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den herraghty

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About den herraghty

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  • Birthday 01/11/1960

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  1. den herraghty

    Voyage Report - St Malo (Terminal Building!)

    Gareth Not cabin wise, I'm sure P+O still do lunch cruises from Dover to Calais. Return trip, Club Class one way, Three course meal all for about £ 30 Den
  2. den herraghty

    Voyage Report - St Malo (Terminal Building!)

    To be honest my first impression when I entered cabin 5331 on PA was "wow - an actual single cabin" then I remembered this site and the fact that extra berths are in the deckhead rather than just folded up as in Bretagne. It really does make a difference. I don't know why there is a gap between the berth and the bulkhead in this particulr cabin - the pillow doesn't really fit it but I got a good sleep! Breintagne's outside cabins I seem to remember as being quite good - however the 'outside-inside' cabin in your post and mine facinates me. As an aside - the last time I was on PA I had a port side balcony cabin.... Den
  3. den herraghty

    Voyage Report - St Malo (Terminal Building!)

    Sorry Gareth - i'm not sure. Ex Portsmouth I only had cursory glance at the menu and it seemed that the right hand side was titled 'Quatre des Saisons' or something like that. I wasn't paying too much attention as I was intending to eat on the return. (Plus the piano was spooking me out - I don't spook easily. Stupid - I know) Den
  4. den herraghty

    Voyage Report - St Malo (Terminal Building!)

    CVA - Thanks for reading. I agree however my disappointment was offset a bit by being on PA. It's one of life's travel curveballs - didn't mange to dodge this one! Gareth - Only informed by my line manager (insert several ?????????) just before I finished my shift on Friday at 14.00 that I was off on monday as well (it was my normal w/e off). I've only done the trip on Bretagne before and always been to get coffee - but then again that's a bit later in the season. Thanks for your comments and feedback Den
  5. I had an unexpected long weekend last week (Feb 3/4/5) and decided to do something ‘constructive’ rather than sit in watching television. My last proper sea trip was back in the spring of 2017 to Cherbourg/Guernsey so it was obviously time to rectify that. Accordingly a short trip to St Malo was booked (via BFE of course!) on ‘Pont Aven’ – a ship I have not been on for quite some time. I’ve done this trip a few times before on ‘Bretagne’ and know that there is enough time to walk into the walled city, have a quick coffee, search for any new ship related postcards and get back in time for boarding so I wasn’t too concerned when I received texts and e-mails advising me that the gangway would be unavailable and that footies would disembark via the car deck obviously taking longer than normal. Late Sunday afternoon and I take the ‘long way’ round from my flat (near Gosport) to Portsmouth International Port using First Solent E1/X4 services arriving just before 18.00. I am checked in reasonably quickly although the staff seem to be having ‘one of those nights’. One has a long discussion with a group of four; her colleague has difficulty in persuading all members of another party to be at the desk whilst presenting their passports. The third agent warmly welcomes me, sorts out my boarding card, advises me again the ‘the gangway etc….’ and informs me that boarding will commence at 18.15. WOW! (My reservation did indicate this but I always understood this to be for cars – not footies. Nice little surprise.) Once on board it was a little disappointing to find out that both of the lifts in the main foyer were out of order – not that it really mattered as my cabin was only one deck down on 5 deck, an inside two berth rigged for one. After enjoying its welcoming warmth for a little while, I complete my ritual of checking escape/muster station routes before re-acquainting myself with PA. On 7 deck ‘Le Café Festival’ is closed and the temperature difference is quite remarkable compared to the adjacent ‘La Belle Angele’. Back aft, the piano plays away to itself, with only the restaurant staff for an audience. Up to 8 deck, where I buy my customary departure pint, then onwards to 9 deck to witness our slightly early departure at 20.00. The transit of the dockyard and out to OSB is accompanied by the protests of canine friends being left in an unfamiliar surroundings and, on return to my cabin, an ever changing litany of car alarms. Dinner was taken in ‘La Belle Angele’ and was good value at £ 10 for a main (ok-ish cod and fresh cooked chips) and dessert (large slice of chocolate and cream cake which had a surprise layer of pears!) accompanied by a bottle of red and overhearing a very interesting discussion by a group of NHS workers at the table beside me. I also learned (from the chef) that there were only 300 pax on board. Bed follows and it is a more than welcome feeling to be asleep at sea again. The best sleep I’ve had in a long time is interrupted by the wake up music doing its intended job. Dawn is still trying to make its presence felt as we dock on time. Announcements are made for car passengers on 3 deck to proceed there and ‘passagers pietons’ to assemble at reception on 6 deck. We are advised (again) that the gangway cannot be used due to tidal conditions and there will be a delay. At 8.45 we are informed that we can now disembark and proceed to 3 deck. At ‘C’ lift, several passengers are advised that they can use the stairs for this, however both ladies in front of me individually ask which deck they have to go to…….. The bus has an abortive attempt to reach the terminal building as some more footies arrive. Once there immigration is quite swift and I am checking in for the return journey just before 09.00. My suspicion that the only part of St Malo I will see today is the terminal building is confirmed by the (now familiar) information that ‘the gangway…..’ and boarding will commence at 09.30 – hence the title! Thirty minutes is obviously not enough time considering the lock is in demand (I had observed the movements of vessels during the wait on 6 deck). I wander outside into the car park to watch the sun make its presence felt on this cold morning. One coffee in the bar later and it’s the earlier process in reverse! My cabin this time is 6164 which is an outside cabin on the inside! Confused? – I was a little bit initially but quickly liked the idea. The cabin is situated port side forward with a window looking out onto the wrap-round walkway which is a feature of the ship. The window, in turn, marries a corresponding one on the ships side. Simples! I just have enough time to get my pint and onto the open deck to witness the ropes coming off and our departure. A beautiful morning quickly changes as a squall comes through and it’s back into the warmth of the bar. In daylight this area is transformed from the gloominess of last night with the full glory of this two deck high space displayed – even though it is a bit grey outside. Although the marshalling area seemed quite busy, there are less people on board now (250) than last night. A quick snooze and it’s time to think about lunch. I dally with treating myself to ‘Le Flora’ but the only option that appeals is the Burger…..which I feel is cheating a bit on fine dining. (A quick question for any ‘La Flora’ regulars out there – why does a buffet/main course selection cost more than buffet/main/buffet selection?). Needless to say I had a delicious salmon main/lemon meringue combination from the self service and a pleasant afternoon drinking wine/book reading/(very few) people watching. I noticed some signs adjacent to ‘le Grand Pavois’ bar advising that “Alcohol/Tobacco sales are not permitted within 20 mins after departure/before arrival into Plymouth” but there seems to be no restrictions at Portsmouth. Does anyone know why? A couple of lumps and bumps/short,fierce squalls during the crossing and all too soon we’re back in Portsmouth. Disembarkation and Border formalities are quickly done and then it’s off home. I’ve enjoyed this unexpected trip – even though I didn’t achieve my initial aim. Being on PA was a nice little treat. The daytime element of the journey certainly showed how light and airy she is. The crew were wonderful and the information flow regarding the gangway situation cannot be faulted. Cabin 6164 I would happily have again – even to Spain. Thanks BFE for the offer and, as always, comments are welcome Den
  6. den herraghty

    Waverley damged in Rothesay

    cvabishop Apologies - to you
  7. den herraghty

    Waverley damged in Rothesay

    As it is obviously too hard to go to the website and do it ................ http://www.shipsofcalmac.com/forum/register.php Den
  8. den herraghty

    Waverley damged in Rothesay

    Hi, There are pictures and more information of this incident on the Ships Of CalMac forum website. http://www.shipsofcalmac.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12174&page=4 Relevant articles begin about half way down Den
  9. den herraghty

    HMS Queen Elizabeth

    Day off today and getting up for 06.00 ish was infinitely harder than my usual 04.45 alarm Bus journey down to Gosport was a little fractious as regulars were keen to get the ferry before it stopped and additiional pax were delaying the service. Lots of people lining the shoreline plus an armed police presence (first time I've seen that in Gosport). Some pyrotechnics from the Southsea side then a burst of applause and cheering as she passed Falkland Gardens. A (very early) good day out!
  10. den herraghty

    Cherbourg and Guernsey

    d2frs and Jim. Thanks for the comments. It's due to this site that I was aware of C Lib's track record and planned accordingly. Many Thanks BFE!!! Cabin-boy. By the time I walked to the railway station there was only one more scheduled train left (21.54 just under an hours wait). The information boards were stating that 'no real time information was available etc' and SWT were having a bad night due to problems at Micheldever. I could have carried on to the bus station but after the delay and long walk I just wanted to have a pint/lie down. They say 'Every cloud has a silver lining' and this turned out to be the taxi ride as, when we got to the hotel, it wasn't where I had worked it out to be (if you know what I mean). Thanks for reading/commenting Den
  11. den herraghty

    Cherbourg and Guernsey

    Wortley, WOW! You're almost spot on!. I've just added all the transport/HOTAC costs up and it came to £ 204.25. The bus travel in/around Portsmouth was covered by my monthly pass; cross harbour travel was on the return half of a ticket. It would have been under that figure if I hadn't had to take a taxi from Poole station to my hotel (£ 15). I can provide a more detailed breakdown if you're bored! Yours Aye Den
  12. den herraghty

    Cherbourg and Guernsey

    Thanks Paully..I thought it might have been too long a report - glad you enjoyed it Den
  13. den herraghty

    Cherbourg and Guernsey

    I’ve been hankering for a while to try out the Condor Liberation and see for myself ‘what all the fuss was about’. The opportunity finally presented itself earlier this month and I duly booked a day trip to Guernsey departing Poole at 08.30 on Thursday 15th of June. As in all my travels I try to book the best class possible however the additional cost of Ocean Club both ways was a bit prohibitive – so I settled for Ocean Traveller outbound and Club on the return as this would give me a better overall perspective of the craft. Knowing that Condor Liberation has a questionable time keeping reputation I booked a hotel in Bournemouth ‘just to be on the safe side’ although my scheduled 18.40 arrival shouldn’t present a problem for me to get back to my flat in Gosport (turned out to be a good choice!). Time to turn my attention to getting there and this would require another overnight stay in the area. I was quite shocked by the prices being returned by both comparison sites and hotel’s own web sites – so it was time to think out of the box. I knew that Barfleur operated a couple of night sailing between Cherbourg and Poole and was doing so the evening before my trip. If she arrived on time at 07.00 it would give me enough time to get through the arrivals process before check-in and doing it all again in reverse! The 24 hour Brittany Ferries offer allowed me to travel from Portsmouth (on Normandie Express) and back (with a cabin on Barfleur) for just over £ 60 – a bargain – providing a much more interesting and enjoyable experience compared to a stuffy room on the South Cost. Wednesday morning dawned bright and fair with BBC’s weather lady Carole assuring me it would remain so for the next 72 hours. Travel to Portsmouth International Port was a mixture of First Hampshire services, aided by the Spirit of Gosport across the soggy bit, which also gave me my first experience of the new Hard Interchange building. The screens detailing departure information were also displaying the horrors of the tower block fire in London……L The terminal building was quiet when I arrived there, so I was immediately checked in for the 09.00 Normandie Express (NEX) departure. The café provided a decent pot of tea for me to enjoy out on the terrace while watching all the goings on. Apparently Wednesday is one of the busiest mornings in the port and this was certainly reflected by Normandie Express, Normandie and Commodore Clipper all present on my arrival, with Bretagne and Cap Finisterre arriving in due course. Foot passenger embarkation was duly called and a handful of us filed through security to the waiting bus. Once on board it was clear that this was a busy sailing (vehicle wise) with several classic and expensive cars heading to the Le Mans 24 hour race. A coach reversed on, followed by some larger motor homes, then boarding was complete allowing the two decks hands to complete the first part of their daily workout by vigorously securing the stern ramp. An on time departure was followed by a slow cruise past the RN Dockyard and onwards to France! As mentioned, the car deck seemed pretty full so I was expecting the passenger cabin to be also. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, to find that there were a lot of free seats to be found in the amidships and after cabins. Settling down in one of these, I waited for the queue at the café to dissipate before having breakfast. A new innovation on board the craft this year is a cooked breakfast, costing £ 4, consisting of continental style sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs and crushed potatoes. Despite the slightly green tinge to the potatoes they, and the rest of the meal, were quite tasty. This was fed back to the steward who had served me as he had asked for my honest opinion. The journey passed without incident and, upon arrival in Cherbourg, several of the crew were taking pictures of the expensive cargo they had carried across the Channel. A specific announcement was made for foot passengers to proceed to the car deck and coach passengers to remain in the cabin – which was largely ignored! Transit to, and through, the terminal was swift. Then it was off to enjoy the delights of Cherbourg on a very hot summer afternoon. My first port of call was my favourite bar ‘Le Skipper’ for a couple of pressions, book reading and people watching. Midway through my first drink there was a bit of a drama as an old lady didn’t see the step up into the bar and proceeded to fall into the chair opposite sending the table lamp, menu and my drink flying! Swift reactions saved most of my drink – and me from getting too wet – with the lady offering profuse apologies and bar staff swiftly on hand to mop up the spill. I was a bit shocked when I got the bill as it came to € 16 ….. what!!!! I returned to the terminal in the early evening so that I could enjoy a bite to eat before boarding Barfleur for the evening departure to Poole. Stena Horizon was alongside and seemed to have a healthy load for her crossing to Rosslare. There were only four of us footies so formalities were quick and we were soon on board. I left my backpack in my cabin (8300) while I repaired to the bar for my customary departure drink – enjoying it out on deck as we set sail on a balmy summers evening. The wake up music filtered into my dreams ending a fitful night’s sleep. Breakfast was okay – however I felt I was being rushed by the crew. My plate was removed immediately after I had taken my last bite, coffee cup likewise, and while it may have been ultra efficient service, it slightly came across that I was in their way. We arrived on time and I was soon through the arrivals terminal and into the check in area to begin the next part of the adventure. Condor announced foot passenger boarding at 07.30, so it was off through security and onto an ex London Transport bendy bus for the short drive to my latest new vessel – Condor Liberation. I had been allocated seat 223 which is in the mini Ocean Traveller cabin situated on the starboard side between Ocean Plus and Ocean Club. This seemed okay and I would return here later on. In the meantime it was an initial exploration of the vessel (not all that impressed) then onwards to the viewing area on the deck above. The Captain gave the usual departure announcement (weather conditions, travel time etc) and asked that passengers on the outside decks return to the main cabin for the safety video – which I duly did although several others remained on deck. The ‘rap’ style video has been replaced with a more contemporary one, and then it was back outside to witness a beautiful morning transit of Poole Bay. I had another wander around the vessel and still remained unimpressed. Compared to other fast craft I have travelled on (including Fred.Olsens’ trimaran in the Canary Islands) it seemed to be rather ‘confined’. Apart from the Ocean Plus area (which I only looked through the door at) I didn’t sense the feeling of openness normally associated with fast craft. The aforementioned mini cabin is a good idea as it was much quieter here than in the main cabin – maybe it was because there was only about 10 of us seated there – but I wouldn’t want to be in there if it was full. I took a seat at the rear of the craft whilst having a cup of tea so I could people watch – on this occasion not such a good idea! There was a large party of elderly Northern English people doing the same day trip as myself as part of their coach tour holiday. The first problem was that they couldn’t find their seat numbers (indicated by large magenta signs on the arm rests!)…..then they weren’t all seated together…..then it was too cold….I finally moved after one lady descended heavily onto the seat in front of me almost spilling my tea. I didn’t sample the catering on the outbound journey – but it looked to be of good quality and reasonably priced – unlike the £ 4.35 required for a pint of lager True to the Captains’ word we arrived in St Peter Port on time. Condor Liberation was joined today by Condor Rapide and Marin Marie of Manche Iles Express. Sark Belle arrived shortly afterwards, while Herm Trident V sat waiting some new passengers. Disembarkation was fairly swift allowing me to spend an enjoyable afternoon in Guernsey’s capital. Returning in good time for check in, I was met with a large queue and immediately thought the worst. Within a minute or so, there was an announcement for foot passengers to by-pass the queue and check in at the Condor desk (the group were being checked in at the Manche Iles desk and stretched back to the entrance). My boarding card indicated that I had been allocated seat 2019 in the Ocean Club lounge – the location of which I easily found thanks to the large seating plan displays available in the terminal. Boarding was the ‘long way round’ – i.e. along the jetty and down the link span rather than via the starboard side passenger access. Once on board the Captain delivered the bad news that the starboard engine has gone defective and the return journey would take four hours. The ‘Condor Curse’ had struck again! Once safely departed I made my way to the Ocean Club lounge where I was met by a friendly stewardess who went on to explain that my allocated seat (part of table of four) had been given to a party of three and I could sit in any free seat. Her seating plan indicated that the inboard half of the lounge was unoccupied so I chose the nearest one. Big Mistake!. The family in the other table seat had a particularly vocal child so I relocated to a seat further back – a fact noticed by the steward who commented that it was a bit noisy at the front. Menus were issued and drinks offered. I decided on a little power nap however and dozed fitfully for about an hour. Once awake the stewardess was quickly by my side asking if I was hungry. I was! The Ocean Club has its own menu and apparently it has just been revamped. One of the new dishes was ‘meatballs in a creamy pepper sauce accompanied by rice or chips’ which sounded interesting – so that was my order. This was quickly delivered (the Casquets Bistro is adjacent to the lounge) and was very good!. Portion size was perfect and I later discovered that this was the crew’s favourite meal J Successfully fed and watered, I wandered along to the Adore duty free shop with the intention of purchasing a postcard of the craft. Unfortunately there isn’t one! I did notice that the Traveller cabin was considerably busier than the outbound trip so I sought the sanctuary of the Club lounge and a welcome G+T. Our journey time was creeping up ten minutes at every update from the Captain and we eventually arrived in Poole just shy of 20.00 instead of the scheduled 18.40 – just as well I had the foresight to book a hotel. Once alongside disembarkation was painfully slow. It took about 25 mins to get off, then passengers – who obviously knew better than the bus driver and although told to wait – boarded the already full bus slightly delaying its departure L A long walk followed – due to the swing bridge being under maintenance I had to go via the Twin Sails bridge - to get to Poole station where I found out that South West Trains were disrupted and a taxi ride to my Bournemouth hotel was required. In summary it was an enjoyable two day trip. I’m not in to classic cars but seeing them on NEX was an unexpected treat. I haven’t spent a night at sea for a long time so that was a welcome return! The Condor trip was tainted by the delayed return and arrival experience – the Condor crew however are friendly, helpful and doing their best.
  14. den herraghty

    Dieppe-Newhaven, Cote d'Albâtre Flag

    Gareth Apprehensive of being flamed here again about flags/etiquette but I do have significant knowledge. The Pilot Execption flag (i.e flag is a horizontal white over red) is quite often confused with the national flag of Poland. Flag Hotel is vertical Red/White and does indeed mean you have a Pilot on board - or in Royal Naval terms operating helicopters - however someone who has better knowledge will no doubt come long and correct me!
  15. den herraghty

    Ferry & Cruise Review

    Pride of Portsmouth, Latest edition is out on the streets. I got my copy from the shop that doubles as the Post Office in Yarmouth, IOW a couple of weeks ago. That might be a bit too far to travel for you though If you're really stuck, I'll send you my copy when I've finished reading it. Den