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Gareth

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I think she'd have to be branded Economie if she was put on any other BF route apart from Poole-Cherbourg. Fond of her as everyone may be, she is not up to the standard of the cruise ferry fleet, even Armorique. On Poole-Cherbourg expectations are different, which is not unreasonable given it is only a 4-hour crossing.
I wonder if BF would agree with you that "expectations" are different on Poole-Cherbourg than on the rest of their operations?

 

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I wonder if BF would agree with you that "expectations" are different on Poole-Cherbourg than on the rest of their operations?

 

They must be, otherwise those that use her would not be as happy with Barfleur as they are. Stick Barfleur on St Malo or Roscoff and there would be a lot of dissatisfaction with the catering and cabin provision that is not there on the Cherbourg route. Stands to reason expectations must be different and Barfleur meets expectations on that route very well.

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I think the word "expectations" is that a ship designed as a dual purpose to be used on a four and a half crossing is going to have a lot less needed in it than a St Malo jaunt. So people opting for the Poole route, it is a short crossing so there is no need for a lot of the facilities on the longer routes. Doesn't mean to say they get any less quality of service though. As pointed out back in "that thread" some people want to have their cake and eat it, don't forget no matter how much Economie is explained to people, there will be those who complain that it isn't the full "experience". Same as Barf, there are those who go on a ship designed for a four and a half hour crossing and expect to find something like the larger cruise ferries. This is where the word "expectations" come into it. If people want the full works on a big ferry then get a big ferry with the full works - just go on a longer crossing, simples.

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Exactly, even Barf gets her Le Cafe closed for the winter months, unless like this year she is exceptionally busy well past the summer season. There are some that actually think the Bretagne type experience should be on a short crossing like this, unless the ship has the full range of facilities there are those who will wibble. No one would expect Barf to do a St Malo route, she is just a mini version of the bigger ships and suited to the short crossing she was built for. Economie is more for your longer crossing slimmed down facility wise for cheaper crossings.

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Regarding Barf, I think that BF's scrubber investment say's it all really. A hugely popular, comfortable and reliable vessel. Both she and Normandie have had very little done to them over their 23 year service which proves just how high a standard they were built to.

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So, Cork is now finished for the winter and Pont Aven will shortly be leaving Roscoff for the last time this season. Looking at the schedules my prediction is that she will turn round in Santander on Wednesday (she has a 7 hour turnaround that day). Etretat due into Santander for her last call into Spain later this morning.

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On Barfleur, I think we are all basically saying the same thing. My point was that she serves the Cherbourg route, and what is demanded on that route, well, but that on the wider BF network she would need to be branded Economie. Haven't read anything from anybody else that disagrees with that. I agree with Brigitte that it is therefore really the longer routes, where more is expected of the ship, where Economie is really necessary. Will be interesting to see whether BDS needs to retain the Economie branding now that she is hardly paired at all with Etretat on the Le Havre route. Would be interested in the thoughts of those that have contributed to the Barfleur discussion about whether Etretat would need to be branded Economie if she were put into service on Poole-Cherbourg.

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Neil, have you actually seen the amount of outdoor deck space and seating outside on Barfleur, she has masses, Have you actually been on her? Food choices, shecis adequate for the crossing she is doing, for the small ship she is she has a large self service and an another Le Cafe food outlet, plus the bar. And if you are really stuck, there are vending machines, the shop for sweets, bickies and chocs. You won't starve!!

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I'm on Barf Tuesday, overnight back, just been getting the Euros sorted, looking forward to a nice warm cabin. Out of interest, on the overnighters back from Cherbourg, is the self service open for a decemt coffee before I go to my kip?

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What does BF mean by “economie ”? Is it no choice of cabin type? Maybe it's lack of a proper restaurant? Perhaps it's the lack of entertainment or cinema facilities. Clearly it isn't any of these criteria as that would put Barfleur and to some degree Armorique very firmly in the “economie ” category. Could it possibly be that the prices charged are cheaper? It might be but without any form of pricing structure would anyone be aware if that is the case? As far as I know there has been deafening silence from BF about what the “economie ” concept actually refers to.

 

I am at a loss to understand why anyone would introduce a new “economie ” branding and then give no clue as to what it really means. Perhaps that is the answer, it means absolutely nothing and exists purely in the head of someone in the marketing department.

 

If that is the case the concept is a success judging by the amount of time spent discussing the subject without being able to reach any conclusion.

 

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On Barfleur, I think we are all basically saying the same thing. My point was that she serves the Cherbourg route, and what is demanded on that route, well, but that on the wider BF network she would need to be branded Economie. Haven't read anything from anybody else that disagrees with that. I agree with Brigitte that it is therefore really the longer routes, where more is expected of the ship, where Economie is really necessary. Will be interesting to see whether BDS needs to retain the Economie branding now that she is hardly paired at all with Etretat on the Le Havre route. Would be interested in the thoughts of those that have contributed to the Barfleur discussion about whether Etretat would need to be branded Economie if she were put into service on Poole-Cherbourg.

 

I think the Economie brand is moot. BF will do away with it five minutes after the Visentini steams back to Stena. They were built as Ro Ro freight carriers without any consideration to the comforts of holiday traffic. Freight drivers love them on any route length as they give them the opportunity to relax in privacy without the need to share a cabin or facilities, a considerable improvement on the previous offerings for dedicated carriers.

 

Both Barfleur and Armorique have limited passenger facilities compared to MSM, Normandie, the Cap', the Pont and Bretagne, however none of us would have considered them any less of a vessel as they are both specific to their route. any form of "Economie" branding wouldn't have entered our minds.

 

If one was to be pedantic, one could say that in the short term having the Arm' cover for MSM could also be classed as Economie as her customer offer is not of the same standard.

 

No I hear you reply! Interesting, is it because overall both Barf and Armorique are built to a higher standard than any Visentini with a dedicated passenger offer? I think so...

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I think Economie is just for people who want to travel with BF, but want to travel cheaper than the they would if they used the 'regular' fleet. And as said before, I think it is aimed at longer routes and Poole - Cherbourg is such a short one, it isn't really necessary. Barf may have less facilities, but she is adequate for the route she was intended for, she was Economie to a point when she was Truckline, and they made her a "full" fleet member, now they have introduced Economie, it has been decided to keep Barfleur as she is while applying the name to new fleet members, she stays a "proper" BF ship.

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Slightly tangential, but does anybody have any experience of Stena's Visentinis on the Liverpool-Belfast route? (Strikes me that the Mersey and Logan or whatever they are called could be examples of what it is possible to do with this class of ship if there is a will, but then again that may just be an assumption of mine based on Stena reputation rather than reality)

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Couldn't put it better myself

[h=3]What to expect on board a Brittany Ferries économie service[/h] Customers familiar with our cruise ferries will find that both Etretat and the latest addition to our fleet, Baie de Seine, have smaller public areas and generally less space onboard. Both ships have self-service restaurants offering limited but tasty French cuisine. Baie de Seine also has a café. Both ships have shops selling a range of tobacco, spirits (at French prices), confectionery and gifts but these are limited when compared to our cruise ferries. The cabins on both are comfortable yet functional, some have vinyl flooring instead of carpet and there are two wheelchair accessible cabins on each. Pet owners will welcome the pet-friendly cabins on both services and for those looking to travel with a little extra comfort, the new Economie Plus cabins on Baie de Seine will be popular.

 

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Slightly tangential, but does anybody have any experience of Stena's Visentinis on the Liverpool-Belfast route? (Strikes me that the Mersey and Logan or whatever they are called could be examples of what it is possible to do with this class of ship if there is a will, but then again that may just be an assumption of mine based on Stena reputation rather than reality)

 

I do remember when they began as Norse Merchant sailing from the then new floating in river linkspans in the Mersey, again they were very popular with the freight drivers, not so with the holiday makers. I was flitting in and out of Cammell Laird at the time is was changing hands to A&P, bankrupt due to the Costa debacle. Many of the local business' were hoping for something more akin to the Ulysses which would have gone someway to prising traffic from the very busy Stena owned port at Holyhead and bringing a much needed transfusion to the local economy.

 

Both Stena Mersey & Lagan have been massively rebuilt and now look nothing like they did originally, so much so that now they can only accommodate 85 vehicles.

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