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BAIE DE SEINE: Charter of 'Sirena Seaways' for Le Havre and Bilbao


Andy

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New to this site but I have sailed on the Sirena Seaways many times up until a few years ago. I would agree with what has been said here about the ship in that it was comfortable and a pleasant way to reach Denmark. Commodore class in particular was very good. Huge cabins and a private lounge with free alcoholic drinks. The standard cabins were good enough but the facilities were poor when compared to previous ships on the route. Small bar and appalling entertainment in the lounge. As an economy branded route it would be ideal. The ship itself seemed well able to cope with the worst of the North Sea. However, Having since sailed on the Pont Aven to Santander I was amazed at not only the size and newness of the ship but the reasonable prices on-board. DFDS became a money-grasping outfit towards the end and seem to be on a path to getting rid of passenger sailing from their future. They have really thrown in the towel regarding budget airlines... Hope this new route works out..

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I took a car on one return trip and don't remember having any problems boarding or disembarking. It was a bit convoluted due to all the containers on the deck but I don't remember it taking very long. However, I was lucky enough to be driving a newish car at the time...

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2. I thought the reason the Harwich - Esjberg route closed was because DFDS disn't want to install scrubbers on Sirena Seaways. Now it turns out a few months later that she is having scrubbers fitted in order to be chartered to another operator. I find this quite annoying as in October I was forced to drive 800Km to Ijmuiden after my booking from Esjberg was cancelled. It turns out that maybe DFDS are more concerned with making money by chartering the ship to another operator than honouring the bookings of passengers.

 

Exactly. I think DFDS have upset a lot of people through the manner in which they turned their backs on what was their original route. The reasons given were predominantly the same old nonsense as with all the other routes which they have closed over the past ten years; basically they just wanted an excuse because they couldn't be bothered with the route any more.

 

 

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Somebody asked about deck access in the Commodore class. You couldn't access the deck directly. You had to exit Commodore class through a locked door using your room pass card and could go on deck just outside on the same deck level. Strangely, any other passengers could look straight into your cabin as they passed by outside. This class really was a nice experience for not too much extra. I guess it would go if the ship is being positioned as a economy option..

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Slightly off topic but can someone tell me what stopped Bf taking over the Le Havre route when P&O withdrew? Was it the competitions/monopolies commission? If that was the case Bf have pulled off a masterstroke, they've had to wait 10 year's but they've seen off the competition and now have the western channel sown up. Plus by offering economie to le havre they are differentiating the service from the Caen route. Le Havre has not had a 'premium' ferry service since p&o left so why bother offering one now

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They nearly did. They were all set to take over the Pride of Portsmouth and Pride of Le Havre, which were going to be called Etretat and Honfleur. But then, yes, it was referred to the monopolies commission. I think the general expectation was that the commission was going to clear the way for the takeover of the route, but before it reported BF pulled out of the deal. Speculation was that they re-did the maths and had second thoughts. My own suspicion was that after doing the maths they will have concluded not only that this was going to be a loss-maker for them but also that they did not need to worry about someone else taking the route over either. And also that they were worried about diluting their own Caen route.

 

As a footnote, it is worth noting that because of what happened 10 years ago, everyone will be very surprised if Sirena Seaways is renamed anything other than Honfleur.

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Back on topic, there is another aspect of this that is worthy of mention. Back when the future of DFDS on the route, and the future of Sirena Seaways, was being discussed at length, there was a lot of speculation that Sirena Seaways was too long for the berth at Le Havre and that this may be the reason why DFDS will not put her on the route.

 

This latest development answers that question definitively - she clearly will fit the berth. So....this cannot have been the reason for DFDS not moving her and I share all the sentiments that have already been expressed about the demise of both DFDS and P&O. A very sad reflection of what those companies used to be in their heyday. In fact, of all the ferry companies that graced out shores back in the 70s and 80s, BF stands pretty much high and alone in not only surviving but also becoming an even more impressive operation than it was back in those days. What a contrast and long may they continue.

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This link will show you why: http://www.brittanyferriesfreight.co.uk/article/42273/Freight-capacity

 

Bretagne = 39 trucks

Barfleur = 75 trucks

 

Perhaps if Cotentin were still on the route then there would be enough capacity, but bearing in mind that freight is all year round, and BF have a number of routes off right now, then they could be short of freight capacity. Don't forget that freight tends to work a bit the other way around to passengers, the factory shut downs in the summer mean that some freight business drops back a bit.

 

On the Caen route Normandie is listed as taking 84 trucks and MSM 118 trucks, but right now they're having to take anything that still wants to go Western Channel but as the Le Havre service with DFDS is closed and the BF service is suspended whilst Etretat (which takes 95 trucks) is doing the Spain routes then there may not be enough capacity, or enough slack, to allow a double-deck freight carrier like Barfleur off right now and the last thing they want to turn away will be regular freight business.

 

In early May, St Malo is back running almost daily, Roscoff is running daily and they've got Le Havre running again so more capacity floating around (literally) whilst passenger loadings are fairly light in the period between Easter and Whitsun half term.

 

 

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