Booked via the Bournemouth Echo promotion sailed from Portsmouth to St Malo on Bretagne on Friday evening. After a pleasant drive down the A3, arrived at PIP about 7.15 and after checking we were straight through security and parked up by the berth for no more than 5 minutes. So on board in about 15 mins from arriving at PIP. We had a twin inside on deck 8 so dropped bags before exploring. It was a cool grey evening so didn't linger but had time to see NEX berthed for the evening and Etretat in the adjacent berth as well as Commodore Goodwill's departure for the CI. We slipped moorings at 8pm about 20 mins early.
We took dinner in Les Abers which was excellent and try as I might I couldn't resisting loading up at the hors d'oeuvre table, the pate and terrine being delicious, although the langoustines weren't at their best. A bottle of red between us meant a sound nights sleep too! My companion isn't a regular sea traveller and was a little anxious about mal de mer, fortunately the channel was dead calm with only the gentle engine vibration to remind us we were at sea. Despite a rock hard pillow slept well waking just before the piped celtic music started in the cabin.
Being on deck 5 disembarkation took a few minutes but we were soon on our way to Mont St Michel. It was a beautiful and calm day and we got there before the crowds so the streets were calm and no queue for abbey tickets. We took it easy up all the stairs as my companion gets breathless and I'm still sore post surgery. The views from the courtyard were stunning in warm sunshine.
After leaving the Mont we headed to St Malo using the coast road from Dol, a first for me and I enjoyed seeing the resort villages to the east of Cancale. We checked into the Ibis by the seafront close to Intra Muros, amazed that the receptionist humoured my poor French with no temptation to use English. The hotel was clean and well presented and our room recently refurbished and decorated. I've stayed there before and love its location and comfort.
With the tide out we set off on the beach to explore the town and ate our sandwiches a l'emporter by the harbour catching Condor Rapide on the berth. After some recovery time back at the hotel it was dinner in St Malo in a neat Bistro built into the walls towards the harbour gate. Very pleasant and good value with more agreeable red drunk!
We took Sunday breakfast at the hotel intrigued by the French TV election coverage - cameras in polling stations, filming voters!
At the port Condor Rapide was berthed alongside Bretagne leaving first on a beautiful morning. Bretagne took a pilot and we watched the pilot boat shadow us out past the last lighthouse on the easterly rocks out of the port. It was a beautiful day with a flat calm sea so we took up position on the sun deck behind the bar on deck 8, normally reserved for smokers, to catch some rays and read. Lunch followed in Les Abers and I was a little more restrained at the buffet table and enjoyed the mushroom omelette. Back to deck 8 for more sunbathing prior to arrival.
The Solent was busy with plenty of commercial traffic heading out of Southampton and a container loaded Geest ship heading for PIP as well as all the usual IOW traffic. On berthing we were told the gangway was faulty so foot passengers had to wait for a bus to arrive on deck 3 to take them to the terminal. Unloading was speedy even from deck 5 and as we were straight through passport control we were on our way quickly and home about 65 mins from leaving Bretagne.
With both crossings and cabins both ways for £128 plus the hotel B&B for £92 the weekend was a bargain although budgets were dented by food and drink!
Bretagne was a comfortable and welcoming as ever. Cabins clean and all in order. The crew were attentive and pleasant - a great advert for BF service.
Now planning the next one!