Departures: Ferry crossing

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The Independent Travel
JOHN LODGE, of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, critices the exclusion of North Sea Ferries' Hull to Zeebrugge route from the hypothetical journey of a Mr and Mrs Smith from Manchester to their gite near Bordeaux in their 4.5m, 30mpg car ('France: All you'll ever need to know', Independent Traveller, 8 May).

'Using the same method of calculations you adopted, the peak ferry including a cabin with a shower would be pounds 221 for a single crossing. With only 97 miles to drive in England from Manchester to Hull, the total petrol costs would be pounds 48 - and the autoroute costs pounds 50, as from Calais. While the total of pounds 319 is the highest (the comparable cost for Dover-Calais was pounds 291; Portsmuoth to Caen pounds 245), it should be remembered that the price includes dinner (say pounds 15 each) and breakfast (say pounds 5), reducing the total to pounds 279.

'The main benefit of the Hull ferry is that for Northern residents the travelling in England is reduced. Somehow, driving in France counts as part of the holiday. Driving in England is a chore. The main advantage for Mr and Mrs Smith is on their return: instead of the long drive from Dover or Portsmouth, they arrive in Hull at 8am and are home in Manchester by 10.30am, sufficient time to put the joint in, watch the holiday video and uncork the first bottle of St Emilion which they discovered 48 hours earlier.'

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