THE revelation that P&O European Ferries is considering launching a new service to Bordeaux (Independent Traveller, 29 January) draws an enthusiastic response from R M Bradfield, of Derby.

A couple of years ago he enjoyed travelling from Harwich to Esbjerg in Denmark with Scandinavian Seaways. He boarded at about 6pm ('a civilised hour'), had a comfortable night's sleep, and disembarked around noon. 'This left us the afternoon to drive to our destination. All very relaxed.'

By contrast, last year's trip with Brittany Ferries from Plymouth to Roscoff was a disappointment. 'We were not allowed to board ship until about 11pm (what does one do in Plymouth for three hours after dinner?), spent a short - and uncomfortable - night in our cabin. We were turfed out on to the quay at Roscoff, where it was dark and drizzling, at 5.30 the next morning.'

What Mr Bradfield would like is a service to Bordeaux that leaves at about 6 to 7.30pm (giving him ample time to drive down from Derby), and arrives in France around 9 to 10.30 the next morning (providing a comfortable night's sleep on the boat, and time for breakfast). 'It's considerations of this kind, I believe, that will enable the ferry companies to shrug off the threat from the Channel tunnel,' Mr Bradfield says.