Portsmouth to Bilbao Ferry - tips please :-)

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by N&K, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. N&K

    N&K

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    Hi

    Hello again everyone.

    We have been going abroard in our motorhome for years via Ferry or Euro Tunnel to Calais, but this year we're going Portsmouth to Bilbao directly :BigGrin:

    If you have any tips about the ports, what we should or should not take into our cabin, the crossing, etc , it would be great to hear.

    Thanks, we leave in a few weeks time :thumb: (not winter so hopefully a calm crossing :Rofl1:)

    Thanks

    N&K
     
  2. EthnGeoff

    EthnGeoff Funster

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    We are in the same situation as you, usually do Dover/Calais but are travelling Portsmouth/Bilbao on Oct 02nd. Dont suppose we could be literally in 'the same boat' could we? Will watch the replies with interest.
    Geoff.
     
  3. ubuntu1

    ubuntu1 Read Only Funster

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    We did the trip about 6 weeks a go. Portsmouth is a nice port, easy to get to and brand new facilites.

    The trip is great. We got on board, booked a table in the restaurant and set off to explore the boat. Its bigger than the cross channel boats with plenty of outdoor space which is really nice.

    Food is good - a tad expensive but the qualiy makes up for it in the restaurant.

    We slept well and kept using our cabin as a base. Take some books and we also took a small kettle to make tea.

    Head to the rear lounge and listen to the talk about whales its very interesting.

    Arriving in Bilbao is easy and you can jump straight on the motorway or head for a nearby campsite.

    A great start to your holiday.
     
  4. MicknPat

    MicknPat Funster

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    Hi, Friends of ours travelled to Spain via Plymouth to Santander but returned via Bilbao to Portsmouth said they would never use that route again.

    Apparently when disembarking the ship to dockside ramps obtuse angle was such that bottoming of either the front of your RV or more likely the rear occurred, ship/dockside staff were having to place railway sleepers to raise the height of vehicles leaving the ship to stop them bottoming.:Sad:

    Mick
     
  5. N&K

    N&K

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    Hi Geoff

    We'll be back by then, but I'll be sure to update this thread if we learn anything new for you :BigGrin:
     
  6. N&K

    N&K

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    Thanks ubuntu, We have a travel Kettle, we'll take that. Did you stay at local campsites in Bilbao, can you remember the names?

    Thanks

    N&K
     
  7. N&K

    N&K

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    Thanks Mick, I have heard this before on ferries,the ramps on the Tunnel are ok. We have a Swift 630L and I had air suspension fitted on it last year, so I think I might pump them up for the journey as we have a scooter rack on the back. The rear raises quite a few inches when you pump them up, that should help.

    Cheers :thumb:
     
  8. chatter

    chatter Read Only Funster

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    snacks, drink making equipment, books, or even portable dvd player, and a continental 2 pin plug to uk adaptor for the kettle, hairdryer etc for on the boat, they do sell them but they are expensive, change of clothes,nightwear etc Dont lock your vehicle with the keyfob so it alarms it you will possilby flatten your battery if the alarm is sensitive to motion lock it with the key direct.
     
  9. N&K

    N&K

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    Thanks Chatter, some top tips there, especially the UK socket :thumb:
     
  10. peter marshall

    peter marshall

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    Hi N & K
    We have used that route also Santander, you dont say where you are going, we use Aranjues going down Spain and Haro on the way back both easy to find and both take ACSI card, good tips already answered to take on board, we have not had any prob's with the ramps, have a good safe trip and enjoy. Pete :thumb:
     
  11. N&K

    N&K

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    Thanks Peter

    ASCI 2011 Card at the ready :thumb:

    Cheers
     
  12. ubuntu1

    ubuntu1 Read Only Funster

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    Some good points here.

    We had no problem with the angles when leaving the ship and we do have a large overhang.

    There are a number of sites to pick from, use the ACSI guide and you can't go wrong. We headed west for about 45 minutes and then found a site.

    The facilities in Portsmouth are now very good but in Bilbao its very limited at the port.

    Enjoy.
     
  13. Norrie

    Norrie Read Only Funster

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    It's got a lot to do with how high or low the tide is when you disembark.
     
  14. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    We came back on it last Tuesday.

    My tips:

    1. Avoid Portsmouth to Bilbao and go to Santander instead. The ship to Santander is bigger and better

    2. Go for a an expensive cabin with a balcony. It makes the trip a lot nicer.

    3. If travelling towards the Med you could try Navarette. We find it better than Harro by some distance. I think its about 120 miles from Santander and about 90 miles from Bilbao.

    Enjoy your trip.:thumb:
     
  15. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    We took this ferry, very nice it was too!
    You need lots of hangover cures!:BigGrin:

    The best tip would be to freeze all your food before you leave home. It's the only way it'll be still be cold once you arrive in Bilbao! Remember, the rules won't let you leave your gas and your fridge on!:Sad:
     
  16. N&K

    N&K

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    Thanks for all the great tips.

    How early do you have to turn up to catch a ferry that only leaves once every two days, I am used to catching the channel tunnel that leaves every 30 mins?

    Also, we are taking our dog on board, Britanny Ferries allow dogs into their dog friendly cabins now, apparently this is a new thing. Has anyone done it?

    Thanks.
     
  17. Chris

    Chris Funster Life Member

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    I think you can turn up when you like.

    I think our ferry left at 4pm and we arrived about 12. There were about 15 cars/vans already there.

    Personally I like to get there a minimum of 2 hours before departure but some people were rolling up as we were loading.

    Not a lot to do at the port so I dont recommend you get there too early.
     
  18. N&K

    N&K

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    Thanks everyone for the replies, I didnt expect so many, and all very useful.

    We leave on the trip soon

    Cheers

    N&K! :helptitanic::clap:
     
  19. CarolynandMike

    CarolynandMike Read Only Funster

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    Nobody has suggested taking a wash-bag and any medication if needed - or is that too obvious?

    We stayed at an ACSI campsite in Islares - to the west of Bilbao but are thinking about trying Camping Sopelana if we want to go into Bilbao again as its nearer. Don't just past through Bilbao - the Guggenheim is not to be missed. Another campsite we used was north of Pamplona - again in the ACSI book - and nearer to Bilbao than Haro (which we also stayed at).
     
  20. N&K

    N&K

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    Just to add to this thread, we have bought some sea sickness tablets after I looked at todays shipping forecast:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast_and_sea/shipping_forecast/#area-17

    Biscay
    Gale warning issued 26 August 03:36 UTC

    Gale now ceased but westerly gale force 8 expected soon

    Wind West or northwest 5 to 7, increasing gale 8 at times.
    Sea State Rough or very rough, occasionally moderate.
    Weather Thundery showers.
    Visibility Moderate or good.

    we have decided to take the back rest cushions off our seat and pad in our mobile (beer) fridge so if there is a lot of boat swell it wont roll around and damage internal wood/walls.
     
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