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About Halfcrown

  • Birthday 19/05/1962

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  1. Just got at email that my sailing tomorrow, the 12:00 Portsmouth to Bilbao will run 5 hours late due to "a technical problem" - arrival time to be advised on board.... Anyone know what's happened?
  2. So I got a text from HM Passports telling me to check on their web site as passports may need to be renewed earlier than expected if there is a no-deal Brexit. The new rules will be UK Passport holders will be entitled to the Schengen Visa-waiver Scheme if (and only if) their passports have a minimum of 6 months validity. Fine ... or maybe not? I am booked to sail out to Bilbao tomorrow, and to return from Bilbao on 29 October - which means that by Brexit-day I will be back in the UK..... unless of course the sailing is cancelled and I get bumped onto another that leaves after 31 October. If that happens, I'll be in the Schengen area without a valid Schengen visa, and without entitlement to the visa waiver - i.e. illegally! There is no advice on the HM Government web site that is of any particular relevance to this. I contacted the EU Brexit helpline. It took a while to get the infomation, but it seems that if I am in that situation, I will need to get to a British Consulate and get an Emergency Travel Document, which presumably will be part of the Visa-Waiver scheme. This is all getting rather complicated!
  3. Clearly BF cannot give veterinary advice, but I'm not sure that's what I had in mind. I think they can suggest to their customers that they seek advice regarding this from their own vets. My experience with vets (and indeed medics in general) is that they do tend not to answer questions until they have been asked... It was only when I asked about it (prompted by having seen posters up in my Spanish vet's surgery) that I discovered what the dangers were and how simple the protection was. If people do not know to ask, they will not be advised. I also think the BF are in an excellent position to work with vets - via contact with the RVC perhaps - to encourage vets to offer advice when PETS passports are being produced.
  4. For those who (like me until a couple of years ago) don't know, Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by a parasitic microorganism, and it is transmitted via sandfly bites. Dogs are particularly at risk. Originally from North Africa, the disease is spreading northwards. Within the EU it has become endemic in Spain - especially in Andalusia, Valencia and the Balearics which are now considered high risk areas. It is also in Cyprus and Romania. Protection is easy - there is an annual vaccination, which gives reliable protection, although it takes a few weeks for the protection to develop. Unfortunately not many vets in the UK carry the vaccine, and there is little advice being given to dog owners about the need for it when planning to take their dogs to Spain. In my case, I was able to ask my Spanish to vaccinate during my winter visit (when the risk is low) so that my dog was fully protected in time for my Summer visit. I think Brittany Ferries are in an excellent position to help spread the information about this - especially as they are in the market of helping people travel to Spain with their dogs. I believe they are also in a position to help encourage vets to carry the vaccination. What do we think would be the best way of bringing this to the company's attention to encourage action?
  5. That's a fair point Although I am guessing that it's not summer across the whole globe, however I accept this might not be relevant.
  6. Not that yesteryear in other parts of Europe... For instance when Balearia laid up their HSC Cecillia Payne (formerly Irish Ferries Jonathan Swift) during the 2018/19 winter season from the Palma-Ibiza-Denia-Ibiza-Palma rotation, they chartered in the Nissos Chios from Hellenic Seaways to service it, as they did not have an alternative conventional ferry capable of maintaining the necessary headway for that rotation.
  7. I'm finding it a bit of a pain... we are booked to travel back from Spain on the Etretat this coming weekend (9/2/2019), but I am going to have to fly back in a couple of weeks to collect my van, which is currently in bits at local garage here in Spain. Looking at how I'm going to get the van back, however, it rather looks like I'm going to have to do the full schlepp through France
  8. So - this is going to be interesting.... The van developed a fault as we were approaching Dénia on the way to Ibiza. It kept on going into limp-mode - but we limped on and caught our ferry to the island. It turned out that it has a cracked exhaust manifold and it is not going to be ready in time for us to drive it home. The lovely people at AA European Breakdown have agreed to get us a hire-car to collect at Dénia and drop off in Bilbao. But here's the really interesting bit... BF have come up trumps and have managed to obtain special permission from the port authorities at Bilbao and Portsmouth, and DEFRA to allow us to board the Etretat with a dog as foot passengers so we can travel home as booked. Well done BF!
  9. And now we are being disembarked - after a 40 minute delay.
  10. I’m on board at the moment. She arrived at the berth dead on time at 9:15. I happened to be watching her being backed up to the linkspan from the Planets bar at the stern. I saw a bit of panic going on with the ropes. From what I could see, the winches on the port side were jamming and this is now delaying everything. As I write this, we have been alongside for 40 minutes and the ramps still have yet to be lowered,.... I’ll update further if I get any more info.
  11. I have to admit that I was always a bit reluctant to choose the Sunday departure of the Cap because of the extra 8 hours spent on board. And then it occurred to me, that it did not actually increase my overall journey time - it just meant that my second night of the journey was spent on board in the same bed as the first, rather than at a campervan park or an Airbnb en-route to Valencia, Gandía or Denia.
  12. So - we already have ticket-less travel (the document which BF sends us that is called a "Ticket" has no validity itself, it is merely an itinerary. There is no need to print it out - the only information on it which is relevant to BF is the booking reference, which if you don't have when you check-in it means that they have to search for your booking by name or reg no.). However as we know, at check-in each passenger is provided with a unique boarding pass, and one is provided for each vehicle too. The vehicle boarding pass (the hanger) is used to make sure that the vehicles being loaded are being loaded onto the correct sailing, and have the correct number of people inside. So first problem with going paperless - how do BF make sure that these checks are possible? Balearia may have a partly workable solution for this. With them you have to check-in for the crossing online before reaching the port, and one option is to load the boarding passes onto your phone (as opposed to printing them out on your printer). When you join the queuing lanes, a member of staff checks your passes, and if they aren't right you have to go to the desk in the terminal to get them sorted. I will be trying out my mobile phone boarding passes on 1 November, and will report back (if anyone's interested!). The issue of cabin keys is not applicable to Balearia however - if you have bought a cabin, you have to queue up at the information desk on board to collect a physical key, which you have to return on arrival. Then again - Balearia tend to sell something like a couple of dozen cabins on their sailings, as opposed to the hundreds on BF.
  13. As someone who used to develop exactly this kind of software and its interfaces with external booking systems, I completely get what you are saying. When you have an unspecified number of connections (including not just website users but also tour operators, travel agents, in-house booking staff, freight handlers, and even check-in staff at the port) querying and reserving availability on any of up to 70 weeks worth of sailings (at how many sailing per week?) - and that available is expressed in terms of pax numbers, vehicle length, high-vehicle length, kennels, cabins of various types, and even berths in single-sex shared cabins (for freight drivers) - and... whenever the availability is reserved it needs to be held until a booking is confirmed, but if it is not confirmed then the reserved availability needs to be released when the sailing dates are changed, or the customer decides to ponder a little longer... then yes you can indeed see that it is all a bit complicated.
  14. I started this thread to highlight and discuss the hopefully remote, but all the same real, risk that trips already booked will have to be cancelled in the event of a no-deal Brexit. I didn’t want to have a conversation here about the merits of Brexit, the merits of using kennels or whether or the merits of allowing dogs onto vessels. To be clear, the risk is that it might not be possible to comply with the new post-Brexit regulations sufficiently in advance to have the necessary work done by when it is needed for travel already booked. For travel booked for after August 2019, there will be time to arrange the necessary - even in the worst-case Brexit scenario. As for not cancelling the travel and using kennels instead, I can see why that might seem like a sensible suggestion - however the reality is that kennels book up even sooner than the on-board pet accommodation and for travel between April and August 2019, it is far too late to expect to any space at kennels.
  15. I have two replies here: a) space at good reputable has to be booked 12-18 months in advance - so even less practical for those who have already booked their travel for 2019 b) pre PETS passport days, we (and I suspect we are not alone) simply chose not have a dog because of the difficulties of travelling to continental Europe. Others simply chose never to leave the British Isles. Personally, I would not want to back to either of those arrangements.
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