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Jim

2018/2019 Xmas & New Year Cruises - Confirmed

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BF have been in touch this morning with some news confirming that Christmas and New Year cruises will be running this year. Both will be operated by the Pont-Aven.

Christmas - Antwerp - 24th to 27th December
Departing Portsmouth on Christmas Eve and arriving into Antwerp in the early afternoon on Christmas Day. The ship will remain in port until the evening of 26-Dec when she will depart back for Portsmouth, arriving in the mid-afternoon of the 27th. Berthing in Antwerp is in the historical city centre and metres away from the Christmas market which will be open on both the 25th and 26th.

New Year - Honfleur - 29th December to 1st January
Departing Portsmouth on the evening of Saturday 29th, arriving into Honfleur on Sunday 30th (times are to be confirmed). The PA will remain in port until the early hours of 1st January with all passengers needing to be back onboard by the early evening of the 31st. Arrival in Portsmouth is anticipated to be mid-afternoon on the 1st.

More detail will follow in mid-July, including brochure, website and booking procedures.

 

 

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I must admit that the 2016 cancellation did cause me to say a few very rude words or two but in all honesty over the years we have never had any issues, except for the fact that I will never understand some peoples idea of appropriate "Dress Code" when it comes to eating Christmas Dinner.

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I will be fascinated to see pictures of Pont Aven “in port” at Honfleur!!  Maybe they mean one of the lifeboats! 😀

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I recon It will be a good mile walk from the berth to the "Hotel de Ville", hopefully transport will be arranged.

Honfleur in winter is a totally different place, at Christmas a few years back we drove around the Central Basin and not a table or chair in sight.

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I'd be very tempted by the Antwerp trip, if there are connections to and from Ouistreham for the benefit of passengers from France. Must check the timetables – but maybe BF will do a special "all-in" fare for us?

No December timetable on the website as yet – does anyone know when it will be available?

IIRC correctly the last outbound from Caen last year was the overnight 23-24, but can't think seriously about the Christmas cruise unless and until we know the connections. Don't really want to add a night or nights in the Ibis / Travelodge or even in one of the Southsea  boutique hotels unless we have to.

Edited by kenw

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24 minutes ago, David Williams said:

It is less than a mile from the Cruise terminal to town (according to the brochure on the last but one page !)

http://www.honfleur-tourism.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GuideEscales2018Web-1.pdf

Less than a mile, in the cold and dark at 11pm on New Year's eve through the deserted container park trying to avoid the pot holes while carrying bags of cheese and wine is going to be fun. If they do lay on transport it would certainly be a better option. Seeing as they usually provide the option of parking your car onboard why not just moor up in Le Havre and let those who wish drive to Honfleur and offer buses for the rest? Ed. 

Edited by Cabin-boy

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According to Jim's original post "The PA will remain in port until the early hours of 1st January with ALL passengers needing to be back onboard by the early evening of the 31st" but there will always be one ...

 

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7 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

Less than a mile, in the cold and dark at 11pm on New Year's eve through the deserted container park trying to avoid the pot holes while carrying bags of cheese and wine is going to be fun. If they do lay on transport it would certainly be a better option. Seeing as they usually provide the option of parking your car onboard why not just moor up in Le Havre and let those who wish drive to Honfleur and offer buses for the rest? Ed. 

It does make it an odd choice of destination, when you put it like that! I wonder why the decided to not go any further up river.

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9 minutes ago, penguin said:

It does make it an odd choice of destination, when you put it like that! I wonder why the decided to not go any further up river.

To offer something different I suppose, although I have a vague reflection that when they went up to Rouen they did offer an excursion option to........ Honfleur. Ed. 

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6 minutes ago, penguin said:

It does make it an odd choice of destination, when you put it like that! I wonder why the decided to not go any further up river.

To me a large part of the enjoyment of these festive mini-cruises was sailing up/down the River Seine (in daylight) to Rouen in previous years, it was a long trip but enjoyable. Perhaps money is the reason.

It will also be interesting to compare pricing with previous years.

 

 

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Yes, more or less the same time away as before but a much shorter distance to travel. Plus the cruise terminal is not being used by anyone else at that time so maybe they got a deal. 

http://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/honfleur-port-219?tab=schedule&month=2018-12#schedule

Whereas Rouen seems busy. 

http://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/rouen-port-3937?month=2018-07#schedule

Ed. 

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27 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

Less than a mile, in the cold and dark at 11pm on New Year's eve through the deserted container park trying to avoid the pot holes while carrying bags of cheese and wine is going to be fun. If they do lay on transport it would certainly be a better option. Ed. 

Stop being lazy:) I've walked about 10 miles on a Santander mini-cruise avec purchases!

Also makes perfect sense if you think about what is happening next year... https://www.destinationhonfleur.com/en 

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1 minute ago, Cabin-boy said:

Two questions : In what season were you in Santander? And how does your age compare with that of the typical New Year passenger?

Ed. 

November... and probably about 2/3rds I would say. 

Still - 1 mile is not too bad!

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Mulling this over, a couple of thoughts come to mind:

Any guesstimates on pricing for Antwerp? For 2-berth outside or deluxe? Anyone have last year / 2015 figures for guidance?? I've asked Mme Google but she hasn't helped.

Can we expect cross-channel (Caen) schedules at or before the time the Christmas cruises go on sale so we can tie both legs down?

IIRC the last Antwerp cruise included a Bruges coach tour. But what about a boat tour of Antwerp, which is one of Europe's busiest and most important ports.

I thought I had met a passenger boat operator from Antwerp a while back (in my previous role on the River Thames) but can't find any info (and neither has Mme Google so far). The operators I've come across on the web this morning seem to be party boats rather than tours. I think the failure is probably a symptom of old age, so if any helpful person does know...

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On 30/06/2018 at 11:44, kenw said:

But what about a boat tour of Antwerp, which is one of Europe's busiest and most important ports.

 

 

Never say never... but I expect that at that time of year it might be a bit chilly! Some good questions raised though, but I expect you'll need to wait a couple of weeks for the full details to be released to shed some light on things.

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As an update, the Xmas and NY cruises will be available to book in the near future...

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Thanks, Jim

Even if booking isn't open yet, it would be helpful to know the timing.

Particularly the departure time on Christmas Eve – I can't believe I'm the only person who wants / needs to start planning. Do we travel to Portsmouth that morning or (in the case of those travelling from France) go overnight? Or go the previous afternoon and stay overnight? (Must check the Club Accor points!)

If it is an "afternoon" departure, the morning sailing from Caen might be cutting things a bit fine. One idea might be to go via St Malo on the Pont overnight. That way we couldn't possibly miss the departure to Antwerp! And of course a full night's sleep rather than the quick kip we get from Ouistreham.

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History tells me that the Festive Cruises leave Portsmouth around 18:00 GMT on Christmas Eve and loading can start from around 16:00.

If it were me I would come over the day before, stay overnight somewhere in Portsmouth and use the spare time for Christmas shopping.

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