Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Friday, March 23, 2007

Speedferries open in Dover Hoverport on Thursday

Received today a press release from SpeedFerries announcing that they're opening up their new facilities in Dover Hoverport on Thursday (29th March).

We're off to France ourselves on the Saturday 31st March so we'll see for ourselves their dedicated check-in. Blogging will be suspended for two weeks over Easter as we're taking a well earned break in our holiday Gite. For the first time we're taking our dog as well so that'll be even more of an adventure with the pet passport.

Here's the full text of the press release:
Dear Customer,

Please allow me to take a few moments of your time to pass on some important SpeedFerries news. I am really proud to announce the opening of our new fast ferry terminal in the Dover Western Docks, known as the Hoverport. From this historic place where the mighty Hovercrafts used to take off we have constructed a facility which I find to be the best possible ferry port. Ideal from our operational perspectives and ideal from all service and convenience perspectives. The first sailing from the Hoverport will take place 6 days from now on 29th of March 2007 at 07:00 a.m. Please remember to go to the Hoverport next time you are travelling on the Dover-Boulogne service.

“none of this would have been possible without the unique support of our customers”

It is no secret that strong forces have done a lot to prevent SpeedFerries from establishing a solid presence in the cross-Channel market. For good reasons, I guess: The prospect of a 50% faster, 50% cheaper ferry concept did not appeal to the competition. Nevertheless, the SpeedFerries operation you will now see operating successfully from our own ports, far away from the traffic and the ships of other ferry companies, is a reality. However, none of this would have been possible without the unique support of our customers. I will never forget and I will remain forever truly grateful to you.

“a final opportunity to top up your stock of SUPER Vouchers before prices increase”

I have been told by several frequent users of the Dover-Boulogne service that we have not done enough to keep our customers updated on the development in relation to the new port facilities. So, this is part of the reason for sending you this communication. Another reason is to give our frequent travellers a final opportunity to top up the stock of SUPER Vouchers before prices increase this Tuesday. SpeedFerries’ ticket prices were raised a few days ago, however, prices on Vouchers remain at the reduced level for another few days. The Vouchers come from £19 per trip (18-trip voucher) but for just £144 you can secure six crossings at a fixed price of £24 per leg including the many SUPER Voucher benefits. Please take advantage of this offer as prices are not likely to be reduced again subsequent to the upcoming increase.

“it’s now goodbye lorries and goodbye freight ferries”

As the Port of Dover is getting increasingly congested, landside as well as seaside, this move to the Hoverport, closer to the M20 and away from the ever longer queues of lorries, is really good news. So it’s now “goodbye lorries and goodbye freight ferries”. While refurbishing the Hoverport we have also taken the opportunity to upgrade our facilities in Boulogne where you will now also park just in front of the ferry and right next to the Gare Du Terminale.

“a direct connection from motorway to motorway at twice the freight ferry speed”

The easy and convenient access to SpeedFerries’ exclusive port facilities in both Dover and Boulogne connecting the M20 directly to the French A16 motorway will be very efficient. On most of our ticket types you would only need to arrive thirty minutes prior to departure and with a crossing which is now just 50 minutes you will be able to beat even Eurotunnel on the travel time for most of France. SpeedFerries offers a direct connection from motorway to motorway at twice the freight ferry speed.

“new historic café concepts and new land based lounges”

During the coming weeks and months three new historic café concepts and new land based lounges will emerge. The (Hovercraft) Engine Bay Café in the Hoverport, the Jervis Bay Café onboard and the Orient Express Café will open, partly as catering facilities, partly as small museums celebrating the famous past of the historic buildings and the craft we are using for the service. On top of this, new Premier Class lounges will open in both ports in July and the Premier concept onboard will also be upgraded.

“priority check-in and priority lanes for customers using SUPER Vouchers”

In the Dover Hoverport as well as in Boulogne there are now priority check-in and priority lanes for customers using SUPER Vouchers or the previous 10-trip Voucher. Subject to availability this will include priority loading and discharge. SpeedFerries will build on these offers and constantly improve the service to frequent travellers.

“a free Premier Class upgrade is included in Vouchers bought before this Tuesday”

Last, but not least travel on a 12 or 18 trip voucher before 1 July 2007 will include a free upgrade to Premier Class, subject to availability. The free Premier Class upgrade is included in all 12 and 18 trip Vouchers bought before this Tuesday the 27th March. However, as a permanent feature SpeedFerries will, following requests from many customers, introduce a discount for Premier Class upgrades for Voucher holders. This concept is planned to be introduced around the 3-year anniversary of the Dover-Boulogne service in May. Please find all details at

“once again my sincere personal thanks for your support”

I would like to end this information letter by once again extending my sincere personal thanks for your support. I will do my very best to live up to your expectations.

Kind regards,

Curt Stavis

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