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Seashore

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Everything posted by Seashore

  1. To add, P&O Princess the company (now Carnival Plc) was the demerged cruise business from the rest of P&O, including the ferries. Originally it was created to merge the cruise business with Royal Caribbean, instead it merged with rival Carnival.
  2. Absolutely nothing. However, P&O Cruises flies the P&O houseflag under licence from P&O Ferries which owns the brand. It’s a risk for both brands; in the last week was a Daily Express typical sloppy journalism online report talking about ferry mini cruises from Hull and use a photo of Britannia, P&O Cruises’ flagship and the combined size of Prides of Hull, Rotterdam and York together. So if something happened to one it affects the other. To confuse it even more, P&O Cruises Australia is operated by Carnival Australia which is part of Carnival Corporation. It has absolutely nothing to do with P&O Cruises (in the U.K.) which is owned and operated by Carnival PLC - the continuation of P&O Princess - which is the British part of the dual listed company that has its own CEO and Chairman separate (to an extent!) from Carnival Corp in the US. Even the branding is different, although the Australian ships is registered in London whilst the British ones are registered in Hamilton, Bermuda except for Britannia. It’s all very complex!
  3. Often you can test these things and plan for what you think is every eventuality, then you put the public on it and they do all sorts of things you never imagined. Between techies who tend to be quite precise in their thinking and marketeers who think something will sell; it’s usually somewhere in between. Frequently the issue is the sales people who have the most balanced view are too busy selling and keeping the cash coming in whilst projects like new websites go on, whether dragged out or turned around fast it’s always an age to somewhere in sales, to have sufficient impact mostly because they lack the time and have the pressures of achieving targets that the posh coffee cup holding marketeers and strong coffee supping developers don’t have. Surprised really BF bother with an accommodation booking element, they’re a ferry company so focus on what you do best. Partnering with a commission share with accommodation rental specialists would seem on the face of it to be more commercially successful like Home Away or Booking - even with Airbnb or Accor (given the percentage of families Premier Inn say use their budget hotels for 3-7 night holidays) - and with the right terms is a win/win for all.
  4. And the day trip one - first ever ferry crossing was on Pride of Calais using one of those, non landing return.
  5. The issue with devices is a big one, especially with iPads, and true it's not usually the site provider's fault... but customers don't see it that way because it could never be their hardware or software that has an issue. The issue is biggest with iPads, and older iPhones, and it is real. Because Apple products are so damn expensive right now and there's been some real jumps in price - a few years ago you could get the top iPhone for £599 and now it's £999 just for the starting top model - people are holding on to their devices longer. In the case of iPads, and tablets as a whole in fairness, there has been next to no innovation in the sector and they're now the white elephants of the tech world (yes, even more of a flop than the Apple Watch). In the same context, phones have got faster, screens have got bigger and people are more comfortable purchasing on them, so high speed is one user demand and the other is high quality large image-led sites of which the two are not necessarily happy bedfellows. What web site providers have to content with in the tablet environment is two extremes: Old technology like most iPads. After the "Apple downgrades battery life" scandal, they fixed that but in doing so have been continually downgrading the RAM available in Safari on older devices which is then trigger for further downgrades within the device itself according to how much of the memory is taken up, so low memory status cuts down the RAM further in Safari. This causes sites which are image-lead to not always render properly and in some cases websites are now so fast at delivering content that the device's browser simply can't cope with it. It's the reverse of the battery scandal, it's discussed in many tech and developer forums but just hasn't hit the headlines yet. Rock and a hard place... people are holding onto their devices so no need to innovate with new product, no new product means people don't replace, saving battery life on dying lithium ion batteries means reducing the processing power needed. You can't win! Newer throw away technology, like Kindles and other "cheap" tablets. Kindles are simply not up to the job of being a web browsing device in the same way that other mobile devices are. The OS is a "lite" version of Android, tech forums are stuffed with connection issues on Kindles and the like, and the issue is that perhaps those who buy them are either less tech savvy in the first place (either don't know what they're buying and/or don't understand why it doesn't meet their expectation) whilst they may harbour unrealistic expectations of what the device is capable of. You want the power of a new iPad? Buy a new iPad, not a cheap Android device. You want a luxury crossing to Spain? Pay for a Commodore cabin on Pont-Aven, not a reclining seat on Etretat. You get what you pay for. Don't get me started on people not updating their OS and browser, not installing AV so their device is littered with malware and spyware, and people who wonder why responsive websites moves things around and collapse menus down because you're comparing that honking great 26-inch PC screen on your desk with a tiny phone in your hand. The result it it's never the customer's fault... just a long never ending battle that website owners and developers have to grin and bear... "yes sir, we'll look into it" through gritted teeth.
  6. I'm not Bretagne's biggest fan, but she doesn't deserve to be scrapped yet, surely she has plenty of life left in her for what she is, a 30-year old overnight ferry with cabins running a budget service. What she does deserve is to have the cruise ferry name scraped off her, she gives people a bad impression of what a cruise ship actually is.
  7. MSM would be sponsored by EDF surely? More chimneys than a power station?
  8. Etretat, sponsored by Poundland
  9. I’m missing something, but can’t figure out what?
  10. On a double deck ro-ro you could turn around fast. Barfleur used to do it, Dover-Calais does it. I did think giving 75 mins turnaround was generous (being an armchair expert lol!), did initially put down 60 mins and got the overnight arriving at 06:45 as the Caen ships do (there is only a 60 min at Portsmouth at night to allow for the slightly longer sailing), but my impression is most freight drivers want to be on the road getting somewhere. I don’t think it would be possible to go earlier on a Weds when MSM does an early Portsmouth turnaround, just not enough capacity in the timetable or speed on the ship. I also thought that consistency might be valuable, if you knew the ship left everyday at midnight there’s no schedules to double check before booking. I’m not really sure of what Cherbourg does to emissions or driving hours - although it’s less time at sea and less of that ghastly gunk being burnt by the ship (the toxic scrubber water has to go somewhere!) per crossing. Cherbourg isn’t that bad - considering BF are using it as one of the three Brexit contract routes (now Roscoff is talking about “out of the way”), BF run NEX solely there now albeit that’s for passengers. Theoretically, if demand were such, Stena Horizon spends from 08:15 on a Monday until 21:30 on Tuesday in Rosslare every week. It would mean adjusting the Rosslare-Cherbourg route but there could be an argument to get in some additional start of week Cherbourg-Portsmouth crossings for freight (and passengers). I’m surprised they don’t actually already do something with Stena Horizon (although sure someone will have a better reason why not, obviously not running to Fishguard as it’s in general decline and I believe Horizon is too long for Fishguard).
  11. http://www.cruiseandferry.net/articles/reliability-punctuality-customer-satisfaction-and-service Words you’d associate with Condor Ferries? No mention of Condor Liberation’s reliablity. All sounds like management claptrap to me.
  12. My understanding is that afternoon sailings from France and night sailings from the UK are the most popular, the double deck linkspan is in use in Ouistreham at these times. In the context of an alternative to Failing Grayling's Seaborne Freight and in readiness for Brexit, it would have to be an operator who exists and is ready (like Stena) who already have an established base in France (Cherbourg) and already sail to the UK. To get a reasonable number of crossings to make it viable, appealing and have sufficient ship utilisation, I would have thought that 2x returns a day would be a requisite and given that freight - whatever the Brexit outcome - is what sustains most Channel services continually to the same level year-round then Portsmouth to Cherbourg would be the most feasible option. You simple can't get two returns in to Le Havre, Ouistreham and Dieppe from Portsmouth. A ship like Stena Nordica is double deck, according to Wikipedia has 1,949 lane metres (MSM is not a huge amount more). Her passenger certificate of 450 passengers and 222 cabin berths, plus reclining seats, doesn't make her a big people carrier like Stena Normandy was, but Stena Normandy couldn't carry enough freight which is what I recall was the stated downfall of the route because they had to back her up with another ship. Realistically, could do something akin to Barfleur's original timetable, that of Stena Normandy on double trips and Pride of Cherbourg which fits in with when the "Ouistreham ship" linkspan is vacant at Portsmouth, assuming a BF Le Havre ship is still in: Portsmouth dep 23:59 - Cherbourg arr 06:00 Cherbourg dep 07:15 - Portsmouth arr 11:00 Portsmouth dep 12:15 - Cherbourg arr 18:00 Cherbourg dep 19:15 - Portsmouth arr 23:00 BF use the linkspan at Portsmouth from 06:45-08:15, 13:15-14:4, 19:15-22:00 or 21:15-22:45 Not the world's most attractive times but it uses the existing infrastructure, sorts the ex-UK overnight and evening from Cherbourg (leaving marginally after Barfleur). Back in the 90s you had Brittany Ferries, P&O European Ferries and Stena Line all competing in the Western Channel, I'd have though competition and choice is always a good thing in most circumstances, back then in a different age there was perhaps too much and the competition gradually faded as Stena Line left: P&O were only interested in Dover and LD was a complete basket case shifting from one strategy to the next.
  13. Nothing, except commercially it would never happen. Any route would likely need to have a freight bias to make it viable all year around. Totally agree @Gareth, it's time for something serious rather than these pie-in-sky made up fantasies... Ramsgate-Ostend with no ships, Ramsgate-Boulogne on a fast ferry, all complete nonsense. But yes Cherbourg would seem the most logical since there is already (double-deck) linkspan capacity and the port is underused. A versatile ship like Stena Nordica could run two return trips a day from Portsmouth, Stena Normandy used to it from Southampton, and realistically looking at a 4 h 45 m crossing. If it were the old Pride of Cherbourg (ex Isle of Innisfree), Stena Normandy or Barfleur on two returns a day, she'd get into Portsmouth after the Caen ship leaves at night and in the day fills a gap when the double deck linkspan is empty. Pros are high vessel utilisation and they already have a base there so it's a relatively fast set up, the con is it's Cherbourg but priced right for freight and it has potential. PIP isn't going to scoff at an operator like Stena coming along to sign a port contract, they're hardly fantasists like Seaborne or even LD Lines. Opportunities for Western Channel growth could be via the port at Le Havre which is huge, before the current ferry terminal was built and Irish Ferries moved to the old one, they used to be further out in the harbour, with a single deck floating pontoon linkspan that is a possibility. The two Birkenhead-Belfast ships are due off when the 2nd and 3rd E-Flexers come in so they could do a more leisurely Portsmouth - Le Havre service necessitating only single deck linkspans at both ports and longer turnarounds. One ship could essentially replicate what Etretrat does now and the other mirrors it; I seem to recall that is what was envisaged for Norland and Norstar when there was talk of P&O moving them onto the route. Conscious I'm starting to drift into fantasy...
  14. In the light of the alleged need for additional capacity outside of Dover-Calais and recurring chatter about declining standards on Brittany Ferries, perhaps due to being the sole Western Channel operator to France, is it overdue for Stena Line to return?
  15. Looks like there are to be no Commodore cabins on Honfleur, but she is adding 6-berth cabins. No 2-berth cabins with windows either.
  16. Grayling proving his utter incompetence again: Ewan West, representing Grayling, told the judge the process was only for “maritime freight” services and, therefore, Eurotunnel “could never have provided that capacity” and “could not have complied” with the terms of the contracts. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/11/supposed-backer-of-no-ships-ferry-firm-says-they-had-no-deal Never? Strong word. Oh, wait until someone points out that Getlink still owns Nord Pas-de-Calais
  17. Epsilon is too big, she’s very long. Irish Ferries need her freight capacity. It’s why when WB Yeats was late they kept Epsilon with its freight capacity on the Holyhead route and sent Oscar Wilde to Cherbourg instead.
  18. You mean Oscar Wilde? Slim chance of getting that in Ramsgate, too many cabins and low freight capacity.
  19. There’s the parabolic bow again - seems to be the “in” design at the moment. Apparently it greatly contributes to fuel efficiency.
  20. Couldn’t agree more - a fourth of the size, three times the price for a fraction of the time (not ready on boarding, chucked out of it way before arrival so not even the whole crossing). A standard cabin overnight for £86 is a ridiculous additional enforced charge on the ticket price, especially as you’re forced to take out some form of accommodation (£20 extra for a family of 4 to sit on seats and you don’t even get a pillow without paying extra). Right now I’m surprised BF sales isn’t down by more than 6%, there’s only so long families will take getting fleeced.
  21. Hopefully! No ferries in the diary this year but am on Edge in June, quite excited!
  22. That’s the collective noun for: 1) a rough Poole to Cherbourg rotation 2) a group of enthusiasts on said route 3) turning threads from one funnel to two funnelled ships
  23. Seashore

    Flagships

    I remember MSM being referred to as flagship, I can’t remember where and it was probably about 17 years ago (Pont-Aven was not far behind after all). One I didn’t realise until P&O Cruises’ Britannia came in, was that until then Oriana (the oldest and one of the smallest ships in the fleet) was still flagship despite many newer, bigger ships joining. I believe Iona though will be taking their flagship mantle.
  24. The length/breadth ratio isn’t the only thing starting to go back to a century ago. The new Celebrity Edge cruise ship has a more traditional bow, albeit swept back - they call it a Parabolic Ultra Bow. Apparently the ride is very good and from the videos I’ve see of her at sea, she does seem to cut through the waves in a quite different way. From what I’ve also read, she significantly cuts fuel consumption with that bow plus the micro bubble jets in her hull. The new NCL Leonardo-class and new Virgin Voyages ships have similar bows; the latter two are being built by Fincantieri, STX France was the build yard for Edge and through Fincantieri’s new ownership share it’s likely they have access to the technical details from Edge.
  25. That’s what I remember - those tiny windows at the front and thinking (there’s not much opportunity to see the horizon in the Horizon lounge). I can’t remember if it was upper or lower cabin deck, but one was a little strange in that the cabins furthest to the bow were inside cabins and there was an area at the front you could stand and get a forward view. Very unusual for a “cabins forward, public rooms aft” layout (ok VDL was another exception but she wasn’t built like that) to get a view from the front without having a bow cabin. That interior is so strikingly different to how she looked as Prins Filip. I always thought it was a shame Stena never operated her (by that I mean Stena proper, not the P&O J.V.). She would have been a far more suitable ship at the time than Koningen Beatrix on the Fishguard route, and even against the Isle of Innisfree (the purpose build that ended up in NZ after being Pride of Cherbourg) on the Holyhead route - the mix of facilities, recliners and cabins was about right for a 4-hour crossing - but Stena were in the throws of the HSS project at the time. Or even Frederickshavn-Goteborg, Grena-Varberg... Equally she could have done Portsmouth or Poole to Cherbourg fairly competently, perhaps shows how versatile she is, why she has done so many routes and still now back at Dover for the fourth (?) time and on Dover-Calais for the second time. I wonder how many of her passengers realise she used to operate the same route for the competition! I didn’t think she was too bad on the Le Havre route, a bit dowdy but not too different to Stena Normandy a few years before on the Cherbourg route. Correct me if I’m wrong, but apart from the odd visit from Normandie and MSM wasn’t Norman Spirit the only ferry ever to use the top deck of that linkspan in Le Havre? It’s a pity they didn’t connect the passenger gangway up too, since it was about that area in the stern quarter (although on the opposite side) that she use to connect at Ostend.
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