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About kenw

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  • Birthday 15/05/1950

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  1. kenw

    New BF Fleet Tracker

    Maybe it's my Magic Mouse (iMac cordless) but the zooms and pans seem a bit lumpy. Anyone else seeing that?
  2. On our local route Ouistreham – Portsmouth I probably eat in the selfservice most often. No complaints about price – a lot of the eateries at either port will probably charge the same or more. And although it is selfservice, when staff see me struggling with walking stick and tray of meal with a bottle of wine they almost always take over and carry it to a table. That's the kind of service that makes us love BF – and the food is usually more than half decent. My film crew colleagues Jerzy and Keith, who do the run more often than I do – and if they are in their big truck sometimes have a day hanging round at one end or the other waiting for deck space – say they prefer to eat on board rather than the port – particularly at Portsmouth. As for airline / airport food, I haven't tasted either since my last business class flight a few years back. The offerings on ground or airborne I've had since were barely edible on health grounds – long periods without eating are not recommended for folk like me with diabetes.
  3. kenw

    Harbour Tour with Bateau Ville du Havre II

    I've just been prompted by someone who doesn't normally take an interest in freight to explain TEUs. Simple translation for passers-by: 20ft containers or their equivalent (ie 1 x 40ft box would count as 2teu). More details without getting technical See Wikipedia And if you do want to know more about giant container ships (ULCS) this article is a good place to start.
  4. kenw

    Harbour Tour with Bateau Ville du Havre II

    For everyone here this is a must. Like the Ferry Man we did the Port 2000 trip. If you've never been close to a big container ship from sea level, it will be a revelation. Havre is of course one of Europe's biggest container ports, so there's always plenty of traffic wha Take a look at Maersk Hangzhou, which at 15,226teu is "small" for an ultra large container vessel. She was delivered earlier this year (Maersk's 2nd generation Triple-E class – of which the most recent, also new this year, is Mumbai Maersk – can carry >20,000teu.) Vital stats are 353m LOA x 53.5m with draft 15m and measures 153,744 GT. Built by Hyundai. We saw her on 30 September and she left the following day. At the time of writing (Saturday 6 Oct) she is en route to Tangier, having been in and out of Felixstowe. Tech note: This is the first H-class I've seen close-up and I was interested to discover that unlike the Triple E they are single-engined.
  5. kenw

    Catch the Tram

    LiA trams etc provide an excellent service. We used it extensively for three days of ship and city spotting (see other posts in this section). A single ticket is €1.80, which is valid for an hour if you need to change – and is valid on tram, bus and funiculaire. For €4.20 you can buy an all day ticket, again valid on all three types for unlimited travel. Ticket machines at the tram stops and the bus station take cards, notes or coins.
  6. kenw

    Migrant Issues at BF Ports

    The accepted pronunciation among the Caennais seems to be 'Oui' [as in 'yes']...'stram' IIRC Riva-Bella was at one time separate but the official entity is now Ouistreham Riva-Bella. This is one of the many local communes which make up Caen la Mer. This Communauté Urbaine or agglomération is the local planning authority and provides most of the local services such as libraries, refuse collection etc. It also oversees the Twisto bus service and the redevelopment of the tramway. NB if you haven't seen our new Alexis de Tocqueville library [pictured] - a few yards beyond the city centre marina – it's well worth a look. Not just a fabulous building, but a busy centre that combines the traditional books-based work with lots of other activities. And just another reminder why we live here: it's even open on most Sunday afternoons.
  7. Thanks, guys I've been gazing at the plan of Jules Verne for a couple of days and am still none the wiser – yes there are lifts, and the legend refers to both the Metro and RER. But what / where / how does one connect to the other? That's what I was trying to work out. Curiously, after a couple of email exchanges with SNCF Relation Clients, the relevant web page updated to show a couple of alternatives via Rouen - just time to grab a coffee as we change trains. But I can't imagine local business users who go to Paris regularly for meetings will be happy – the date in question is a Thursday! Thanks again Ken
  8. Dear all A long way off course (!) but I'm hoping someone here may know. What's the connection from the Jules Verne terminal to the Metro? Haven't been to La Défense by Metro for years and never used the bus station. But we will have bags, and I'm not good with stairs. (Ligne 1 takes us directly to Gare de Lyon, from where we take the TGV to Marseille). On the day we are travelling, there are no direct trains from Cherbourg & Caen to Paris - unspecified "travaux" to blame. The alternative route is via Le Mans – about double the journey time! So considering Ouibus as an easier alternative. TIA Ken
  9. kenw

    Ship-spotting in Le Havre - any suggestions?

    Thanks, folks We've postponed until end-August since I've caught a very snuffly cold – I don't think les Havrais would welcome an extra couple of tons of paper hankies!
  10. We're off to Havre tomorrow (Sat) for a couple of days looking at ships and architecture. (Big discount deal via Accor's 'club' card). There seem to be two harbour tours, inner and outer, with the latter covering the big container berths etc. Does anyone happen to know if both routes cover the cruise ship berths? There are three or four visitors scheduled. Haven't been there for years – anything else on the 'must see' list? Not including Honfleur, that's a separate trip. TIA Ken
  11. Thanks, Jim That's a big help. All we're waiting for now is the pricing (!) and detailed itinerary
  12. Thanks, Jim Even if booking isn't open yet, it would be helpful to know the timing. Particularly the departure time on Christmas Eve – I can't believe I'm the only person who wants / needs to start planning. Do we travel to Portsmouth that morning or (in the case of those travelling from France) go overnight? Or go the previous afternoon and stay overnight? (Must check the Club Accor points!) If it is an "afternoon" departure, the morning sailing from Caen might be cutting things a bit fine. One idea might be to go via St Malo on the Pont overnight. That way we couldn't possibly miss the departure to Antwerp! And of course a full night's sleep rather than the quick kip we get from Ouistreham.
  13. Mulling this over, a couple of thoughts come to mind: Any guesstimates on pricing for Antwerp? For 2-berth outside or deluxe? Anyone have last year / 2015 figures for guidance?? I've asked Mme Google but she hasn't helped. Can we expect cross-channel (Caen) schedules at or before the time the Christmas cruises go on sale so we can tie both legs down? IIRC the last Antwerp cruise included a Bruges coach tour. But what about a boat tour of Antwerp, which is one of Europe's busiest and most important ports. I thought I had met a passenger boat operator from Antwerp a while back (in my previous role on the River Thames) but can't find any info (and neither has Mme Google so far). The operators I've come across on the web this morning seem to be party boats rather than tours. I think the failure is probably a symptom of old age, so if any helpful person does know...
  14. I'd be very tempted by the Antwerp trip, if there are connections to and from Ouistreham for the benefit of passengers from France. Must check the timetables – but maybe BF will do a special "all-in" fare for us? No December timetable on the website as yet – does anyone know when it will be available? IIRC correctly the last outbound from Caen last year was the overnight 23-24, but can't think seriously about the Christmas cruise unless and until we know the connections. Don't really want to add a night or nights in the Ibis / Travelodge or even in one of the Southsea boutique hotels unless we have to.
  15. kenw

    Replacement of Bretagne

    Poland probably has the capacity in terms of slots – with Remontowa the biggest shipyard group. But I think that its ferries have mostly been smaller than we're thinking about. From memory, mostly 90–130m LOA. There are more than a few large drydocks on the Baltic coast – many of them originally used for naval vessels. But I suspect most of them are now booked up with regular maintenance and refit work – several Remontowa pix look as though they should be entitled "ferries from around the world" or whatever. Croatia's Brodosplit yard built Royal Clipper, which at 133m is reckoned to be the largest sailing ship in the world – although she only carries ?? 300pax. The videos are well worth a look, if only for the Oooh! factor. More relevant is probably La Meridionale's modern-looking Piana, which has been running from Marseille for several years and is approx 180m x 30m. I haven't seen her, but my chum who used her recently thought she was comparable to most of BF, "if not Pont Aven" (which was his honeymoon ship – Commodore cabin and all the trimmings, so perhaps slightly biased!) More than a few superyachts have come from the Split yard, so I don't think there are any doubts about the quality of the outfitting work they can do – and so far as propulsion is concerned IIRC they work closely with Wartsila. Pic = Wikimedia Commons