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georgem7

Plymouth to Santander & return on Pont Aven

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Just enjoyed a couple of days in Santander with the family, using the Plymouth to Santander crossing both ways.

Upon arrival in Plymouth, we went to the Hoe to watch the Pont-Aven arrive, then headed for the port a little later than we usually would, and probably not the best decisions. Our check-in queue didn’t seem to move as fast as the others. Once finally through check-in we had an even longer wait before security. Most people were onboard already. We eventually boarded as one of the last cars to board, frustrating when we weren’t particularly late to check in. We were parked between the stairwells on Deck 3 underneath the funnel on top of the ramp to Deck 2. However, once docked, our late boarding was rewarded with one of the first cars to disembark. They don’t lie when they say your patience might be rewarded

The sailing was full, surprising for September and we were running at least 30 minutes behind schedule so I’m surprised the departure time wasn’t pushed back to 16:15 like it is in the summer months. So due to this delay, as soon as the last car was boarded, the doors were quickly closed and engine began roaring into action. Then there was a queue for the stairs, so we had completely missed departure. And if that was bad enough, an orchestra of car alarms commenced to keep us entertained!

The sailing itself was pleasant. I slept well, partially thanks to our fairly central location on deck 6, away from car alarms and thanks to a relatively calm sea state.

The return was delayed by around 2-3 hours. This was due to the weather and an apparent technical problem. However, we decided to get to the port for around 17:00 so we could check-in early and then walk into the city for a bite to eat. Brittany Ferries had given us vouchers for a bottle of water, a hot drink and a bar of chocolate which was a nice gesture.

There was a slight wait to board but we eventually did. We noticed that the queue was stopped behind us. I think it was hoped we would all squeeze onto the port side Deck 4. However there was no more room for us and another car so, as starboard side Deck 4 wasn’t ready, we were sent down Deck 3 right behind the stern doors. What a result! We off and out relatively quickly at Plymouth, a big advantage given the notorious nature of Plymouth’s customs!

The sea was a lot rougher on this crossing. Thankfully, we had a similar cabin location to the outbound so we didn’t feel so much movement. However the rest of the party were more forward on Deck 6 and they could feel the up and down motion a lot more.  Whilst arrival was scheduled for 19:30, we arrived just after 7 but the announcements didn’t sync up because the ‘vacate your cabin’ announcement occurred five minutes before docking.

Overall, a nice trip. The outbound trip was fantastic aside from loading, and what has been echoed recently, nicely timed as well. Return not so great but hey, it is pot luck with regard to the weather! My opinions of the Pont tend to change but I appreciated her more this time. The family liked her too. Their only complaint was the positioning of the stage in the bar. 

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