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Everything posted by Jim

  1. Jim

    Booking Document Query

    I'm replacing mine in the coming months and one of the key considerations is the height to avoid BF supplements!
  2. Jim

    Booking Document Query

    It's been done for a while I think as we've had a few posts on where BF's reference data has been incorrect on heights etc - I think it's just the printing on the ticket is new. A couple of years back I had to phone to book a daytrip on NEX after the website kept saying there was space and then not. Turns out that although Mrs Jim's Astra and my Qashqai both fit in the 'car' category for prices, there are different sub-categories used that dictate where things can fit on the ship and in that case an Astra would fit, a Qashqai wouldn't. (Of course, in that case, we were parked in an area where either car would have fitted quite happily...)
  3. Jim

    Honfleur - The Launch

    Keep an eye on the BFE Twitter feed in the next 24 hours (www.twitter.com/bfenthusiasts) - Andy is on-site in Germany and attending the launch. He'll be sharing photos and videos as he goes. The launch is expected at 11.45 CET tomorrow (10.45 GMT).
  4. The Olau twins were single deck loaders. However, their vehicle deck layout was relatively simple and allowed for a faster loading than say the Bretagne with the infamous Deck 5. IIRC, they haven't yet 'taken' that amount and whilst they may still keep 'some' of it in the event the sailings don't need to be provided, they won't get the full amount.
  5. Indeed - always better to tell the crew as the first action rather than tell the whole internet. But, that said, with a lot of what gets aired on here (by me, included) it can be a general observation that a passenger isn't inclined to spend time formally complaining it but it will have left an impression that sticks in the mind.
  6. Jim

    BF Refits 2018-19

    Cruise ships usually spend most of the day docked whilst the passengers are off invading the local sights - that's not the same case for ferries. Normandie, apart from the one 'missed' sailing a week the ship never really stops for more than a couple of hours.
  7. Jim

    New Look Revealed

    Brittany Ferries is adding a splash of colour to its ships, with a bright new logo in striking shades of blue, orange and green. The new design, which comes with a more modern, warm and lyrical typeface, will be applied to each ship during refit, and will eventually be emblazoned on the side of every vessel’s hull and funnel. The logo is the result of extensive customer research. The design more truly reflects the fullness of the Brittany Ferries experience: the richness of travel by sea, the warmth of the welcome ashore and on board, and the spirit of discovery for some of Western Europe’s most beautiful holiday destinations. As well as a ferry operator Brittany Ferries is a holiday company too, with four decades of experience arranging sail-and-stay packages. Today the company offers thousands of hotels and holiday properties in France, Spain, Ireland and the UK making it one of Europe’s leading tour operators. The new logo reflects its destinations, with blue, green and orange shades evoking the seas, landscapes and skies of the holiday regions Brittany Ferries serves. The new visual identity comes as part of a multi-million euro investment to make Brittany Ferries fit for the future. Three brand new ships are currently under construction and due to join the fleet in 2019, 2021 and 2022. A wide-ranging digital transformation programme is also underway, aimed at enhancing every aspect of the customer experience from researching to booking, checking-in, sailing, holidaying and returning home. Florence Gourdon, marketing director explains: “This is the right time for an exciting change. We last evolved our logo 15 years ago and so much has changed in that time – for example we now live in a digital world. And while the previous logo fully communicated the reliability and trustworthiness of our ferry service, it didn’t fully embody the emotional side of travelling and holidaying with Brittany Ferries and the discoveries inherent in the fabulous destinations we serve.” “This new look stands for everything that makes our brand: the quality of our products and services, the passion, pride and professionalism of our teams, and our bright future with brand new ships and rich experiences on the horizon.” The new design was first glimpsed by eagle-eyed ship spotters at the shipyards where Armorique and Pont-Aven are currently undergoing winter refits. The ships will shortly return to service sporting the new look. The new logo will be unveiled further over the coming days. Then, and throughout 2019 it will be rolled out across all Brittany Ferries sites, marketing and operations including everything from signs, brochures, uniforms, to advertising and websites. (Look! Window stripe!) ^^ (Look! Extended window stripe!) ^^
  8. You are however paying to cross the channel in an expedited manner on a craft which will sail past everything except bunkering vessels...
  9. Jim

    New Look Revealed

    When posting images which aren't yours, the source should always be quoted. In light of the recent request direct from BF, around usage of their logo, it's best these are removed (and that's what I have just done).
  10. Jim

    First Run

    That possibly as I have avoided Luton for 6 years, and the only time I've landed at Stansted we were the first flight to land after the airport had been closed for an emergency. But, the point being is that Portsmouth is reliably taking an age these days - let's face it, it's bad enough that BF issue leaflets warning of it (and absolving themselves!). Thing is too, given the airlines all send passenger and passport information in advance, you'd have thought they'd know who was coming...
  11. True - whilst the bar/lounge area may be a bit smaller/basic than passengers are used to, the BDS is quite well appointed.
  12. Jim

    First Run

    It would be fair to say though that airports are geared for an almost constant flow of people and are staffed accordingly. In recent flights, I don't recall taking any more than around 10 minutes to clear the UK border - expedited by the self-service machines. In 2017, I waited for 2 hours from the arrival of NEX into Portsmouth on a Wednesday evening for the people I was meeting to have cleared border control in a car, and I've myself ended up waiting almost 45 minutes at the car booths on a winter's evening. Yes, it's part of the process, but it doesn't have to be as much of a poor experience as it seems to be currently at Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth.
  13. Jim

    The Decline of the Travel Experience

    What about green?...
  14. It would be easy enough just to close facilities - to reduce the costs and say it's economie. Shut the a-la-carte and you could magically add a large lounge. Don't open the Salon de The. Bazinga... you've got an economie service.
  15. Jim

    The Decline of the Travel Experience

    A valid point on the beds being made, but how often are things like the extractor vents cleaned? How often are the mattresses lifted and the beds cleaned underneath? Those seem to be what people are starting to notice. It doesn't need doing every crossing/turnaround, but it seems to not be happening at all. There are, as you say, always exceptions - but it does seem that the little things which are being forgotten are starting to add up... particularly when you're chucked out of the cabin 30 minutes before arrival for 'cleaning'!
  16. Jim

    The Decline of the Travel Experience

    It's been a while - but I recall the Duc De Normandie had a substantial refurb when the Normandie came in. The Bretagne's only extended to the cafe/lounge area which made it more open plan. Barfleur had her self-service re-done a few years ago too. Overall though, I'm not aware of anything being done in its entirety - perhaps with the exception of when the VDL joined the fleet and was thorough 'BF-ised' in the public areas. These days I'd settle for a concerted effort to deep clean. The way I see it, once the E-Flexers arrive we're likely to see Bretagne leave the fleet and PA become the St Malo vessel. Interestingly, in the world of cruising, Celebrity are taking their older ships and refurbishing them to the standard of the newer members of the fleet which involves 'taking the cabins down to the metal'. But this kind of activity is surely very expensive.
  17. Jim

    The Decline of the Travel Experience

    The use of the lounge is an added bonus (well, at Heathrow anyway - many of the overseas ones are rubbish), and the recent changes to the onboard catering mean it's actually very nice. That said, it's not worth a significant premium just for those and an empty middle seat (I only know the above due to free upgrade vouchers with my credit card and wouldn't pay the farcical premium they sometimes command). Malev (Hungarian Airlines) before they went bust used to have proper business seats fitted in the first few rows with the added bonus that often the divider between business and economy wasn't placed far back meant that in reality, you could have a massive armchair seat on a cheap ticket. Thems were the days.
  18. Jim

    New Look Revealed

    I hope not - I don't think it's a look that would suit her well. That said, given what 'actual' Bretagne has come out looking like compared to the impression above, I'll hold my breath. (Still sore they removed the blue stripes on the rear staircases of the Normandie) (Ref: Bretagne) If they'd have applied it above, they'd have encountered with an issue that not all the windows at that level are, er, level. The set at the stern are slightly higher. You'd either end up having windows poking out of the stripe, or a stripe that wasn't the same thickness all along.
  19. Jim

    King Seaways questions

    I can only hazard a guess on point 1), which is that it used to be accessible via the observation lounge. However, I believe DFDS now charge for access to this.
  20. Having found ourselves in Greece last week (as you do), Mrs Jim and myself took a day trip over to Aegina from Piraeus. A few notes and random photos below. It was an 'interesting' day with a few lessons learned! We jumped on Metro line 1 from our hotel in the centre of Athens out to Piraeus which took around 25 minutes and deposited us right by the port. Our sailings operated from Gate E8, and before hand we had to collect our tickets from what looked like an official office but turned out to be an agency of "Let's Ferry". It also turns out that despite the fact we'd booked with Blue Star Lines, we'd be travelling with Hellenic Seaways on our outward journey. Admittedly, we only found this out when 10 minutes before our sailing our vessel was nowhere to be seen, and when it did arrive following us asking at an office where it went from, it turned out to be in Hellenic Seaways livery. Our vessel outbound was the 1983 Russian-built hydrofoil 'Flying Dolphin XVIII'. We boarded and were directed to our assigned seats (401 and 610) in the forward lounge - though once boarding was complete we moved to sit together. It's the first time I've seen seatbelts on maritime transport. We sailed out of the port, and the vessel put pedal to the metal and lifted out of the water - until this happened there was a slightly unusual sound of water against the hull. A safety video was played, but given this was done on a DVD it skipped so much it didn't actually finish until halfway through the 40 minute crossing. It included the slightly unusual lines assuring everyone the crew were 'fully trained to Safety Of Life At Sea regulations' and that in the event of an evacuation 'Jumping from a height is dangerous, but if you decide to do so anyway'... The crossing was comfortable enough due to calm seas, and despite the interior of the ship being older than myself, the seating had been updated with recliners similar to those found on Normandie Express. On arrival at Aegina, we collected the tickets for our return from the 'Saronic Ferries' desk - we'd tried to do this in Piraeus but been told, even though they could see our booking, they couldn't issue tickets. We spent the day on the island hiring a car for 'special cash price' and sightseeing before returning to the port for our sailing home. The Posidon Hellas had been in Piraeus whilst we'd waited for our outbound, and we'd watched her arrive with her stern ramp lowered onto the quayside (who needs berths!) and the mad scramble that had occurred. It was similar here where the ship approached the quay at quite some speed, bow door open and ramp out - with disembarkation occurring in seconds. I should add at this point, that once again whilst we'd booked with Saronic Ferries the ship was operated by 2wayferries. The layout was simple, with one indoor lounge and plenty of outdoor seating. A small 'Everest' coffee bar selling drinks and snacks was onboard (Everest is a chain of such places in Greece). We broadly speaking left on time and had a smooth crossing. For disembarkation we were called to the car deck quite some way from the berth and waited. As we approached the quayside the ramp was lowered, and within a second of it touching the quay people, bikes and cars were on the way - even though the ship was yet to be fully secured with ropes and was still moving! Our tickets were 17 EUR outward on the Flying Dolphin, and 8 EUR back on the Posidon Hellas. A car fare is 20 EUR one way. One thing to note is that there's more prominence on the name of the ship on your tickets - and on the electronic signs surrounding the port in Piraeus will tell you the name of the ship and the time it sails... probably because you're unlikely to travel on a ship painted in the livery of the company you booked with!
  21. Makes sense - but does that therefore mean Normandie will be lying idle (if we ignore the additional sailings bit)
  22. Remember that DFDS operate the Newhaven <> Dieppe service on behalf of Transmanche. I imagine there are some organisational differences.
  23. That also seems to imply that one rotation per week (ex-Portsmouth on Thursday and ex-Le Havre on a Friday) won't be the Normandie.
  24. Jim

    SAILING UPDATES: 2019 Latest News

    You can find their number on the BF website, or in the text they should have sent advising of cancellation
  25. Jim

    Merry Christmas

    Merry Christmas all See you next year for more of the same.