Jump to content
Paul

Armorique 10th Anniversary

Recommended Posts

The cabin is the most important thing for me on the ferry when I sail to France because after an 8 hour drive I will use it for almost the entire sailing and that’s Bretagnes biggest failing the cabin was extremely dated maybe if BF had expected to keep her for 30 years they would have refurbished them to a better standard which would have solved some of the issues with her .

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎02‎/‎02‎/‎2019 at 19:32, cvabishop said:

I have never understood the criticism of Armorique's feeding arrangements.

The ship was originally designed for a route where a waiter restaurant is really unnecessary and unviable on her normal schedules. It was part of the design brief.

OK, she sometimes covers for other routes in which case passengers desperate for the waiter service experience can indulge themselves onshore at either end of the route. Failing that the ship can still feed you quite adequately. Starvation is unlikely!

Why would BF want to provide a facility that would normally only be needed when the shup is standing in for another of the fleet? It doesn't make commercial sense.

It's a ferry - not a cruise ship!

 

A waiter service restaurant is never a necessity, but fine dining is one of the things that sets BF apart from other operators. These ships are marketed as cruise ferries but Armorique and Barfleur fall short of that description. For this reason, these two ships are the only members of the fleet (excluding Economie) that I have never sailed on. Despite being a regular user of Plymouth-Roscoff since the 1980's, these days I take the Pont Aven on her Thursday sailing or travel to Portsmouth and sail on Bretagne.

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, neilcvx said:

The cabin is the most important thing for me on the ferry when I sail to France because after an 8 hour drive I will use it for almost the entire sailing and that’s Bretagnes biggest failing the cabin was extremely dated maybe if BF had expected to keep her for 30 years they would have refurbished them to a better standard which would have solved some of the issues with her .

I think they're a little smaller too. They shoehorned a heck of a lot into her useable superstructure, she's only 150 odd metres long overall, it's also why her staircases are steep. The extra 10 metre length of VDL made a noticeable difference and for a similar capacity you could sail Bretagne inside the footprint of the PoB. It's why these two along with their sisters still offer a quality experience, there's room within them to refit, rebuild & update.

Bretagne's pocket size is her biggest downfall and doesn't lend itself well to modernisation and some reconfiguration. I've been in her engine rooms, all over her, in some places you need to be Houdini. Did the same on Princess Seaways, there's a marked difference.

I think even those of us who have a good deal of affection for her know she needs to be replaced. It's inevitable, even replacing her with a well cared for ship of the same vintage would give passengers a greater overall feeling of space with better vehicle deck access shallower staircases wider lifts and slightly larger cabins. I must say however even though shabby cabins, dirty air con and loose lights don't help her cause, these issues affect all passenger ships, it's up to the carrier to stay on top of it and make good where necessary.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Tregastel said:

A waiter service restaurant is never a necessity, but fine dining is one of the things that sets BF apart from other operators. These ships are marketed as cruise ferries but Armorique and Barfleur fall short of that description. For this reason, these two ships are the only members of the fleet (excluding Economie) that I have never sailed on. Despite being a regular user of Plymouth-Roscoff since the 1980's, these days I take the Pont Aven on her Thursday sailing or travel to Portsmouth and sail on Bretagne.

   

Oh come on, It's not fine dining. The food is mostly pre prepared in the same kitchens by the same chefs who cater for the pre prepared stuff in the self service. it's no different from a high street Carluccio's or Zizzi. Many of the London hotels do better and to them it's just their standard menu.

When we use the on board restaurant the main attraction is the lack of noise. It's quiet, you get a clink of a glass rather than the clatter of a tray, there's no hustle and bustle. It's what I want after a 4+ hour drive and the marshalling lanes. 

We're happy to use the different set up on P&O & DFDS because Hull and Newcastle are only 90 minutes away.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, jonno said:

I think they're a little smaller too. They shoehorned a heck of a lot into her useable superstructure, she's only 150 odd metres long overall, it's also why her staircases are steep. The extra 10 metre length of VDL made a noticeable difference and for a similar capacity you could sail Bretagne inside the footprint of the PoB. It's why these two along with their sisters still offer a quality experience, there's room within them to refit, rebuild & update.

Bretagne's pocket size is her biggest downfall and doesn't lend itself well to modernisation and some reconfiguration. I've been in her engine rooms, all over her, in some places you need to be Houdini. Did the same on Princess Seaways, there's a marked difference.

I think even those of us who have a good deal of affection for her know she needs to be replaced. It's inevitable, even replacing her with a well cared for ship of the same vintage would give passengers a greater overall feeling of space with better vehicle deck access shallower staircases wider lifts and slightly larger cabins. I must say however even though shabby cabins, dirty air con and loose lights don't help her cause, these issues affect all passenger ships, it's up to the carrier to stay on top of it and make good where necessary.

The Bretagne is a lovely ship. Probably the best that bf will ever have. However she dose need a proper refurbishment. Don't put me off. I'm Looking forward to sailing on her this summer (daytime).  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@jonno yes they are smaller also the wife doesn’t have great sea legs so likes to watch tv in bed not something you can easily do on Bretagne from a lying position not can you sit on your bed (or sofa on Pont Aven) and watch the sea  go by the porthole is just too small , they may seem little things to other people but I want all of my holiday to be enjoyable and Bretagnes cabins aren’t up to what we expect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, jonno said:

Oh come on, It's not fine dining.

Agreed.  It's a pleasant experience (particularly the starter and cheese buffets).  But it absolutely is not fine dining.  As we've already said, the dessert buffet is mediocre, and in fact the concepts of "buffet" and "fine dining" are not compatible.  The cooked main courses are also very hit and miss - I've had a couple of exceptional ones (as hit happens, both on MSM, but that is a coincidence as the fare is the same across the members of the fleet with restaurants), and many more that were interesting but which I would not re-order.

At the end of the day, the waiter restaurant is great to have (I would use it every time), a nice way to spend part of the crossing, and exceptional value.  But it is food that has to be pre-prepared and stored frozen on a ferry so it is never going to be of the standard you would get in a good French fine-dining restaurant.  We should not expect that (or, indeed, as Jonno implies, call it that). 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, neilcvx said:

@jonno yes they are smaller also the wife doesn’t have great sea legs so likes to watch tv in bed not something you can easily do on Bretagne from a lying position not can you sit on your bed (or sofa on Pont Aven) and watch the sea  go by the porthole is just too small , they may seem little things to other people but I want all of my holiday to be enjoyable and Bretagnes cabins aren’t up to what we expect.

That's right, and if you have a berth with a backrest you lose a good portion of sleep space too.

 I've never understood why Caen was prioritised for a new ship prior to St Malo.

Armorique may not have a restaurant but the accommodation differences between her and Bretagne are evident.

.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suggested some years back, that they adopt a "Magnus Lounge" solution as per Northlink. Separate off an area forward of the servery, up-luxe the fittings a little, and serve passengers at table at any time of day, from the existing culinary offerings (which are pretty respectable), perhaps with a few, easy to add frills and extras? And, of course, a suitable upgrade price … On Northlink I find the ambiance relaxing and worth the extra few quid.

Edited by colin
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, colin said:

I suggested some years back, that they adopt a "Magnus Lounge" solution as per Northlink. Separate off an area forward of the servery, up-luxe the fittings a little, and serve passengers at table at any time of day, from the existing culinary offerings (which are pretty respectable), perhaps with a few, easy to add frills and extras? And, of course, a suitable upgrade price … On Northlink I find the ambiance relaxing and worth the extra few quid.

That sounds like a good idea, but you may incur the wrath of the Armorique Lovers Society!😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not as bad as the Barfies ….?

In support of Neil's comments, the cabins are the best in fleet below Pont Aven Commodores. My disabled wife finds all the relevant features better, with her being built to newer standards and expectations. And, yes, she is still nice and clean and shiny.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, nottingham said:

That sounds like a good idea, but you may incur the wrath of the Armorique Lovers Society!😉

I don't love her as such, I just think her pro's outweigh her cons.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 03/02/2019 at 16:24, Cabin-boy said:

The suggestion above that the timings Armorique operates to do not require a waiter-service restaurant may be true today. However, if you take a look at the new timetable starting in April there could, in my opinion, be an argument for such a restaurant in the future. If it subsequently transpires that this new schedule becomes the norm and there is a demand for such a service (especially if passenger numbers increase with people avoiding Dover and Portsmouth due to congestion - and that's by no means certain) then how can they satisfy that? Perhaps the solution would be to move Normandie over to the route and bring Armorique to Le Havre at peak periods and swap them around as required. Ed. 

Cannot see Armorique moving primarily off Plymouth-Roscoff for the forseeable future. Not entirely sure whether Normandie can dock in Plymouth either way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've only sailed on Armorique once, quite deliberately, back from Roscoff because I wanted to see for myself. I like her, nice cabin, nice bar, more than adequate for the crossing. And she has clearly proved her worth by being able to deputise on all of the other routes and no doubt being more economical to run than some others in the fleet.

I do take issue with these comments about the Bretagne being too old and 'past it'. As myself and others have pointed out, there are plenty of ferries from the same era sailing in northern Europe today which have been brought right up to date internally and which I dare say most of their passengers would have no idea as to the fact they were built in the 1980s. These ferries are still doing a good job. I think the issue with Bretagne is that her owners have not invested enough to bring her fully up to date, rather than the fact she was built in 1989.

Look what DFDS have done with Val De Loire since she left BF, you'd hardly recognise her as the same ship today...

Edited by Ryan_H
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing with Bretagne is you can only do so much economically, you can’t increase headroom,size of the portholes, car decks , it just isn’t worth it , I think if BF had expected to keep her for 30 + years they might have improved the cabin layout, restaurant and shops , but the fact is it isn’t going to happen now and BF would ideally have sold her by now and put the money into a more efficient ship and one that is more acceptable to modern day travelers needs.

  • Like 2
  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

The thing with Bretagne is you can only do so much economically, you can’t increase headroom,size of the portholes, car decks , it just isn’t worth it , I think if BF had expected to keep her for 30 + years they might have improved the cabin layout, restaurant and shops , but the fact is it isn’t going to happen now and BF would ideally have sold her by now and put the money into a more efficient ship and one that is more acceptable to modern day travelers needs.

Well I'm certainly no expert here, but I would have thought that if the likes of Viking Line & DFDS can work wonders with their older tonnage, then BF could have done more to modernise Bretagne.

I take the points about wanting to replace her etc, but they haven't. It's been a while since I last sailed on Bretagne so I can't really comment directly on how she is today, but I would have thought the worst thing they could do is to allow things to stagnate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They seem to be intent on not only letting things stagnate but spending not a Euro more than they have to to keep her afloat, they could have followed say DFDS and modernised her like Val de Loire but I think they are milking her dry and keeping ever Euro for a replacement which I think has been delayed by Brexit and the troubles at FSG , but that’s just my opinion I’m sailing on her during the day in June and I’m not expecting any internal changes since last September.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was pleasantly surprised by Armorique when we sailed on her a couple of years ago. Preferred her sea keeping to PA and also thought the cabins were fine for us as a family. Off again this year and have been able to book a club plus for the overnight which I'm told is worth it.  The day return trip back on her was also very pleasant. Found the restaurant to be fine for what we needed. She didn't seem crowded in mid - August. Being out on the top deck coming into Plymouth was great. The only negative i remember was how slow customs at Plymouth were both ways. She still looked fresh and hope she will again this year.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The opportunity to do a major midlife refit to Bretagne passed a long time ago. The investment couldn't be justified now really. It should have included a reduction in car capacity with one less lane on deck 5 to take account of increasing vehicle sizes and facilitate more rapid embarkation and disembarkation. The cabins should have been completely renovated and those on decks 1 & 2 taken out of use. Maybe also reduce overall passenger capacity and take some of those dreadful reclining seats out. Their day is long gone on a cruise ferry.Of course that might then have reduced her revenue earning capacity but that has now happened anyway with the ship laid up for part of the year.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Tumnus2010 said:

I was pleasantly surprised by Armorique when we sailed on her a couple of years ago. Preferred her sea keeping to PA and also thought the cabins were fine for us as a family. Off again this year and have been able to book a club plus for the overnight which I'm told is worth it.  The day return trip back on her was also very pleasant. Found the restaurant to be fine for what we needed. She didn't seem crowded in mid - August. Being out on the top deck coming into Plymouth was great. The only negative i remember was how slow customs at Plymouth were both ways. She still looked fresh and hope she will again this year.

The club plus cabins are ideal in my opinion wee bit more room , tv, fridge and breakfast if you’re on the right sailing only minor quibble is the bathroom is just the same as the other cabins but apart from that I would pick one on every sailing if cost wasn’t an option I certainly would pay the extra if I was taking kids with me.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She looks really slick on this drone photo that includes the customary Portsmouth appearance of the spinnaker tower.

 

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thread seems to be diverting away from Amorqiue - Happy 10th anniversary, an excellent service for a vessel. BF has a timely tradition of long-serving vessels, one of the things which makes the company so unique.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×