Spain Guide

France Guide


Ferries to France Sea France

Berlioz igb 20050531 01

Sea France is the only French ferry operator to run between Dover and Calais. The company is owned by the French train operator SNCF (société nationale des chemins de fer) and has an annual turnover of over €200 million. It was formed in January 1996 after the pooling agreement between Sealink and SNAT. The Sea France fleet consists of five ships, one of which the Rodin was added in November 2001.

Four of the ships are named after famous French artists: Rodin, Cezanne, Manet and Renoir. The fifth ship is the Nord Pas de Calais and is reserved for the transport industry. It can hold 85 lorries and is designed to cater for the needs of the lorry drivers. The Rodin, which is the youngest of the remaining four ships as the others were all built in the 1980s, can hold 1,900 passengers, and 120 lorries or 700 cars. It has set a new precedent for cross channel times as it travels at 25 knots, bringing the crossing time down to a mere 70 minutes. The other ferries all take 90 minutes to make the crossing. Sea France ferries make about twenty journeys from Dover to Calais every day, and the same number back again, running regularly (pretty much hourly) from very early in the morning to late at night. If you are booked on one of the ferries, you should check in 30 minutes before departure, or 45 minutes before if you are with a group booking.

The Sea France passenger ferries are well equipped with dining rooms of different styles, from the waiter service brasserie to the self service restaurant, and there is a wide range of food on offer. There is also a café and a pub on board, so an ambience to suit every passenger. Whilst on board you could indulge in a little shopping, relax in one of the lounges or attend one of the on board events. Oz Clarke may even be available to give you a few wine tasting tips in preparation for your holiday! Importantly, for those of you with children and those of you without, there are plenty of facilities to keep the brood occupied so that you and everyone around you can have a relaxing crossing. There are playing areas for two to eight year olds and areas where they can watch cartoons if they prefer. All in all, Sea France aims to cater for the needs of every passenger, young or old.