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About Northern_Si

  • Birthday 05/05/1976

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  1. How I wish BA would fly from Manchester. The Bay of Biscay can be as calm as a mill pond in December .... or as I've done a few times ... you end up with the best French restaurant in Santander while the ship is stuck in port waiting for the weather to calm down.
  2. I do wonder what the working life of a half decent ferry is … 45years? I went on the Pride of York to Zeebrugge a few years back and she did feel tired but I think she was best part of 35 years old and she has just be sold to an Italian ferry company. It was quite funny being given physical keys for the cabins. I do sense that BF has lost its way a bit. It sold itself as 24hrs to Spain and a premium product. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware they are RORO ferries and not glorified cruise ships (although it seems some customers onboard think otherwise) but standards have just dropped. Even with the drop in standards…. I still prefer to go by boat then go Ryanair.
  3. Well the Chinese have been known to build things in another country using their subsidies bringing in their own workers. It is a shame BF are no longer using EU (especially French) ship yards.
  4. Who knows if the Chinese boats will look as good. Have BF bought them or leased them? The problem with the PA is that it needs money spent on it but I guess it is beyond economical to do it now. If you compare PA to the Pride of Hull / Pride of Rotterdam, the North Sea Ferries have aged much better. The cabins are much nicer. I don't need a Hilton hotel room experience, more of a Travel Inn experience. The beds on the Galicia are much more comfortable. Wider and softer with better pillows and duvets. Why does the flagship of the BF fleet not have similar quality? I think the cabins on Cap Finistère are better than the PA. She also needs a damn good deep clean as I don't believe the cleaners are doing a fantastic job which is worrying during a time when cleanliness is supposed to be a priority. When I'm paying over £1K for a return crossing with 2 cabins, including discount Club Voyage, I just expect a little better. If I wanted budget I would have travelled on the old budget ferries they had. I love dinner in Le Flora ... I had a fantastic steak on Sunday night. Better not mention the English Breakfast as that is another thread. The Parador in Santiago de Compostela ... is that the one basically built onto the cathedral?
  5. I didn't want to be shouted at too much by some on here 😁 Monday was only 3 to 4 metre waves but felt a lot more. I would not want to be on her in 10m waves ... even laid against a bulkhead in cabin full of seasickness pills.
  6. The 22 hours crossing is the winner. Although I guess the Chinese Clones should be able to do Plymouth to Spain in 25 hours? The 30 hours crossing isn't too bad in a smooth crossing as it means we can leave Manchester at lunch to catch the ferry and you are thrown off at 8am when you arrive in Spain. The negatives are if it is one of those crossing which is so rough you just want it to end ... you are stuck and on the return it is a late arrival especially with a drive back to Manchester. The C Club is quite big and I enjoyed it... of course the ferry was pretty quiet in Dec/March. Not sure what it would be like in August. I also like the main bar which is basically a bar rather than a show bar.
  7. I have just returned from Spain travelling both directions on the Plymouth to Santander route on the Pont-Aven. My previous trip was on the Portsmouth to Santander route on the Galica before Christmas and returning 3 months later. It has been a few years since I’ve travelled on the Pont-Aven, usually ending up on the Cap Finistère which I know is like marmite on here… you either like her or hate her. So, the differences with the ports. From Manchester it is about equal distance (about 300 miles) to Plymouth and Portsmouth (and the Channel Tunnel). Plymouth has less motorways and excluding the M6 around Birmingham is an easier drive. I guess the main difference is that with Portsmouth you do not have to travel into the centre of the city like you do with Plymouth. Earlier this week it took me over an hour to get out of Plymouth! I would also say that Portsmouths has slightly better check-in facilities and definitely more Border Force staff on your return. Now onto the ships. When I first travelled on Brittany Ferries about 15 years ago, the Pont-Aven was lovely and seemed to be a little more upmarket than other ferries at the time. How times have changed. The poor old girl is now feeling a little tired. Once you have been on one of the Chinese clones, you realise how much nicer the cabins are .. a bed which is comfortable, a television which works (I travelled in a Club Cabin on the Pont) and a bathroom with a shower which the average human can fit in without flooding the bathroom. The new ones are lighter with more natural light and feel more airy. It can’t be just her age as I’ve started using the North Sea Ferries route from Hull to Rotterdam and the Pride of Hull is about the same age as the Pont-Aven but feels fresher. I understand she doesn’t get the same hammering as BF ships and I won’t mention how wonderful the ramp to the deck 8 car deck is. I would say the area that the Pont-Aven does still has an advantage is the restaurant. I know a lot of people on her moan about Le Flora but I actually like the food. I really did not like the self-service on the Salamanca, although I’m not sure if that is the normal service or just during COVID lockdown. One thing I did notice is how much breakfast has gone up in Le Flora. I know it has been many years since I last travelled with her but the full breakfast option was never over £20 a head. On the Cap Finistère I get everything except the fresh fruit, ham and cheese for about £10. I’ve also prefer the Cap Finistère when the sea is getting a little rougher as I think she is the best sea going vessel in the fleet. I’m not sure why but I’m sure the Pont-Aven has a tendency to corkscrew in not particular rough sea. The new Chinese clones are soooo slow but seem to handle the sea better than the Pont-Aven. I guess it does help that when it is very rough, you can bunker down in your cabin and watch a few movies on the new ships. I guess it is also the 20 years of technical improvements in stabilisation technology. Although the Pont-Aven is better than the Cap when it comes to parking, the Chinese clones do seem to have more room with less door banging. Also they seem to have more lifts with larger capacity. Not a big issue on this voyage as I was parked on deck 4 and the cabin was on deck 5. It was also good to see both her bow and stern doors operational as it avoided the usual having to do have a lap of the boat when boarding. I really do not like what they have done with the funnel on the Pont-Aven as it is so ugly. I know they didn’t have a choice but it really doesn’t help her. The Chinese clones might be all the same but they do look more modern (which I guess they would be as they are new). I don’t think the Pont-Aven has aged well... when you look at her from a side profile she is a mismatch of windows. Some might say it makes her interesting but if we all like the same thing, life would be boring, So what are my final thoughts. I think BF really does need a new flag ship. I think it might be about time the Pont-Aven was either moved to another route or sold. I can’t see BF spending money on tarting her up … I’m not sure it is possible to do anything with the cabins. Sailing on BF is never the budget option and in my opinion when you are paying £800+ for a crossing she no longer cuts the mustard.
  8. We boarded through the bow doors at Portsmouth. Ramps are much wider than the Cap and Pont. We parked on a suspended car deck. (Deck 6) with lorries and motorhomes parked on deck 5. I was amazed with the available room. They did have an issue lowering deck 6 at Santander (I think someone forgot to read the manual) but we didn’t see any issues with campers.
  9. The Galicia is better than the Cap ... and I have always been impressed with the Cap. The only negative with Galicia is her inability to outrun storms. I’ve been on the Cap a few times when she has been doing 29knts to outrun a December storm. Also the Cap has the restaurant midship while the Galicia has it over the bow... I was always told low and midship was the best place to be on a lumpy crossing.
  10. I didn’t get outside ... it was a tad cold in Portsmouth when we departed and movement were restricted on the next day. She is much wider than the Cap and feels to have more random seating than the Pont. I don’t miss the lack of a show bar as it isn’t my thing.
  11. Just to reaffirm ... I do like the new ship and the new ship smell was lovely. One embarrassing thing they did forget in reception was a collection thing for the Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer. I give monthly to the RNLI and want to give to their poorer cousin when I travel with BF. I think I will find one on my return leg.
  12. Because it is a value proposition and considering you can charge your car at your supermarket people will expect the capability. Like it or not we are moving to a EV society over the next 10 to 15 years. At the moment it is difficult to charge the car at the port while the Channel Tunnel has banks of Super Chargers. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it should be free but when your car is basically sat on a rather large mobile electricity generation plant it seems daft not to. Considering how many containers are plugged in for the crossing... how hard can it be to extend the infrastructure.
  13. A friend has just got a model 3 on lease ... I will have to see how he gets on. At the moment, my 3.5L V6 Hybrid manages 48MPG on the motorway so not in a massive rush to change, especially as I managed to do the 800KM from Santander to my place on a single tank. Also with an EV, how are you supposed to have fun in that tunnel near Bilbao?
  14. Now that is good news. All I need now is a EV with 300+ mile range and I'm happy. Wait a sec ... my village in Spain has no chargers LOL
  15. I still cannot believe a brand new ferry does not have any EV charging points. Considering the expected life of the ship, it seems a missed opportunity. I believe Irish Ferries have a few onboard and do not even charge customers to use them. I cannot believe on a 24hr crossing it will require that much power.
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