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BRETAGNE: 30th Anniversary

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I thought I'd write to note a few things on my last trip on Bretagne...

 

I'd initially point out that I love this vessel greatly but I was quite upset to see her in her current state.

 

Ok she has just returned from Gdansk & an extended layover in Le Havre but I was upset to see that her maintainece work must have only been to her engines with no care and attention paid towards any of her public areas.

 

Highlighted worries are the toilets behind her main bar. They were "out of order" when I was last on her in Mid 2014 & they are still broken, so I had to do the obvious trip to deck 7 to use the other toilets which had that the same lights bulbs that were blown in 2014 - it shouldn't take 6months to fix a set of toilets or to change a light bulb!

 

The whole interior of the ship is dirty with no signs of any deep cleaning during her lay overs. The windows in the self service area are completely covered over with salt so badly that you can't see through them if you tried, it's more then a few rough crossings, it's over a years worth of salt plastered on them.

 

The outside area, especially behind the main restaurant is covered in a thick film of grime, it's so dirty I advise not to ever go there. I was Talking to the crew (in French) who were smoking there who stated that the company only want to spend money on essential work on her and admitted the great shame of the state of Bretagne. They state B-A-I have strict control of the budget and only want to run her on a shoestring. "Ships husbandry" for Bretagne was a thing of history... Before speaking to him, I had never heard the phrase "ships husbandry" at the time it sounded funny but I guess for the once proud crew and for thé vessel, it is somewhat of a worry!

 

The cabin I used was only as clean as fresh bedding a few seconds of s hoovering, it Was covered in dust and despite asking crew to change or for it to be dusted, she said that I could not go into another room as all other commodore cabins were sold out (she offered a downgrade to a club cabin) She took a note of my complaint & advised to write to BF customer relations, but said the cleaners have little time to prepare the cabins. (Bretagne had a 12hour layover in Portsmouth & would have had the same in St Malo upon arrival). Thankfully she said other people had talked about the issues & they will address them in the future (I sure hope so!!!)

 

So much for Bretagne holding a special place in the company.

 

I know she is next to leave the fleet, but customers don't expect to be on a dirty vessel, especially so soon after a refit & a while in mothballs where TLC work can be carried out.

 

Please BF bring back some sparkle to the old, grand lady! The highlight was obviously the Buffet in the main restaurant, although I did overdose on the starters table - It's still grat to see one BF tradition still going strong.

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There's nothing worse than being on a ship which the owners have clearly lost interest in and which is being run-down. I've seen this with sirena seaways last year and also with the val de loire prior to sale. Since there do not seem to be any imminent plans to replace her, I cannot see why the Bretagne shouldn't have money spent on her interior; poor standards will ultimately put customers off.

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I hope someone pulls their finger out and gets the old girl cleaned up before we sail in June. Ashabby, unkept ship isn't going to do much for the staff pride and morale

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I suspect there probably are plans to replace her - there was all that interest in the SNCM ships and just because the discussion on here has gone quiet doesn't mean that plans are not being hatched behind the scenes. One thing we do know (don't we?, but someone correct me if I am wrong) is that she cannot serve the St Malo route beyond this year because she will not be compliant with the emissions regulations. So something will have to change after this year even though we don't yet know what.

 

I agree though, it is unfortunate. And in fact probably a false economy because unless they are intending to sell her for scrap (surely not) it must damage both her saleability and her resale value to allow her to be run into the ground.

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What this news does do, however, is put paid to any thoughts that BF might be planning on moving her to new routes outside the regulation zone. Cork to Spain? Cork to Swansea? St Nazaire to Spain? Forget them all, these are not going to be routes that give the old girl a new lease of life in the fleet.

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I have passed on a number of photos of tired, dirty, broken bits of the old lady in the last 6 months, but essentially what is reported above is true. Minimal expenditure pending disposal.

 

On a happier note .... from May, her 2 regular Captains will be Hervé de Kergariou and Olivier Raimbeaux, amongst the nicest, friendliest guys afloat. Both active sailors, Hervé in 5o5s where he performs well above what one would expect for his age, and Olivier on all sorts, though slightly less at the moment as a recent dad! Jacques Brichet retires at the end of the year and will cover for both the regulars in order to complete the days necessary to obtain full pension.

 

As regards SNCM, the latest news is catastrophic for the company and potential new owners. DSP contract withdrawn, no money coming in due to needing to cover the illegal subsidies. It could all go down the pan fast now and all the ships could be available.

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Disappointing to read this as we are due to travel on her from St. Malo at Easter. Never travelled on her before but remember seeing her being built in St. Nazaire. Going out on MSM but was looking forward to Bretagne and now sounds like it might be the other way round.

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All I can say is shame on you Brittany Ferries for not looking after the grand lady !!!! You owe so much to her !!!

will be going on Bretagne myself soon so will see for myself ! Dreading it to be honest !! Really hope Bf and the crew pull there finger out !!! I am really ashamed by this !!!

 

 

Bretagne deserves so much more ! She is Such a beautiful vessel ! Maybe going to another company she will be cared for more !!! Obvisley I don't want her to go but don't want to see her in a bad state, its really upsetting !!

 

what is happening to you Bf !!!!!! SORT IT OUT !!!!!

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Dreadful news! Surely some of these issues are the most basic of maintenance tasks. Not good at all for company image on a popular route and confirms a new vessel likely soon.

 

Planning a spring trip that looks like my last on Bretagne.

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Take a short clip of the dust and grime and post it on the BF Twitter feed reminding them how much they charge for a Commodore cabin and how much it costs to employ a cleaner. A journalist recently did this on British airways. Embarrass them in to cleaning her up.

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Take a short clip of the dust and grime and post it on the BF Twitter feed reminding them how much they charge for a Commodore cabin and how much it costs to employ a cleaner. A journalist recently did this on British airways. Embarrass them in to cleaning her up.

 

I will be going on Bretagne at the end of the month so will see what she is like then !!! Hopefully Bf and the crew especially have cleaned her up !!! Will certainly get pictures of her and if she is still in a bad state the pictures will be posted on Bf twitter to shame them all !!! Think the crew need to be sorted out too, to have some enthusiasm with such a lovely vessel !!!!

 

they should be all ashamed to let Bretagne go into a state like this !!!! Such a incredible beautiful vessel which MADE Bf !!

But now Bf seem to have lost it long ago !!!! Somebody like Dfds should take on Bretagne to care for her more !!

 

 

Hopefully she will get the investment with Bf or another company eg : Dfds for scrubbers to keep her sailing in the emission zone !!!

 

we cant loose such a beautiful vessel from our waters !!!!

 

But If Bf are not caring for her maybe it will be better for her to go to another company who will care for her Eg: Dfds or somebody !!! Really don't want to loose her out of the uk waters !!!

 

 

Hang in there Bretagne we will fight your corner !!!

 

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No, I dn't think it is fair to lay any blame at the crew. They will be doing their best within the constraints of the resources available to them.

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I hope I haven't opened a "hornets nest" of Anger towards the crew regarding the upkeep on Bretagne... Like I said in the original post, the crew member I spoke to was upset towards the "ships husbandry" Bretagne received. Especially in Gdansk & Le Havre.

 

Here's hoping that powers that be at BF HQ change their mindset on Bretagne, the outcry on here is evident that the ship has a great deal of Bretagne fans!

 

Maybe now the ship has a full Complement of crew on her TLC will be given to the deck space etc... But as Colin (the Bretagne expert) noticed the issues & raised his points to the captains, maybe some much needed 'spit & polish' can make the old lady glamorous again?!?

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It's a shame that this is happening to her at the end of her life, but also short-sighted by BF, in my opinion. Passenger numbers are growing, and will likely grow more this year due to the weakness of the Euro - these new and returning passengers should get a service which persuades them to become regulars, join the travel club, etc.

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It's a shame that this is happening to her at the end of her life, but also short-sighted by BF, in my opinion. Passenger numbers are growing, and will likely grow more this year due to the weakness of the Euro - these new and returning passengers should get a service which persuades them to become regulars, join the travel club, etc.

 

Exactly. It's not as though the Bretagne is that old; perhaps she may be by BF standards but when you look around the UK at some of the other similar ferries still operating and their respective ages, there is absolutely no reason to view the Bretagne as 'past it'.

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Whether DFDS or another operator, she cannot be fitted with the types of scrubbers currently being used. She would need to loose some stuff in her bowels to fit alternative systems, which also cost much more. Hence the dilemma.

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Before recently moving north, I used to spend a good deal of time chatting with the dock workers at Fishguard. Obviously we'd talk about the ferries (as you do!)

 

When PEGASIS was in full swing and there were strong rumours of the Bretagne leaving the fleet sooner rather than later, many of us agreed that she'd be ideal to replace Stena Europe. Again, these notions were firmly knocked on the head with Stena's announcement regarding Superfast X and that the Nordica was to replace Europe...

 

The Nordica is now DFDS bound. Could this now open the door for Stena to begin looking for a replacement for their old girl? They certainly have a history of looking after their older tonnage and could easily manage 10-15 good years of service out of Bretagne...

 

A move by BF to secure the Daniella Casanova would tie in quite nicely!!

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Whether DFDS or another operator, she cannot be fitted with the types of scrubbers currently being used. She would need to loose some stuff in her bowels to fit alternative systems, which also cost much more. Hence the dilemma.

 

Hi Colin.

 

Really such a shame to see her in his state !!! Breaks my heart to see Bretagne like this as I have been sailing on her at least 15-20 times a year since I was 6 years old back in 1989 with my parents. Still remember being on her on her first crossing to Santander back in July 1989.

 

I know she has issues with scrubbers to be fitted as there is not so much space and possible stability issues but its still possible anything is. I work in a ship yard as a Engineer in Aberdeen for Richards and we have fitted scrubbers to so many vessels which people say it cant be done !!!

It all comes down to the investment and how much they want to spend, plus most of all the engineers !!!

Bf have such a beautiful vessel and Bretagne has many more years left in her as lng as they care for her !!!

Cant understand why she has been laid up for soo long been in dry dock and still no painting, cosmetic work or Tlc has been carried out !!! Come on Bf appearance is the most important as the mechanical work should be done without a doubt !! Plus summer is on the way why not make the her look lovely for the high season !! It makes sense, don't loose your pride !! BRETAGNE is the real Flagship of the fleet!

 

If only I had the money to buy her and run her myself !

 

Bf don't let your quality slip, Bretagne was always kept spotless up untill now !! It was always a credit to you and the crew !! Hopefully with the right crew on board things might improve !!!

 

don't let us down and most of all BRETAGNE down, Bf you owe her sooo much !!!!

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Shipping companies are notoriously unsentimental when it comes to disposing of time expired tonnage, it is a hard business.

 

Yet Bretagne is something a bit special, special when she was built and special during her career and if that career is coming to an inevitable end with BF then she is entitled to a fitting send off which recognises her unique contribution to BF's operations over many years. Some ships stand out as being exceptional in their place in things and surely Bretagne is one of these. She was originally well conceived and met all the hopes vested in her with many years of outstanding service in which she has found an affectionate place in many hearts of many who will regret the day when she no longer exemplifies the spirit of Brittany Ferries. Some ships stand out as really special and Bretagne is one of that select band.

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Unless the SNCM scenario provides new tonnage in the short term (and the current mess suggests anything is possible - we should know pretty quickly) then Bretagne has to stay in service for at least a couple of years, so all sensible, constructive, though critical, comments, should be delivered loud and clear to HQ! Paint, cleaning, minor fixes and basic hygiene won't break the bank, so let the campaign begin!

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You would think if she was staying for a couple of years they would paint her fix toilets and clean her properly it would seem something is gonna happen soon BF have been full of surprises recently and there are deals to be had on ships that are newer, easier to convert and will make more money for BF sadly there's no sentiment when it comes to making money.

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You'd thing that fixing toilets, replacing light bulbs, dealing with broken curtain fittings, keeping things clean, etc, would be essential, and seen as necessary running costs, for any company which saw itself as providing a "premium" service. These problems can have an extremely detrimental effect of perceptions of the service. One summer season would be enough to taint substantially BF's hard-won reputation as a high quality operator. They really do need to keep on top of these things.

 

BF, you would seem to have lost an opportunity (during Bretagne's winter break) to address the problems, but there are a good few Tuesday layovers left before the summer season to take on board maintenance workers to systematically go through the cabins and public areas. Don't wait for passengers to complain - they might just go home, silent, with a negative impression, so it will be too late.

Edited by elCercado

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Hi Colin.

 

Have you got any pictures of the state of the outside of Bretagne and her deck areas ? It would be much appreciated. Plus give me more ammo to throw at BF !!!!! Grrrrrrrr !!!!! So angry and disappointed with Bf !!

 

Don't know if I want to see them to be honest, will be far too upsetting !!!

 

Still want to be able to see her condition right now ! It makes my blood boil why they have done this to Bretagne !!!

 

she is only almost 26years old which is not old for a vessel !! So Bf you cant use this as a excuse ! There are many vessels out there much older and kept in tip top condition !!

lets hope the few day lay overs she has left the crew can polish her into shape !! Hopefully the decks get some Tlc too and the wooden handrails !! Plus her bells !! The one on the bow and behind the bridge get polished !!!

 

But suppose the the exterior sides are going to have to stay as they are until another dry dock maybe next year !!!!

 

fingers crossed Bretagne gets cleaned up !! Going on her very soon, so will see for myself !!!!

Edited by ross brown

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