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Calais Ferry boarding process

Hobart, Australia
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Calais Ferry boarding process

I am planning to drop a hire car off at Europcar Calais ferry port and take a P&O ferry to dover as a foot passenger. Can you advise how far Europcar drop off is from where we would check-in to take the ferry? Is it as simple as driving in, drop off hire car, check in and then board? I had heard there can be customs checks and that they bus you out to the ferry so have to be thee in plenty of time.

Have never travelled to France or UK before and want to be have all the facts so I dont add to my stress. Also want to make sure I get to the ferry early enough as I will be driving from Brugge that morning

Any help or advice woul dbe appreciated


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1. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

I suggest you post in the Calais forum as you are asking about places in Calais. Unless I have misread your post?

FWIW if it was me I'd train and then Eurostar it from Bruges instead of rental car and ferry, either to Ashford, or London if thats your final destination.

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2. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

AFAIK the car rentals in Calais are in the town, so you do need a bus to get to the ferry port. But as joeintheUK has said, for this question the TA Calais forum would be your best resource, this kind of question gets asked often, there, so you might even find the answer with a forum browse or search. Of course you can repost there, though.

Happy Travels.

PS, here's a link to the Calais Forum for you:


Edited: 02 March 2011, 13:04
Albufeira, Portugal
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for Algarve, Faro
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3. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

There are no customs checks for journeys between France and England but passport checks entering England are extensive.

The port at Calais is indeed a bus ride from town - information on this page and note the limited hours of operation. P&O no longer accept foot passengers on night-time sailings.


I had a quick look at the Calais forum. There are very few posts and nothing I could find to answer this particular question in detail.

4. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

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5. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

As Diz says, there is a customs check in Dover for arriving passengers from Calais. There are also random checks in Calais after ticketing and before you move to the boarding lanes.

Hobart, Australia
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6. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

Thanks everyone for your comments, they are helpful. Sorry I didn't see this was a Dover Forum (first time posting on this site). I will , cut and paste it into the right forum and see what else comes up. When I put "Europcar Calais" into Google maps it showed it around the terminal (not in town)

Will also see if I can get some sense from Europcar ...if I can find a suitable contact.


Yorkshire, England
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7. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

I have rented from Europcar at Calais to drive into Belgium.

Europcar has a desk in the ferry terminal building, so you can walk from dropping off your car straight on to the ferry. Here is a link to the port's website, showing you a photo of the car rental desks: calais-port.com/ferries-calais-dover/…

It is all very easy and hassle free.

Rye, United Kingdom
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for Dover, Rye
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8. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

I can't advise you about the car drop off part as it's something I am not familar with. I know you can get a bus or walk from the train centre of Calais. I've travelled back from Calais as a foot passenger and it's quite easy, you check in, you walk through passport control/customs (whatever you want to call it) where you have to put your stuff through the scanner and show your passport (and walk through the scanner - a bit like airports I guess). Than you wait until you are called forward and you get your boarding pass and you get a bus to the ferry, simple really. Just make sure you check in at least an hour before a foot passenger (something they seemed to get through my head one before).

Gig Harbor...
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9. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

We did almost the same thing at Calais in 2008. (Avis rental car). You drive up to the ferry port and park the car. . You then enter the ferry building where there are lots of booths for rental cars. We went to the Avis one, the woman took our paper work and the keys, and we were done. I assume your rental car brand would work the same way. The booths seemed to be open only if they were expecting a client to be returning a car. In case of confusion, I would suggest using google translate to write out this sentence in French: " We want to return our rental car. Which way should we go to do that?"

When it's time to board, you go through a passport check, then you board a bus which drives part way out to the ferry where they stop and you have to hand over any checked baggage. You then reboard the bus which goes onto the ferry, unloads the passengers, and the bus then leaves the ferry for the next load. I guess all of this is done for the safety of foot passengers. None of this gets explained--I think most of the foot passengers have done this many times---there are few tourists doing it. The ferries are huge. We felt it was worthwhile to take the ferry so we could see the white cliffs of Dover. Hope this helps.

Edited: 04 March 2011, 01:48
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10. Re: Calais Ferry boarding process

The main hire companies have desks at the Calais ferry port, right beside the ticket window / embarkation point for foot passengers,

Foot passengers have to be transferred by bus from the ticket area to the vessel, so it's all a bit of a faff, allow some time for that.