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Andy

Cork to Roscoff, onboard Connemara

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I recently had the opportunity to sail on the Connemara between Cork and Roscoff - almost one year since she entered service with Brittany Ferries.

The terminal in Ringaskiddy was all but deserted upon arrival at the port. The helpful check-in staff advised that check-in would commence in an hour or so, whilst the ships crew conducted an emergency drill. The terminal itself was spacious and clean, but with facilities limited to just a toilet block. A former cafe/servery was in evidence but looked like it hadn't been in use for some year - the same went for the heating! By the time boarding commenced there was a group of around 20 foot passengers. As the gangway is not compatible with the Connemara we were escorted to the ship by foot, and boarded via the stern door. Here an escalator takes you straight up to deck 5. A long corridor eventually leads you to the reception area where boarding cards were again checked against a boarding list, and directions given to cabins, which were located on decks 6 and 7. At the top of the stairwells crew were again on hand to check boarding cards against cabin lists, and then directed towards your cabins. Mine was located overlooking the bow on deck 6, with a traditional cabin key giving some charm to the usual boarding card!

Once settled it was down to the restaurant to grab some well needed food - with most passengers having the same idea. A limited menu was available, but was reasonably priced and service was polite and friendly. Shortly after the scheduled departure time there was an announcement by the (English) captain advising that departure had been delayed by an hour due to a technical problem. We eventually got underway 70 mins behind schedule, but were assured that we would still arrive onetime, despite the adverse weather forecast. The cruise ship Astoria was alongside Cobh as we sailed out of the harbour - but the strong (and cold!) winds quickly curtailed any time out on deck. After a nite cap in the bar it was time to retire for the night.

The sailing overnight was relatively smooth, and after a relaxing lie-in an 'Irish Breakfast' was enjoyed, before a brisk walk out on deck. The seas were starting to build as the Breton coast came into sight.

The scheduled arrival in Roscoff was somewhat later than usual due to tidal constraints affecting the outbound Armorique. We held outside the harbour until she had cleared the berth, and we had boarded our pilot. The strong winds made berthing somewhat challenging, but before long we were safely alongside. Disembarkation was swift, and the vintage airport shuttle bus transported us from the top of the links pan to the terminal building.

All in all a pleasant voyage, with the sailing being very much no-frills, which BF make very clear at the time of booking. The Connemara is almost identical to that of her sister Etretrat, with limited facilities onboard, which include the bar, restaurant and a small shop. There is free wifi available in the public areas and premium wifi was available in cabin areas. The fact that the crew were not French did not affect the onboard experience - they are dressed in full BF uniforms, and were always polite and helpful.

Photos below - enjoy.

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Nice report Andy and good photos as usual - so she's classic Visentini then, basic but functional and gets you from A to B (or C to R in your case!)

You wouldn't want to be on board with 5 coach loads of school kids though….:/

Chris

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Looks alright to me, I've yet to sail on one of these ships but based on what I've seen here would be perfectly happy to, though maybe on Portsmouth-Le Havre rather than to Spain.

Also I think the Armorique is looking particularly good, the new colour scheme seems to suit her the best of all those which have received it so far.

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Interesting report Andy that I've only just got round to reading now. A few comments:

 

Cork passenger terminal looks as appealing as one of those regional airports served by low cost carriers that suddenly finds itself with 2 flights a day as opposed to 2 a month!

 

Cabin looks nice and spacious. Not quite like the size of a 4-berth outside on Pont L'Abbé, but as my mother would call it, "more room than that required to swing a cat" 😂

 

What on Earth is that Reserved seats sign? Looks like some lettering produced in word art (ah, nostalgia!) stuck on a drywipe board!

 

To be fair, I'm just unexplainedly amazed by the idea of an escalator onboard a ferry. 😉 😀

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We were on the Connemarra recently as car passengers, and can confirm the experience on board. Our had to be parked on the open deck and would have been top left in his photo. To get there we had to reverse the entire length of the deck with little help from the single (non English speaking) deckhand. After a stormy overnight crossing they did give the cars a brief washdown, but still needed to clean windows before setting off. With a limited number of cabins I doubt we'll be troubled by coachloads of schoolkids on future trips.

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