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ac_freeman

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Everything posted by ac_freeman

  1. I really think that you should post a video of you singing it to the original tune 😀 Andy
  2. A shame indeed - that means that both the Waverley and Balmoral are now out of service 😟 Andy
  3. Yesterday on arrival at Oustreham on Normandie there was a tug standing by, waited for us to turn and was then helped to nudge us up to the berth.......I was out on deck and it did seem that the bow thruster did not have the same level of thrust when pushing to port, but it was definitely running while the tug was pushing - I am only basing this by comparing the level of wash that I could see when the thruster was used in the initial turn, when pushing to starboard, to what I could see when the thruster was being used to push to port to bring us against the berth. There was quite a strong wind blowing from the East at Oustreham, we did not have tug assistance at Portsmouth. Andy
  4. I was on Normandie for a day return to Caen yesterday ( has to be the best day out possible, £24.00 for a whole day at sea! ) - at breakfast there were round rolls, at lunch triangular and at dinner back to the round ones ( this was in the self-service restaurant ), I tried one of the round ones with my steak at dinner time and it was delicious...AND the raspberry tart was back to it's original quality, still the reduced size though 😀 Andy
  5. Well, not sure about Grand Marnier but the Raspberry sauce used to be ( or certainly seemed to be ) made from pureed fresh raspberries, now it seems to be regular raspberry jam - it is still my automatic dessert choice on each BF crossing and is still very nice indeed.......just not quite what it used to be, they have also trimmed at least an inch off the diameter, but unfortunately this has not been the same effect to my waistline after eating it ( them ) 😀 Andy
  6. Now that we are on a roll ( sorry 🙂 ) - Slightly off topic but while we are on food quality does anyone else think that the raspberry tart is not a patch on what it used to be? Andy
  7. Many people have been saying for some time that the 80s style cruise ferries are dated and should be got rid of in favour of ro-pax ferries, well we have a so-called dated cruise ferry replaced with a ro-pax and people seem not be happy. The Oscar Wilde may have been a tad dated but had a feel of real quality and atmosphere in the public areas.....WB Yeats seems to be a regular cross-channel ro-pax which is being used on a longer route and does not have any charm or atmosphere, this is not so noticeable on a short sailing but will be on a longer sailing, having said that they have knocked a couple of hours off the Dublin/Cherbourg sailing times. I am looking forward to sailing on WB Yeats to see for myself as soon as I can arrange it, the plan will be Barfleur Poole to Cherbourg, WB Yeats Cherbourg to Dublin and then return. To be honest I think that passengers care more about the quality of ship that many would think - when sailing on BF on mini-cruises/crossings I often get chatting to passengers who are travelling on holiday and they are surprisingly knowledgeable about the ships and make comments about which are their favourites etc. - there are, of course, also those who see the sea as an inconvenience in the way of being able to drive to their destinations and just want to get across as quickly and cheaply as possible and do not care about the ship and it's facilities. Andy
  8. According to BBC News BF have said that they will not change the revised schedule even if Brexit is delayed, apparently the Government did not make any provision for a possible delay in their contract with BF so will have to pay from the 29th. If there is a delay then will be some very pleasant lightly loaded sailings to enjoy between Poole and Cherbourg........and the good thing is that BF should not be out of pocket 🙂 Andy
  9. Poole Cherbourg timetable now updated for April - presumably the expected delay in Brexit will not change anything. For those who like days out at sea there are some nice possibilities - out from Poole at 08:30 arrive Cherbourg 14:00.....off and then get straight back on to leave at 15:30 arriving back at a nice time of 19:00, or out from Poole at 13:45 arriving into Cherbourg at 19:15.....quick drink in the bar and then back onboard for a 22:15 departure and a nice overnighter ( assuming cabin availability ) arriving in Poole at 07:00. Andy
  10. I just arrived back from a mini-cruise on the King this morning, there were a couple of outside areas taped off, presumably due to wet paint......and the forward areas of Deck 10 were taped off overnight due to the winds. Be sure to go and see the troubadour in Navigators, he is superb....the band in the main show bar were also excellent. Enjoy the trip. Andy
  11. I wonder if they are going after the mini-cruise trade to offset some of the predicted reduction in regular holidaymaker traffic next year? This is the type of thing that will help attact mini-cruisers. I remember the entertainment on Pride Of Bilbao ( P&O Players I think they were called? ) It was West End Musical type entertainment, not normally my cup of tea but was superbly staged and included a cast who really could sing. Andy
  12. It is repeat from 2 or 3 years ago but very interesting and well worth watching - I recorded it when it was on originally and still enjoy an occasional repeat viewing. Andy
  13. Yes, I second what Jonno says - I did the Kiel/Oslo mini-cruise some years ago, the ships are amazing - when I sailed they had an ice rink which came up from that hole in the floor with a couple of ice skaters, there were 2 shows and you had to pre-book to get a seat but once the 2 shows had been completed it became a free-seating show bar with an excellent live band. There is a bar above the bridge with panoramic views, a good choice of eateries......but it is not cheap on-board, one of those trips where you save up beforehand and don't think about the prices when you get there 🙂 I still have my Color Fantasy mug which sits on my desk, looking at it right now................. Andy
  14. Just in case this is useful for anybody I have booked a night at the Seaview Hotel on the front at Fishguard rather than drive 4 hours home late at night, £45 with a full English breakfast seems good value ( mainly good reviews on TripAdvisor ) and they allow guests free parking if using the ferry ie. if you let them know in advance you can leave you car there while you are away. It does look to be quite a long walk though and a bit bleak if raining but might be useful information for others......I think I will park at the terminal and drive to the hotel to enjoy the bar facilities at the hotel, apparently they keep the bar open for people who arrive on the evening ferry 🙂 Andy
  15. I wonder if this is why Stena Europe's sailings have been cancelled today ( Storm Ali ) whereas Isle Of Inishmore is still sailing, albeit with major delays? Andy
  16. Thanks for the replies, just completed the booking - I will be sailing Fisguard/Rosslare - Rosslare/Cherbourg and return as a "ferry adventure".....I know that the Stena Horizon will be a bit of a "come down" after the Oscar Wilde but the timings work well for ship spotting and I will be sailing on a couple of ferries that I have never sailed on before, I did sail on the Stena Europe many years ago when she was on the Harwich/Hook route but I'm sure that she is now a totally different ship having undergone various changes. I will use the long stay car park, sounds quite easy to find. Andy
  17. Hi All, Does anybody know about the parking facilities at Fishguard Ferry Port please? From looking at the Stena web site there does indeed seem to be a car park but does anybody have any experience regarding how secure it is and how far it is from the terminal? For the trip that I am planning I would be leaving the car there for 2 nights. thanks, Andy
  18. Thanks - just returned from another of my ferry "jaunts", this was a first ......Barfleur Poole to Cherbourg on Monday, connecting to Oscar Wilde Cherbourg to Rosslare Monday afternoon, returning directly back to Cherbourg from Rosslare on Tuesday and spending the day in Cherbourg yesterday waiting for a return on a fully booked Barfleur back to Poole. On Monday we drove to the gangway in one of the old yellow buses, but last night we were met by a blue "bendy bus".
  19. Just bookmark this link - www.magicseaweed.com - I'm sure that there are others but I like the presentation on this site. Choose Uk&Ireland charts, it shows the projected swell heights and you can look up to 7 days ahead without having to pay a subscription. Remember though, that forecasts will change as often as weather forecasts, so 7 days should be take as a guide but 2 days ahead do seem to be pretty accurate.
  20. Presumably you still need to go by shuttle bus to the new gangway?
  21. That would match with Irish Ferries plans to close Rosslare to Cherbourg during the winter months this year, seems that there has been a downturn in Ireland/France traffic out of season.....apparently Stena are continuing through the winter though from Rosslare.
  22. Interesting discussion - I was on Mont St Michel yesterday, have sailed on her a few times since the scrubbers were installed but this was the first time that I had noticed the "rainfall" effect, probably because of reading this thread previously. Yesterday morning was dry when we left Portmsouth but out in the Solent there was suddenly, what felt like, thick drizzle falling on the port side of the stern outer deck causing a few people to scurry off inside thinking that it had started to rain.....nothing fell on the starboard side most likely due to the wind, and it only lasted 20 - 30 seconds I would guess. I spent a lot of time out on deck and this happened at least a half a dozen times during the crossing that I noticed. Andy
  23. Yes, I was out and back on Mont St Michel yesterday......berth 4 was used as per normal. Andy
  24. Nice report and photos - I remember back in the late 70's we had a family day out on the train from North Wales to Wemyss Bay ( there was a line from Glasgow then, I think that it may have closed now .....there was a long gangway direct from the station to the pier ) we then took the ferry over to Rothesay.....a highlight, for me, was when we passed the Queen Mary ( the ferry in your photo ) around half way across to Rothesay.......I can't remember whether she was on an excursion or was on the Wemys Bay/Rothesay route, beautiful ferry....sadly the only time I have ever stepped foot on her was while she was a floating pub on the Thames.
  25. Up very early yesterday morning for the drive from Reading to Portsmouth, a bit grey and muggy and some low cloud and mist on arrival at Portsmouth. NEX and small cruise ship Astoria were berthed in addition to Mont St Michel. Checked in and after a coffee upstairs at Costa I, and around 20 other Foot Passengers, passed through security ( same as usual ) and onto the bus to take us to Mont St Michel berthed stern in. Up the several ramps and escalators, onto the ship and straight down to the self service restaurant for some bacon and eggs, and another coffee, before going out on deck. The bacon was ok, the fried eggs were cooked to perfection with runny ( but not snotty ) yolks and the whites brown and crispy around the edges. It was a fairly busy crossing, lots of cars and families, but there was never a problem finding a seat in the Self Service restaurant or upstairs bar area. Out on deck for departure, the mist had lifted nicely, was as interesting as always passing the naval dockyard with several ships, including visitors, docked. By now it was very sunny so spent a lot of time out on deck waiting to pass through the channel shipping lanes - a few weeks ago I bought some pocket sized binoculars for day trips ( on overnight trips with a cabin I have my full size binoculars which can be left in the cabin when finished with ) saw many ships in the distance but just as we were getting close the fog descended and did not lift until we had passed through the shipping lanes.....so, off for lunch in the Self Service.....I had the leg of lamb, which can be a bit hit and miss.....in the past I have had some nice and some gristly slices but yesterday's was excellent with a very nice sauce. By the time we were arriving in Oustreham the skies were grey with thundery looking clouds and was muggy and humid - as mentioned elsewhere I had asked about the possibility of staying on-board but was told that I would have to disembark and check-in for the return crossing. With only an hour and a half ashore, and needing to check in, I made sure that I was one of the first through passport control, straight to the check-in desk and checked in within a few minutes. I walked down as far as the canal lock, near to a funfair, and some large drops of rain began to fall.....as I turned round to return to the terminal the rain stopped but I decided that it was best to return anyway....as I arrived the heavens opened for a few minutes but the rain quickly passed. Foot Passengers boarded right at the last minute yesterday, we walked onto the ship at 16:25 with 16:30 departure - there were more cars on this crossing as there were cars parked on the outside deck wight up to the gates but on-board it felt about the same loading as the morning crossing. It was humid and balmy all the way back to Portsmouth and it was lovely sitting out on deck. Self Service Restaurant again for dinner, Pork Skewer with new potatoes and mustard sauce.....delicious. For dessert I had a variation on of my earlier BF favourites ( raspberry/custard flan, but I don't like the new version ) which was a sponge with a crispy caramelised sugar frosting and raspberries/custard......superb, I could have eaten a second one :-) As we approached the shipping lanes it was clear that the earlier fog had all cleared, visibility was crystal clear right up the horizon with several ships visible with naked eye and binoculars.....more than made up for the earlier disappointment. Etretat had been visible for some time around 5 miles to the East and about a mile astern of us. As the IOW appeared in the distance the binoculars allowed me to see a large cruise ship and also the Astoria ( seen earlier in Portsmouth ) heading Eastwards. As we entered the Solent I could see a large modern cruise ship in the far distance which had obviously departed from Southampton.....we slowed down to a crawl as it passed closely by us, it was the Britannia which, to me, looked beautiful, impressive and ugly all at the same time.......as I had not taken my camera I was able to get some shots of it on my Iphone. They actually made an announcement that we would be passing the Britannia but unfortunately for those who were not already on deck we were already level with the ship when the announcement was made. Due to us having to slow down to pass Britannia ( not sure why ) Etretat was now directly behind us as we passed the Bretagne outbound from Portsmouth. As we swung round just off the berth at Portsmouth Etretat had decided to swing round out in the main channel, presumably to save time.....we were around 15 minutes late due to having to slow down earlier. As we Foot Passengers left the ship the cars leaving Mont St Michel were forming quite a queue at border control, I felt sorry for any car drivers who would shortly be leaving Etretat who would have to join the end of this queue, I suppose it would take taken some considerable time before they were on their way. As we arrived at the bus Etretat had reversed in and was in the process of berthing right next to our bus.....interesting to witness the berthing so close to the action, very noisy. Nipped through passport control pretty quickly and was on my way home shortly afterwards - no better way to spend £24 in my opinion, a long, tiring but thoroughly enjoyable day out....glad I have the Bank Holiday to recover before going back to work tomorrow though :-)
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