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Cap Finistere

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I’m interested in contributors’ perspectives on the CF… She seems to be quite disliked on the forum!

I am due to return on her tomorrow evening from Santander, having sailed outwards from Portsmouth on board her on August 19 (the evening of the unseasonal August storm). I don’t 100% know the exact storm force on the day, but from wind speed would estimate 8/9. One thing for sure is that she is a superb sea boat - as indeed are all of the German-built Superfast series. Of course, she was moving around, but there was little seasickness on board - and my family are particularly prone to it but did not suffer.

Facilities wise, I can see she is no match for the Pont - but, she has her merits. Whilst the à la carte restaurant is a compromise in terms of layout, it seems to me quite atmospheric and successfully serves its intended purpose. The after twin-level lounge is quite impressive, with plenty of more intimate corners and great views astern. The Reception Lounge offers great comfy sofas to curl up in, during the long day for each. BF’s modifications have been astute - adding the large children’s play area on Deck 10 in the sheltered outside deck area and making the former pool bar into a more comprehensive informal cafe complete with pizza oven.

The Finistere Bar, interestingly described by BF as the ships “living room” is not particularly pleasant, with the amidships area taken up by the snack bar meaning the room is rather cramped - but this was in situ previously as the gaming area under Superfast. I also recognise there is not a huge amount of true open deck space, but there are several corners to be found.

I had feared she would feel very crowded on a capacity sailing, but actually, she never felt busy at all.

All in all, our outward crossing passed quickly and enjoyably as a family of four… But I’d be very interested to hear the comments and perspectives of others!

Best wishes, Richard

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Used it 18 mths ago. Lovely cabin & very comfortable.

 

Public areas not so great. Restaurant decidedly iffy - sent back one main dish.

 

All in all, a ship that we would avoid at all costs, but my impression is that she's a a 'Marmite Ship'.

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I think she's rather like marmite, love or hate her. if you want a smooth peaceful crossing doing very little, reading a book etc she's a good choice. If you want the activities such as found on the Pont Aven avoid her.

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Enjoyed our return crossings on her in March this year. Didn't like the central food market affair much, though. Very much enjoyed our restaurant meals on board. Deck 10 needs some thought, especially for those months when passengers won't spend time outdoors. Cold, draughty and unwelcoming. Cabin acceptable but not significantly different from that we had on board Etretat for the same crossing last year.

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I think BF were astute indeed when recognising that her as built capacity would make her feel crowded with her open layout. Halving her passenger carrying to that of her berths certainly gives her an added airy feel even when full... I like her.

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We are a family of four with two young children, sailed on her this August, the outbound crossing was great as it was calm, we used the pool, salon, cinema and hooked in with the orca and kids activities. The return was on the Saturday of the unseasonable storm. We wanted to get off at the earliest opportunity and we were unwell. According to the Gascogne buoy there was 11-12ft swells, our crossing was delayed by an hour. In general if the crossing is good she's a great boat as you can enjoy the facilities, the Friday / Saturday / Sunday crossings are well timed.

 

The cap was a shrewd acquisition for BF as not only does she cater for the tourists but also holds an impressive amount of freight.

 

Top tip don't get a cabin near the front, we think that added to our sea sickness ! The 4 berths outside near the middle are good.

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Thanks for the observations so far! Limiting the passenger capacity was without doubt a very smart move, from the passenger experience/comfort point of view. Although on a smaller scale, she has the majority of facilities passengers would expect, but I can see why she would indeed be a “Marmite” vessel. The open-plan, walk-through layout was fully intended by her designers, to create a “pavement cafe” style atmosphere in her restaurant, for example. This layout is a feature of all of the original Superfast series.

The cafe bar on Deck 10 works well in most circumstances, but I do also recognise it may get either very cold or very hot depending on the weather… I assume it would be shut in winter, however.

Even in August, on our outward sailing she was carrying a very substantial amount of freight, so as Simon F mentioned I think that for BF this is undoubtedly her most valuable attribute. Unfortunately it meant we were directed right down to Deck 1, meaning a 30 minute delay in disembarking (but not as bad as I had feared it may be!)

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I'm a big fan if this ship and have said so many times. She manages to feel intimate and yet large at the same time and for me has a classier, more easy-going feeling than Pont-Aven. I find an afternoon sat watching the waves from the planets bar, especially out of season, hard to beat.

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I'm a big fan if this ship and have said so many times. She manages to feel intimate and yet large at the same time and for me has a classier, more easy-going feeling than Pont-Aven. I find an afternoon sat watching the waves from the planets bar, especially out of season, hard to beat.

 

Yes, this sums up the Cap very well. A much more relaxing ship compared to the Pont-Aven and the panoramic view from Planets bar is not something than you can get from the Grand Pavois.

 

 

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The open-plan, walk-through layout was fully intended by her designers, to create a pavement cafe style atmosphere in her restaurant, for example. This layout is a feature of all of the original Superfast series.

 

"Pavement café style" atmosphere....that explains a lot. "Relaxing on a ferry" atmosphere would be better! I sailed on CF in June last year and did a voyage report at the time.

 

Liked:

Decent sized cabin, plenty of storage space, good sized bathroom & shower

Cabin was very quiet, I had the best night's sleep I've ever had on a ferry (in stark contrast to the noisy rattling of Pont Aven)

Excellent meal in the restaurant, but our table was not next to the central walkway

 

Not keen on:

Very steep ramps to and from Deck 1

Paying for tea/coffee in the Petit Marche then having to wait over at the bar in a second queue to get the drinks

Having sandwiches etc at a table which was technically in part of the bar area, but effectively in a corridor with people constantly walking past. It wasn't relaxing and we didn't linger, much prefer the self-service restaurant areas on other BF ships

Deck 10 was very unappealing, especially as there was no effort made to keep dogs in the designated area - some were given the run of the deck by their owners. Setting off from Santander it was uncomfortably hot up there anyway.

 

We spent most of the time in our cabin and I tend to agree with Rich that it is an ideal ship for a peaceful crossing if you want to just read or catch up on sleep.

 

 

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"Pavement café style" atmosphere....that explains a lot. "Relaxing on a ferry" atmosphere would be better! I sailed on CF in June last year and did a voyage report at the time.

 

Liked:

Decent sized cabin, plenty of storage space, good sized bathroom & shower

Cabin was very quiet, I had the best night's sleep I've ever had on a ferry (in stark contrast to the noisy rattling of Pont Aven)

Excellent meal in the restaurant, but our table was not next to the central walkway

 

Not keen on:

Very steep ramps to and from Deck 1

Paying for tea/coffee in the Petit Marche then having to wait over at the bar in a second queue to get the drinks

Having sandwiches etc at a table which was technically in part of the bar area, but effectively in a corridor with people constantly walking past. It wasn't relaxing and we didn't linger, much prefer the self-service restaurant areas on other BF ships

Deck 10 was very unappealing, especially as there was no effort made to keep dogs in the designated area - some were given the run of the deck by their owners. Setting off from Santander it was uncomfortably hot up there anyway.

 

We spent most of the time in our cabin and I tend to agree with Rich that it is an ideal ship for a peaceful crossing if you want to just read or catch up on sleep.

 

 

Agreed. I recently traveled on Cap Finistere to Spain and thought she was awful for the trip. The ship just seems like a series of corridors and passageways with no real focal points or heart. We ate in the restaurant and even that was split down the middle by a corridor..horrible. The food was good but atmosphere terrible. The reception desk to just seems to be an after thought in a corridor. Even the bar on there felt weird with a huge staircase at one end which made it feel very broken up. I think the problem is that wherever you go there doesn't seem to be an area that is open plan..especially the open decks. There is no central atrium or reception area. It just felt very odd to me and had all the soul of a motorway service station. Definitely a marmite ship it would appear.

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I travelled on the Pont Aven to Santander and came back on the Cap Finistere from Bilbao. There was a lot of difference between the 2. The Pont the restaurants were a lot better and the lay out too. The Cap mind you the cabin were far better then the Pont. As I agree on some I didn't like the lay out of the restaurant of the Cap as it was split up. It seem strange having people walk through the corridor. While the outside all you seem to do is go through a load of glass panels . So mixed feeling about the Cap Finistere

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The Deck 10 snack bar was open in March. Don't know about winter.

 

Agreed about lack of heart and central area from where to find the different aspects of the ship.

 

What is odd about the restaurant is that it is on both sides of the ship. On the outward leg, I thought that the restaurant was only on the starboard side as that was where we were asked to book our tables. Only on our return journey, when we decided to find parts of the ship we hadn't bothered with on the outward journey, did we find the "other half" of the restaurant on the port side, which seemed quite different in character for some reason. We were glad we had eaten throughout both legs of the journey on the starboard side. It seems bizarre to have access to a potentially noisy bar through what should be a civilised restaurant. (On our return trip, there was perhaps only a dozen or so people in the Planets Bar, with another four or so upstairs).

 

I found that having to report to the restaurant to book a table at a given time (or presumably run the risk of not getting a table) quite ridiculous. Why not have the facility open at all times at Reception?

 

Sitting in what appeared to be the main lounge area around the Petit Marché, the constant to and fro of passengers was wearing. But then there is always the cabin to go back to for a snooze.

 

I would sail on her again because of the convenience of the route and the pleasure of ferry travel, plus the magic of passing between the mainland and Ouessant at night, but never having experienced the Pont, I'd like to try her out. This is unlikely, though, as Santander is significantly further for us to drive than Bilbao. Any chance of swapping the Pont to Bilbao from time to time?

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I have crossed to Spain at least a dozen times on the CF and many more times on the PA. I would choose PA every time if my schedule permitted. I endorse all the criticism about the lack of catering alternatives on CF, but my biggest gripe concerns the location of lounges. On PA I always sit looking forward through the panoramic windows of the spacious forward lounge, and I find the experience quite splendid. On CF there is absolutely no forward view in the ship excepting from the up-market cabins. The main lounge has restricted views over the stern. I do not enjoy this experience, and to make matters worse the ceiling panels vibrate in time with the props, and the entertainers are extremely noisy.

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On our only CF return trip so far, we were spared entertainers. However, we did take part in a music quiz in the Planets Bar, and won a giant Toblerone.

 

Quite right about the lack of forward-looking aspects of CF.

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I booked the commodore cabin for my return trip on the Cap in March. The positive was we had a great forward view, the negative was we were punching the waves from a northerly. Mrs Dave was rather unwell trying to sleep. I went aft to the bar and the Cap was far more comfortable. In the waves, the aft bar is actually nicer than the forward cabins!

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I booked the commodore cabin for my return trip on the Cap in March.

 

Technical point. Cap Finistere does not have any Commodore cabins. The premium cabins on CF do not come up to the standards where BF are happy to apply the Commodore label to them. So they call them DeLuxe. (I think these cabins are the reason why DeLuxe was created as a category, in a similar way to the reason Club Plus (a step down again) was created on Armorique.

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Maybe I'm easily pleased. We've been on Cap Finistere about 3 times on our winter holiday to Spain in the motorhome, twice on the Sunday night 2-nighter. All I want is to get there, have a decent bed - it's ok - have a shower - excellent facilities (we take a pet-friendly cabin),- a good meal - we found the restaurant good quality, although the Pont Aven buffet is in a class of its own, - a reasonably quiet place to sit and use the laptop or read or whatever - which we can. Not interested in the tv or entertainment. It's a ferry, not the Queen Elizabeth. Suits us just fine. But then so does the Pont Aven.

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Technical point. Cap Finistere does not have any Commodore cabins. The premium cabins on CF do not come up to the standards where BF are happy to apply the Commodore label to them. So they call them DeLuxe. (I think these cabins are the reason why DeLuxe was created as a category, in a similar way to the reason Club Plus (a step down again) was created on Armorique.

Then a step down again is the Finistere cabin no kettle as Caps electrics can't cope.

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Then a step down again is the Finistere cabin no kettle as Caps electrics can't cope.

 

 

"I'm giv'n her all she's got captain, an' I canna give her no more power. She's n'a gonna take any more!", as one of your countrymen once said, Neil.

 

Are you telling me the Germans can build a ferry that can sail to Spain at 27 knots in 24 hours but can't boil a kettle? That's the last bit of civilisation British travellers will experience for the next two weeks, and the first thing they will want when they get back on board. Clearly she's unfit for purpose. Send her back!

 

​Ed

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Our return trip last weekend was another heavily loaded crossing, but once again, the CF did everything we needed - on time, never felt too crowded, good food etc. To be fair, her original passenger capacity would have included a large number of deck passengers, so had BF not significantly reduced her capacity, she could have been very uncomfortable indeed. Fortunately, this time, we were only on Deck 2 this time not right down on 1!

The reason the restaurant is split is that, has built, the area on the starboard side was the vessel’s cafeteria - called the Three Forks. When converted, BF decided to make the self-service server a into a drivers’ facility. It is a strange split setup… Especially as I think the different sides of the restaurant even have different opening hours!? However, I found using the starboard side had its advantages - for breakfast, it was far quieter than the port side - presumably because not many passengers knew it existed, which of course, perhaps suggests it is an ineffective setup from a commercial standpoint.

Speaking of the catering, I found some interesting discrepancies on board. Some meal choices were very good value, others surprisingly poor value. For example, in the Salad Bar, a great, fresh, heavily loaded pizza could be purchased for no more than £5.80 - but the pasta choice, all at £4.95, was a poor cardboard box of pasta with a dollop of sauce on top. The salads, all priced at just £4, were exceptional value - that price for a good size salad, including good portions of smoked salmon and poached salmon in the one I had. I don't know if this pricing is a unique setup purely on CF.

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Technical point. Cap Finistere does not have any Commodore cabins. The premium cabins on CF do not come up to the standards where BF are happy to apply the Commodore label to them. So they call them DeLuxe. (I think these cabins are the reason why DeLuxe was created as a category, in a similar way to the reason Club Plus (a step down again) was created on Armorique.

 

 

Yes, sorry got the terminology wrong!

 

Either way the bed was comfortable and we had a kettle. All I was trying to say was that the front cabins on the Cap, if the weather is lumpy, are a bit like a roller coaster with this one the bed disappears from under you.

 

I enjoyed it..

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Technical point. Cap Finistere does not have any Commodore cabins. The premium cabins on CF do not come up to the standards where BF are happy to apply the Commodore label to them. So they call them DeLuxe. (I think these cabins are the reason why DeLuxe was created as a category, in a similar way to the reason Club Plus (a step down again) was created on Armorique.

 

 

Yes, sorry got the terminology wrong!

 

Either way the bed was comfortable and we had a kettle. All I was trying to say was that the front cabins on the Cap, if the weather is lumpy, are a bit like a roller coaster with this one the bed disappears from under you.

 

I enjoyed it..

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