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veryoldbear

A Bit of a Laugh

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And so off to Ouistreham on the good ship Normandie this morning. By some fluke of loading we ended up in pole position on No 5 deck just behind the big doors. On arrival at Ouistreham there was a bit of a delay as one of the ramp fingers has presumably lost hydraulics and was having to be picked up and positioned by lashing it to the two adjacent fingers with a bit of a delay. We watched the fun from the front lounge and when they had it all fixed we nipped down to our car. And we were first off and through passport control before anybody else was off the ship. Did we laugh!

Edited by veryoldbear
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I came into Portsmouth on Normandie this morning and things were not quite so rosy. More unacceptable (from my point of view) cabin problems. I'll write a fuller report later but you can see the photos for yourselves now and judge if that's what you'd expect from a vessel two weeks out of refit. ūüė£ Ed

DSC_0944.JPG

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Oh, and the 10 cents wasn't a gift on the pillow. It was about a foot under the bed. I simply dragged it through the grime to the greatest concentration of debis to get the best possible image. I have warned the crew that we'll be back on board this evening, given them the cabin number and explained that I will be checking very carefully. Ed. 

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It's the subcontracted cleaning rush. I could understand the problems when it's peak loading, but yesterday when we came over the Norm was very lightly loaded, and I assume that not everybody used  a day cabin. They could do better.

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Tonight's cabin is better, if not perfect. The key thing is in not going to end up stepping in any of the muck still in there during the next 7 hours. And the shower curtain is fine. I'll explain why later and think I might have identified one of the causes of the problems. Ed. 

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Right, so here's what happened. After getting my compensation following the mess in PA's cabin in early January, we decided to book one of BF's day-trip offers to London as a birthday treat for number 1 Cabin-kid. It includes return crossings and¬†coach transfers to which we added 4-berth inside cabins for the three of us. The total price came to ‚ā¨429 after the discount was applied.¬†

On arrival in Normandie's cabin we dumped our bags and went straight to the shop (the problem of travelling with two female passengers - getting distracted from your priorities) and then back to go to bed. It was therefore only once we were all ready that I remembered to check the cabin for 'defects'. I found the three curtain hooks missing or broken and then looked under the lower bunks. The angle where the vertical carpet meets the floor had a continuous pile of grime (containing god only knows what) and that 10 cent coin. The carpet also had a collection of stains which could have been shampooed out. I took my photos and decided to see what would the staff would say in the morning. So I explained the problems to the 4 people standing around doing very little and mentioned my PA experience and was again reprimanded for not flagging it up immediately. I still think that makes it too easy for them to switch us to another cabin and overlook the underlying issues. I told them I knew the ship had been away for a refit (their eyes widened when I mentioned Poland) and that I found the situation unacceptable, particulalrly as the 7 hour Friday layover gave them more time to clean the vessel each week. I gave them my evening cabin number to see what they would do. My wife didn't want me to speak to them saying I would embarrass her (as if!), the Brits complain too much (which is rich coming from the French!) and it was hardly worth it (she wasn't paying fo this non-service). I ignored her (no point changing the habit of half a lifetime). 

So on arrival last night I checked and the curtain hooks were all attached and in perfect condition (some looked new - no limescaling). The floor was still not great but not nearly as bad. There were still things on the carpet under the bunk near the cabin bulkhead but the central area was ok. I went back to the reception and told one of the women who was again on duty that I was satisfied. She said they had gone through all the cabins during the two day-time crossings to check the showers, so hopefully they are all now ok and not just the one I was in. When we got on board last night the Portsmouth team was still at work and I saw the vacuums they were using. The first problem is that the rigid tubes are, I think, too long to get into the angled spaces under the bunks and have floor heads which only pivot left and right and not up and down. Secondly they have rubber blades to scrape the surface and lift the grime. Those blades don't stretch right to the ends so there are gaps and the vacuums lose suction. When I worked as a domestic and commercial cleaner (as a student holiday job) we used Numatic vacuums (Henry, George and Charles) which were really efficient and much more flexible when getting into small gaps. I don't know the brand on board but they looked pretty old and have EU plugs so may belong to BF rather than the contractor.

So, I shall again email BF customer services with my observations and photos and see what they say this time. I'll admit I'm starting to wonder if they actually care or are bothered. And that's worrying. Ed

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Thanks for the report Ed.  Looking forward to the next update.  Your last sentence potentially sums up the issue well.

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55 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Thanks for the report Ed.  Looking forward to the next update.  Your last sentence potentially sums up the issue well.

If they were bothered you would have thought there would have been an assurance and reaction issued in respect of the numerous comments posted on here, so disappointing really.  Perhaps its time to e-mail the CEO with some of the pictures!

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42 minutes ago, nottingham said:

If they were bothered you would have thought there would have been an assurance and reaction issued in respect of the numerous comments posted on here, so disappointing really.  Perhaps its time to e-mail the CEO with some of the pictures!

A good idea. I wonder if a collective email from those forum members willing to put their names to it and with a selection of photos we have taken might have a greater impact. As some of those most worried by the way things are going, but also the keenest to support, encourage and see the company flourish, it might make sense to group our opinions and findings into a single message. What do people think? We'd need to provide an attachment with a select list of (perhaps 10 of the worst) complaints across the fleet (but some vessels are clearly more affected than others), the dates and action taken, if any. I'd be very happy to draft such a mail if required and then allow signatories to check, adapt and approve it. If the mods wish to get involved and then send it from the BFE admin account that might have a higher chance of being read and producing results. We'd have to communicate via private message to keep the details under wraps until sending it and publishing it on the forum. Let me know what you think of the idea. Ed. 

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Pont Aven up tomorrow and Armorique down Thursday, so will keep an eye open. I agree that we are in a position to apply constructive pressure, and should do so. I am always polite and understanding on board, and any complaint is acted upon, but this cleaning issue has been going on for some time.

Issues of deeper maintenance on Bretagne, and similar problems, are a different subject.

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When making a complaint I always make, hopefully, a positive suggestion to solve the problem. In one area the use of better equipment i.e Henry.

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I have now drafted an email as discussed above. I'll send it out later to the two people who have so far expressed interest in co-signing it with me for their approval. If anyone else would like to put their name to it, whether you have experienced such problems or not but still have an interest in getting to the bottom of the current situation, please let me know and I'll include you. 

Ed

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