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1 hour ago, Solo said:

Didn't expect a reply that quick Jim, you must on top of this at all hours, well done.

You're welcome - though, it does show I do need to get out more (and not challenge myself to build a new section of the site before Newsnight starts)!

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Just realised that the new all singing and dancing web site is up and running, well done guys it's looking good. Despite over 25 years in IT I still don't always like change but give me a couple of days and I will get the hang of it. I am looking forward to the gallery, I am just a sucker for a pretty picture especially if it is something mechanical.

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On 06/03/2017 at 20:42, Gareth said:

You guys have both done an incredible job with this Jim, and it seems to have gone more smoothly (and more quickly) than envisaged.  Well done, and the new site seems to have been very well-received. :)

Gareth is a good choice for site moderator! Glad a true Brittany Ferries enthusiast can work to ensure that this site works to its very potential! 

Well done on the redesign! It looks terrific! 

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7 hours ago, cvabishop said:

All that seems to be happening at the moment is that people are posting photos! :S

Is nothing else of interedt going on?

I'm sure there will be a strike or a breakdown soon enough, or hopefully the new build will start.

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I was thinking just the same thing yesterday myself. Apart from a few cancelled sailings, I get the impression that this winter season has been relatively uneventful. Ok, I know we are only in mid-March for now but i'm pretty sure I can count the number of weather-related disruptions on the fingers of a single hand. The worst of the weather seems to have passed either to the North of the UK or across the central part of France and only the Biscay sailings have been significantly affected. Maybe the shutting down of Roscoff-Plymouth, although unpopular with some, makes sense during the low season after Christmas to minimise the impact such storms have on operations. 

On another matter, but somewhat related, I find it strange that there is no clear point in the calendar when BF switch from Winter to Summer timetables with each line doing its own thing. I was looking into the possibility of booking a short visit back to the UK over the long Easter weekend and wishing to waste as little time travelling as possible (so overnighting would be the solution) and spend as little money as possible (so overnighting is not the solution). I thought I would be able to use NEX but then discovered that in their wisdom BF have decided she should start her summer season the week after Easter. I'd love to know the logic for that, particularly as that's towards the end of the school holidays. I have found a special offer for up to 4 days away, car included, that can start from either side of the Channel which might work but which will require days off work. We'll see. Ed

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There's a reasonably clear point in the calendar Ed - 28 March.  On that day, CF re-enters service, PA reverts to her summer schedules, Bretagne moves onto her "off-peak" summer schedule (6 weekly sailings in each direction with a northbound overnight on Tuesdays), Etretat and BDS revert to their summer schedules and Armorique steps up to summer off-peak at Roscoff.

Only NEX remains off for another month.  Bretagne and Armorique only move to their full peak time summer schedules during the actual school summer holidays.

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26 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

Interestingly the Armorique only does 2 I think sailings from Plymouth on Sunday morning both in August which is a shame as it's my ideal sailing got on it this year though.

She does 2 sailings from Plymouth every Friday and every Sunday throughout the July / August summer peak. 2 sailings from Roscoff every Wednesday and every Saturday through the same period.

Edited by Gareth
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Right enough I was looking at the 730 line which is one sailing  seems a shame to limit it to 7 sailing though I suppose they know the demand though , I still work on Scottish school holidays which start and finish earlier than English ones was always good when the kids were at school to get cheap early holidays.

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6 minutes ago, Danish Ferry Person said:

Are all the old posts gone? 

 

Only I can't find the DFDS Updates one... 

 

DFP 

They're all still there... Link below.

The URL will have changed.

 

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Following my post last week, I have just found a similar (but better) promotion for the Easter weekend on the French website: 129 euros return for a car and two people for a stay of 5 days or less. It seems a bit of a steal so I've booked it. Even with the St Malo distance supplement applied and a cabin back overnight plus insurance the total only came to 245 euros. It will also give me the chance to travel out on Normandie which I have not used since 2010. I hope there will be some on-board activities organised to keep Cabin-kid 1 occupied as it's during the school holidays. If anybody from BF is reading this post, thanks for the offer as pricing your crossings like that will get far more people to book out od season (the same reservation without the offer would have come to around 480 euros) and having saved that cash I can now spend some of it in the on-board restaurants and shops. Ed

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Well spotted Ed; the same Happy Ferry campaign appeared about 3 or 4 years ago but since then offers on the French website have been limited to 10% off inclusive holidays in Ireland, Spain or Portugal and of no use to me whatsoever. It should also be pointed out that after all the flak you (rightly) aimed in their direction about prices on the French website often bearing no relation to the UK equivalent, this one is substantially cheaper when compared with current offers ex UK.

 

Chris

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I was all ready to book my trip via the UK version of BF's site, and take a couple of daytime crossings keep the cost down despite the waste of time, when I noticed the new offer appear on our version of the site. This way I get a full extra day in the UK and can come back into St Malo and therefore be back in the office (as it were) by lunchtime. I have got around the problem of the early departure from Ouistreham (which in the past was solved by staying with family 5km from the port but who are away that week) by booking a room at the Formule 1 motel in Caen for the price of 25 euros. I have not used one of these since 2006 but have heard that the comfort and service has been improved and the one in Caen doesn't seem too near the motorway for the noise to be a problem. I'll only be in the room for around 9 hours but I'd rather pay 25 euros for perhaps 8 hours reasonable sleep than 100 euros for a 4-berth cabin (as that is all that was available overnight) with only 6 hours sleep if lucky. Ed

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I wish you luck in your Formule 1 room Ed; my only 2 experiences in these establishments were followed by never, ever, et ne jamais non plus again! In theory they could be ok and may be lucky, but because they are the cheapest on the market they tend to attract a less than savoury clientele, and my no-smoking room in Montpellier, a last minute booking for a wine fair, smelt as though the linen had been washed in cigarette ash. I prefer the B&B chain or Ibis Budget, more expensive but still half the price of your 4 berth cabin.

On that point, if cabins on overnight sailings are underbooked  BF will sell you a "couchette dans une cabine à partager" or berth in a shared cabin. I generally leave my booking until the last minute, because I often don't know when or where until very late. Last wednesday I had an inside 4 berth cabin on MSM to myself for £25; I'm not always that lucky though O.o

I agree with you Gareth about the northbound appeal. Assuming MSM2 does eventually get the go-ahead it will be interesting to find out what speed she will make, no clue on the initial press release to date. If only 15 minutes could be shaved off the day crossings to allow another 30 minutes on the UK-France overnight crossing it would help.

 

Chris

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  • 1 month later...

I just thought I would update this page following my trip back to the UK last weekend and start off by saying that the BF offer was excellent (a car and two passengers for 129 € return - the basic price to which you could add cabins or extra passengers) and was for once cheaper than DFDS via Dieppe.

Cabin-girl and I had decided to spilt the two Cabin-kids up for the long Easter weekend due several weeks of them winding each-other up. I took the elder (8) to visit her grandparents and cousins etc in Hampshire/Surrey and my wife spent the weekend with her family in Laval with the younger (4).

On Thursday evening we drove up to Caen (stopping in Avranches to eat at McDonalds as a treat and because they have a Smurf film tie-in promotion running at the moment) and took our twin-room at the Formule 1 motel. I had been hesitant to book this given previous bad experiences but the welcome from the receptionist (at 10.30pm when I had expected the place to be unmanned) was excellent. He tried to sell us breakfast but did not insist once I explained we were catching the ferry and gave us a room at the back of the building at the far end of a corridor to be as quiet as possible. The room was clean and perfectly acceptable for 25€. The toilets were also fine with one per 8 rooms if my calculations are correct. We didn't use the showers having both done so before leaving home so I can't comment on them. The bed was quite comfortable and the hotel quiet until around 3am when the first person got up to use the toilet which then became a contagion and one by one everyone else in the corridor followed suit so it took half-an-hour for us to get back to sleep once the doors had stopped banging. For the price it would be unfair to complain and overall it was a good experience and might tempt me to try them again in the future.

We caught Normandie from Ouistreham in the dense fog which quickly burned off. We went to the Deauville restaurant for breakfast which was excellent and surprisingly cheap. When the time came to pay I was asked for only 12€ and not the 17€ I had imagined as for some reason they didn't charge me for my daughter's breakfast - perhaps believing she was 5 rather than 8. Normally this would have elicited howls of injustice but the free goody-bag soon compensated for that. The staff on board seemed perfectly friendly (despite recent reports to the contrary) and competent although perhaps a little distracted/bored at times. The one good point about the BF shop staff compared to those on shore is that they are not always checking their mobile phones when there are no customers at the tills and then hastily putting them away when one arrives. The on board entertainment for the kids was fine - ballon sculpting but my daughter missed out on taking one home - and the play area was clean and not too busy. The trip passed relatively quickly (breakfast, play, entertainment, shopping, DVD on computer, lunch, outside for arrival, relatively quick immigration checks - 20 minutes from ramp down to M27) and convinced me to reconsider the route for future holidays. I have not used the line for perhaps 6 years due to the age of my kids and would still avoid the afternoon/evening crossing as you can only fit in one meal and the overnighter as it's too short for a decent sleep but the morning departure time is fine.

Coming back on Monday evening we took Bretagne to St Malo. We were on deck 3 within 10 minutes of check-in, so very efficient but then had to wait another 20 for our cabin to be ready. Whether this is a ploy to sell more food on board I don't know but it worked. We had already had an early dinner so it was just cakes/tarts for dessert but they were as good as usual. We then went to the shop and watched a children's magician do some tricks - pretty poor performance and a very repetitive routine but there were only around 8 kids and a few adults in attendance so quite dispiriting for him. We then stayed on and watched the more adult magic and comedy show which was really good (Agi and George - if memory serves) and my daughter was much more impressed. We then showered and went to bed. We woke up before the music began and were among the first in Les Abers for breakfast (they charged me for my daughter this time around). Again it was very good and the view as the sun comes up over St Malo is always difficult to beat. We left the vessel on time and were the 11th car off which meant we passed through immigration in record time and were in Rennes by 9am.

So, all in all, a great trip and well worth it given the offer price. Ed

 

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