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veryoldbear

Harwich to Hook

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Another little business trip. It's so much easier to go by ferry. You can just throw everything in the back of the car, overnight bag, laptop, PPE (Hi-viz Parka, Boots, Hard Hat, gloves, specs, the works), so much easier than going by air.

So off to Arijaba Sunday evening, a lengthy struggle with the Sunday traffic on the M40 and the M25. One great thing about the Stena boats is the early boarding, which when you are an old bloke and have just driven three+ hours can be a great relief. The outside 4-berth cabins on the Hollandica are just that little bit wider and one of the lower berths is a narrow double or a wide single, but you can certainly share if you are with a friend. I had the Stena lounge booked so it's nice to toddle up and play with the computer while having some free peanuts and couple of glasses of passable red.

Plenty of time in the morning AND you don't get kicked out of your cabin at an unsocial hour. Decent self-service breakfast but the bacon is absolute rubbish. And so onto the quayside in the pouring rain which didn't really let up all day. Then down to Vlissingen (Oh how I regret to passing of the old Sheerness to Vlissingen Olau run) to do the business and then struggle back to Hook. There are several good restaurants around, so dined sumptuously before joining the minimal queue to get onto the boat, early boarding again. Two glasses of red and out like a light for a full nights coma. A wee bit bumpy, but when you are on a boaty that is 240 metres long, it is not very much affected. Breakfast and already alongside, and easy disembark and then an appalling struggle with rush-hour traffic getting round Colchester.

So it goes. Normality returns and it will be Portsmouth - Ouistreham again on Friday

 

 

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On 11/29/2017 at 18:11, veryoldbear said:

Plenty of time in the morning AND you don't get kicked out of your cabin at an unsocial hour.

Currently aboard Britannica waiting to return to the UK. We were allowed to drive on at 1930 to find that unlike her sister, Hollandica, we revert back to UK time... ergo, 1830 for a 2100 departure. Plenty of time to enjoy a meal and a mooch around the shop before heading to your cabin. We've now found out that she docks at 0530 although breakfast is served for a further hour, another bonus especially after a 9 hour drive from Kiel.

I've not really noticed before but both of these Stena vessels have 8 vehicle decks 7 of which can carry freight vehicles. I don't know if she's had further work done to her but she's different to the deckplans on google, all of her bars, cafe and restaurant are on deck 9 and her cabins overlooking the bow are on deck 10.

Edited by jonno
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From what I remember it's a good shop on this route - nice selection of Belgian/Dutch beers, much better than P&O or DFDS.

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33 minutes ago, Ryan_H said:

From what I remember it's a good shop on this route - nice selection of Belgian/Dutch beers, much better than P&O or DFDS.

The DFDS shop is larger with a wider selection. There's not a great deal of choice on the Harwich ships.

Everything from reception, shop, Stena Lounge, 3 small bars, self service, very small restaurant, internet, slot machines, play area plus gaming tables is shoehorned into deck 9, everything below that is vehicle space, decks 10 & 11 are cabins from the bridge to the funnel.

Yes, her cabins are comfy, airy and modern but I wouldn't want to be aboard if she's carrying her full 1500 pax, her public spaces would be heaving. She has less free public area & outside deck space than the Cap' and she can feel a little claustrophobic when full.

Been on them both twice now and although as said her cabins are excellent, some of the best I've been in...we'll have no worry E-Flexer wise on that score, neither of them offer the same level of customer facilities as any of BF's full service nor the cruise ferry experience of DFDS.

What is interesting is that her deck 8, where the lifeboats live,  has been built with future conversion in mind if required. The window spaces can be filled and the vehicle deck configured for public areas, restaurant and more cabin space. Easily transformed into a 2000 pax full fat long sea vessel and still have a very generous freight capacity, clever thinking.

On current spec however I'd have them both in Economie livery from a service level viewpoint as they are both very freight focussed offering the traveller far less than BF's short sea route to Caen.

 

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Their passenger capacity is 1200 and they are much longer than any of Brittany Ferries' ships.   I find the night crossings very convenient, but the public areas are pretty awful, with a small bar area squeezed next to the cafeteria.  Drink prices are outrageous, perhaps 25% more than Brittany Ferries' and beer is sold in "large", "medium" and "small" glasses with no indication of the actual quantities.  

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11 hours ago, GeoffHamer said:

Their passenger capacity is 1200 and they are much longer than any of Brittany Ferries' ships.   I find the night crossings very convenient, but the public areas are pretty awful, with a small bar area squeezed next to the cafeteria.  Drink prices are outrageous, perhaps 25% more than Brittany Ferries' and beer is sold in "large", "medium" and "small" glasses with no indication of the actual quantities.  

They maybe a lot longer than any BF ship but their superstructure from deck 9 upward is only 150m, it's why as you correctly pointed out she can only carry 1200 pax. 

Their "large" glasses are 500ml, 68ml less than a Brit pint.

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