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BF Confirms Fourth New Ferry (Third E-Flexer)

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The advantage for DFDS was that they wanted to swap two for two as they are running a service both ways every day. With Bretagne they would need either a similar, less regular route to switch with (it has to be a longish route to guarantee the ship has enough cabins) or decide to buy twins and launch a more regular service (which would suit me (a Friday night departure from St Malo means you don't have to take a day off work). They would need to juggle timings with Condor in the evenings but I doubt it week ever happen. Ed. 

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9 hours ago, Solo said:

They built a brand new ship for Ply/Ros, admittedly it's used to cover every other route during winter.

The business case for Armorique would have included the winter cover. 

 

Unfortunately the St Malo route is its own worst enemy. On a Friday night in Summer it needs zillions of cabins but not out of season or on the way back; and the length of the route it can only fit in 2 crossings, whereas Caen, Le Havre, Cherbourg and Roscoff can fit in 3 per day. So St Malo loses 1/3 of comparable maximum revenue before a single booking is taken. However, stop the route and it opens up the risk of competition.

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But the huge plus outward to St Malo is the civilised sailing and arrival times. And those overnight return sailings are also very attractive.

Living in Surrey, In the past we have always favoured Portsmouth-St Malo evening outbound and late afternoon Caen- Portsmouth inbound.

We tried outbound overnight Portsmouth- Caen once but the early arrival meant that  after an hour or so driving southbound I had to pull over for a nap to catch up on sleep which I felt was unsafe.

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13 hours ago, cvabishop said:

But the huge plus outward to St Malo is the civilised sailing and arrival times. And those overnight return sailings are also very attractive.

And they are able to charge quite a premium for it too!

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And they are able to charge quite a premium for it too!

Hardly surprising, airlines are just the same. Stupid o'clock flights are a lot cheaper than daytime slots. You pays your money...

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1 hour ago, VikingVoyager said:

And they are able to charge quite a premium for it too!

...And it doesn't effect bookings as such, the route carries more passengers, vehicles and freight compared to Plymouth - Roscoff regardless of how frequent the sailings are.

BF needed a new build to replace the outgoing chartered Pont L'Abbé which was 30 years old when Armorique finally arrived as the ongoing charter market at the time was very poor which is not too dissimilar to the position BF find themselves in now with Bretagne.

I think either way BF will be looking at a new build, whether it's to replace Pont Aven or Bretagne only time will tell.

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1 hour ago, cvabishop said:

Hardly surprising, airlines are just the same. Stupid o'clock flights are a lot cheaper than daytime slots. You pays your money...

I'm not criticising the idea of paying a premium for better sailing times.

For us though, it's always a non starter. It sets off a bit late from the UK (we'd rather be in time for an evening meal with young kids and some relaxation before bed).  

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Just now, VikingVoyager said:

I'm not criticising the idea of paying a premium for better sailing times.

For us though, it's always a non starter. It sets off a bit late from the UK (we'd rather be in time for an evening meal with young kids and some relaxation before bed).  

I think leaving at 1030 am and getting in at 630pm are rubbish timings to be honest personally too late for a leisurely breakfast and too early for a leisurely evening meal not everybody likes a 3 hour lunch but it’s obviously popular or is it just the route that’s popular? Certainly when we were on last Thursdays Plymouth to Roscoff sailing the Pont was jam packed.

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6 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

I think leaving at 1030 am and getting in at 630pm are rubbish timings to be honest personally too late for a leisurely breakfast and too early for a leisurely evening meal not everybody likes a 3 hour lunch but it’s obviously popular or is it just the route that’s popular? Certainly when we were on last Thursdays Plymouth to Roscoff sailing the Pont was jam packed.

Yes, the return holds even less attraction. We would probably opt for a Caen return crossing when booking with BF. Just us though, I know lots love route

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I think leaving at 1030 am and getting in at 630pm are rubbish timings to be honest personally too late for a leisurely breakfast and too early for a leisurely evening meal

As always, it depends on where you are coming from and going to. We have only a 75 minute drive home from Portsmouth but yes, I do think the daytime returns from St Malo are rather tedious whereas the fewer overnight ones are much better. You can often board early and the ship arrives in Portsmouth after an earlyish breakfast.

For us the afternoon sailing from Caen is convenient as there is plenty of time to get there if you are starting down south and we can usually be home indoors by 22:30.

Edited by cvabishop

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I would personally like an 8pm to 8am sailing both ways as it’s a 7hour plus drive home , as it is the next best compromise is a night in the port town after the sailing and an early start without the worry if Border control.

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I would personally like an 8pm to 8am sailing both ways as it’s a 7hour plus drive home , as it is the next best compromise is a night in the port town after the sailing and an early start without the worry if Border control.

Yes, but with only one ship available....

And the route won't support two.

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I think one of the Pont Aven or the Bretagne will be replaced with a new ferry in the coming years, and the other will require a bit of money to do a little more than TLC. There isn't currently a lot to be chatered which would be suitable, so at the moment it's likely to be slim pickings. 

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As aficionados`of the leisurely lunch enroute from St Malo it suits us as does the arrival time.Bretagne arrives usually, and reliably, on its own in the ferry port. Its passengers have passed through Border Control before the next wave of Nex, Le Havre and Caen ships within a very short space of time that can often involve a long wait. For us, we have a long drive, 4plus hours north so the longer crossing allows the single driver to have a decent sleep, post lunch and fit and alert to tackle the onward journey.

  Pricewise this crossing is usually priced the same as a day crossing from Caen. Horses for courses though, as always. 

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Surely the 9am sailing from Ouistreham is better if you’ve got a longer drive getting in a few hours earlier is better and you still have plenty lunching time, but each to their own, I could have my lunch finished by 2pm  and still have eaten it “leisurely “, imo it’s just wasted driving time sitting waiting to get off the ship and rushing my evening meal or wasting driving time eating at a service station.

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One can't deny the popularity of the St Malo route for motorists, especially overnight, but I can't imagine this is a growing market.

My money is on PA doing St Malo after Brextagne, with it having the option of providing cover for the Spanish routes (and a smaller ship backfilling St Malo) - this would make business sense. If PA is too valuable and doesn't get more mileage out of Cork then if a cost effective swap with more suitable tonnage ever materialises then that shouldn't be ruled out. 

It's a shame that there's no workable combinations with Plymouth, Poole, Roscoff (or even CI in the future) that I can see.

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Personally I can’t see past Pont Aven replacing Bretagne, you just minimise the running costs as much as you can in slack months and use the time for ongoing work like they do in the winter when she covers the route anyway.

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49 minutes ago, impreza280 said:

One can't deny the popularity of the St Malo route for motorists, especially overnight, but I can't imagine this is a growing market.

My money is on PA doing St Malo after Brextagne, with it having the option of providing cover for the Spanish routes (and a smaller ship backfilling St Malo) - this would make business sense. If PA is too valuable and doesn't get more mileage out of Cork then if a cost effective swap with more suitable tonnage ever materialises then that shouldn't be ruled out. 

It's a shame that there's no workable combinations with Plymouth, Poole, Roscoff (or even CI in the future) that I can see.

Would it perhaps be possible to do a St Malo-Plymouth sailing, followed by a Plym-Santander sailing, before a Plymouth-St Malo return? Not sure about the logistics involved here.

Obviously this would reguire a second vessel supporting. 

Edited by MichaelBF
Additional Detail Added.

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12 minutes ago, impreza280 said:

One can't deny the popularity of the St Malo route for motorists, especially overnight, but I can't imagine this is a growing market.

My money is on PA doing St Malo after Brextagne, with it having the option of providing cover for the Spanish routes (and a smaller ship backfilling St Malo) - this would make business sense. If PA is too valuable and doesn't get more mileage out of Cork then if a cost effective swap with more suitable tonnage ever materialises then that shouldn't be ruled out. 

It's a shame that there's no workable combinations with Plymouth, Poole, Roscoff (or even CI in the future) that I can see.

It's a strange one, out of the two most westerly ferry ports St Malo numbers are growing and Roscoff's are falling. In terms of passenger and passenger vehicle numbers St Malo is BF's 2nd busiest French route and also carries twice as much freight as it close Breton neighbour.

In recent years BF's biggest growth can be seen on their Poole - Cherbourg link.

 

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21 minutes ago, jonno said:

In recent years BF's biggest growth can be seen on their Poole - Cherbourg link

Well the answer's clear then. Barfleur to replace Bretagne, which should increase numbers even further due to leap forward in passenger experience and Pont to Poole.

Job done.  

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18 minutes ago, jonno said:

It's a strange one, out of the two most westerly ferry ports St Malo numbers are growing and Roscoff's are falling. In terms of passenger and passenger vehicle numbers St Malo is BF's 2nd busiest French route and also carries twice as much freight as it close Breton neighbour.

In recent years BF's biggest growth can be seen on their Poole - Cherbourg link.

 

It’s not surprising really we only sailed to Roscoff this year as it was near our Breton destination anywhere apart from Finistere and it wouldn’t have been an option it a shame as Roscoff is a lovely place in its own right as for returning to Plymouth well how anyone can do anything but dread sitting being shuffled along for possibly 2 hours is beyond me, plus the hotel selection in Plymouth compared to Portsmouth is poor as well , it’s just not a great option, I will right a trip report about most probably my last experience of it.

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2 hours ago, neilcvx said:

Surely the 9am sailing from Ouistreham is better if you’ve got a longer drive getting in a few hours earlier is better and you still have plenty lunching time, but each to their own, I could have my lunch finished by 2pm  and still have eaten it “leisurely “, imo it’s just wasted driving time sitting waiting to get off the ship and rushing my evening meal or wasting driving time eating at a service station.

like I said ` horses for courses`

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Galica was floated out of the shipyard today, with construction of the Salamanca officially commencing with the first steel cutting.

Galicia - 10-09-19.png

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Wow! She's looking great especially in BF livery. Particularly the application of blue on the funnel and stern area.

It's quite blurry but do I read Portsmouth as the port of registry? If so, certainly a first for the company and a confirmation she won't be serving France at all (not that it was expected anyway) 

If she is this far advanced, I struggle to believe the late 2021 delivery suggested by Jonno up thread.

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46 minutes ago, georgem7 said:

Wow! She's looking great especially in BF livery. Particularly the application of blue on the funnel and stern area.

It's quite blurry but do I read Portsmouth as the port of registry? If so, certainly a first for the company and a confirmation she won't be serving France at all (not that it was expected anyway) 

If she is this far advanced, I struggle to believe the late 2021 delivery suggested by Jonno up thread.

I thought that too - it definitely doesn’t look like Morlaix.

Quite a good looking ship I must say, based on that photo at least.

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