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Shefford

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  1. Last month I had a commodore cabin on a day crossing for the first time ever. Once I'd finished inspecting all the cabin amenities, I checked out the lounge. There was a tray of croissants and some orange juice available as well as the tea and coffee if you wanted a late breakfast. I didn't stay long because, as Paully said, it is very public with everyone walking around outside and looking in. Much preferred the privacy of the cabin!
  2. Yes, I realised how lucky we were when I read your report. We had planned a stop in Pontivy and it was dry there, with the Monday market in full swing - not what we were expecting when we left St Malo 2 hours earlier.
  3. Arrived at Portsmouth around 19.20 for the 20.15 crossing to St Malo. Last June, we ended up on Deck 4 after arriving at this time, but this year we were not so lucky. Found that Bretagne was still being unloaded, and cars coming off were held back from proceeding to passport control to allow cars heading for Bretagne to pass through to the pre-boarding lanes. So there was a knock-on delay in boarding, Deck 5 hadn't been filled, and we ended up there. Must arrive later next time. Headed up to our cabin in the centre of Deck 6, and then onto the self-service for a light meal. The ship seemed quiet for the time of year. There was a very lengthy announcement about the evening's entertainment, including a school disco scheduled for 9pm. This didn't actually happen as all the school children went off to bed early - guess there were some no-nonsense teachers accompanying those school parties. We didn't stay up late either, although didn't get much sleep as the engine noise was very bad. It was possibly the noisiest overnight crossing I've been on. Had breakfast in the self-service with excellent coffee and croissants, got to stay in the cabin until docking which is always a bonus, and made our way down to the car when Deck 5 drivers were called. Unloading seemed painfully slow, so much so that I even got out the car and went down to Deck 4 a few times to see if anything was happening there. I can only assume that there were lots of large vehicles coming off Deck 3 first. The chap parked behind us couldn't get his drivers' door open as the car beside him was parked too close, so it must have seemed an even longer wait for him. Eventually got off at 9.00, and straight through passport control so at least we didn't have to queue there as well. Headed off to Concarneau, with heavy rain to start with which largely cleared up by time we reached central Brittany. We stayed 4 nights at the Hotel de l'Ocean as part of a BF hotel holiday. Also in the hotel was a coach party of around 40 Brits from the Midlands, mostly aged 70+. It seems they had come over from Plymouth-Roscoff on the same night as us and, from the snippets of conversation we heard, many did not enjoy the experience. Frustratingly we couldn't actually pinpoint why that was, as when the subject of the crossing came up, there was a lot of shaking of heads and sharp intakes of breath. Perhaps their expectations of the ferry crossing had not been managed very well by the coach company? Anyway, not too many repeat customers for BF there. Enjoyed our few days in Concarneau, and visited Pont Aven and Quimper. The heatwave hit on Wednesday but at least it was less hot than the rest of France. We left Concarneau on Friday and the car thermometer was saying 36C by time we reached the Mont St Michel services for lunch. Very wisely, the services were not serving hot food. Arriving in Ouistreham around 15.00, the temperature was slightly less hot on the coast. Unlike last year, we didn't see any migrants nor were there any heavily-armed gendarmes patrolling the Place de Gaulle. Drove round to the port around 15.45, as we know from experience there is no rush - have never known the 16.30 crossing to leave on time on a Friday. Got through the port and onto the MSM fairly quickly, and passport control was just that - no checking of car boots. It seems the security situation is a bit more relaxed than it was. This time our late arrival paid off and we were parked on Deck 5 fairly near the front. It was great to get to our cabin, have a shower and then crash out until dinner. We made our way to the main restaurant for opening time and opted for the 2-buffets option. Everything was up to standard, and the bread rolls were torpedo shaped, so not as substantial as the much-mourned triangular ones, but you can take as many as you like from the buffet. An announcement was made about school parties - they were to stop running around, stop shouting and forbidden from using the lifts. Holed up in our cabin, we had been unaware of any problems.🙂 We were kicked out of the cabin about 20 minutes before arriving so sat it out in the self-service before going down to the car. Got off the ferry and through passport control within 20 minutes of docking, so a good result there. Enjoyed the trip very much, hotel was good and we made full use of the swimming pool. The only gilet jaunes activity we saw were some chaps getting sunburnt on a roundabout near Quimper.
  4. Reporting in from my table in the Bretagne self service, the rolls are round and I'm with Neil - I prefer them. They go very well with the smoked trout and also with the St Agur cheese. Off to Concarneau tomorrow, gilet jaunes permitting, full report after we get back next weekend ☺
  5. Thanks also from me for the info - can't see any news about any similar protests this morning - I think the main gilet jaunes activity is on Saturdays (hope so, anyway). It seems that BF are running the ferries to schedule, and tough luck if you can't actually get through the port to board your ferry. If the bread rolls are anything other than the proper triangular ones, maybe it's worth buying a few to chuck at any gilet jaunes who try to stop us leaving the port tomorrow morning, that'll make them move for sure 🤣🤣🤣
  6. I'm also going over to St Malo on Bretagne next Sunday, but will be eating in the self-service. Will the bread rolls be the same as in Les Abers? Full report also promised.
  7. Some very interesting points made here - especially worrying about "what if" and the perception that there is a high chance of disruption when travelling to France. Last week we did a day trip to St Malo thanks to the latest BFE offer, with overnight crossings on Pont Aven with the same cabin both ways. Had no problems at all with passport control, security check or gilets jaunes. However, we no longer leave anything in the cabin when we arrive in France "just in case" there are some shenanigans at the port when we return and we can't get back on the ferry. A small thing, but indicative of the mindset discussed here. I have to say I am very pleased we have no plans to go to Paris on the Eurostar, it sounds absolutely dreadful.
  8. Just received an email from BF titled "How was your booking experience with us?" 🙄
  9. I booked a day trip using the BFE offer yesterday around 14.00. To start with I kept getting the "socket timeout" message and it took several minutes before I got onto the BF site. The process of booking seemed to be much more time-consuming than on the old site and I had to start again at one point. I declined the offer of setting up a BF account as I thought it would probably take ages, would probably timeout again and I didn't have any confidence that it wouldn't mess up my booking somehow. Got there in the end, but I really can't see how this new site is an improvement. As Cabin Boy says, "planned maintenance" is not done on a Friday evening, and it is always announced in advance, as part of the "planning".
  10. Thanks for the info, jonno, I've had another go trying to find the Hotel Celtique in Carnac, where I've stayed several times. Got there in the end, using the map as you suggest, but it felt like unnecessary hard work. This will be the 14th consecutive year that I've booked 1 or 2 BF hotel holidays, so I'm unimpressed that BF have made this part of their booking website less functional. No idea why the developers came on this site if they weren't going to listen to regular customers. I also sent the feedback directly via the website, so that was a waste of time as well. Oh well, onwards and upwards....... 🙄
  11. The point I made about booking the hotel holidays has been ignored. On the old site it was possible to select a town/city and see which hotels BF uses in that particular place. I already have a good idea of where I want to go before I book a holiday and don't want to scroll through 90-odd hotels in Brittany to find the 2 or 3 available in the place I want to go to. Oh well, guess the best option now is to order the BF Hotel Holidays brochure every year and have a look through that, as it has hotels listed by location. 🙄
  12. I think a lot of Brits who find themselves "unwelcome" by the French expect everyone over there to speak English, and that's the problem. I speak "holiday French", so, while I am not fluent, I can get by in hotels, shops and restaurants and have never felt unwelcome over there. IMO if you go to a foreign country and don't speak any of the language, then you have to take what comes! Most of our spending in France goes on restaurant meals, which are much better quality than for the equivalent over here. Then there's supermarket shopping, where we buy things that are cheaper or more interesting than what you get at home. Occasionally we will buy tickets for a museum, art gallery, or a botanical garden, like the one in Roscoff. As for the Brexit effect on BF, I have already booked 2 BF hotel holidays for next year, in June and August. I was not going to pass up the 20% early booking discount and will deal with any post-Brexit problems if and when they occur.
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