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Shefford

Bretagne 23/6/19 & MSM 28/6/19

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Arrived at Portsmouth around 19.20 for the 20.15 crossing to St Malo. Last June, we ended up on Deck 4 after arriving at this time, but this year we were not so lucky. Found that Bretagne was still being unloaded, and cars coming off were held back from proceeding to passport control to allow cars heading for Bretagne to pass through to the pre-boarding lanes. So there was a knock-on delay in boarding, Deck 5 hadn't been filled, and we ended up there. Must arrive later next time.

Headed up to our cabin in the centre of Deck 6, and then onto the self-service for a light meal. The ship seemed quiet for the time of year. There was a very lengthy announcement about the evening's entertainment, including a school disco scheduled for 9pm. This didn't actually happen as all the school children went off to bed early - guess there were some no-nonsense teachers accompanying those school parties.

We didn't stay up late either, although didn't get much sleep as the engine noise was very bad. It was possibly the noisiest overnight crossing I've been on. Had breakfast in the self-service with excellent coffee and croissants, got to stay in the cabin until docking which is always a bonus, and made our way down to the car when Deck 5 drivers were called.

Unloading seemed painfully slow, so much so that I even got out the car and went down to Deck 4 a few times to see if anything was happening there. I can only assume that there were lots of large vehicles coming off Deck 3 first. The chap parked behind us couldn't get his drivers' door open as the car beside him was parked too close, so it must have seemed an even longer wait for him. Eventually got off at 9.00, and straight through passport control so at least we didn't have to queue there as well.

Headed off to Concarneau, with heavy rain to start with which largely cleared up by time we reached central Brittany. We stayed 4 nights at the Hotel de l'Ocean as part of a BF hotel holiday. Also in the hotel was a coach party of around 40 Brits from the Midlands, mostly aged 70+. It seems they had come over from Plymouth-Roscoff on the same night as us and, from the snippets of conversation we heard, many did not enjoy the experience. Frustratingly we couldn't actually pinpoint why that was, as when the subject of the crossing came up, there was a lot of shaking of heads and sharp intakes of breath. Perhaps their expectations of the ferry crossing had not been managed very well by the coach company? Anyway, not too many repeat customers for BF there.

Enjoyed our few days in Concarneau, and visited Pont Aven and Quimper. The heatwave hit on Wednesday but at least it was less hot than the rest of France. We left Concarneau on Friday and the car thermometer was saying 36C by time we reached the Mont St Michel services for lunch. Very wisely, the services were not serving hot food.

Arriving in Ouistreham around 15.00, the temperature was slightly less hot on the coast. Unlike last year, we didn't see any migrants nor were there any heavily-armed gendarmes patrolling the Place de Gaulle. Drove round to the port around 15.45, as we know from experience there is no rush - have never known the 16.30 crossing to leave on time on a Friday. Got through the port and onto the MSM fairly quickly, and passport control was just that - no checking of car boots. It seems the security situation is a bit more relaxed than it was. This time our late arrival paid off and we were parked on Deck 5 fairly near the front.

It was great to get to our cabin, have a shower and then crash out until dinner. We made our way to the main restaurant for opening time and opted for the 2-buffets option. Everything was up to standard, and the bread rolls were torpedo shaped, so not as substantial as the much-mourned triangular ones, but you can take as many as you like from the buffet. An announcement was made about school parties - they were to stop running around, stop shouting and forbidden from using the lifts. Holed up in our cabin, we had been unaware of any problems.🙂

We were kicked out of the cabin about 20 minutes before arriving so sat it out in the self-service before going down to the car. Got off the ferry and through passport control within 20 minutes of docking, so a good result there.

Enjoyed the trip very much, hotel was good and we made full use of the swimming pool. The only gilet jaunes activity we saw were some chaps getting sunburnt on a roundabout near Quimper.

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Good report Shefford..you were lucky with the rain it had come up from La Rochelle and was hell on earth until well south of Nantes.. you're right about the engine noise, we were on deck 8 and it was very loud all night.. worse than I've heard before..

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26 minutes ago, Paully said:

you're right about the engine noise, we were on deck 8 and it was very loud all night.. worse than I've heard before

You realise this is our fault for complaining that the ventilation grills were blocked with dust and fluff. In fact it was helping to keep the rumbling to a minimum. 😊 Ed. 

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The best announcement I have heard on a ferry; was could all school children head towards their cabins/seats immediately. 30 minutes later not one of them in site. They don't half know how to sort the school children out, quickly and effectively. 

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1 hour ago, Paully said:

Good report Shefford..you were lucky with the rain it had come up from La Rochelle and was hell on earth until well south of Nantes.. you're right about the engine noise, we were on deck 8 and it was very loud all night.. worse than I've heard before..

Yes, I realised how lucky we were when I read your report. We had planned a stop in Pontivy and it was dry there, with the Monday market in full swing - not what we were expecting when we left St Malo 2 hours earlier.

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I thought MSM was a bit worn when we sailed on her a lot of the seats in the cafe were excessively worn and the sofa in the cabin had seen better days but I still had a great enjoyable sailing on her/him.

The dreaded deck 5 on Bretagne as well ☹️B9E87BA8-A5FB-4E22-B7C2-EC7B526CDF79.thumb.jpeg.f732866100a9cae99ae3a013d1da8a1e.jpeg

Edited by neilcvx

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5 hours ago, Shefford said:

Unloading seemed painfully slow, so much so that I even got out the car and went down to Deck 4 a few times to see if anything was happening there. I can only assume that there were lots of large vehicles coming off Deck 3 first. The chap parked behind us couldn't get his drivers' door open as the car beside him was parked too close, so it must have seemed an even longer wait for him. Eventually got off at 9.00, and straight through passport control so at least we didn't have to queue there as well.

When stuck for ages on deck 5 I sometimes nip out of the back passed the kennels every so often to get a bit of air. I find it helps with the increasingly oppressive humidity while waiting.

Very interested in your observations of Ouistreham, we'll be passing through on the 14th and the missus is already feeling a little apprehensive... we had unknown visitors try the van doors on the Aire during one visit last year, a loud shout from me was all it took to move them on and seemingly alert other MoHo owners but we were awake until boarding after that.

Thanks Shefford I'll pass your comments on.  

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On 01/07/2019 at 21:33, neilcvx said:

I thought MSM was a bit worn when we sailed on her a lot of the seats in the cafe were excessively worn and the sofa in the cabin had seen better days but I still had a great enjoyable sailing on her/him.

Agree about the cafe, it's looking a bit tired. However, we were so delighted to get to the cabin and have a shower after enduring the heatwave that we didn't pay attention to anything much about that. If the shower hadn't been working though, we'd have been straight down to the information desk to make a fuss 😀

 

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On 02/07/2019 at 00:31, jonno said:

 we'll be passing through on the 14th and the missus is already feeling a little apprehensive.

July? Fete Nationale,  Party party party Party!   French Children with backpacks full of fireworks, nothing to be apprehensive about.

I agree MSM desperately needs some TLC. it really isn't the way to treat a cash cow.

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13 hours ago, alleeganger10 said:

July? Fete Nationale,  Party party party Party!   French Children with backpacks full of fireworks, nothing to be apprehensive about.

I agree MSM desperately needs some TLC. it really isn't the way to treat a cash cow.

Let's hope she doesn't get mooved to another route then :)

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15 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

Let's hope she doesn't get mooved to another route then :)

She's not really suitable for anywhere else so that's an udderly ridiculous idea. 😉. Ed. 

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