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  2. Are you sure you were on the correct ship, Chris. According to Tarbyonline's NI Ferry site she just won an award for interior design. https://www.niferry.co.uk/pr-w-b-yeats-wins-international-shipping-awards/ Ed
  3. I know because we're now in Cherbourg! She arrived 3 hours late yesterday after a couple of roller-coaster crossings, hopefully the calmer weather this week will make things more comfortable. As promised I travelled to Dublin from Holyhead on her last weekend but have been too busy to post a comment... Well I'm sorry I.F. but what a disappointment - ok she replaces one of my favourite ferries the Oscar Wilde, a classy, well appointed ship with style and character, but the WB Yeats has none. My fear has always been that she would be an IKEA ship, IKEA would at least have provided some colour! I'm officially naming her "50 shades of grey without the smut". If you took a grey colour chart I'm sure every single option has been explored along with a smattering of beige and the odd splash of pale green and blue. Friends had travelled over from Dublin on her and their comment was Irish Ferries have played it safe, what an understatement. She has no soul, the A la Carte restaurant was closed but is much smaller and considerably more expensive than the old Bernavel, and the self-service was just awful. I can't bear thinking of life aboard once the summer season kicks in with over 1500 passengers aboard; what's more although she's cost a lot of money some of the fittings were looking tired or damaged after only a few weeks service. Customers we had in yesterday agreed with me, unless they spend money and put a bit of thought and flair into her first refit she will be no better than an enlarged Visentini; even the fireplace (not working on the crossing) is grey! And those grey plastic seats in the middle photo are backbreakers...😲 In contrast the Ulysses on the returning sailing on Sunday is now really smart following her refit with bright colours and a really good and large outside cabin, so they can get it right Chris
  4. Today
  5. With, no doubt, all radio traffic between Air France and the tower conducted in French not English.....
  6. I think you will find that the greatest danger on holiday is a road traffic accident. Especially not looking when crossing the road. Its even true in places like Mexico and Guatemala.
  7. In 2017 one of our day excursions in Egypt had to be cancelled at the last moment due to terrorist activity. This was our second visit, on the first our Nile boat had two soldiers and a machinegun set up on the stern for part of the journey North of Luxor. We did have a bodyguard with an automatic carbine on the coach to visit the Aswan High Dam in 2017 though. Nowhere is totally safe these days unfortunately but i think we are really talking about inconvenicence on this thread rather than personal danger.
  8. In my flying days I regularly flew Paris CDG flights and we used to rush it along and get doors closed before Air France and ask for push back. Nope, not before the Air France with loading not finished and doors open. We tried everything to beat them to London. And we did, great fun. Stu
  9. There are likely to be new measures announced this afternoon. Watch this space! https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47609978 Ed
  10. Yes, it’s all relative isn’t it. If you are used to holidaying in the riskier parts of the world, and have that kind of adventurous spirit, then France is clearly no issue. Different people are after different things - and people looking for the more “way out” destinations are unlikely to be looking at France in any case. France’s natural historic appeal has been to those looking for problem-free holidays, with young family or elderly relatives, not far from home. When you have to start weighing up risk not just for yourself but on behalf of dependents too, you tend to opt for “safer” choices in your decision-making. That’s the market that France is at risk of alienating.
  11. THE number of cruise ships using the city’s port is set to double under a major £18m expansion. Portsmouth International Port revealed detailed plans for an £18.7m cash injection agreed by its owner, Portsmouth City Council. The development is part of an overall £33.7m port development which will also see the city’s cargo dockyard firm Portico – formerly MMD Shipping Services – undergo a complete overhaul. Business leaders and councillors were given a tour of the site by port director Mike Sellers who detailed the plans last week. He said: ‘The fact we have secured the money for this development is fantastic news for both the port and city. ‘The port is owned by the council and so any additional revenue we generate from this development goes back into the city. ‘The more successful the port, the better for the city.’ Mr Sellers’ presentation revealed the ferry terminal’s capacity is to be increased to around 2,000 people, with separate areas for cruise and ferry passengers. He said: ‘The terminal will include baggage handling facilities and new boarding building, with more efficient walkway, to replace the current 30-year-old tower. ‘The dockside is also to be levelled from the current two-tier structure to improve accessibility for cruise ships. Mr Sellers added that the port have already ‘secured the business of major cruise lines’ and that ‘we wouldn’t be making this investment if we weren’t confident of it being a success’. Mr Sellers said: ‘This will increase the ports capacity to deal with cruise ships up to 253 metres from the current 240. This would greatly increase number of vessels we are capable of dealing with. ‘As a result we would be looking to double our annual cruise calls from the 48 we had last year to over 100.’ Cabinet member for planning and development, Councillor Ben Dowling, said: ‘Last year’s cruise industry brought in £8m to the city’s economy. ‘More people visiting our many tourist attractions and spending money in local businesses will only serve to enhance our economy.’
  12. Having been on holiday in Sri Lanka while the civil war with the Tamil Tigers was in full swing and soldiers in Colombo were hunkered down behind sandbag barriers....and having driven across southern Thailand when separists who knew how to plant roadside bombs were in hostile mood against police and government troops ...I will take my chances in France this year.
  13. Some very interesting points made here - especially worrying about "what if" and the perception that there is a high chance of disruption when travelling to France. Last week we did a day trip to St Malo thanks to the latest BFE offer, with overnight crossings on Pont Aven with the same cabin both ways. Had no problems at all with passport control, security check or gilets jaunes. However, we no longer leave anything in the cabin when we arrive in France "just in case" there are some shenanigans at the port when we return and we can't get back on the ferry. A small thing, but indicative of the mindset discussed here. I have to say I am very pleased we have no plans to go to Paris on the Eurostar, it sounds absolutely dreadful.
  14. We regularly go to Brittany, did a 24hr 2 weeks ago and going again this week for a days cycling but our main holiday I was thinking of going south, Dordogne or further but after reading about prices am now thinking about going back to Spain which we did last year. This is in a campervan. Both countries are beautiful with so much to see, so it might come down to how the ferry price works out for Spain.
  15. Gareth is right that it is about perception as much as, if not more than actuality. People have their own holiday preferences. At one extreme they might go to Butlins at Bognor for 30m years on the trot and at the other exploring darkest Peru bearing gifts of honey. We are somewhere in the middle and like a mixture of seeing new places whilst still enjoying relaxing breaks at our favourite destinations, sometimes on the same trip sometimes on separate visits. Over the years we have come to know Normandy and Brittany very well and hardly ever need to look at a map. Being able to nip over the Channel for a few days has become the holiday equivalent of comfort food - only now it doesn't taste quite so nice as it once did.
  16. Interesting arguments..The French were once described to me, by a Frenchman, as bloody minded nationalists.....The lot of them..Quite some truth in that. But if you think we`ll have nothing to do with them and go elsewhere, Spain Portugal etc, to escape their strike mentality I really would urge you to be aware...think French Air Traffic controllers..Now this lazy lot of sods don`t like work at the best of times but when the sun is shining and its busy above them, its time for a bit of Le Greve.. We were caught up in one of their shambles a couple of years ago, the reason we boycotted French Holidays last year (small protest but made us feel better). We had to sit, for many hours in a very hot plane on the ground in the Canaries waiting for a slot to come free..The French making it worse by hinting we would only be given 10mins notice for take off..In reality they had no intention of doing so, but it added to someones misery. I got chance to speak to a very angry Captain on our return to UK (no I didnt kiss the soil but was sorely tempted). The French ATC basically refused to talk to the flight crew ignoring all requests for shortcuts and assistance..He was never so glad to be handed over to UK ATC.. In many ways you can`t escape them you just have to hope it all goes well, no matter where you are bound..
  17. Ah - that makes more sense! It wasn’t the way Neil or I read it.
  18. I think the original post was about using Aberdeen for refits not running a service. I often wonder about Falmouth, which has a history of ferry refits.
  19. More common than “never again” is the “have we done the right thing” feeling whilst on holiday, and the “phew, we got away with it” feeling when you get back. Of course, distruption to travel plans can happen anywhere. The difference with France is that we now semi-expect it, and its lurking threat is ever present in the back of your mind. As has been said, the risk if experiencing actual disruption is small. But the disruption doesn’t have to be actually experienced for the knowledge of the threat of it to adversely affect the enjoyment of a holiday.
  20. That’s a case of a BF ship being chartered out to another operator. Doesn’t mean BF has operated to Aberdeen any more than the charter of Cotentin means BF has operated routes in the Baltic.
  21. The day-to-day disruption you get in France is not so different from what you find in the UK. Some things work better, some worse and some not at all depending on where you live in the country and your needs. Both countries have difficulties from time to time meeting the needs of an increasing, and increasingly diverse, population. Shops and public services are open at different times (in France when it suits them and in the UK when it suits the customer), parking provision (and the regulation of) is different and respect for other members of the public differs greatly between countries and between regions (to quote Stephen Clarke: the French national motto is "Egalite, Liberte, Get out of my way"). My wife, who is French, always makes comments when we are in the UK about how generally polite people are, how clean it is, how the public seems more happy and how those with less don't generally tend to sit on their backsides complaining but get out, find work and pull themselves up. A lot of that is down to historic social policies and a different attitude to entrepreneurship. Note that France is one of the few European countries not to have a version of "Dragons' Den" when Belgium, Germany and Spain all do (the other exception is Italy but that's probably for different cultural reasons). The problem over here is that disruption can occur at any time, with often little or no warning (bus drivers in Angers can stage an impromptu walkout if one of their colleagues is physically or verbally abused and won't go back until they are offered more cash - not better protection of course - and this bribe-culture is accepted and expected). The disruption can then spread very fast to other sectors, resulting in rapid paralysis of the system. It's often accompanied by intimidation (and sometimes violence), a breakdown in essential services and increased costs for those (90+%) affected by the actions of a minority (-10%). If in the UK there are problems, there will be people there to help, offer alternative options and you'll generally be on your way or back to normal relatively fast. In France you are on your own. You may be able to find an alternative travel solution (if you have enough fuel to drive elsewhere and the roads aren't blocked) but there will be little or no help available. And that is not what people want during their holidays. I struggle to think of another developed country which people would choose to visit in the knowledge that they might not be able to get home again, their car might be vandalised or set on fire, the supermarket might be blocked by protesters or access to the city centre cut off by a line of tractors and a massive pile of dung. But clearly they do, so France must be doing something right. However, one bad experience could put you off for life and social media means these experiences are now available for all to share. When we come to the UK now I'm increasingly reluctant to travel as a foot passenger as I want my car to have flexibility in getting back to France. I don't wish to leave it at St Malo and then find the port is blocked for four days and I have no way of returning home, going back to work and getting the kids to school. And I can understand the points made by Colin and Gareth above. Why would you take the risk when there are other, cheaper, safer, more welcoming options that don't leave you thinking 'never again'? Ed.
  22. I appreciate the worry facing the traveller abroad. But I'm frequently amazed how little control people take over their travel plans. Most have an attitude of it'll be alright having put all their plans in somebody elses hands. We spend Spring to Autumn (6 crossings) in Brittany but I constantly run through an exercise of "what if" this or that doesn't fall into place or is it a bad choice I've made. Its not worry, its being in control as much as possible. If its said that Paris is best avoided-don't go there. If there is the slightest chance that I have to drive at night in France just to catch a ferry I won't do it. I'm 74 so we will go back to our "shed" in Brittany and relax. We've long since stopped taking "holidays". Instead we live in France sometimes and live life just as we do in the UK. Life in Brittany suits us just fine and should any "must see" destinations come up then I may just get around to seeing it some day (maybe !). Be in control. Stu
  23. I'd forgotten about the link to St Nazaire. Although I wouldn't be surprised at some point if Balearia did announce a possible Gijon to Portsmouth link.
  24. Yesterday
  25. Yep, my in laws are still off on their travels in the same way as they were when I met them nearly 28 years ago, they're both 83 this year.
  26. Brittany Ferries have sailed from Aberdeen when they provided refit cover on the Shetland service in 1983 using the Penn Ar Bed!
  27. That is exactly it Gareth. It probably won't happen but if it does then you are stuffed! And the older you get the more of an issue it bcomes.Things you can take in your stride when you are younger become more an issue when you get older. I recall having to drive from one French port to another in the dark to catch an alternative sailing when things came unstuck once and coped OK. Not an experience I'd want to repeat now when night driving becomes more difficult with advancing years. Yes, you can still do it but it ain't nice!
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