pissed and was bored even with some electronic gadgetry. Cheap way to get some sunny road bike riding in if you could sort the luggage logistics.

    torsoinalake
    Member

    LD Lines are cheap for a reason. Floating shitholes.

    Premier Icon stavromuller
    Subscriber

    Did it five years ago and it was brilliant but we had a forward facing family cabin, which wasn’t cheap but was well worth the extra cost and seeing the free show the dolphins put on was fantastic, which compensated for stavro jr.’s losses at Teaxas Hold’em. Word of warning, if you’re staying in France, take your passports if you fancy a trip over the mountains to Spain. We had a pretty scary encounter with the boarder patrol going into Spain one day!

    freeagent
    Member

    Had we followed the Beckhams example, my eldest daughter would be called ‘Pride of Bilbao’ 🙂

    Premier Icon hot_fiat
    Subscriber

    That could’ve worked out ok as she’d now be called: “Princess Anastasia”

    ontor
    Member

    Done this journey a lot. It’s fine really. Crossing is a bit rough but the pride of bilbao has never let me down.

    Premier Icon mogrim
    Subscriber

    That could’ve worked out ok as she’d now be called: “Princess Anastasia”

    My (Spanish) mother-in-law is called Anastasia, I don’t recommend the name. It also killed any possible erotic interest in the book 50 Shades of Grey 😆

    grahamg
    Member

    If you’re not worried too much about cost, or if you’re a foot/bike passenger then Brittany ferries is the only way to go. I just got a £399 return including cabin/car for easter on LD Lines but knowing that the boats are crap, we’ll be ensconsed in the cabin for the majority of that journey with a laptop and umpteen films, books and every other time killer imaginable (fingers crossed for sexy time).

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