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Galícia, Salamanca and Santona - Newbuilds for Spanish Routes (e-flexers)


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2 hours ago, Danim24 said:

I think at best, it looks nothing more than a Economy class vessel from these photo's. It is certainly not a 'Cruise Ferry' to anywhere near the standard of Viking Line etc.

In general, the E-Flexers are a very bland and boring design externally and are only fit one purpose, that is for maximum load and better fuel economy. Of course that makes sense, but there a far better looking Ferries to please the enthusiasts eyes and other operators seem to make a better job of it than Stena RoRo have here. We can only hope for excellent interior design and passenger comfort. Only time will tell if BF have nailed it with Galacia when she is seen in the flesh, unfortunately, I do not hold much hope from these photos.

Which other operators have made better a better job?

Please let's not include Viking Grace or her sister currently being built, they serve mainly a foot passenger cruise market to the tune of over 8 million travellers a year and are not reliant on passenger vehicles and freight.

The most recent to sail the channel is W.B.Yeats which is a particularly ugly vessel and arguably, (well my opinion anyway), cheaply fitted out.

Galicia and her sisters will have suites, club cabins plus TV's and wifi in all cabin classes too. 

Have you looked at the link previously posted offering a virtual tour?

https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/ships/cruise-ferries/galicia

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Some more

And off she goes...

I can confirm, she does fit Millbay (this is from the opposite side of Plymouth Hoe, next to the barracks)    

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Is Galicia just not a tarted up Ro-pax? Nice cabin bit entertainment, cheap ish shopping choice of places to eat , what more do you want for just over a days sailing? 

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It should be fine, it is up to BF how they brand ships and it seems to have all of the main elements. This was a very efficient way of getting good ships with some customisations consistent with their markets.

If they wanted more customisations, they could have designed a bespoke ship targeted at a single route and appointed a German Shipyard to oversee it's creation, what could possibly go wrong ?

Whilst I am not a fan of the size of the Club cabins or the 'balcony' of the suites, I am looking forward to trying it out when I have time - probably on a 2 righter as the timing is quite good, however  I have chosen the PA from Plymouth next year as I like fresh air !

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5 hours ago, Danim24 said:

I think at best, it looks nothing more than a Economy class vessel from these photo's. It is certainly not a 'Cruise Ferry' to anywhere near the standard of Viking Line etc.

In general, the E-Flexers are a very bland and boring design externally and are only fit one purpose, that is for maximum load and better fuel economy. Of course that makes sense, but there a far better looking Ferries to please the enthusiasts eyes and other operators seem to make a better job of it than Stena RoRo have here. We can only hope for excellent interior design and passenger comfort. Only time will tell if BF have nailed it with Galacia when she is seen in the flesh, unfortunately, I do not hold much hope from these photos.

It can't be worse than ETRETAT or CONNEMARA! I still don't understand why BF operates these low-end ferries.

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Just now, LHCity said:

It can't be worse than ETRETAT or CONNEMARA! I still don't understand why BF operates these low-end ferries.

To keep the low-end routes operating , and Galicia will be far superior to either of the ferries you’re mentioned .

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2 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

To keep the low-end routes operating , and Galicia will be far superior to either of the ferries you’re mentioned .

Ships are closely linked to the quality of the route. Put a beautiful ship on any route, it will immediately become popular.

ETRETAT and CONNEMARA is simply a shame for BF. All the better if the E-Flexers improve the quality of service

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2 hours ago, neilcvx said:

Is Galicia just not a tarted up Ro-pax? Nice cabin bit entertainment, cheap ish shopping choice of places to eat , what more do you want for just over a days sailing? 

Well yeah they all are... MSM, Normandie, Armorique, Cap Finistere. For cruise ferries there's only your Pont Aven and Bretagne and ships like them are rarely built now as operators want and more often need them to be duel purpose.

Pride of Bilbao, the Val & Bretagne struggled on the Spanish routes as their ability to carry freight wasn't up to snuff... great people carriers but much of that on long sea routes doesn't pay the wages.

Freight accounts can also be forecast into future earnings, it's regular income and can be borrowed against, we passengers are too fickle.

At least BF take the trouble to make their RoPax accommodation to a higher standard than most. 

 

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7 hours ago, jonno said:

At least BF take the trouble to make their RoPax accommodation to a higher standard than most. 

At the same time imparting genuine French warmth and authenticity the second you step on board. One day I’ll try to quantify the cost difference between employing 150 French crew (and the massive hike in salaries and social charges that entails) compared to 50 or so Eastern European’s on a Visentini. Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of Latvians, Poles, Lithuanians who work on the Irish Ferries fleet and they’re great, hard working people, but in my opinion one of the main reasons BF have been (generally) so successful over the years is due to that French ambience.

It will of course be interesting to see how they convey a Spanish ambiance on the new E Flexers, but listening to the crew talking easily with Spanish lorry drivers while on French routes in what appears to me to be perfect Spanish I can’t see this being a hurdle. I’m very much looking forward to taking a closer look at Galicia once she starts her weekly Cherbourg run.

Chris

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4 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

At the same time imparting genuine French warmth and authenticity the second you step on board.

Definitely the French Authenticity, not so sure about the warmth when I accidentally forgot to use the santiser hidden around a corner, however that was authentic.

A crew of any type that reflects a Country is always good. I used to travel a lot and I liked all of the different cultures with most airlines being representative of their homeland - both good and bad. Emirates was always confusing as virtually their entire crew were imports and there were huge differences between how they performed the same functions.

Re Cruise ferries,it is basically a ferry with some bits added on, when the FCO banned cruises, a number of tweets queried this with BF and were firmly told that it is a ferry !

I think that we all have different views as to what makes a decent cruise ferry - for me it is a variety of places to sit, some optional entertainment and a decent restaurant with waiter service - at present that rules out all of the fleet, however in normal times it would also rule out the Armorique - does the Galacia have waiter service ?

I am very happy with the Etretat / Connemara for 8 hour night crossings, however don't really like them for day crossings as there are so few places to sit and the bed frame is not good when used as a seat, My favourite short crossing day ferry is the MSM as the cabins are great with the sofa option and beds disappearing into the ceiling.

Re a ship needs to look good - that is not important to me, normally my view of a ship is a ramp into a garage & I don't get to see it's elegant lines - it reminds me of a few years ago when the Metropolitan line in London used to run steam weekends, the enthusiasts paid for an expensive  steam train for 10 miles, however the view from one side was a normal train running parallel for the journey populated by people that had a normal ticket and a great view of a steam train for 10 miles !

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16 hours ago, hhvferry said:

Comparing the e-flexers to the Visentinis is like chalk and cheese

I'm certainly not doing that from a fit out point of view. But Stena Ro-Ro are knocking them out like off a conveyor belt (a bit like the Visentinis). As I mentioned, they are bland to the enthusiasts eye and my opinion is, cruise ferries should go the extra yard to attract our custom and reward to customer for the high price we pay. But, of course, BF have the monopoly so don't have to do this.

I may change my mind when or 'if' I get the chance to see her some time in the future. But I doubt I'll ever agree they are pretty from the outside. 😉

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14 minutes ago, Danim24 said:

But Stena Ro-Ro are knocking them out like off a conveyor belt (a bit like the Visentinis). As I mentioned, they are bland to the enthusiasts eye and my opinion is, cruise ferries should go the extra yard to attract our custom and reward to customer for the high price we pay. But, of course, BF have the monopoly so don't have to do this.

The trick is how you individualise a common product be it a ship or a plane. Externally the paint jobs on the eflexers help do that & I think that the Plaza Major looks stunning. The more standardisation of ships the better so that crews can easily swap around and lessons can be learnt from one ship and applied to others.

The Stena designers, Chinese yard and all of the specialists used have done a great job in the eflexers adding to the stock of quality ferries in Europe in a very significant way, The build seems to have been to schedule, not withstanding the pandemic.

Contrast that to the bespoke specialised build of the Honfleur - a total disaster & was probably always going to be so. 

I would be happy to see all of the BF ferries to be derivatives of the eflexer (presumably some would need to be shorter).

ps - re the comment about (a bit like the Visentinis) - that is actually good. I recently went on the Connemara for the first time recently and knew exactly what was where due to my Etretat experience.

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On 21/08/2020 at 18:14, Danim24 said:

I think at best, it looks nothing more than a Economy class vessel from these photo's. It is certainly not a 'Cruise Ferry' to anywhere near the standard of Viking Line etc.

In general, the E-Flexers are a very bland and boring design externally and are only fit one purpose, that is for maximum load and better fuel economy. Of course that makes sense, but there a far better looking Ferries to please the enthusiasts eyes and other operators seem to make a better job of it than Stena RoRo have here. We can only hope for excellent interior design and passenger comfort. Only time will tell if BF have nailed it with Galacia when she is seen in the flesh, unfortunately, I do not hold much hope from these photos.

I totally agree. Very poor design. They are possibly good ships but no personality at all..... Just my opinion about her external design.... 

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At the end of the day Galicia and her siblings were never going to be another Bretagne brimming with Goudies charm and character, I think the chances of that were squashed with the death of Pegasis and killed off almost entirely with Covid , what you have with Galicia is a win win for BF and passengers, the passengers get a good cabin , choices of places to eat and relax and BF get a ship that’s significantly cheaper to run than the other ships that sail or have sailed to Spain.

The only way we will get to sail on Bretagne 2 to Spain is if BF get significant funding from any of the French authorities that would fund such a deal which isn’t inconceivable BF have surprised us before and you never know how the cruise ship orders will pan out post Covid.

Anyway just my thoughts on the matter I was ready to sail on Galicia next August but the Mrs refused to go on such a long crossing.

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Most passengers will find that Galicia ticks their boxes. They’re going to Spain (or France, or onward to Portugal), that’s the destination not the ship. Yes it’s part of the journey and for that they want:

1) Comfortable night’s sleep - they’re promising the best mattresses in the fleet and allegedly the e-Flexers are very good sea boats. Add to that a TV in the cabin, Travelodge and Ibis Budget can manage it so it’s a minimum expectation these days.

2) WiFi - you can’t live with out it these days and the offering on most of the fleet is poor.

3) Food - I guess it’s helpful breakfast and dinner are included, the main restaurant looks quite capacious and going a la carte seems made for Covid.

Most passengers probably don’t care less where the lifeboats are, what the view is at sea, if their cabin door opens into a private balcony or shared deck since most won’t be in the anyway.

Its a common thing on proper cruise ships for the view to be obstructed by lifeboats on the main passenger decks. Only on the newest designs like Norwegian’s Breakaway class, MSC’s Seaside class and the various versions of P&O’s Iona are they sling below a promenade deck but that’s just a function of being nearly four times the size of Galicia.

The exterior doesn’t matter either, in fact I’d say Galicia is more attractive than Bretagne, it’s sleeker for sure. Most passengers just want to get on it and off it as quickly as possible. Not having to negotiate the horror of deck 5, be it on a Visinintini or Bretagne, is a boon.

And price. Not costing the Earth to get there so if the E-Flexers economy helps with that then that’s a bonus. It’s the masses of passengers who’ll pay for the ships, not a few enthusiasts or property owners with discount club memberships.

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2 hours ago, IanN said:

But the majority won't like the crossing time to Spain.

Neil's wife for one

There's also a lot who don't like the drive through France, it's those that BF want.

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1 hour ago, Solo said:

There's also a lot who don't like the drive through France, it's those that BF want.

I'm sure the freight companies and truck drivers feel the same as well , and they operate all year round not just for the summer holidays .

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12 hours ago, Seashore said:

Most passengers will find that Galicia ticks their boxes. They’re going to Spain (or France, or onward to Portugal), that’s the destination not the ship. Yes it’s part of the journey and for that they want:

1) Comfortable night’s sleep - they’re promising the best mattresses in the fleet and allegedly the e-Flexers are very good sea boats. Add to that a TV in the cabin, Travelodge and Ibis Budget can manage it so it’s a minimum expectation these days.

2) WiFi - you can’t live with out it these days and the offering on most of the fleet is poor.

3) Food - I guess it’s helpful breakfast and dinner are included, the main restaurant looks quite capacious and going a la carte seems made for Covid.

Most passengers probably don’t care less where the lifeboats are, what the view is at sea, if their cabin door opens into a private balcony or shared deck since most won’t be in the anyway.

Its a common thing on proper cruise ships for the view to be obstructed by lifeboats on the main passenger decks. Only on the newest designs like Norwegian’s Breakaway class, MSC’s Seaside class and the various versions of P&O’s Iona are they sling below a promenade deck but that’s just a function of being nearly four times the size of Galicia.

The exterior doesn’t matter either, in fact I’d say Galicia is more attractive than Bretagne, it’s sleeker for sure. Most passengers just want to get on it and off it as quickly as possible. Not having to negotiate the horror of deck 5, be it on a Visinintini or Bretagne, is a boon.

And price. Not costing the Earth to get there so if the E-Flexers economy helps with that then that’s a bonus. It’s the masses of passengers who’ll pay for the ships, not a few enthusiasts or property owners with discount club memberships.

If only we could get back to the romance and style of earlier DFDS North Sea passenger travel. Specifically thinking of the stylish 1974 built Dana Regina from Harwich to Esbjerg here. Lots of thought and investment put into the design of chairs, bars, decor and a stylish spiral staircase from restaurant to lounge bar upstairs. Decent live entertainment, an alternative disco / nightclub and loads of outdoor deck space. Also the excellent cold table spread in the restaurant with excellent views forward.

DFDS made a real effort to make travel by ship as part of the holuday. Definitely a huge step above ferry operators at the time. Now in the covid era and times where efficiences are needed at any cost, functionality often wins over style. As a child I loved travelling by DFDS such a shame those days are now long gone.

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Reading the Shippax news release it's interesting to note that they say Salamanca won't arrive until 2022. DFDS's Cote D'Opale will be delivered late June 2021.

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19 minutes ago, jonno said:

Reading the Shippax news release it's interesting to note that they say Salamanca won't arrive until 2022. DFDS's Cote D'Opale will be delivered late June 2021.

BF always said that Salamanca would be 2022 and Santona in 2023.

 

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1 hour ago, Nick Hyde said:

If only we could get back to the romance and style of earlier DFDS North Sea passenger travel. Specifically thinking of the stylish 1974 built Dana Regina from Harwich to Esbjerg here. Lots of thought and investment put into the design of chairs, bars, decor and a stylish spiral staircase from restaurant to lounge bar upstairs.

That staircase was also great if you enjoy unexpected drunken visitors appearing, at speed, into the restaurant from the bar above. It was eventually removed although despite the tale I'm not fully convinced this was the reason.

image.jpeg.34909fe37a5dec0e395f686064592cd9.jpeg

DFDS's evolution from the Dana Regina to Dana Anglia (Pont l'Abbe) in the space of four years is literally the text-book example of how shipowners have always sought to squeeze more in for less (the changes are detailed in the paper 'Car Ferry Design and Development' (1979) by Brian Corner-Walker, DFDS's Chief Superintendent Engineer). The Anglia was an interesting reaction to the oil crisis and how expensive ships like the Dana Regina had become to build and, where the Regina was rather old-fashioned in design the Anglia was ruthlessly rational and in some aspects quite familiar to modern eyes.

Corner-Walker, who had designed all DFDS's car ferries from the England onwards, himself said that it was almost impossible to build another ship like the Dana Regina: "Kay Korbing (the interior designer) was a very good architect indeed, but he was also quite astronomically expensive as all the materials he specified had to be the best imaginable - crystal lights where glass would have sufficed, leather, plate glass and specially commissioned artworks. Unfortunately as the 1970s progressed there was a growing feeling amongst DFDS's directorate that, however beautiful, such expense could not be justified from a business viewpoint".

Fortunately, when he was not chosen to work for DFDS for the Dana Anglia project, Korbing instead found productive work with Tor Line where he designed most of the Tor Britannia and Tor Scandinavia...

So this is what private shipowners have always sought to do: they do things to make money. The standards of the time and the requirements of passengers dictate what they provide and in this sense the Galicia and her sisters are just another rational investment - the interiors are very smart compared to the ships they are replacing but the whole design is an efficient and effective step-forward that should make BF money.

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For "impressive", I also think particularly of Fantasia and Fiesta (the former before Stena really messed with her, Fiesta / Seafrance Cezanne always remained the better ship IMHO)... that double deck forward lounge bar, the spacious reception area with that sweeping double staircase and skylights, the dome, the enormous windows in the aft bar with the skylight, and huge deck space. For architectural features I don't think anything came close - certainly nothing that P&O were operating on the same route - and whilst BF certainly have some impressive features individually, it was the "whole" that made Fantasia & Fiesta stand out. I don't think anything else has really got close to that look since, well not in UK waters, you'd have to go to Scandinavia for anything jaw dropping now.

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