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I'll be going on her in two weeks time having got a Mini Cruise for £50 with an outside cabin both ways - thanks to the DFDS offer at Christmas (mind you the game you had to play was quite challenging to get the offer!). Have dilly-dallied about going on her or her sister the Princess for quite a while but found the normal mini cruise for around £170 quite expensive especially if the ship was busy with boisterous mini cruisers as I think she can be at times.

 

Having travelled the on her as the Val from Portsmouth-Caen, Portsmouth - St Malo, and Plymouth to Santander I have many happy memories of a great ship which outshone her competitors like the Pride of Bilbao, because BF had the know-how and finesse that P&O lacked, despite P&O arguably having the better vessel on paper in the Billy.

 

The viewing deck above the bow on the Val was much appreciated although this means that two decks of forward facing outside cabins were plated over and are now inside cabins.

 

Talking about cabins, my cabin in two weeks' time is a 2 berth outside - does anyone know where would be the best location for this type of cabin on the King? Is there a detailed cabin plan available somewhere? Also are the forward facing cabins (on deck 9 I think) all 4 berths, or are some 2 berth as I would be very happy if I could opt for a two berth at this location on the vessel.

 

I think King Seawys and her sister show that "old" tonnage can prove very attractive to passengers even nearly 3 decades onwards. Moby have used the former Prince/Princess of Scandinavia (the former Tor sisters) very successfully from Genoa to Corsica in recent years and the former Queen of Scandinavia will shortly be in their hands. Also the former Tallink Superstar (although not old, but second hand) will shortly be introduced by Corsica ferries. But we in the UK seem very slow in taking advantage of such tonnage which come available from time to time and could be very successful on U.K. routes, appropriately modified if required.

 

Many years ago Sealink / Stena Line spent £8m refurbishing the St Columba/Stena Adventurer on the Holyhead -Dun Laoghaire. Following refurbishment the vessel was completely transformed and in my mind was one of the best transformations of a ferry for a long time.

 

 

I understand that P&O 's Pride of Bruges / York on the Hull - Zeebrugge are also being refurbished to prolong their service for a few years - it would be interesting to hear comments about them once refurbished, or a view as to whether P&O or DFDS offer the best service to those travelling from the north to mainland Europe. My guess is that DFDS (price aside) have the edge but I'll reserve judgment until two weeks time when I'll have the opportunity to travel on the Newcastle-Amsterdam route for the first time, albeit the sixth time on the former Val de Loire.

 

Please excuse any ramblings but I'm currently in land-locked Moldova and looking forward to see the sea again and visit the north of England where although it can still be cold at this time of the year it won't be as cold as here where the temperature is currently -12 and likely to reach -16 before dawn!

 

Talking of the Val and St Malo you may find the following pictures from early December interesting when the Armorique visited St Malo for the very first time.

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I'll be going on her in two weeks time having got a Mini Cruise for £50 with an outside cabin both ways - thanks to the DFDS offer at Christmas (mind you the game you had to play was quite challenging to get the offer!). Have dilly-dallied about going on her or her sister the Princess for quite a while but found the normal mini cruise for around £170 quite expensive especially if the ship was busy with boisterous mini cruisers as I think she can be at times.

 

Having travelled the on her as the Val from Portsmouth-Caen, Portsmouth - St Malo, and Plymouth to Santander I have many happy memories of a great ship which outshone her competitors like the Pride of Bilbao, because BF had the know-how and finesse that P&O lacked, despite P&O arguably having the better vessel on paper in the Billy.

 

The viewing deck above the bow on the Val was much appreciated although this means that two decks of forward facing outside cabins were plated over and are now inside cabins.

 

Talking about cabins, my cabin in two weeks' time is a 2 berth outside - does anyone know where would be the best location for this type of cabin on the King? Is there a detailed cabin plan available somewhere? Also are the forward facing cabins (on deck 9 I think) all 4 berths, or are some 2 berth as I would be very happy if I could opt for a two berth at this location on the vessel.

 

I think King Seawys and her sister show that "old" tonnage can prove very attractive to passengers even nearly 3 decades onwards. Moby have used the former Prince/Princess of Scandinavia (the former Tor sisters) very successfully from Genoa to Corsica in recent years and the former Queen of Scandinavia will shortly be in their hands. Also the former Tallink Superstar (although not old, but second hand) will shortly be introduced by Corsica ferries. But we in the UK seem very slow in taking advantage of such tonnage which come available from time to time and could be very successful on U.K. routes, appropriately modified if required.

 

Many years ago Sealink / Stena Line spent £8m refurbishing the St Columba/Stena Adventurer on the Holyhead -Dun Laoghaire. Following refurbishment the vessel was completely transformed and in my mind was one of the best transformations of a ferry for a long time.

 

 

I understand that P&O 's Pride of Bruges / York on the Hull - Zeebrugge are also being refurbished to prolong their service for a few years - it would be interesting to hear comments about them once refurbished, or a view as to whether P&O or DFDS offer the best service to those travelling from the north to mainland Europe. My guess is that DFDS (price aside) have the edge but I'll reserve judgment until two weeks time when I'll have the opportunity to travel on the Newcastle-Amsterdam route for the first time, albeit the sixth time on the former Val de Loire.

 

Please excuse any ramblings but I'm currently in land-locked Moldova and looking forward to see the sea again and visit the north of England where although it can still be cold at this time of the year it won't be as cold as here where the temperature is currently -12 and likely to reach -16 before dawn!

 

Talking of the Val and St Malo you may find the following pictures from early December interesting when the Armorique visited St Malo for the very first time.

 

 

I have a cabin plan for both although it's not as conclusive as the BF guides it does give a rough cabin location.

 

The major stumbling block for BF sourcing older tonnage is their lack of vehicle deck height and lane meters, they struggle as freight carriers.

 

It's what did for Billy, possibly the reason why they weren't interested in the Olau girls and why the Val' was sold, less vehicle space than Bretagne...

 

As an example, Silja Europa was available until Tallink decided to invest heavily in her as there were no takers. On paper she appeared to be ideal as a medium term Bretagne replacement as she had scrubbers fitted donkey's years ago, has multiple restaurants and huge cabin capacity but for all of her size and accommodation which covers all classes, she can only carry 400 cars, again 180 less than Bretagne.

 

Edited by jonno

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The Val de Loire and the Olaus had/have materially more freight space than the Bretagne, with their ability to carry freight on two levels. The car capacities are similar but again the Val had much more cabin space.

 

But BF got a very good offer at an opportune time for a ship which was seemingly expensive to operate and off she went.

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The Val de Loire and the Olaus had/have materially more freight space than the Bretagne, with their ability to carry freight on two levels. The car capacities are similar but again the Val had much more cabin space.

 

But BF got a very good offer at an opportune time for a ship which was seemingly expensive to operate and off she went.

 

I always thought that BF sacrificed freight height during Val's initial refit to accommodate more cars hence the reason why her DWT is 1000 tonnes less than her sisters?

 

 

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I always thought that BF sacrificed freight height during Val's initial refit to accommodate more cars hence the reason why her DWT is 1000 tonnes less than her sisters?

 

 

No she has mezzanine decks on Deck 6 so they could be stowed away to carry freight on Deck 5. What does reduce her freight capacity is the internal sponsons which take up a lane either side on Deck 3 but could be used to stow cars on top on top of them. They have fold down panels so more cars can be carried but further freight space will be lost. With them folded up DFDS park motorcycles and bicycles, can’t remember if BF managed to get a single lane of car along with the panels up. If you hate Deck 5 on Bretagne then you'll despise Deck 4 on Val de Loire/King Seaways with stairs only fwd and aft so if you are parked midships you've got a long walk thats if you could squeeze past the two lanes of cars which they managed to fit up there!!! And you still had to wait for deck 3 and the internal ramps to empty.

 

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Yes the addition of the inside sponsons reduced quoted freight lane metres by around 170lm - although comparing the before and after GA plans that sounds slightly on the low side. Still even at the reduced lane meterage of 1,260lm she is comfortably in excess of the Bretagne's 700lm to 750lm.

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Yes the addition of the inside sponsons reduced quoted freight lane metres by around 170lm - although comparing the before and after GA plans that sounds slightly on the low side. Still even at the reduced lane meterage of 1,260lm she is comfortably in excess of the Bretagne's 700lm to 750lm.

 

 

Yeah there is that, good point well made...

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No she has mezzanine decks on Deck 6 so they could be stowed away to carry freight on Deck 5. What does reduce her freight capacity is the internal sponsons which take up a lane either side on Deck 3 but could be used to stow cars on top on top of them. They have fold down panels so more cars can be carried but further freight space will be lost. With them folded up DFDS park motorcycles and bicycles, cant remember if BF managed to get a single lane of car along with the panels up. If you hate Deck 5 on Bretagne then you'll despise Deck 4 on Val de Loire/King Seaways with stairs only fwd and aft so if you are parked midships you've got a long walk thats if you could squeeze past the two lanes of cars which they managed to fit up there!!! And you still had to wait for deck 3 and the internal ramps to empty.

 

 

Timmy, were the sponsons due to her working the Bay or more for SOLAS regs?

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Timmy, were the sponsons due to her working the Bay or more for SOLAS regs?

 

SOLAS regs I believe, the Olau twins and the ex Peter Pan dealt with them by having sliding doors that divide deck 3 in to smaller section.

 

 

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The first of the Flensburg new build RO-ROs was named Gardnia Seaways today... Strange as I thought they ended the 'Seaways' prefix.

 

Princess Seaways is getting an extensive interior remodel, as did King Seaways... See DFDS Facebook page for images,,, The works look big.

 

Calais Seaways is also getting a big rebuild, to bring it up to the C-Class ship specs.

 

 

=DFP

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It appears DFDS are reviewing their onboard dining offering. I received a questionnaire email, following my Newcastle/Amsterdam trip in December which states:

 

"DFDS strives to continuously improve and develop experiences for our guests. Therefore, we invite you to take a short survey on new restaurant opportunities on board the DFDS ships."

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Thanks Neil. I like the new logo on her. She was in very good nick when we sailed on her in December prior to refit. I'd like to see what Pride of York looks like now as she's just returned from major refit work in Gdansk.

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Not sure if others are aware, or interested, but I thought I’d share this anyway…DFDS have stopped carrying any private cars or passengers on their Immingham-Gothenburg route (which was very much a token gesture anyway) citing UKBF port approval as the reason; have any regulations changed recently? So now there is literally no conceivable way of travelling to Scandinavia by ferry from the UK, unless you are a freight driver, which personally I find quite astonishing, not to mention depressing. Sadly it is one of the main reasons why I have no desire to spend any more money travelling with this company in the near future.

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The insistence that UKBF is to blame appears plain wrong.  It's still possible to book freight ship trips from Immingham. Or Bristol. Or London Gateway.

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7 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

What are the chances of any carrier operating out of the UK reforming a Scandinavian link to Denmark, Norway or even Iceland? 3 stunning routes we have lost....

The standard response to this is that DFDS has so cornered the freight market that no new operator would stand a chance (any passenger-carrying operation depends on an element of freight for viability).

However, the question did get me thinking and I have a thought on the matter that would be worth posting.  Almost certainly futile pie in the sky, but I'll post anyway in case it catches the eye of the right person, and the idea seems supremely logical:

If anyone has a chance at setting something up that could stand a chance of success even in the face of DFDS domination of the freight market, it is probably Stena.  Let's think that through for a minute.  Stena already has terminal facilities in both Harwich and Gothenburg.  They have everything in place (staff, berths, terminals, marketing) so all that would be needed is a ship or two to connect the ports.

What sort of ships would be needed?  First and foremost, for Harwich - Gothenburg, fast.  Fast, comfortable, good seakeepers, built for long-distance overnight cruising, good facilities for passengers, decent freight capacity.  Are any such ships available?  Yes.  Or, to be more precise, yes they will be when the current new Stena builds for the Irish Sea enter service.  When that happens, the two Superfasts at Cairnryan would be displaced.  What better ships could there be for a revival of Harwich - Gothenburg?  Ok, they would need re-configuring back to the mode for which they were built, but surely this would be a perfect use for them when they have done their job on the North Channel?

They could even serve Esbjerg too.  Stena used to have an interest in DFDS' service to Esbjerg - they used to sell some of the space on it to their own customers.  So add Esbjerg too.  If they were deployed on a roster similar to that operated by the Tor Line twins when DFDS took over Tor Line, the Superfasts could, between them, provide sailings every other day to both Esbjerg and Gothenburg.

Sounds ideal doesn't it?  And makes so much sense.  Anyone from Stena here listening? :)

Edited by Gareth
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1 hour ago, Gareth said:

The standard response to this is that DFDS has so cornered the freight market that no new operator would stand a chance (any passenger-carrying operation depends on an element of freight for viability).

However, the question did get me thinking and I have a thought on the matter that would be worth posting.  Almost certainly futile pie in the sky, but I'll post anyway in case it catches the eye of the right person, and the idea seems supremely logical:

If anyone has a chance at setting something up that could stand a chance of success even in the face of DFDS domination of the freight market, it is probably Stena.  Let's think that through for a minute.  Stena already has terminal facilities in both Harwich and Gothenburg.  They have everything in place (staff, berths, terminals, marketing) so all that would be needed is a ship or two to connect the ports.

What sort of ships would be needed?  First and foremost, for Harwich - Gothenburg, fast.  Fast, comfortable, good seakeepers, built for long-distance overnight cruising, good facilities for passengers, decent freight capacity.  Are any such ships available?  Yes.  Or, to be more precise, yes they will be when the current new Stena builds for the Irish Sea enter service.  When that happens, the two Superfasts at Cairnryan would be displaced.  What better ships could there be for a revival of Harwich - Gothenburg?  Ok, they would need re-configuring back to the mode for which they were built, but surely this would be a perfect use for them when they have done their job on the North Channel?

They could even serve Esbjerg too.  Stena used to have an interest in DFDS' service to Esbjerg - they used to sell some of the space on it to their own customers.  So add Esbjerg too.  If they were deployed on a roster similar to that operated by the Tor Line twins when DFDS took over Tor Line, the Superfasts could, between them, provide sailings every other day to both Esbjerg and Gothenburg.

Sounds ideal doesn't it?  And makes so much sense.  Anyone from Stena here listening? :)

You're absolutely right Gareth, Stena line is very well placed to do this and you've come up with an excellent proposal there. I remember reading in a shipping magazine many years ago when Stena bought the then Prins Filip (today's Calais Seaways) that they had 'evaluated' her for a potential link with Gothenburg, no idea how much truth there was in that!

I do still believe that someone will do this one day and once one operator tries it, others will follow.

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Without wanting to go too far off topic, I would love to see a UK ferry link to Iceland resume, especially given recent growth in tourism to Iceland. A perfect oppurtunity to view the northern lights.

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5 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

Without wanting to go too far off topic, I would love to see a UK ferry link to Iceland resume, especially given recent growth in tourism to Iceland. A perfect oppurtunity to view the northern lights.

Well I've often wondered why Smyril line haven't tried routing the Norrona via Newcastle, at least for the summer season. There must be a fair sized market in the UK, especially in the absence of any other ferry connection.

On the other hand, the cruise market has grown enormously in recent years, there are now just so many good value cruises to northern Europe, year round, from pretty much every major UK port. This must have an impact on ferry operators on longer routes. That said, DFDS' Amsterdam minicruises still seem to be very popular.

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Has any member any information as to why DFDS has cancelled crossings from Newhaven-Dieppe-Newhaven this weekend?

 

NEWHAVEN - DIEPPE SAILINGS 

Newhaven-Dieppe-Newhaven: Cancelled Services Saturday 25 – Sunday 26 March 2017

DFDS regret to advise due to operational reasons the following services have been cancelled on our Newhaven-Dieppe route:
 
Saturday 25 March 2017 
Exit Port Dieppe:      18:00
 
Sunday 26 March 2017   
Exit Port Newhaven: 10:00
 
All affected customers confirmed on the cancelled services will be notified by DFDS. Alternatively customers with existing bookings can call our customer contact centre on 0800 917 1201 to discuss your travel arrangements. 
DFDS would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers due to the cancellation of our services.  

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On 2/17/2017 at 22:50, Andy said:

It appears DFDS are reviewing their onboard dining offering. I received a questionnaire email, following my Newcastle/Amsterdam trip in December which states:

 

"DFDS strives to continuously improve and develop experiences for our guests. Therefore, we invite you to take a short survey on new restaurant opportunities on board the DFDS ships."

Andy, we got off Princess this morning, on board they were discussing the pro & cons of a seasonal burger & pizza addition to the Sky Bar. It sounded similar to what BF offer on the roof of Cap' Finistere.

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