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


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I was messing around this morning looking at Galicia bookings. I hadn't realised that there is not an option to book without the included meals which we would prefer. Also as CV members we get a Free breakfast anyway. 

So we between the two of us we end up with four breakfasts on both outbound and inboard crossings. That seems a bit crazy even for me to manage. If it's a bit bumpy on the Bay do you think BF will give a refund for meals not eaten.

  I do hope they keep PA running out of Plymouth 

 

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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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3 hours ago, IanN said:

  I do hope they keep PA running out of Plymouth 

 

I've checked as far as next August and from 26th March PA is scheduled for 2 round trips Plymouth -Roscoff each week.

Ideal for us for a 8 day break, is the out on Friday afternoon 13.15 arriving Roscoff 19.45 (only 20 mins from the port to Chez Breton). Return Sunday morning one week later, depart at 09.45 to arrive Ply 14.00 (only 1hr from port to Chez Cornwall). Bonus is a Club Voyage free cabin each way!

Armorique will also do 5 return trips

PA will also fit in 2 return trips each week Plymouth – Santander with a chance for mini-cruisers and a return trip Roscoff – Cork .

She is going to be a very busy girl next year –HOPEFULLY Covid permitting

 

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Forgot to mention the prices were eye watering. One Inside 2/4 berth outbound and an outside inboard + small car including CV membership £890.00 departing on the 6th of July. 

Crossing on the 04/04/2021 already booked on PA £648.00 OK it's earlier but still not in the peak time.

Will BF Price themselves out of the family 2 week holiday in Spain market with the high price and increased crossing time on Galica

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2 hours ago, IanN said:

Forgot to mention the prices were eye watering. One Inside 2/4 berth outbound and an outside inboard + small car including CV membership £890.00 departing on the 6th of July. 

Crossing on the 04/04/2021 already booked on PA £648.00 OK it's earlier but still not in the peak time.

Will BF Price themselves out of the family 2 week holiday in Spain market with the high price and increased crossing time on Galica

It's £1200 return in May using CV with a commodore suite + 8m motorhome aboard Galicia. 

Pont Aven for the same dates sailing from Plymouth in a deluxe outbound & 4 berth Club cabin inbound is over £1300 without the meals or C Lounge.

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25 minutes ago, jonno said:

It's £1200 return in May using CV with a commodore suite + 8m motorhome aboard Galicia. 

Pont Aven for the same dates sailing from Plymouth in a deluxe outbound & 4 berth Club cabin inbound is over £1300 without the meals or C Lounge.

Sorry I was not trying to imply Galicia was more expensive. I was more concerned about the actual price and the effect on BF bookings, I could drive through France and get a decent hotel and change for that sort of money. Accepting it would not be as relaxing.

From a personal point of view I would pay extra for the PA crossing time

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55 minutes ago, jonno said:

It's £1200 return in May using CV with a commodore suite + 8m motorhome aboard Galicia. 

Pont Aven for the same dates sailing from Plymouth in a deluxe outbound & 4 berth Club cabin inbound is over £1300 without the meals or C Lounge.

Eye watering prices indeed, as Ian said.  

Once the covid restrictions are over the two of us can fly to Hong Kong to see our prodigal son for £800 return. That's with SwissAir - not a notoriously cheap airline. 

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Talking of expensive, I just noticed another strange thing when I looked at booking Portsmouth – Cherbourg in December.

“Inside large 2 berth / 4 berth cabin £62 per cabin”

“Inside 2 berth cabin. Wheelchair accessible” - £43 per cabin"

There were no 2 berth cabins for non-wheelchair users. I wondered if you had to be a wheelchair user to have a 2 berth cabin if that is all you need. Or are these cabins available to all?

£62 seems a lot for a single traveller or a couple to pay for a midweek, mid-winter smallest cabin with no windows. The Ibis at Portsmouth was just £39 for the same night, free cancellation and a window!

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9 hours ago, IanN said:

I was messing around this morning looking at Galicia bookings. I hadn't realised that there is not an option to book without the included meals which we would prefer. Also as CV members we get a Free breakfast anyway. 

So we between the two of us we end up with four breakfasts on both outbound and inboard crossings. That seems a bit crazy even for me to manage. If it's a bit bumpy on the Bay do you think BF will give a refund for meals not eaten.

  I do hope they keep PA running out of Plymouth 

 

Surely on GALICIA the inclusive meals mean that there is no need for Club Voyage free breakfast?

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55 minutes ago, Altranter said:

Talking of expensive, I just noticed another strange thing when I looked at booking Portsmouth – Cherbourg in December.

 

“Inside large 2 berth / 4 berth cabin £62 per cabin”

 

“Inside 2 berth cabin. Wheelchair accessible” - £43 per cabin"

 

There were no 2 berth cabins for non-wheelchair users. I wondered if you had to be a wheelchair user to have a 2 berth cabin if that is all you need. Or are these cabins available to all?

 

£62 seems a lot for a single traveller or a couple to pay for a midweek, mid-winter smallest cabin with no windows. The Ibis at Portsmouth was just £39 for the same night, free cancellation and a window!

 


 

Yes Altranter, I spotted the same thing last night while trying to get at least one crossing on her before the Christmas break. Hey ho, I’m still aiming to be on the Monday night sailing ex Cherbourg on the 21st if anyone cares to join me. I agree it’s a bit pricey on your own but I might just try the 2 berth outside Commodore cabin at £77, a little Christmas treat to myself.

Chris

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2 hours ago, Altranter said:

I wondered if you had to be a wheelchair user to have a 2 berth cabin if that is all you need. Or are these cabins available to all?

They are wheelchair accessible cabins but not exclusively for wheelchair users only, and available to all .

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8 hours ago, IanN said:

Sorry I was not trying to imply Galicia was more expensive. I was more concerned about the actual price and the effect on BF bookings, I could drive through France and get a decent hotel and change for that sort of money. Accepting it would not be as relaxing.

From a personal point of view I would pay extra for the PA crossing time

I don't think it will effect them, premium cabins for Spain during 2021 Spring & Summer sailings are already selling out. They were already gone aboard PA from Plymouth when we booked Galicia for May as just like everyone else we did the comparison.

I agree that they're expensive. The cost of travelling to Spain on a BF vessel has never been... let's say 'competitive'... in terms of a one off ferry booking especially if not in conjunction with one of the Club Voyage memberships.

We used to travel through France all the time in the various vans we've had when heading to say Narbonne etc but now we hop on the ferry to Spain and drive across. 

The bulk of the business is bookings tied to holiday packages & group travel, examples being Le Boat, Caravan & Motorhome Club etc and BF's own Holiday France Direct which also includes Spain. Look at all of the Covid effected bookings referring to ABTA, they're package holidays.

28.5 hours from Portsmouth is ok by me as it takes an extra 2-3 hours to reach Plymouth for us anyway and with the continuing attraction of 'staycations' the motorways will only become more congested... the route offers us no advantage but for others, having Point Aven back and the ability to berth the E-Flexer has been one of the few good news stories this year. Is there a chance that we me may see sailing to Bilbao too?

Maybe the key here is choice, you're happy with your booking Ian and we are happy with ours which for an operator is what it's all about?

Galicia sailings gives you your meals which the majority will appreciate. Access to the C Lounge will also offer free hot food, drinks & snacks.

I hardly touch alcohol so I'm not bothered about having to pay for it. I can drink my own weight in Orangina for free... and what's not to love about that!

 

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34 minutes ago, jonno said:

I don't think it will effect them, premium cabins for Spain during 2021 Spring & Summer sailings are already selling out. They were already gone aboard PA from Plymouth when we booked Galicia for May as just like everyone else we did the comparison.

I agree that they're expensive. The cost of travelling to Spain on a BF vessel has never been... let's say 'competitive'... in terms of a one off ferry booking especially if not in conjunction with one of the Club Voyage memberships.

We used to travel through France all the time in the various vans we've had when heading to say Narbonne etc but now we hop on the ferry to Spain and drive across. 

The bulk of the business is bookings tied to holiday packages & group travel, examples being Le Boat, Caravan & Motorhome Club etc and BF's own Holiday France Direct which also includes Spain. Look at all of the Covid effected bookings referring to ABTA, they're package holidays.

28.5 hours from Portsmouth is ok by me as it takes an extra 2-3 hours to reach Plymouth for us anyway and with the continuing attraction of 'staycations' the motorways will only become more congested... the route offers us no advantage but for others, having Point Aven back and the ability to berth the E-Flexer has been one of the few good news stories this year. Is there a chance that we me may see sailing to Bilbao too?

Maybe the key here is choice, you're happy with your booking Ian and we are happy with ours which for an operator is what it's all about?

Galicia sailings gives you your meals which the majority will appreciate. Access to the C Lounge will also offer free hot food, drinks & snacks.

I hardly touch alcohol so I'm not bothered about having to pay for it. I can drink my own weight in Orangina for free... and what's not to love about that!

 

Yes the booking for April is a lot less but we did book it back in July If I booked now it would cost an extra £50.00.

We will probably next week look at booking a crossing for September next year it will be interesting to see how it compares to this year. 

As far as which port is concerned Portsmouth was always better for us but with a nine am departure we would need to have a hotel in Portsmouth and the 10pm one is for us far to late. Plymouth is longer to get to but PA's in and outbound times are more civilised and the extra cost of hotels not required.

Any way for us with a bit of luck some of the restrictions may be lifted unlike some who have bookings in the next couple of months

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29 minutes ago, wortley said:

17 June - 1 July - Direct flights Gatwick to Bilbao listed on Skyscanner for £51 return with British Airways. Takes 2 hours. Car hire on arrival. 

Yes but the wife always packs the kitchen sink. 3 weeks car hire in April @ £500 so £602 for two people. £648 for two plus car with BF and she can pack the kitchen sink and still fit in a few crates of red wine. Horses for courses.

For a short break the flight and car hire option is much cheaper the longer you stay the better the ferry option becomes

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1 hour ago, wortley said:

17 June - 1 July - Direct flights Gatwick to Bilbao listed on Skyscanner for £51 return with British Airways. Takes 2 hours. Car hire on arrival. 

I'd rather swim than fly!

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The pricing system has always been a massive con. I once owned a van, of which its footprint was no larger than a large car, yet I was always charge more, a lot more. It was not a commercial vehicle. The van I have now is a high top so I accept it can't go on dedicated car decks or mezzanine decks, but the pricing system is terrible.

I haven't travelled on Brittany ferries for a long time now because they have priced themselves out, especially as I live so near to Dover. Admittedly, I have not travelled to Spain yet but would drive through France if I did.

Competition without price fixing would be great, and I personally would love to see DFDS get into Portsmouth.

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2 hours ago, Danim24 said:

I personally would love to see DFDS get into Portsmouth.

DFDS were in Portsmouth, they decided to pull out in order to concentrate on Newhaven instead. There was nothing stopping them sailing to Cherbourg or any other French or Spanish port.

Swings an roundabouts with cars on a ferry, my Skoda Superb is nearly 5 metres long but costs the same as a 3.5m long Skoda Citigo.

The issue with the small vans such as the VW T6 is the width rather than standard height and length. They're over 2m wide which is the magic figure used on most ferries.

Personally I don't have problem with it, our van is 7.5m long & nearly 3m high. If that means paying a further £100-£200 then fair enough as I'm taking half the space of another vehicle and I'm lugging everything from the inflatable awning to the plancha.

 

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1 hour ago, jonno said:

The issue with the small vans such as the VW T6 is the width rather than standard height and length. They're over 2m wide which is the magic figure used on most ferries.

And there is the issue.....

A BMW 5 series is over 2m wide including door mirrors and I imagine so are an awful lot of larger SUV's. My Mercedes Vito was under 2m without mirrors, just like a BMW 5 series and no longer. My Mercedes Sprinter is only 200mm wider than said BMW although much taller.

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1 hour ago, Danim24 said:

And there is the issue.....

BF can decide their pricing structure to take account of their costs and to maximise the revenue on the trip, it is then up to us whether to buy a ticket or not. The tunnel can be cheaper for larger / higher vehicles or more than 2 passengers. I am more annoyed when they don’t follow their own contract which happened for a couple of months this year.

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2 hours ago, jonno said:

DFDS were in Portsmouth, they decided to pull out in order to concentrate on Newhaven instead. There was nothing stopping them sailing to Cherbourg or any other French or Spanish port.

 

 

DFDS closed the Le Havre route as it was loss-making for many years, after the initial success of the route when started by LD Lines.  Things might have been different had SUPERFAST VI, SUPERFAST X or NORMAN LEADER ever materialised but that's all in the land of "what if".

 

Western Channel is a tough market even with BF being largely the only player there.  It's been in decline for many years as the traditional British family holiday in France with a car has gone out of fashion which is a large part of the reason that BF has put so much effort into developing their Spanish market.

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23 minutes ago, RickOShea said:

It's been in decline for many years as the traditional British family holiday in France with a car has gone out of fashion

I suspect that the improved French Motorway network has had a role in this as well. It does not take that long from the tunnel to either Le Havre or Ouistreham and the roads in Brittany have improved as well.

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I know that BF, the region, départements and tourist boards, along with local businesses are working very hard at brainstorming ideas about how to market what they have to offer in an ever changing world, and indeed develop or change what they offer, to need tomorrow's trends. If they succeed, they may even be able to create trends?

Of course, everyone wants to do the same, but few are open minded enough to think outside traditional comfort zones.

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Rick is right when he says that the Family holiday with the car to France has gone out of fashion. For many it has...up until now. Suddenly the package tour by air looks like a very unappealing prospect, not to say un reliable.

  Colin is very right when he says the Tourist infrastructure of which BF is a big part, needs to re position themselves,market their strengths and from that create trends that will last. 

France can offer almost everything to everyone (well not slapper by the Med places thankfully). They need to market themselves better rather than rely on the afficionados just turning up which they seem to have done for too long. Now really is the time to go for it..

I wish them every success..we are hoping for 2 visits next year

 

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1 hour ago, Paully said:

Rick is right when he says that the Family holiday with the car to France has gone out of fashion. For many it has...up until now. Suddenly the package tour by air looks like a very unappealing prospect, not to say un reliable.

  Colin is very right when he says the Tourist infrastructure of which BF is a big part, needs to re position themselves,market their strengths and from that create trends that will last. 

France can offer almost everything to everyone (well not slapper by the Med places thankfully). They need to market themselves better rather than rely on the afficionados just turning up which they seem to have done for too long. Now really is the time to go for it..

I wish them every success..we are hoping for 2 visits next year

 

And that's a fair point.  I think it's entirely possible that at least in the next few years, we could see people preferring to holiday at near neighbours after all the hassles of 2020.  This will be compounded if we see less opportunities for air travel and air travel become more expensive.

Though, as usual, time will tell.  Given where I personally am sitting in life on 19 November 2020 compared to 19 November 2019 I'm not sure I have any appetite other than guessing what might happen tomorrow or next week.  Until proper normal returns, it's all guesswork.

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