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Presumably the immigration staff are rostered on the basis of the published timetables. If you had arrived at the scheduled time then perhaps most of the Bretagne crowd would have been trundling up the M275 by the time you joined the end of the queue.

I suppose its a bit like the situation when you fly to the UK from the States with a strong tailwind, cross the English cosat early and then have to circle around in the stack fot half an hour or more until a landing slot becomes available.

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There never seems to be enough immigration staff at Plymouth when they only have one arrival to deal with  I think the problem is lack of staff in general a common problem in lots of services across the UK.

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I dread the embarkation and disembarkation, especialy at Portsmouth. Compared to their airline competitors, BF is moving in the opposite direction. When I fly to France, the aircraft gets more compressed and horrible over time, but getting through the airport has improved enormously (eg e-passports, greatly improved security checks etc). But with Britanny ferries it is the other way round, the ships get better all the time, but the terminal experience has got worse, especially queues at immigration and general handling of boarding / disembarkation.

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Agreed that aircraft are increasingly horrible and uncivilised but you also have to turn up 2 hours in advance for short haul and 3 hours for long haul plus time spent in parking if you arrive by car so even if security is reasonably OK you still have to sit around for ages. Once you are on the aircraft it can be 20-30 minutes before you actually take off due to the queue of planes. I still think the ferries represent a much better experience overall if you are travelling by car. I haven't had experience as a footie though.

Usually it's no more than 30 minutes at most between arriving at the port and boarding and maybe the same at most to get off depending on what ship you are on. After you get off an aircraft it is often a 15 minute walk to immigration followed by a wait for your luggage on the carousel and the desperate hope that it hasn't gone adrift. Then you have to wait for a bus to the car park.

No comparison really in my view.

 

Edited by cvabishop
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During fifteen years plus of living in France and travelling to the UK, and family holidays in France every year before that, I've experienced flying and sailing over a number of routes.

I don't know if it's an age thing, but I have come to abhor air travel and to love the car and ferry alternative. Providing, that is, that I can get a decent night's sleep and preferably a good meal. It's largely a matter of people's budget, of course, and there's no way I would have afforded Saint-Malo<>Portsmouth plus four dinners and four breakfasts when the kids were little. As I have said, we did holiday in France every year in those days, but using short crossings or by having shares in P&O for the shareholder reductions on the Southampton/Portsmouth crossings.

The horror of going through the airport security detectors, taking my belt off and trying to hang on to my trousers whilst recovering (juggling) my hand luggage, coat, phone, coins, keys and everything else from those conveyor belts is just too much these days. On a couple of occasions I have failed to pick up my passport or my boarding card and then had to do the tour of the facility finding an official who may have recovered them. Then, yes, the hassle of baggage recovery at the destination and the hope that someone is there to meet you and take you onward. Or the worry I feel whenever I've hired a car ...

In contrast, I far prefer the serenity of passing through the ports in my comfy car, maybe having a coffee in the terminal before boarding, having a cabin instead of being hunched up on aircraft seats that are too small, and then being served a very acceptable meal by professional staff in the Bretagne or Pont restaurants. What's not to like?

Airports ... They're giant retail outlets trying to flog you all sorts of luxury stuff you have never wanted. Over-preened, over-made-up female assistants and over-familiar male sales staff almost haranguing you as you make the enforced walk through the "duty free" shops ... Ugh!!!

We're looking at taking a holiday elsewhere in the autumn. It'll mean flying. Aarrgghh.

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I love flying - especially Thai  Airways - they give me a free gin and tonic soon after I sit down,  there's a seat back TV with up to date free films on demand, they bring me a free dinner on a tray,  a free brandy afterwards if I ask nicely, and an orchid for my wife as we land.  Can the ferry companies match that? 

Edited by wortley

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Business Class ...I wish 😀   

Two of us fly Economy to Thailand for roughly the same price as a ferry across the Bay of Biscay to Spain would cost us -   in 12 hours instead of 24, and with no rough seas.   Admittedly the ferry includes the car as well - but none of the in flight service I mentioned - all included in the air fare as you say. And you yourself know that the Cruise Ferry tag is a bit of an empty boast compared with real cruise ship service. 

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Well it isn't actually 12 hours is it as you have to be at the airport 3 hours before and it usually takes half an hour at least to clear formalities at the other end and collect your baggage.

Still, each to his own. On the occasions that I have done flights of 10 hours or more I have found that being incarcerated in a cramped cattle class seat to be a pretty dreadful experience and my wife is climbing the walls by the time we reach our destination. Not the best way to start a holiday. We did splash out on premium economy to and from Vancouver on one occasion and it was rather better but cost a lot as well.

We have done the Santander route a couple of times on Val de Loire and it was OK but not so relatively expensive back then. We only use the Western Channel and Dover routes these days and the BF facilities are adequate for an overnighter or a 6 hour back from Caen. Far less stressful than flying in every respect and we feel that the holiday starts when you drive on to the ship rather than when you escape from the airport!

We are doing short breaks these days, this year we have two driving trips in the UK, one in France using BF (Loire Valley), a week in Greece with a hire car from Athens and a week in September on Lake Garda where we will use the ferries to get about. Variety is the spice of life and only two trips involve a flying toothpaste tube.

Edited by cvabishop

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Yes, you see Wortley doesn't mention the bit about losing your trousers or having some metal gadget waved between your legs.

I've done loads of two-hour flights between UK and France, and the actual flying bit is tolerable. I mean, it's little more than a bus service, really, in terms of time. It's the bits with my feet on terra firma I really dislike.

But when I did a 13-hour flight non-stop Heathrow-Johannesberg I had really had enough after four hours on one of the most uncomfortable seats that South African Airways could have bought! (In fairness, we had a slightly more modern version of the Airbus A330 for the return journey, and it wasn't quite as bad). I have never been anywhere near as uncomfortable in a ferry cabin - or anywhere else for that matter.

I couldn't be bought off for a G&T, Wortley. I'd need a couple of gallons of the stuff!

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People with pets at Plymouth should be put in their own line to book in. I'm fed up watching folk going backwards and forwards with a scanner. Even worse when they can't remember which of their dumb pets they are scanning. Women with strident voices talking in the bar!

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This post isn’t so much ‘Grumps’ as ‘Greatly Amused’ Corner !

A couple of weeks ago arriving at Pompey ex St Malo, we ended up sat in our car on Deck 5 before just about everybody else. It wasn’t the  ‘rush to get down there’ (honestly!), just that the need to vacate our day cabin + Mrs G’s inability to stand around + the doors were open.

Anyway ........... having been parked right by the lift, we had a grandstand view of everybody emeging in to the garage and trying to find their car.  We've all done it & it is disorientating, but this particular couple were, shall we say ‘something else’.

They emerged the first time and immediately split to try to find their car.  No joy, and they returned after a few minutes.  Back in to the stair well, presumably to try on the other side.  This charade was repeated on a further two occasions, with both of them becoming increasingly frenetic.

After what was now 3 attempts, they disappeared for about 5 minutes (no problem with holding anybody up on the dreaded deck 5) and then returned with a member of Bretagne’s reception staff.  “Don’t worry, we’ll find your car”, she said.

We speculated as to whether she also asked “Are you sure that you had a car with you when you boarded?  If so, can you remember (roughly) the model & colour?”

 

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@Gardian I haver adopted the practice of snapping a picture of the nearest stairwell with my phone, making sure to get the letter/number in shot. I can partly understand what happens, because quite often when you park up there aren't that many cars around you, but when you return, it's chocka and you just can't see that silver Focus that you were sure was alongside you when you parked. I also photograph hotel door numbers in these days where you gate a key card that you just tuck into your wallet.

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Such confusion is easy in the Tower Street Car Park in Winchester - be warned. There are entrances from various street levels that take you to completely identical but different floors...

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On 20/05/2018 at 21:40, Gardian said:

This post isn’t so much ‘Grumps’ as ‘Greatly Amused’ Corner !

A couple of weeks ago arriving at Pompey ex St Malo, we ended up sat in our car on Deck 5 before just about everybody else. It wasn’t the  ‘rush to get down there’ (honestly!), just that the need to vacate our day cabin + Mrs G’s inability to stand around + the doors were open.

Anyway ........... having been parked right by the lift, we had a grandstand view of everybody emeging in to the garage and trying to find their car.  We've all done it & it is disorientating, but this particular couple were, shall we say ‘something else’.

They emerged the first time and immediately split to try to find their car.  No joy, and they returned after a few minutes.  Back in to the stair well, presumably to try on the other side.  This charade was repeated on a further two occasions, with both of them becoming increasingly frenetic.

After what was now 3 attempts, they disappeared for about 5 minutes (no problem with holding anybody up on the dreaded deck 5) and then returned with a member of Bretagne’s reception staff.  “Don’t worry, we’ll find your car”, she said.

We speculated as to whether she also asked “Are you sure that you had a car with you when you boarded?  If so, can you remember (roughly) the model & colour?”

 

Forgetting your car of course seems to be a common theme at present!

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-44209773

 

image.thumb.png.4c2663a30b4a637087d74f2cdf1ef14d.png

Edited by AdamW

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(1) People who HAVE to be at the front of the queue.

(2) Out of control children/teens.

(3) Drunken adults! Rowdy passengers (Newcastle-Ijmuiden for instance.)

(4) Ridiculously awkward and tight parking on deck (King seaways.)

(5) Ample deck space closed off to passengers (Stena Hollandica/Britannica.)

(6) Unannounced early departures.

(7) Early arrrival times.

(8) 'Door slammers'

(9) People who turn car engines on in the garage despite repeatedly being told not to do so.

(10) Egg sandwiches.

 

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