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About Gardian

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    BFE Member
  • Birthday 16/06/47
  1. Boarding Times on the Bretagne

    Goodness me ! Just about everybody on here is a seasoned ferry traveller. Me too. After years of doing it, we all know that sometimes you can arrive quite early, sometimes quite late ......... and you never really know in what order you'll get loaded. The same (more or less) applies to disembarkation. I reckon that over the years, it has pretty much evened out, but I don't keep a score! And btw, even if I did, it would make sfa difference.
  2. SAILING UPDATES: 2017 Latest News

    Tripers a la mode de Caen?
  3. No need to apologise. Pricing, whether with an airline, train or ferry is a moving feast. You can say something one day and its wrong the next. Haven't tried Ouigo, but haven't had the need - for those who don't know what we're talking about, its a low-cost service from centre to centre (example Paris - Marseille) on certain trains. You might get a ticket (one way) for €20.
  4. Yes, Cabin-boy beat me to it ! The only thing that I'd add is that the direct service fares on Eurostar seem to be held at a pretty constant rate even if you're booking quite late. Not so with TGV's, but there are often late-booking offers around to be had, although not in peak season.
  5. Jonno .......... Forgive me - in an effort to avoid too much detail, I probably didn't explain the economics very well. See below for how it stacked up (very rounded numbers used): Preferred Itinerary Drive down to us here in southern France - fuel £60, Eurotunnel £60 (one way), motorway tolls £50, en route hotel £100, so £270. Then drive back up to Roscoff, roughly the same but minus Eurotunnel, so £210. Then BF to Cork, £500 (IF was a little but cheaper, but only £30 or so). Finally, a one way crossing to Wales, £150. All up travel cost = £1130. What they actually did Eurostar London- Avignon direct (no car of course, but a 6hr journey and able to use our car when down here) £200 round trip. Then drive to Fishguard, fuel £30. Round trip ferry crossings £300. So £530 all up (I've ignored the 'common' elements of the cost such as driving back home from Fishguard). Thus a 'saving' of roughly £600. The family has traditionally used IF from Pembroke, but went for Stena ex Fishguard this time because they've changed the sailing times and they worked better for them. It is indeed a bit of a hike out to west Wales (yes 5hrs, but no more), and they're quite used to it There were two points about my post. Firstly (and this is an almost daily subject on here, no matter what the thread) that everybody's start point and destination is different, so you have to figure out what works best for you. If you live in Exeter and want to go to Brittany, its a no-brainer. If you've a 'triangular' trip, then its a bit more complicated. Secondly, the simultaneous significant increase in service frequency and significant fare reduction by Eurostar. It was a bold marketing initiative. I can vouch for the fact that hire car trade at Avignon TGV station is massive in peak season (not just for passengers ex London of course, but from all over France, Belgium & Germany). With attractive fares, train + hire car beats the grind of the motorway!
  6. I can only speak about our family's experience. Elder son & his family live in the Thames Valley. We live in southern France. DIL's holiday home is in W Cork. Ideal itinerary this Summer: drive down to us, spend a week or so down here, drive back up to Brittany, Roscoff-Cork with BF, a week or so at the family home, back to the UK. But ......... too expensive with BF (£500+ one way). So, they ended up buying tickets on the direct Eurostar (£100 round trip each) and then having got back, just driving to Wales for the short crossing to Rosslare. I won't bore you with the numbers - suffice to say that it was significantly cheaper than doing their 'ideal' itinerary. There is a point here about Marketing. Eurostar has significantly increased the number of direct services down here to southern France + (and crucially) reduced the prices, not by a bit, but by a lot. IMO, they haven't made this very public, but those who have occasion to travel down this way, have seemingly noticed. Loadings are well up. Surely there's a lesson here?
  7. Am I missing something here, or are the hints of what IF may be about to do, present a really serious bit of competition to BF on ROI-France crossings? Yes, I know that IF has been around for years, but a new ship with all its bells & whistles (and Irish too) would be a big (dare I use that overused word) challenge. I appreciate that BF will still be attractive to those in the south & south west of Eire, but an attractive pricing plan might just lure more than a few of them up to Dublin, to add to the obvious catchement market there and from Ulster. Would be interested in the views of Irish & NI members.
  8. General Discussions on Brexit

    I think that you're missing the point and with respect, probably don't understand the way healthcare funding works for British residents in the EU. It really has nothing to do with the French or the Spanish, or any other EU country where British citizens might be resident. The French couldn't care less - healthcare for expats is either funded by their country of origin (subject to certain conditions, as in being a recipient of a UK State Pension) or by themselves. They'd probably prefer the latter because its less costly admin-wise, but that's probably factored in to the re-charge to the UK. Davies has said that the status quo will continue. Now .......... I'm not naive enough to believe that there mightn't be a u-turn at some point in the future, but there'll one hell of a furore if it were to happen.
  9. General Discussions on Brexit

    As I understand it, Davies announced yesterday that healthcare funding by the UK for British citizens living in the EU will continue post-Brexit. There was something about EHIC's continuing as well, but quite frankly they've always been a bit of a waste of time IMO. (Reason = their acceptance can be very flakey + I suspect that many people feel that having one removes the need for travel insurance).
  10. HONFLEUR - Arriving June 2019

    Jonno ........ Actually, if BF ever re-introduce the Christmas / New Year cruises, you could be a guest speaker on those two subjects, a bit like the celebs they have on 'big ship' cruises. The catering costs onboard would reduce fairly quickly as the passengers chucked themselves overboard in order to escape ! 😩
  11. HONFLEUR - Arriving June 2019

    True, as we all know. Its also true that even on quiet sailings, you can be 'cheek by jowl' with the car alongside, when there's acres of free space behind. There's something in the French psyche that says "Do what we do on every crossing in case another unexpected 200+ vehicles turn up".
  12. Etretat

    So ......... apart from that, everything was fine?!!
  13. Roscoff to Spain?

    Ken ......... I presume that you're hell-bent on Spain as a destination? If not however, what about Ireland on the PA Roscoff-Cork service. You can certainly travel as 'footies' and I just did a dummy booking for Fri 6th April out and Sat 21st back. €326 round trip for 2 in a regular 2 berth o/s cabin. If you've never been there, it's worth considering. Plenty of good quality accommodation and local ferry services to some of the islands on the Atlantic coast. Bus / coach services are pretty good, but any trip like that would need more than a bit of planning + weather a bit of a lottery. Just a thought.
  14. 2018 Schedules & Prices - Now Available

    As a resident in France, I get the French website offers etc. Just received the 'book now for 2018' notification (a bit late!) and noticed that Roscoff - Bilbao direct is shown on their map. Out of interest, I thought that I'd have a look to see if they really meant it. As we know, its the weekly Monday crew change when the Cap pops in, but they do indeed offer that as an available route, but not of course for the return. Couldn't help noticing that no sailings are shown in the peak weeks in July & August, presumably because BF want to keep availability for UK originating customers. Similarly, a sailing in early June (even at this early stage) has very limited cabin availability - just the basic ones, no Club cabins or pet-friendly ones for instance. I just wonder how many French nationals or residents bother with this option?
  15. Deposit increase from £35 to £40

    Nodwad .......... Let me first of all say that we aren't pet owners, but can understand the frustration that you describe. Whilst the situation you describe isn't 'helpful', I guess that the % of situations where this occurs has to be taken in to account. By that I mean that if its 10% of bookings that aren't ultimately taken up (and of course some of those might be for entirely genuine reasons), then surely there's no reason to impose a bigger deposit? If however, its more like 50%, then sure, some people are being (as you describe it) selfish. My guess would be that the actual number is quite low. I wouldn't mind betting that BF are fully aware of the percentages and perhaps even of 'serial offenders', but is it really worthwhile for them to impose higher deposits just to penalise the few - and p1ss off the majority of genuine pet-friendly cabin customers? The problem for BF is satisfying the demand on certain sailings, but at other times having them empty when the cabin availability is at a premium.