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About Jim

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    BFE Staff
  • Birthday 04/05/1984

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  1. You've done that before, haven't you?
  2. It's happened to me several times on Bretagne - last time myself and Mrs Jim just stood up and went to the self-service. On one occasion I was with Andy and we have a very interesting conversation with those next to us who kept telling us lots of (incorrect) things about the ship and BF, we just smiled and nodded.
  3. My only gripe with the main restaurants is when you ask for a table for two and end up on a table for 4 with strangers. It's not that I'm anti-social, I just don't like other people!
  4. Different strokes for different folks. I know some people who would love to sit on a plane for as long as possible, for me it's just a means to an end. Certainly as I get older (and fly more) I now don't think much of doing a 9 hour flight so long as I know it's a semi-decent airline. Back to the original topic - I do think BF's food is better quality and value than quite a few other operators. The difference I guess is that prices aren't obviously published (I think you can go digging). There's also a case of being a captive market - if you compare to a Dover route, for example, it's an easy choice to eat onboard or get something elsewhere. When you're on a 24 hour trip down to Spain, you're going to want to eat. Other operators like P&O's and DFDS' North Sea routes are also pretty up front with prices shown as part of the booking process.
  5. Jim

    Brittany Ferries BETA site

    Rather than a 'Change Sailing' option, perhaps the summary page could be adjusted to display 'modules' of the booking which could be amended. EG a box for 'Sailings', a box for 'Accommodation', a box for 'Vehicle' and a box for 'Passengers' each of which gives the option to edit the appropriate information provided and when completed goes straight back to the summary page? (Apologies if this falls into entirely new functional requirements!) If there's a way of doing that and also recalling/submitting all the other booking details upon submission of the edited data that could be helpful to the user experience (mind you, you'd then need exception handling to catch cases where a sailing was changed but there's no space for that kind of vehicle class, or there isn't availability of the same cabin type etc etc at which point it's probably easier to stick with needing to run through the whole process again )
  6. Jim

    HONFLEUR - Arriving June 2019

    It will be - that's what the pictures show. There will be an open stern.
  7. Jim

    Brittany Ferries BETA site

    It was enough to put me off. Not trying to dismantle your idea, just give a view on it. The logic on the app needing to change would not necessarily be for control of the lock (which would be in BF's control to reprogramme to accept a fixed user id/token off the app), but presumably, the display of cabin number etc to the user if there had been any changes there. There's added complexity for bookings with more than one cabin since at the moment individuals are only assigned to cabins at check-in where there are multiple ways of doing it. In this case you'd need to have communication from check-in to the ship and with passenger devices to ensure the right people had access to the right cabins. There are all sorts of possibilities, I'm just not entirely sure what would/wouldn't work in this scenario where you're dealing with high volumes in short times or the initial costs of developing a solution to cover all the use cases.
  8. Jim

    Brittany Ferries BETA site

    Going to keys/doorlocks - Hilton already have a system whereby you can either use a plastic room key, or you can check-in on your phone and use and app/bluetooth to act as a key... ... and it's terrible. I gave up and got keys instead. What I would say is that just because something's possible it's not always a good idea. Boarding cards as keys appears to work well and does not rely on passenger technology or their ability to use it. Particularly in the event of last minute changes there's no guarantee the passenger app would be updated to reflect changes (which may need them to refresh it or rely on a data connection). Yes, there's an environmental saving to be had printing less cards etc, but you also need a stable system that works reliably given you're effectively acting as a hotel that's receiving hundreds/thousands of guests all at the same time several times a day.
  9. We flew into Calgary - drove up to Jasper and then back to Banff via the Icefields. Coming back the weather wasn't great, and indeed the road became impassable the day after. We went to Maligne on our travels, and had an absolutely stunning day at Lake Louise (attached). After staying in Jasper we had a couple of days in Canmore, near Banff before flying down to Victoria. Overall my impressions of Canada were more favourable than the States. There seemed to be a genuine friendliness and warmth from literally everyone we encountered, without fail.
  10. I hope to never drive one again - lots of space, but a 3.6 litre inefficient petrol engine and the handling of a bouncy castle and I've seen cheeses with more structural integrity. Our other hire was a Hyundai Sonata which was pleasantly surprising to drive and quite well equipped. Didn't have time to see Butchart Gardens despite staying only a mile away at the Brentwood Bay Resort. As luck would have it, a friend I haven't seen in years had relocated to Victoria and so time was spent unexpectedly catching up thanks to him spotting us on Facebook. We also did one of the whale watching tours out of Victoria which took up a good 4 hours but saw quite a few close up as it's migration season. We liked Vancouver, we hired a speedboat for a few hours and explored up to the Indian Arm (seemingly they'll grant you a day's license for a 90hp one). Canada was brilliant - we'll be going back for sure at some point.
  11. A slightly different flavour of voyage report from slightly further afield than normal. Mrs Jim and myself have just spent a couple of weeks in Canada. As part of our plans we flew from Calgary into Victoria on Vancouver Island, and a few days later headed over along with our hire car to the mainland via BC Ferries. Swartz Bay is around 20 minutes from Victoria and is a hub for BC Ferries services. We were taking the main route to Tsawwassen which would leave us around 30 minutes drive from Vancouver airport where we'd be dropping the car back before heading into the city by train. Sailings take 1h35 and have departures every hour on the hour with four vessels servicing the route. The service predominantly operates on a 'turn up and go' basis although at busy times that can lead to a significant wait. The fare is the same regardless of when booked, however for a $10 CAD you can book a sailing and are guaranteed boarding providing you are there 30 minutes before (after that the reservation is forfeited and you join the queue). The reservation fee is paid when booking and the remainder of the fare is paid at check-in. As we approached the terminal, road signs were advising traffic of a 'potential wait' at the terminal for turn up and go customers. The terminal was somewhat reminiscent Wightlink's Fishbourne terminal, on a larger scale! Our vessel, Coastal Celebration, arrived on time at 10.35 into the port, and 10 minutes later boarding began. Announcements before the sailing asked drivers to ensure they parked no more than 24 inches / 60 centimetres from the vehicle in front to ensure as many passengers would be able to board as possible. The logic for this became clear as the car deck loading pretty much unsupervised apart from being pointed into a lane as we drove onto the upper deck. Despite being in a Dodge Caravan (AKA a hire car with all the road handling grace of a hippo) we were a relatively small vehicle and easily fitted in the lanes. The inside of the ship was again like an IoW ferry on a larger scale. There was an abundance of public seating over 2 decks along with a cafe, cafeteria, buffet restaurant and a small shop. The outer decks were spacious and the panoramic windows at each end of the ship made for great views. We headed for the buffet which included food and hot/cold soft drinks for $21.25 + 5% sales tax meaning the total bill for 2 of us was 26.20 GBP. We were shown to a table right by the window which gave stunning views as the ship got underway. The food was good quality which is more than can be said for the coffee - not a reflection on the ferry catering, but the obsession the North American continent has with mediocre tepid filter coffee. The safety announcement was relatively brief, assuring passengers that all staff were Transport Canada certified and effectively to do as they said in the event of an emergency. Apart from that the tannoy was pretty quiet - there was one request for a car owner to switch off their alarm, followed by a second request to the same car owner pointing out their car was located under the bridge and causing something of a distraction. Our course led us out through some stunning scenery, in particular the passage between Parker Island and Maine Island which also was the passing point for us and the Spirit of British Columbia was pretty impressive. Although a domestic sailing, the route actually goes through US waters. The Tsawwassen terminal in itself is on the very edge of Canada meaning that vessels pass back into Canadian waters whilst on final approach. The US territory is 'Point Roberts' (population 1,200) which is isolated from the rest of the US due to being below the 49th parallel which is where the rest of the border for Canada lies. We were around 5 minutes off the berth when we were invited to rejoin vehicles. As soon as the ramps were in place cars were offloaded directly onto a highway to continue on their journey. A really quick and efficient service, a clean and comfortable vessel and scenery to remember.
  12. Jim

    Brittany Ferries BETA site

    A good idea, but I suspect a little more complex depending on how cabins are assigned out for a particular sailing.
  13. Jim

    Brittany Ferries BETA site

    Hi All, Just back from holiday and have an e-mail from BF in my mailbox. Please keep exploring and posting your findings of the beta site in this thread - they're watching closely for bugs and feedback
  14. Jim

    New Procedure for checking in dogs

    A pet must have valid rabies vaccination for the passport to be issued, and there must have been at least 3 weeks but no more than 3 years since the vaccination. I agree with Nodwad, that as far as I am aware you can travel out of the UK straight away, but can't return until that 3 week period for the vaccine has passed. Whilst pets can be scanned on the way out, this doesn't need to be done (Eurotunnel don't) but I imagine does provide a useful cross-check to the operators that do it to show all the paperwork matches and help avoid problems on the return leg.
  15. Jim

    New Procedure for checking in dogs

    In Portsmouth and Cherbourg (and Dunkerque and Calais) have only ever been handed the scanner at the check-in booth and never visited the terminal. Eurotunnel is slightly different in that you have to visit the Pet Centre in Calais prior to check-in to complete the paperwork and get a sticker. I'm assuming they also then authorise you being able to check-in at the normal booths. Going over to the continent from Folkestone no checking is done.