I booked a mini cruise to St. Malo on Bretagne, leaving Portsmouth Friday evening and back from St. Malo on Saturday evening.
I did also book a commodore cabin on deck 6 both ways.
Boarding commenced at 18:15 and there were quite a lot of foot passengers, luckily I wasn't one the security picked on and was on board by 18:30. Greeted by a very friendly staff member who booked my table in Les Abers and also took my breakfast order - I opted for the Continental in cabin breakfast.
Cabin 6106 was more than adequate with the basket of fruit and box of macaroons a nice touch. Although the cabin was showing signs of its age with some wear and tear it was clean and comfortable.
Dinner was excellent in Les Abers- plenty of Langoustines on the buffet and the Salmon with Lemon and Vegetable Tagine was perfect.
Bretagne sailed on time under the command of Captain Grimaud; following a walk on the decks post dinner I decided to retire for the night. There was very little movement and I had a good night's sleep. Breakfast the following morning was more than enough to set me up for the day.
The day dawned misty and grey and St. Malo was very quiet for the first hour or so and with the mist it had a bit of an eerie feel to it, but this soon went as it got busier. It wasn't cold so I had a long walk around the ramparts. I had Mussels for lunch at Café De L'ouest and they were excellent, can recommend this restaurant. After lunch I took the bus to the Carrefour hypermarket where I stocked up on some items and even purchased a few Christmas presents.
It was then time to return to Bretagne. Again early boarding at 18:00, same crew for the return. For some reason I wasn't allocated the same cabin both ways as others had so for my return I was in 6300 and found this to be the same state as 6106 except for a very noisy air conditioner but as long as I didn't want cold air it was ok. I had dinner again in Les Abers but this time I had the Lamb which was cooked to perfection. I went to the cinema (A star is born) before retiring for the night. Same for breakfast Sunday morning although I was offered the choice of a cooked breakfast I declined . Arrival in Portsmouth on Sunday was on time.
All in All a very good weekend and yes Bretagne is looking her age but there is still plenty of life in the old girl.
I was struck by a thought - when she is eventually replaced would there be any mileage in retaining her and operating extra crossings to St. Malo during the summer weekends - so there would be a day and night crossing each way.