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Ryan_H

Dover-France with DFDS - 31st Jan & 3rd Feb.

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As part of a trip to Belgium next week I'll be sailing 31st Jan on the 09.10 Dover-Calais (does anyone know which ship it will be?) and back from Dunkerque on 3rd Feb at 16.00, with DFDS.

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6 hours ago, Ryan_H said:

Dans le cadre d'un voyage en Belgique la semaine prochaine, je ferai voile le 31 janvier le 09.10 Douvres-Calais (est-ce que quelqu'un sait de quel navire il s'agira?) Et je reviens de Dunkerque le 3 février à 16h00 avec DFDS.

It's the Calais Seaways :)

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17 hours ago, jujudu62100 said:

It's the Calais Seaways :)

Oh excellent, so I finally get to experience the old Prins Filip, looking forward to that! Booked the 'premium lounge' too. 

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We sailed on her overnight to Le Havre was a good smooth sailing, she will obviously be a lot different now , she was a bit tired and unkempt back then.

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15 hours ago, neilcvx said:

We sailed on her overnight to Le Havre was a good smooth sailing, she will obviously be a lot different now , she was a bit tired and unkempt back then.

Interesting, she's definitely a ship with some history isn't she. It seems to me she's never really had an owner who's made the most of her or invested in her for long enough to make her a success. It's a shame. I don't suppose DFDS will be overly bothered about her since she's being replaced by an eflexer in a couple of years, they don't own her anyway do they?

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DFDS do own her and have since they inherited her from the DFDS/LD Lines operation. She had a bit of a refit a couple of years ago which made her pretty pleasant in most areas, but especially the Premium lounge.

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On 24/01/2019 at 10:36, Ryan_H said:

Dans le cadre d'un voyage en Belgique la semaine prochaine, je ferai voile le 31 janvier le 09.10 Douvres-Calais (est-ce que quelqu'un sait de quel navire il s'agira?) Et je reviens de Dunkerque le 3 février à 16h00 avec DFDS.

I'm really sorry , i was wrong   You will have the Côte des Flandres ( ex Berlioz) 

Best Regard 

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53 minutes ago, jujudu62100 said:

I'm really sorry , i was wrong   You will have the Côte des Flandres ( ex Berlioz) 

Best Regard 

Oh don't worry, still looking forward to it anyway ;)

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You’re right @Ryan_H, Calais Seaways has some past behind her, especially considering she came into service about a month or so before Pride of Burgundy which has remained on the route she was built for, and largely kept her original name.

When Prins Filip was built she was outstanding. The interior was the same designers of Norsea and Norsun so she had an upmarket feel to her, in every possible way an enormous improvemt on the rest of the Ostend fleet; Princesse Marie Christine was certainly some old horror and the others not much better. But Prins Filip was essentially too late, into service at around the same time as the Channel Tunnel was nearing completion (25 years ago, wow!) and totally mismatched with the rest of the fleet. Ramsgate was the real decline, the ship was too big for the port, I was on her once when she momentarily grounded (well for about 30 mins). As built her interior had a really nice layout and feel, at the stern were two similar sized lounges one on top of the other, one designated a quite lounge and the other with entertainment or music. The self service was a decent size and bright, they turned thebport side into an a la carte. Upstairs the club class was nicely tucked away and the reclining lounges were tidy and the cabins very good. They used to do an option to take the night ferry and then in Ostend you could stay on board in your cabin and sleep longer (a bit like Stena does now at Harwich).

All that went as soon as she moved to P&O Stena, not much changed at her P&O time, LD tinkered and built extra cabins, but she was never really suitable in the configuration LD had her for either Portsmouth - Le Havre or Dover - Boulogne.

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8 minutes ago, Seashore said:

When Prins Filip was built she was outstanding. The interior was the same designers of Norsea and Norsun so she had an upmarket feel to her, in every possible way an enormous improvemt on the rest of the Ostend fleet; Princesse Marie Christine was certainly some old horror and the others not much better. But Prins Filip was essentially too late, into service at around the same time as the Channel Tunnel was nearing completion (25 years ago, wow!) and totally mismatched with the rest of the fleet. Ramsgate was the real decline, the ship was too big for the port, I was on her once when she momentarily grounded (well for about 30 mins). As built her interior had a really nice layout and feel, at the stern were two similar sized lounges one on top of the other, one designated a quite lounge and the other with entertainment or music. The self service was a decent size and bright, they turned thebport side into an a la carte. Upstairs the club class was nicely tucked away and the reclining lounges were tidy and the cabins very good. They used to do an option to take the night ferry and then in Ostend you could stay on board in your cabin and sleep longer (a bit like Stena does now at Harwich). 

All that went as soon as she moved to P&O Stena, not much changed at her P&O time, LD tinkered and built extra cabins, but she was never really suitable in the configuration LD had her for either Portsmouth - Le Havre or Dover - Boulogne. 

P&O Stena spent a lot of money trashing all that had made her a really nice ship - it's so frustrating that happened because, whilst it made her fit into their brand world and she was smart enough for what she did, it really hasn't helped her in any of her subsequent guises and as time went by she lacked cohesion and a sense of quality. DFDS have taken some steps to fix that, although it's a bit of an improvement on her run-down state it's hard to look at pictures of her as built and think things have progressed in a positive direction over her 27 years of service

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I still had the best nights sleep I’ve had on a ferry on her to Le Havre , she was a bit run down but smooth and a super quiet cabin ,I will post the pics some time.

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1 minute ago, neilcvx said:

I still had the best nights sleep I’ve had on a ferry on her to Le Havre , she was a bit run down but smooth and a super quiet cabin ,I will post the pics some time. 

With LD some of the cabins still had their original RMT historic poster artwork which was nice to find when the rest of the ship has very little to show she was ever a Belgian ship apart from the odd bit of signage.

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19 hours ago, hhvferry said:

she was ever a Belgian ship

Belgian-built too, so it's nice they were retained.

Only about half the cabins though, all those on the lower deck were removed (without increasing the size of the windows so the remained typical 1980s/90s sized small cabin windows; I think Barfleur and Normandie were the first ships from the UK where they were a decent size). I did not travel on her when she was P&O, but on LD it was a rather claustrophobic basic reclining seats lounge. It's a pity the cabins were not reinstated at the front rather than those built at the stern making her layout even more bizarre.

I seem to remember, and you might be able to corroborate this @hhvferry?, that Prins Filip was very late being delivered and part of the issue was excessive vibration in the cabin area necessitating adding a whole load of steel between the cabins to reinforce them. I recall travelling in those bow cabins both when she was RMT and LD and yes they were silent with no noise transference.

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On 03/02/2019 at 19:02, Seashore said:

Only about half the cabins though, all those on the lower deck were removed (without increasing the size of the windows so the remained typical 1980s/90s sized small cabin windows; I think Barfleur and Normandie were the first ships from the UK where they were a decent size). I did not travel on her when she was P&O, but on LD it was a rather claustrophobic basic reclining seats lounge. It's a pity the cabins were not reinstated at the front rather than those built at the stern making her layout even more bizarre.

I seem to remember, and you might be able to corroborate this @hhvferry?, that Prins Filip was very late being delivered and part of the issue was excessive vibration in the cabin area necessitating adding a whole load of steel between the cabins to reinforce them. I recall travelling in those bow cabins both when she was RMT and LD and yes they were silent with no noise transference.

With P&O Stena/P&O this was the Horizon lounge (which name it retained with LD) with adjacent play areas. The starboard side area was an NYC deli (whose servery area simply got boarded up by LD).

It's a little bit of an urban myth that the original cabin windows weren't enlarged. OK well it's true that when she first emerged from her P&O Stena rebuild they weren't touched, but after a year or so she did get larger windows to either side although the forward ones were never touched.

I can't recall if the vibrations were forward or aft in her accommodation but it definitely was serious to delay her delivery for a long while. If you look at this lounge to this day it has more than the usual number of ceiling poles and supports so it could well be this is a legacy of some work done to address vibrations, or it could be due to it not being designed as an open plan lounge.

Here's how the area looked as P&OSL Aquitaine -

img550892_TN.jpg

img551893_TN.jpg

img552894_TN.jpg

 

As you say the Horizon Lounge was pretty unsympathetically butchered by LD Lines - this is the same area mid-transformation in October 2005 and it only got marginally better when they'd finished installing all those seats -

img553895_TN.jpg

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That’s what I remember - those tiny windows at the front and thinking (there’s not much opportunity to see the horizon in the Horizon lounge).

I can’t remember if it was upper or lower cabin deck, but one was a little strange in that the cabins furthest to the bow were inside cabins and there was an area at the front you could stand and get a forward view. Very unusual for a “cabins forward, public rooms aft” layout (ok VDL was another exception but she wasn’t built like that) to get a view from the front without having a bow cabin. That interior is so strikingly different to how she looked as Prins Filip.

I always thought it was a shame Stena never operated her (by that I mean Stena proper, not the P&O J.V.). She would have been a far more suitable ship at the time than Koningen Beatrix on the Fishguard route, and even against the Isle of Innisfree (the purpose build that ended up in NZ after being Pride of Cherbourg) on the Holyhead route - the mix of facilities, recliners and cabins was about right for a 4-hour crossing - but Stena were in the throws of the HSS project at the time. Or even Frederickshavn-Goteborg, Grena-Varberg...

Equally she could have done Portsmouth or Poole to Cherbourg fairly competently, perhaps shows how versatile she is, why she has done so many routes and still now back at Dover for the fourth (?) time and on Dover-Calais for the second time. I wonder how many of her passengers realise she used to operate the same route for the competition!

I didn’t think she was too bad on the Le Havre route, a bit dowdy but not too different to Stena Normandy a few years before on the Cherbourg route. Correct me if I’m wrong, but apart from the odd visit from Normandie and MSM wasn’t Norman Spirit the only ferry ever to use the top deck of that linkspan in Le Havre? It’s a pity they didn’t connect the passenger gangway up too, since it was about that area in the stern quarter (although on the opposite side) that she use to connect at Ostend.

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