Departures: Baltic bargains

IF YOU are prepared to exercise ingenuity, Fergus Brown and Gordon Smith of Coventry write, there is a cheaper way of reaching Scandinavia by ferry. In the past two years Mr Smith and Mr Brown have taken the direct route to Sweden, and they planned to do so again this summer. 'We stumbled across the Olau Line brochure. By using their services from Sheerness to Vlissingen and then onward with their sister company TT Line from Travemunde to Trelleborg, we discovered we could travel to Sweden at a

fraction of the price quoted

by Scandinavian Seaways for their Harwich-to-Gothenburg route.'

They compared prices for a peak overnight sailing, leaving on a Friday. 'For two people with a car in an upgraded two- berth outside cabin, the Scandinavian Seaways fare amounted to a hefty pounds 870 return. By contrast, a similar journey with Olau and TT Line works out at pounds 572.90 with two overnight sailings (cabin included).'

By using a day sailing from Travemunde, they say, the fare can be cut to pounds 380.50 return.

It should be pointed out that Vlissingen to Travemunde involves a round-trip drive of about 800 miles - adding an extra day, with all the attendant costs, on each end of the journey. But some people might enjoy seeing something of the Netherlands and Germany.

Fares are much cheaper on the Baltic ferries, because people are usually not travelling with a destination in mind but simply to take advantage of duty-free concessions. We will be offering a guide next month to Baltic services and operators. If anyone has any Baltic advice, I shall be happy to pass it on.