Written on: 30/07/2013 by Laverdaman (1 review written)
I chose DFDS to mimise motorway travel on my 650cc enduro motorcycle in getting to my destination not far from Hamburg. 180 miles to and from Ebsjerg seemed the sensible option but as you'll find out fate was not on my side!
The weather during the week was often foul so a pleasant and reliable ferry crossing was hoped for. Yet the outward trip was spoilt by high prices for example £5.40 for a pint of Carlsberg and around £25 for a buffet and £10 for breakfast. On a positive note at least there were tie downs for motorcycles and bikes were stowed relatively securely.
However, my return journey did not happen. Apparently the ferry Dana Sirena was "in collision" with the dock at Harwich the night before my sailing and was so damaged as to require dry dock repairs. Interestingly, I was told later by a Stena Line staff member with a sly smile that their ferry had berthed at Harwich about the same time with no such problems!! But yes it was a bit rough weather wise.
So having ridden 180 miles from south of Hamburg to Denmark in torrential rain again (is Denmark ever dry?) I arrived at the ferry terminal to find it quiet, empty and the only sign there was a problem was an angry lorry driver u-turning his HGV away from the port. Eventually a fellow traveller told me to go up to the Ticketing Office os they could tell me the ferry wouldn't be arriving in Ebsjerg for at least another week. I thought he was joking..........
But he wasn't, although the DFDS guy I spoke with on the desk tried to use inappropriate humour in a desperate situation as far as I was concerned. Could I get to Hook of Holland by 1030 tomorrow morning and get on the Stena Line ship to Harwich? No guarantees you'll get on board and by the way you'll have to pay Stena for that trip too. Well there was no way I could ride 400+ miles on a little 650 single cylinder bike having already done well over 100 miles and it was now 1600 hrs late afternoon. What a disaster and you know what, I got the impression - confimed subsequently - that this company, DFDS, as did Townsend Thoresen in the days of Pride of Free Enterprise (sunk) don't really care about their customers.
I had to stay another night at the hotel near Hamburg to gather my strength and get some sleep before my onward journey to Hook of Holland. Horrendous trip with more rain high winds and motorway speeds all of which I wanted to avoid. Thanks DFDS. Well another £70 lighter in the wallet plus lots of fuel then another £160 to Stena Line which I was almost happy to pay just to get home.
The Stena Line trip by the way was a revelation compared with Dana Sirena because I was on a big new and modern boat and the staff were helpful. Food pretty good too. I managed to get on the evening sailing and arrived early next morning at Harwich.
Well to cut a long story short I naively thought DFDS would show some good will and reimburse me for the additional expense I had incurred BECAUSE OF THEM. No such offer was forthcoming and I was quoted a lot of EU legislative drivel about what DFDS were obliged to do which is to only refund the cost of the return journey from Ebsjerg which was cancelled. DFDS Customer Services chose not to comment on much of my claim and the complaints I made about their poor staff at Ebsjerg. They suggested I might try a claim via my travel insurance. Oh thanks. Once the excess is removed and the hassle involved in another claim I felt it was not worth doing.
Nonetheless, I remain out of pocket for quite a lot of money and I am hoping that the payback for DFDS will be that lots of people out there reading my review will choose NOT TO USE DFDS concluding that they are a company to be avoided at all costs.
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