So having been itching to go to our holiday home in Lot et Garonne for a year now and after many cancelled and rebooked trips we finally broke out.
We sailed on Friday 9th July from Portsmouth on Mont St Michel to Caen. Not a route we normally take, but that isn't available on the right days for us at the moment - Ply-Ros would be our normal route.
We stayed in Pompey with some friends which was nice and we duly arrived at the terminal in good time for check in. We had finally managed to get our pre departure test cleared using Randox, and we had all the paperwork/passports that we needed. Small car queue at checkin and after a short wait and five minutes at the booth we were through. Short wait then ushered through customs. Everything was very efficient but there were very few cars getting on to be honest. Drove onboard by which time we really were thinking we'd escaped!! Went straight to our cabin settled in and almost immediately the ship set off. Moored adjacent to the ferry was the utterly obscene Virgin Cruise ship which just made me not want to cruise even more than I did already. It was a lovely morning departing Pompey, so we went up on deck and watched the port and southsea disappear into the distance.
We went inside to get something to eat. There was literally nothing except a stale croissant and a paper cup of coffee. We had that and went to the shop - shut. So we went to the bar - shut. So we went to both restaurants - shut. Staff were very thin on the ground. In the end we saw the same lady during the course of the crossing manning the coffee shop, bar, shop and self service restaurant. When she moved to one the other shut. It really was like the Marie Celeste - and I'm guessing many of those who were onboard just stayed cabin bound. As it was we just sat in the sun near the funnel out of the wind and relaxed! Everyone was very helpful but it was weird.
Exiting in Caen was seamless. Five minutes at passport control and we were on our way.
We were supposed to be returning 26th July in the afternoon, but another change in the rules meant we had to come back early so my wife could do five days quarantine and go to work. Couldn't get any sense out of BF, so in the end I booked a new return on normandie overnight 21st july Caen to Portsmouth. Even managed to grab a Commodore cabin which was nice. Then on return I tweeted the company and withing 5 minutes the refund was actioned. Very efficient.
Got to Caen well in time, had dinner in Courseilles sur mer which was fabulous, then back to the port. Checkin was smooth despite my ever burgeoning file of papers! Nearly got pulled at customs took us to one side, but then swooped on someone else and waved us through. Sat for an age waiting to board. Awful lot of freight, but again not many cars. Got on about 10.50pm set sail by 11.10pm. Cabin perfect, sea was like a mirror and we settled in for the night after purchasing some duty free. Breakfast was super and well needed. Disembarkation was a bit slow but nothing out of the ordinary and we were on our way to deal with the bonkers roadworks on the M27!!
Well done BF, all in all a safe and comfortable trip, if maybe a bit surreal!! Not sure how these companies are keeping going, must be an absolute nightmare. Will post some pictures at some point when i get a minute.