The article you wrote about the "Night Ferry" was pretty much the same experiences about the procedures, cars, and fittings as in my 1969 trip.
A few differences:
a) Major difference was in the diner of the French train. It had a full diner with very god fare. Being a train with a British clientelle, it had a full meny of hot cooked breakfasts including bacon and eggs and all the trimmings, in addition to the "continental breakfasts" that the French or Belgian clientele would probably eat in the morning. But as I mentioned in my earlier post, the breakfast was very expensive compared to diners of the USA in that pre-Amtrak era for a lot more oomph for the food items. I guess the few years difference in your later trip was the result of derogations of the service.
b) I was not aware of the channel rough seas, so it must also have been an unusually calm night. To me the experience of this service was to be asleep from British terra firma to French terra forma. After all, if I was to be up and around while the loading and unloading was being watched, the experience of a sleeping car trip would, for me at least, be a "non-event". For that I could have used the second class sit-up cars and then simly transferred on and off the ship on foot. So I chose to actually fall asleep before Dover and did not awake until after France. I did partly come awake in slumber in bed with the car being rolled and a bit of commotion by the crew which through the window appeared to be the docking operation, but I was still slumbering enough to not be able to figure out which side of the Channel this was. So I did what was "intended" for a sleeping car passenger to do, though of course this was to sacrifice a bit of railfanning in the process, but for me the experience of being a sleeping car passenger with a "no-transfer" night run over a ferry was a railfan experience for me itself, so while I'd liked to have to be up and around at dockside, I only had the occcasion once, so it was my choice to "railfan" as a passenger would have experienced. I did not feel tired after the trip, and I guess the state of one's comfort would be an objective matter.
c) The fare for the "Night Ferry" trip in the sleeping car was VERY high, but I was in a single compartment. preferring my privacy. I knew that all other trips would be very much shared compartments, so figured that I'd do the one big splurge!
Ans an aside, during 1969 there were a number of rail plus ferry crossings between England and "other side" ports across the Channel, and the "Night Ferry" was not the only route, though it was the only through train using a carferry for passengers to have a "same berth" service right from origin to destination. As I already mentioned, non sleeping car passengers on the "Night Ferry" train had to board and alight the ferry on foot, and the sit-up (coach, though not really?) cars were each domestic rolling stock at both ends of the run.
The premier day train between London and Paris was the "Golden Arrow" whose equivalent on the French side was the "Fleche d' Or" with all passengers on foot at both ports of cal, regardless of class. I believe that this train, both sides, had "Pullmans" (not USA pullmans, but a more opulent version of a parlor car in British/European parlance) as well as in second class. The route was a bit different from the overnight "Night Ferry". There were other rail/ferry services on different routes as well.
There was an also unusual service London-Paris "Silver Arrow" / "Fleche d' Argent" which was a somewhat faster rail / air / service. British rail would take the train from London to Gatwick Airport (as opposed to the much closer Heathrow Airport via the London Underground), then an airplane would go across to Le Touquet Airport just across the Channel, and then the French train would take it to Paris. I am not sure thisd service lasted too long, aince the combination of air and rail somehow to me didn't seem to really been able to compete with an all-air service where most passengers would tend to be wanting speed. But I guess that the British and French railroads were trying to see how to make an equivalent as you say "rough crossing" by staying on rail as long as one could and not having the ferries.
Also interesting in my trip in Paris itself, I rode the close to final chapter on Parisian suburban steam. The last steam operation in Paris suburban rail was out of Gare de Bastille which by that time was the only service out of that terminal. The overhead catenary was aready up and only a few months after I rode it it was in electrical operation. I used the line because I had been staying with my Godmother and her hiusbant who lived in Parc Ste. Maur suburb. The electrifiued line would bypass Gare de Bastille and would be abandoned once electrical operation were to be in place. The small steam tank engines were no longer being maintained. When one bit the dust, its sceduled services were simply crossed off the timetable. It was a very tearful experience to see that while even the fact of steam's last stand in Paris had to be witnessed with such disgraceful disrespect to the locos in their dying days. I'm not sure whether Gare Bastille is used otherwise ir if it went to the wrecker's ball.
I only had a trip in the "night ferry" from London to Paris. I had come to England on my trip from New York on the SS United States via Southampton, as a means of getting a fothold in English in Europe before going on. My "base of operations" was of course in Paris with my Godmother, and took 2-3 weeks at a time to "wash my linen" in Paris and then go on the next trip for a few weeks, etc. A highlight of course was to be in Lithuania, my ancestral homeland, at the time under Soviet rule, and was promptly arrested for straying outside the city limits of Vilnius. The USSR authorities had restricted "foreigners" in Lithuania to 5 days in the capital city only, and of course most would come by air and use up a day each direction for the bureaucracy of arrving and departing. So by travelling by rail on sleeping car schedules, arriving in Vilnius gave me an extra day at each end of the 5 days to see the countryside as well as just the capital city. But when they arrersted me, their interrogations wasted a preciuos 20% of my time to be there. Train photography was forbidden, but a local cousin of mine managed to get a photo of me with the name of the train (Lietuva [In Lithuanian]- Litva [in Russian]) at the top letterboard. There were a lot of "interesting" adventures to get there and back but would take hours of writing to relate!
After about 3.5 months, I got back to New York on the SS France from La Havre. Both ships were in their final season, so I just managed to get into this trip before a lot of stuff started unravelling in "civilised" travel fashion. In 1970, I went to Australia where I married my wife (Sydney to Perth on the brand new "Indian Pacific" on the brand new standard gauge transcontinental line), and took her back to New York via Expo 70 in Japan (Bullet Train Tokyo-Osaka), then from LA via San Francisco-Chicago-Cincinnati-Roanoke-Lynchburg-Washington on the San Joaquin Daylight, City of San Francisco, James Whitcomb Riley, Pohahontas, an N&W Bristol-Lynchburg local (one of the ex of the Bristol trains), a Southern Railway local, then the Penn Central, all this to still be able to do before the end of the non-Amtrak era. My wife, well she lasted 12 yars an New York and got homesick for Perth. We had our argument as to where to live and she won, as the ladies always do. I returned to the USA about every 2 years while my mother was still alive. Then my operation and stroke came in 2002 and that's the end of my overseas travel. But in my earlier days, I did travel in Canada (Ontario and Quebec) but never got west of that, and I did get to go into Mexico, though I wouldn't really think that Tijuana is the real Mexico!
Vytautas B. Radzivanas
Perth, Western Australia