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JEFF COTT

SCHOOL PARTIES

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Travelled MSM last week, very quiet apart from French school party. About six British guys were trying to watch the FA cup final, a few of the school party were nearly thrown overboard.

I have a suggestion for BF, perhaps they could purchase a barge to put the school parties on and tow it behind the ferry.

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Back in the day I remember being confined to a dedicated lounge for most of the trip (P & O to Le Havre) with films shown to keep us amused and we were then accompanied on trips to the shop or cafeteria. We certainly weren't left to run around the vessel. On one trip the only people in the self-service were me and the PE teacher as everybody else was either in the toilets, curled up in their seats trying to sleep or rolling around in the corridors as the ship plunged through the waves. I recall being given a refill of my chip bowl as no-one else was buying them and the serving staff couldn't work out what to do with them all. Ed. 

Edited by Cabin-boy

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I use Pont Aven in and out of Plymouth and have two hideaways where school parties don't find me  - La Flora restaurant and a free cabin on Sunday mornings back from Roscoff. 

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Sadly, I cannot see an effective way to curb school parties disrupting the usual passengers, due to the unpredictability of the students... Sadly the only way is good teachers, and staff not being afraid to call the teachers and children out when they do wrong.

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I am on MSM at the moment along with at least 3 coachloads of French kids who have been making life a misery by running riot around all the public spaces screaming and yelling. No effort being made to control them.

Not good enough really. They should be confined 30 to a cabin in my view....

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In fairness to BF, during night crossings at least, they make an announcement requesting that all school parties to return to their cabins or reclining seat lounges after a certain time. 

Other than that, American school parties seem to be louder than the rest. Maybe because they speak English but that's the impression.  Last year on the MSM I overhead two female American students freak out because they had been assigned a cabin which "only had one bed". It was fun listening to them as they tried to come up with a solution their predicament!  The next morning another American student swiped a bottle of mineral water from the self-service. The cashier spotted it, approached her and requested payment. She fumbled inside her purse and reluctantly handed over payment. She then proceeded to call him all sorts of names to her clique of friends. So, not only in the cabaret where the entertainment happens. 

 

 

 

 

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It is why I ususlly plan my trips outsidcof school holidays with regards to English kids, and avoid weekends.  On Barfleur school parties are normally caged in the reclining lounges and you don’t see them...😁

I find French kids the noisiest though, but I found them better behaved.  When I went on Barfleur when she was in Dover we had large parties of both English and French kids, myself and my travelling companion spent a bit of time working out which was which from a distance so we couldn’t catch what they were saying.  We tried to guess from behaviour alone.

Edited by Khaines

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I am always suprised that the school parties travel on the more expensive routes, rather than the cheaper ones - but they don't bother me anyway - theycan be quite entertaining!

 

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25 minutes ago, nottingham said:

I am always suprised that the school parties travel on the more expensive routes, rather than the cheaper ones - but they don't bother me anyway - theycan be quite entertaining!

 

I quite like reading the grumpy old men comments they make me feel quite young 😉

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Justifiably grumpy I think. Having been awake much of last night due to something indeterminate I had eaten yesterday followed by an early start for a 5 hour drive to Ouistreham with another hour and a quarter drive at the UK end I had been rather looking forward to a relaxing crossing on MSM to recharge my batteries before the second leg as it were.

At the age of 70 and with my hearing aids cutting out from the ambient noise levels from the frogspawn I was doomed to disappointment.

Enjoy your experience of feeling young Neil, it won't last as long as you imagine.

Still, while there is life there is hope so make the most of it.

Colin

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6 hours ago, cvabishop said:

frogspawn

Love it. 😀 That's the best collective noun I've ever seen to describe French kids. I may borrow it, if you don't mind. Ed. 

Edited by Cabin-boy

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9 hours ago, nottingham said:

I am always suprised that the school parties travel on the more expensive routes, rather than the cheaper ones - but they don't bother me anyway - theycan be quite entertaining!

 

I'll never forget this school party moment when I was on the sundecks of MSM next to a group of school kids -> 

Kid 1 "Sir, I thought we were going to Portsmouth, not Dover"

Teacher: "No, we're going to Portsmouth"

Kid 2 "Someones stolen the ship then, cos those are them white cliffs of dover"

DFP: "WOW.....!" 

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1 hour ago, neilcvx said:

As a masochistic dummy who took secondary schoolchildren on as many as seven different trips abroad each year for getting on for thirty years, I have to say that I laughed my socks off at that tale. Pity the Twitter links didn't work, but that didn't really matter. I think we got the right impressions!

My own experiences were with kids from Birmingham (Handsworth) and Burnley - hardly the straw hat brigade. It was never as bad as this guy's trip, but we did have one 14-year-old who escaped his exchange visit host family and ran up the railway line between a suburb of Paris and the city centre.

On my trips, staff were never allowed to congregate in the bar. There was always someone there on shift at our "muster station", and there was trouble if any of our lot were caught running on board. Staff regularly patrolled the public areas. Kids were told that that if they were spotted doing anything wrong they would spend the rest of the crossing with staff. There were no miscreants (that we knew of!)

I'm pleased to say that our numerous bunches of unsophisticated, brash, naive youngsters, many of whom had never travelled out of their own town boundaries, were never the subject of a complaint from ferry staff or travelling public.

And to think that the poor Dad writing in The Poke was at the end of his tether before they'd even arrived at the Science Museum ... It's all about setting boundaries ...

... And of course, about enjoying the daft, illogical and unbelievable banter of a great bunch of kids - yes, great, but many of them hadn't even mastered the art of eating with a knife and fork, or indeed had any apparent familiarity with eating in a public space. We did wonder just what some parents did to/with/about their offspring. God knows what their home lives were like, some of them. Quite often, the most important part of a school trip was the civilising influence of my colleagues rather than the stated educational goals.

Thanks for posting that, Neil. Made my day!

Edited by Jardinier
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More years ago than I care to remember, I was one of a quite large school party from Victoria - Paris St Lazare (via Newhaven - Dieppe). We were 14-ish.

The ships were the ‘Brighton’, ‘Lisieux’, & ‘Arromanches’  (3 yrs of it). There was a 4th, but can’t remember her name.

The crossing was 4 hrs and we were ‘parked’ in a sort-of dormitory below decks.  It must have been horrible for any other travellers.

Bear in mind the size of the vessel then - our presence must have been 10x more obnoxious !!!

 

 

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Though I did not take as many groups as Jardinier, I did my share of them, mainly with younger children, and echo his experiences. We always found BF very helpful and they usually allocated a reclining seat lounge for our exclusive use. The sign on the door indicating that fact did not seem to deter some of the other passengers though, and as it was "our" space, I found no reason to stop them letting off a bit of steam after being strapped into a coach seat for some hours beforehand. (Nottingham, that is why we used the longer crossings travelling between the Midlands and Normandy - shorter sea crossing = longer time on a coach). We set guidelines as to where they could go on board and what they could do. For us as well, running  was not allowed on the basis that on anything but a flat calm sea, the floor might be in a different place when you land from when you took off. On an early trip, one youngster thought it did not apply to him and he came a cropper, nothing too serious, but this became enshrined (and embellished)  in school legend so enforcing that rule was never a problem in later years. 

Soon after boarding, one member of staff would contact the self-service restaurant to organise a time for us to eat as a group, usually not their peak time, and they would set an area aside for us. 

Being away from home for a week or so was a great learning experience for the children, part of growing up and it was pleasing on more than one occasion to have been complimented  on their behaviour, usually by retired teachers who had been there, done that and got the tee-shirt, and yes, I now do the same when warranted.

On a different note, we were on a short flight the other week along with a small group of children (12/13yo) and one member of staff. The children were brilliant despite getting no leadership from the person supposedly in charge of them.

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Your post brought me great pleasure SpecialK.

As your post suggests, advance planning and experience are supremely helpful in ensuring a safe and pleasant trip for both school group and others sharing the crossing. I was lucky as a young teacher to have learnt the ropes from old hands. I know full well that later in my career younger colleagues had in turn learnt their stuff.

Naturally, I have seen school parties, as we all have, who haven't been given "the talk", and therefore don't know how to behave safely and sociably on board. Once the youngsters have the info, the vast majority respect the ground rules.

I had many fantastic (if tiring!) holidays in many European countries with lots of different groups. Things changed when teachers were obliged to make advance visits to plot all the potential dangers at all the destinations, etc., (Does this still apply? I wonder) and society became more litigious. There came a time when I decided that the risks to my freedom and career were too great to continue.

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I am old enough to have travelled on one of the educational cruise ships, MS Devonia, originally the former troopship Devonshire of about 12,000 GRT. In this case you had a whole ship full of kids of about 14/15 years up. We slept in dormitories in bunks head to foot, the teachers got the cabin accommodation. My cruise was at Easter 1964. We travelled by train to Dover, then across to Calais and onto a sleeper train down to Genoa, six to a compartment. On boarding the ship our itinerary was Palermo, Tunis (2 nights), Alicante, through the Straits of Gibraltar (on my 16th birthday) and on to Lisbon. We hit a gale in the Bay of Biscay and the ship was hove to for 8 hours. Her service speed was 16 knots new, probably rather less when we saild on her. End of the trip was Tilbury.

An unforgettable experience and  it cost my Grandad (who paid for it) £49 for two weeks.

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Just caught up with this topic.  On board school parties usually don't bother me as I have a cabin.   My major gripe when travelling as a foot passenger is the management or rather lack of the school parties when it comes to passport control and embark and disembarkation.

Rather than giving priority to the small quantity of normal passengers BF nearly always disembark the schollbrats first leaving the normals stuck behind them when it comes to passport control trolley in the UK.   I missed my onward connecting train on one occasion.  

This morning Normandie is packed with them, so much so we were 25 minutes late departing.   I dread the chaos that will ensue at Border Farce in Portsmouth.

I've moaned to BF about this in the past but they don't seem to give a stuff that their regular "commuters" might have an onward connection where as the school kids just have to get back on their bus.

Rant over.  Back to talking about e-flexing fruit tarts then.  😁

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6 hours ago, d2frs said:

Rant over.  Back to talking about e-flexing fruit tarts then.  😁

Or the ph of rainwater...😉

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Don't usual find too much problem with school parties as I tend to book a cabin.

One occasion does send out though - it was a few years ago and I was on one of the outside decks on  Normandie awaiting departure. There was a party of school girls running around when two came and stood next to me. One turned to her friend and said she felt sea sick. I thought there is no hope for her as at that point we were still alongside in Portsmouth! 

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