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Andy

DFDS SEAWAYS: To continue Newhaven/Dieppe route

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Hope not. They need to do one of two things with the sailing times - either 4 a day each way by using the vessels in the morning, or (and this would be my choice) make the overnighters proper overnight sailings, not getting in until breakfast. Two day sailings and a proper relaxing overnight sailing in each direction would make for an attractive service.

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The loading and unloading at Newhaven is so slow I think it would be difficult to fit in the fourth rotation. I returned from Dieppe last week-end and all three crossings were full. Certainly wasn't deterring passengers, in fact I heard a number say they liked the 4 am arrival as they could beat any traffic. These ships are Spartan tho' - no leg rests on the reclining seats, plus the lights are on in most of the lounges, with insufficient cabins..... Still, £20 for a single ticket was not too badand the escalators stop a hike up the stairs!

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Who owns these vessels. If DFDS then surely they would be best to flog them to the new route trustees. Not sure why this route does not prosper if sailings full all the time.

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Don't know or use the route myself, but are they only full because of the price, relying on the subsidy for profit.

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I don't wish to offend any fans of this route, but having sampled it in 2012, I've no wish to do so again. I found the Seven Sisters to be the most mediocre ferry I've so far encountered, with poor service, poor food and rude crew. Standards were certainly well below p&o from Dover, which I would definitely prefer over this route. I hope whoever runs these ships in the future manages to improve things.

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The ships, I understand are owned by Seine Maritime. The DFDS connection is marketing etc. the DFDS product has never been rolled out on the Newhaven route. The ferries, in my experience, have been clean and crew scarce but friendly. Last Friday night at midnight we were warmly welcomed on board at the bottom of the foot passenger escalators by a smartly dressed purser / information officer. We arrived early at 4am in to Newhaven, and as foot passengers, we were first off, being waved off by the same chap looking like the time of day it was. A quick cup of hot coffee (less than £2) and a croissant were no worse than BF at 03.45 English time. If the route is run, and the boats owned, publicly then there is no profit motive.... And the subsidy is to under write any loss.

I would expect the route to prosper in ligh of the problems at Calais. Crossings are not eye-wateringly expensive, either.

What is wrong with the French choosing to operate this model? We turned our back on Newhaven 30 years ago. Without the French there would be no service,....

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We turned our back on Newhaven 30 years ago. Without the French there would be no service,....

 

Agree with your other points but disagree on this one.

 

SNCF then Sealink SNAT managed to run it into the ground, when it was running with Versailles and Champs Elysees in the early 90s it really was a mess of a service constantly on strike and badly run with filthy ships and crews with filthy attitudes to service. I went on Champs Elysees in 1991 and she really was rancid, and late.

 

Sounds like the successor to Sealink SNAT, SeaFrance doesn't it?

 

The two ships were owned by SPN which was 51% owned by SNCF and 49% by Stena, who decided to end the charter to SNAT and re-open the route under the Sealink Stena Line brand. Then followed a series of militant strikes and sit ins in Dieppe using Champs Elysees, whilst Versailles was shipped off and refiited as Stena Londoner with a British crew.

 

Sounds very much like the current MyFerryLink situation, albeit for different reasons that the charter was ended, perhaps Eurotunnel and DFDS should have learnt from history and seen what was coming.

 

The really militant bunch from Sealink SNAT were not given jobs by Sealink Stena Line but those who recognised they were employees and all that entails rather than rulers of their own personal fiefdom, Champs Elysees was released and re-emerged as Stena Parisien. I always found her to be the better ship of the pair, and clearly so did Stena because they kept her following the introduction of the Stena Sea Lynx on the route which saw the convention service go to one ship, even though Stena Londoner was a Stena own-design. And of course after Stena withdrew and both ships were returned to SPN to be used by SeaFrance, Stena subsequently purchased ex-Champs Elysees, ex-Stena Parisien, ex-SeaFrance Manet and converted her to be Stena Navigator on the Belfast route.

 

Not only was it the better ship, I thought Stena Parisien was better crewed too and it's a pity that the SCOP didn't also learn from history and secure jobs for a number of the crew taking up DFDS' offer, but those French seamans unions are certainly "tetu". In 1992 it was certainly those who didn't deserve jobs who had to seek an alternative career path, it's likely than in 2015 there are those who should be employed on the DFDS Calais service now who should be in employment.

 

Newhaven-Dieppe had it's hey-day in 1993 carrying over 1m passengers, making it the largest route for passenger carryings on the Western Channel and certainly comparable with the loadings on the contemporary Caen service, and it worked well under the British subsidary of Stena under the Sealink Stena Line, Stena Sealink Line and Stena Line names. It's only when British P&O got their blinkered "Dover-Calais-centric" dirty mits on the service through the merger that they managed to run it into the ground as quickly as they could so they could withdraw and focus everything (aka put all their eggs in one basket) on Dover. It was then British Hoverspeed who restarted the route until Sea Containers really ran out of money by overpromising the returns to the Government on their money-pit-train-line (aka East Coast Mainline), and was then replaced by Seine Maritime's Transmanche Ferries and fair enough the French have stuck with it, although French LD Lines managed to do as little as possible (aka normal for them), and now DFDS France is now involved and seen it returned to a two-ship service.

 

Perhaps those MFL peeps should have had a look down the Channel and seen what DFDS were doing, not that I'm any fan of DFDS. Had Sealink Stena not taken over the Dieppe route then it is likely that there would be a service from neither port now.

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STENA were not British. the Stena Londoner I thought registered in the Bahamas? Hoverspeed were part of sea containers... Are they not registered similarly? P&o have sold out to the UAE... I do agree that the Champs Élysées / Stena Parisien....the best ferry on the route.... The Dieppe crews do not seem to be militant. I do wonder what motivation there is to improve the offering.... I much prefer the BF service and style, particularly when going on holiday. But am I glad I have the option of a route to Dieppe? Yes.

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The former STENA LONDONER ex STENA NAUTICA built in 1974 was chartered to SNCF from 19/04/1998 and renamed VERSAILLES and registered under the French flag with home port Dieppe, she was then sold to a Franch holding company named Overseas Equipment Ltd, Dieppe, France.

 

On the 15/05/1992 The VERSAILLES was then chartered to Sealink Stena Line Ltd and after a refit at Southampton was renamed the STENA LONDONER and was subsequently registered in Nassau, Bahamas so yes your correct Skipcool13 she did fly the Bahamian flag as the STENA LONDONER whilst operating for Stena Line on Newhaven to Dieppe.

 

SEAN

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Seven sisters suffered engine trouble yesterday and is sitting on the deep water berth in Newhaven, some pictures circulating of both ships in Port which is unusual !

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She appears to be in Dunkirk, joining the ever increasing number of cross channel ferries awaiting attention there.

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And then back from Dunkirk and then out from Dieppe for a few miles before returning. Very odd. Anyone know what she's doing? Must be costing a fortune in fuel whatever it is.

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Route is sub-contracted out to DFDS until the end of the year. When it reverts to Transmanche it will not be a new company, it will just be an end to Transmanche's sub-contracting experiment and they will resume the operation of it themselves.

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Seven Sisters, back in Dunkirk, would this be for on going engine trouble that she had the other day.

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The Seine-Maritime committee have approached DFDS with a view for them to continue to operate the route for a further 9-24 months as they have concluded that three months is not enough time to set up a new operating structure for Transmanche Ferries, particuarly as both vessels are due a major refit/class inspection.

 

The question is, will DFDS say yes, and if they do, at what price?

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They have not had three months, they have had four and a half since the decision to take the service back was announced. Sounds to me like they have pretty much been sitting on their hands at Transmanche and as a result got themselves into a position where DFDS can pretty much name its price.

 

One of which may be flexibility with fleet deployment? Maybe we'll see Malo Seaways there yet!

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