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Everything posted by kgst

  1. You would hope they will take action & provide entertainment for families on the 19 hour crossing & create a bit of craic. They also need to get their crew onside and address their grievences. The crew on OW took pride in their ship and it showed and the same crew on WBY don't and it apparent. I wonder are the crewing levels sufficent PA has 184 crew & to my knowledge WBY has 135 even though it is a bigger vessel- maybe this is because there is less hotel staff needed as the freight volumes would be greater but in the summer months WBY has 1200 cabins & PA has 650 & they will surely need extra staff ?
  2. in our case 2 adults 1 dog club 4 berth inside €376 on WBY and the equivalent on BF was €501 which was refunded. the prices in low/mid season on IF [this year] are considerably cheaper than BF but in high season that reverses with IF considerably dearer In my opinion BF never really competed on price on the Irish route as they seemed happy with the loadings without cutting prices. Maybe IF were using some of their compensation from FSG to get people onto the WBY because the amount of media advertising they are doing this year is way beyond what they normally do. If I hear "travel in style on the most luxurious ferry on the Irish Sea " one more time I will scream ! or complain to the advertising standards board
  3. As one of the many passengers affected by the Pont Aven rudder problems we were forced to use the W . B Yeats for the outward leg of our journey from Ireland to France on 6th June returning on the Pont Aven on 21st June. It gave us the opportunity [however unwelcome] to compare the experience on both IF & BF. W. B Yeats: Travelling from Dublin rather than Rosslare is much more difficult because of the access to Dublin Port & the volumes of traffic meaning you have to allow greater time when you hit the outskirts of Dublin – in this case taking over an hour to do the last 5 kms. When we arrived at the Port the Epsilon was still on berth & meant that the W B Yeats had to wait until she finished loading & departed. The WBY then came in docked bow first & for some reason then went out again so that she could stern load. I assume that is because it is quicker to load that way but in any event the departure was delayed by over an hour. As we were travelling with a dog on board we assumed that all vehicles carrying pets would be directed to any area where they would be easy access to the kennels but that was not the case & we were loaded with other similar vehicles . There were no staff on hand helping customers to find their bearings and no cards issued with the deck number etc so that customers would be able to find their vehicles on arrival in Cherbourg. Fortunately we had ascertained in advance where the kennels were located but we had to bring our dog up the stairs with all other passengers. There was no insistence on muzzles or indeed restrictions on where you could go and with the very poor signage it would be easy to end up in passenger areas where you should not be. The kennel area is an enclosed space on deck 7 & you can visit your pet at prearranged times during the crossing. It is more cramped & the kennel sizes are smaller than on the Pont Aven. The exercise area is a disgrace & consists of an area of deck outside the kennels about 1 ½ metres wide with a strip of artificial grass that extends for about 30 metres. Fortunately on our crossing the number of pets was small but I dread to think what it would be like when the crossings are busier. We had a 4 berth club class cabin which we did not realise at time of booking makes quite a difference to the onboard experience because you have access to the Club class lounge & free soft drinks,snacks etc & a comfortable seating area. The crossing was full & the other areas of the ship were crammed with people trying to find a comfortable place to sit . There is a “quiet seating area” on deck 10 but because on this crossing the cinema was out of action meant this could not be used & in any event it is a walk through area which could never be described as quiet. The cabins themselves are adequate if somewhat small but would be fine if everything worked. In our case the TV would not work & the main cabin lights did not function. When we went to reception there was a queue of people trying to get problems sorted. A staff member did come & fixed the TV but not the lights & the TV ceased to function again the next morning. The décor throughout the ship could be summarised as 50 shades of gray with no colour to lift it . The carpet design have been referred to by other posters but suffice to say they are already stained & the fittings are showing signs of wear- what they will be like at the end of the summer season I can only imagine. Many of the crew have been transferred from the Oscar Wilde and do not like the new ship. They work a 2 month on 1 month off roster and in the OW had their own individual staff accommodation whereas on WBY they are sharing cabins & find there is inadequate space to relax when off duty. Several we spoke to are dreading the busy summer season because of the lack of entertainment for customers & their kids , only 1 bar where OW had 3 and they feel the ferry is more suited to the Dublin – Holyhead route that she will serve off season rather than a 19 hour cruise to France. Expect to see many adverse postings on Tripadvisor as several people we spoke to described it as a grey soulless ferry when compared with OW. I cannot comment on the food as I would not be prepared to pay the prices in the Lady Gregory & it was evident that despite this sailing being full few people are. The self service was very busy with long queues formed but because there are only 2 tills in operation people were complaining the food was cold be the time they paid for it. Announcements from the bridge were regular keeping people informed & apologising for the delayed sailing & the late arrival into Cherbourg. It would appear that either the ferry can’t or IF management won’t allow the crew to make up time on the journey because we arrived 1 ½ hours late into Cherbourg. Disembarcation was slow & was hampered by customers not be able to find where their car was parked. The goods points on WBY and there are a few. It is a better seakeeper than the Pont Aven as conditions deteriorated as we approached Cherbourg but the ship handled it very well. The mattresses & pillows are much better than on PA. The Club class lounge [if you are prepared to pay for it] is a very comfortable place to sit & relax. The supply of snacks etc is plentiful and I think a few people worked out that they could get sufficient to eat certainly for breakfast without paying the exorbitant prices in the restaurants. Pont Aven: The return on the PA was pleasant & relaxing – when originally booked the sailing was full but I would have said that with cancellations it was less than half full. Despite that loading was slow but at least when you did board there were staff on the car deck giving out cards with your parking location & directing you to your cabin. La Flora was doing a reasonable trade & when you consider the pricing compared to the offerings on WBY is it any wonder customers choose BF. There have been comments recently about the cleanliness of PA but I noticed that on numerous cabins there were notices on cabin doors advising customers to go to reception to be allocated new cabins so I assume that with a quiet sailing they were taking the opportunity to sort out issues. As a dog owner I was up early to visit the kennels & it was interesting to see two officers walking around the decks with notebooks taking notes of items that needed attention. Also at 6:30 in the morning crew members were out hosing down the decks & the public areas were completely clean & free from the debris from the previous night. However all is not perfect and the handling of transfer of pet from kennel to car spoiled the trip for us. The transfer to the kennel was fine with a staff member in attendance but we asked the arrangement for transfer back to the car in the morning & they did not know. After a long conversation on the phone we were advised to go down on our own ½ hour before docking and the deck would be accessable. In the morning we did as instructed but the lift on deck 9 which is the only access for dog owners was being used by other passengers & took 10 minutes to arrive on Deck 9 . It was already half full of passengers who were not happy about dogs being piled on top of them. When we arrived at deck 3 the stairwells were already full and no access available to the car deck. We had to wait 25 minutes for the deck door to be released & during that time we had stressed animals ,stressed customers all because BF can’t provide a staff member to aid the transfer. In summary I would say BF are providing a better service with the Pont Aven as a proper cruise ferry wheras IF with the WBY have a functional ferry which is more suited to short crossings to the UK rather than trips to France. Many regular BF customers had to use an alternative because of the PA’s problems but I would say provided there is no regular disruption they will return to BF but that company should learn for the future better more timely information in the event of disruption as it was badly handled this year
  4. I think that is a very fair comment - I have been able to book the WBY 2 days earlier for our trip to France- only because knowing earlier than most[ because of this site] what was really happening. I got this email from Cork only yesterday and am I wrong in thinking that it is a rather arrogant ,uncaring communication for a long established customer. Particularily the bit about claiming from my travel insurer for additional expenses ? Dear Mr Stanley We're sorry to confirm the Pont-Aven's withdrawal from service and therefore your sailing from Cork/Ringaskiddy to Roscoff on 8th June 2019 has been cancelled What's Happened? The Pont-Aven has a hydraulic fault affecting its rudder that needs immediate repair. Unfortunately, following investigation it was found that damage to the starboard side steering gear was more extensive than originally suspected. A repair procedure has been defined with the agreement of Bureau Veritas (certification authority) and the manufacturer. In parallel, a complete check of the port steering gear has been carried out. Regrettably, Pont-Aven will not resume service until June 14th. What are my options? It's peak season for many of our routes so the reasonable alternative sailings we can offer are very limited and there is little availability. We will offer you a choice of re-route (where available) or a full refund as per our T&Cs and EU Passenger Rights regulation 1177/2010. We understand our competitors have some isolated availability but once cancelled with us, you will need to contact them yourselves. To cancel your booking and arrange a refund, please e-mail refund@brittanyferries.ie with your booking reference. What if I incur additional expenses as a result of this cancellation Additional expenses can be addressed to your travel insurer and this email should be sufficient evidence for you to make a claim. To close, I'm sorry you've been disrupted. We look forward to the Pont-Aven returning to usual service soon but in the meantime I hope the above is clear and thank you for choosing Brittany Ferries Hugh Bruton General Manager Cork
  5. I doubt it because the Cork Roscoff route has to be very profitable for them 85 to 90 thousand passengers in the season with good loadings for each sailing and the amount of freight carried is small - mainly refrigerated units with shellfish etc. They do not compete on price with IF & Stena and charge top prices for what was/is a premium service ! Eg a return sailing in June for 2 people car & dog is €1082 & on IF it is €638. The danger for them now is that customers who have to change their booking will realise there is a big difference in price & is better food offerings [La Flora] good enough reason to pay the extra
  6. The Pont Aven cancellations are all over the Irish National media today with figures of 6500 passengers affected. At the same time BF have sent out a broadcast email telling customers that their sailing is cancelled up until 14th June but saying specifically not contact them they will contact you in due course. This seems to me to be the wrong way to handle it bearing in mind that the alternatives IF & Stena are fully booked now & they don't seem to be planning to use Connemara or Armorique as they did for the last two weekends - then the only option now is landbridge to France & Spain They are stretching customer loyalty to the limit & need to learn from this for future occurances as otherwise the brand will be badly damaged. IF had the problem last year with the delayed delivery of WBY but at least they had the Oscar Wilde to fall back on and though they annoyed customers at least they were able to get to their holiday destinations wheres BF attitude seems to be sorry but we will give you a full refund
  7. The timetable shows it gone for 8th June - however they now have the Connemara showing for a rotation on the Friday & the Sunday and you can make a booking for those sailings so that tells me they know the PA won't be back. I don't want to use the Connemara as the timings do not suit added to which whilst I love my German Shepard I don't fancy spending 14 hours with him in a pet friendly Cabin😁
  8. I see the timetable page for PA has been updated this morning . the next Ireland France rotation is 15th June with the 1st & 8th now cancelled. Was due to sail on 8th with dog in Kennel looks like I will have to resort to IF instead on the outward leg & hope she is back in service by 21st when we return Interested to see when they contact me ...
  9. does this answer your question? We are in the process of assisting customers due to travel up until 1 June for re-booking or cancelling. Whilst we await a confirmed date of return, we have taken the precaution of blocking any further bookings on Pont-Aven between now and 7 June.
  10. And now it appears to be 7th June !! More Replying to @p Hello, I;m sorry that your sailing was cancelled. We're expecting Pont-Aven to be back in service by the 7th, however, as your outward sailing has been cancelled we can cancel the return sailing in full if you would like. ^JE
  11. That will apply on 1st June sailing if the Pont is not back in service as the sailing was showing fully booked 3 weeks ago so Armorique could not accommodate those numbers. The only alternative for Irish customers is IF with the WBY and as customers are being forced to use it they are finding that IF's prices [whether deliberate or not] are way cheaper than BF's. Could do a lot of longer term damage... Customers would be more tolerant of the problem if as you can see from the tweet's they were given more than 48 hours notice and could plan alternatives.BF know now the Pont will not be back until 30th - why not tell customers now and not hide behind saying they only change the sailing update page until all affected passengers have been contacted.
  12. Looks like they might be using the Connemara to go from Santander to the Uk this weekend as its Irish rotation on 24th & 26th are now cancelled
  13. You are correct- just appeared on the sailing update page from BF Due to a technical problem with Pont-Aven, the following sailings have been CANCELLED. We apologise for any inconvenience this will cause. 24/05/19 Roscoff to Cork 25/05/19 Cork to Roscoff
  14. Whilst you would have sympathy for the Customer service staff in BF because of these disruptions in sailings & the extra workload - the way the company is dealing with the problems has to be called into question. If for example you were an average punter who did not have access to or know about the BFE site and were using the sailing updates page on the BF site to check on their sailing this weekend -the updates page is not accurate and they are blissfully unaware that they are facing problems . Now that BF know PA won't be back before 1st June surely they should make customers aware of that so that they can plan accordingly. No one could have foreseen this serious of techical problems but how the Company deals with them has a big impact on customer loyalty. On the Irish route many customers moved over to BF this year from IF because of the way they were treated over the late delivery of the WBY & the treatment here is no better. BF had a better reputation but they are fast losing it ..
  15. The repair of the Pont Aven hydraulic system is taking longer than expected. Brittany Ferries announces that rotations planned until the end of May are canceled.
  16. The 1st June sailing was showing full last week before this problem occurred so there is no way the Armorique would be able to accommodate those numbers..
  17. they have added an extra 1/2 hour to the arrival time into Roscoff on Sunday to cater for the slower operating speed . Customers will be happy at the later arrival time of 7:30 !!
  18. Gives us a break - we need our holidays too ! I am a seasoned traveller on the Pont Aven several times a year Always wear my muzzle for the transfer from car to kennel and don't bark at night to keep those nice humans in Commodore cabins awake
  19. W. B Yeats finally went into service this morning leaving Dublin at 9:26 for Holyhead
  20. Extract from trading update published today The W.B. Yeats, currently under construction by Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co. KG (“FSG”) completed its sea-trials in early November and is undergoing final delivery adjustments. FSG have advised ICG that the W.B. Yeats will be ready for delivery during early December. ICG would like to apologise once again for any disruption caused to our tourism and freight customers due to the delay in FSG delivering the ship, a delay that was an extraordinary event totally outside the control of ICG. FSG are contracted to deliver a second new vessel during 2020.
  21. There is a trading update due from IF on Thursday so maybe they want to be finally able to say that she has been released to them. They are getting a lot of bad press by not putting up the 2019 sailing schedules to France yet . Customers that were caught last summer with her cancellation & who got a €150 voucher for this year are complaining that they can't use it to make their booking for next summer.
  22. She will undergo around 3-5 days sea trials off the island of Bornholm. She will then briefly return to FSG before heading to Fayard in Odense presumably to have scrubbers fitted. Then back to FSG for handover and delivery voyage to Dublin via Cherbourg in mid-November. The above is what the Irish site was reporting with the sea trials to start tomorrow 26th - don't know if this latest news affects this but there does seem to be a lot of shipyard activity on her this week as though they are getting her ready to go....
  23. Here is the latest suggestion according to the Irish media - seems that there is a genuine attempt to find a workable solution - however still not enough for the DUP ! European Union officials are considering a dual certification system so that goods produced in Northern Ireland will be able to circulate freely in both the EU and UK markets, Another proposal is that goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland could be checked at Dublin Port for EU customs and regulatory compliance before continuing on northwards, as a way of limiting checks and controls at British ports. Both ideas are among a range of possibilities that the EU Task Force is considering as part of the ongoing effort to "de-dramatise" the backstop. If the Irish backstop to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland comes into effect, then customs and regulatory checks would have to be carried out on goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland, because those goods would then be able to circulate freely throughout the EU’s single market, due to the lack of land border. Sources close to the negotiations have confirmed that Task Force officials have been exploring such ideas as they redraft the Irish Protocol within the Withdrawal Agreement. Under a dual certification scheme, goods produced in Northern Ireland would be deemed compliant with both EU and UK standards, so that they could move freely through the island of Ireland and beyond to the single market, and throughout the UK. The scheme could be implemented by private operators and would be similar to the CE marking that affirms that goods circulating throughout the European Economic Area comply with high safety, health and environmental protection standards. Under the backstop, Northern Ireland would remain within the single market for goods, so manufacturers there would be complying with EU standards. A dual system that makes the products certified for both EU and UK markets would, according to sources, help draw the political tension out of the backstop. Another suggestion is that goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland could undergo regulatory and customs checks in Dublin Port before travelling onwards to the North. The Government believes that up to 60% of goods consignments moving from the UK to Northern Ireland, and vice versa, go through Dublin. If customs and regulatory checks were carried out there, it would further erode the notion of a border between UK and Northern Ireland, according to sources.Officials point out that Dublin Port will be undergoing infrastructural changes anyway in order to anticipate a possible future Free Trade Agreement between the EU and UK, in which case checks would be needed on goods moving from the UK to Ireland. "What de-dramatisation tries to do is to recognise the nature and type of trade that happens between GB and NI, and to find ways of minimising any checks and controls that would need to be put on that trade," says one source familiar with the negotiations. It is understood Irish officials have worked closely on the redrafted text. In a speech to the European Parliament this week, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier spelled out further de-dramatisation proposals. These would include using existing customs transit procedures to avoid doing checks at a physical border point on goods moving between the UK and Northern Ireland. Companies in the rest of the UK could fill in their customs declarations online and in advance when shipping to Northern Ireland. "The only visible systematic checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would involve scanning barcodes on lorries or containers, which could be done on ferries or in transit ports," he said. This latter idea suggests that Dublin Port is one of the transit points in mind. A dual certification scheme is also seen as a way of winning Northern Irish businesses over to the backstop.
  24. The most sensible suggestion I have seen this week is from our Irish Foreign Minister - Get the EU & British negotiators looked into a room for 10 days or however long it takes to hammer out a deal. The sniping from both sides at each other in public does not achieve anything . It is important to agree on something & then move forward as time is running out & the prospect of a no deal scenario would certainly do the Irish economy a severe blow .
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