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SAILING UPDATES: 2020 Latest News


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14 minutes ago, LHCity said:

Le Havre - "TGB3" can accommodate a ship of 215 meters. it was not a problem with Cap Finistère. There is an additional mooring never used until now. All moorings were recently renovated at the same time as the terminal facilities.

You can see BDS on Google Map and compare.

 

There was mention of 'Galicia' fitting on the linkspan in Le Havre but there was a worry about the pilot boats not being able to move. For one visit a week for the crew change, I couldn't see this being a problem.

My Google Maps is still showing 'Seven Sisters' on the linkspan.

Edited by TonyMWeaver
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My son wanted to see the Pont Aven come in and we hung around for the Connemara too. The Pont Aven even gave a blast of the horn as he waved from the round tower. 

Can I just say that’s terrible news about your wife - I for one would like to pass on heartfelt thoughts to you both as I’m sure other Enthusiasts will as well.... Chris

When did they install that massive bird on the mast? Is that to scare the hell out of the seagulls and stop them from pooping on the poop deck?! 😉

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27 minutes ago, TonyMWeaver said:

There was mention of 'Galicia' fitting on the linkspan in Le Havre but there was a worry about the pilot boats not being able to move. For one visit a week for the crew change, I couldn't see this being a problem.

My Google Maps is still showing 'Seven Sisters' on the linkspan.

BDS :

image.thumb.png.1869a466fbb6593dbc7467e60b163551.png

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11 minutes ago, Solo said:

Tony yours is Google Earth, LH is on Google Maps satellite view.

I was using Google Maps too but I did turn off Globe View which showed Baie de Seine instead of Seven Sisters. I tried it on other ports but it didn't make any difference.

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2 hours ago, TonyMWeaver said:

They have crew changed in Spain before.

Indeed - after technical stops and dry docking, and in severe cases of disruption. But never routinely. 
 

The UK would be a more likely option. However as I say, under the current crewing model, France is the only viable, long term and sensible option. 

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37 minutes ago, David Williams said:

Cherbourg is probably the most logical place for a crew change, the only question is whether they retain the return trip to Cherbourg or just drop in on the 2 night voyage 

Which is cheaper? Calling at Cherbourg, with docking fees etc or sending the crew across from Caen?

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11 hours ago, jonno said:

There are loads of members now not really bothering to engage with this forum as it's turning into a political & opinion based platform, when opinions are questioned and when met by fact derision and sarcasm are the response.

No one wants to debate or engage.

All forums have a mixture of members. I like this forum as it deals with complex technical issues as well as the day to day stuff.

I appreciate the detailed technical stuff, however am not able to contribute to it & I will forget how long a particular ship is as to me a ship is a ship, I am more interested in the restaurant, bread rolls, USB sockets and balconies,

This forum has technical experts, those that live in France and those that travel a lot, I have also seen real warmth towards fellow members when they are ill etc..

This forum is an excellent place to understand what BF is up to - I have never seen a travel company that is so bad at highlighting changes and has such opaque policies and hidden timetables. I also appreciate the contributions of those living in France who have been very helpful this year in explaining the impact of the various French rules.

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3 hours ago, David Williams said:

This forum is an excellent place to understand what BF is up to - I have never seen a travel company that is so bad at highlighting changes and has such opaque policies and hidden timetables. I also appreciate the contributions of those living in France who have been very helpful this year in explaining the impact of the various French rules.

Maybe the forum should change it's name as many members aren't that enthusiastic about Brittany Ferries anymore?

Many of us have travelled a lot more since the forum was established so many of us can see first hand how dated the ships are and how poorly maintained the the interiors have become.

Pont Aven is supposedly the flagship, she's never had a refit,  apart from the odd carpet the cabins are the same as they were 16 years ago and even then they were out of the 1990's. The fleet is flogged like a cart horse.

Compare her to Tallinks Sija Europa whose maiden voyage was less than 12 months after Normandie. Regardless of her originally having fuel hungry propulsion and having been chartered out as a floating home for Australian contractors then put up for sale, since 2016 Tallink have invested nearly €50m on her in order to bring her up to date to maintain her status as one of the finest ferries ever built.

You'd be lucky to see BF invest €5m... which is the most BF have ever spent on Bretagne - one of the first AA 5 star rated ferries - during her 31 years.

Anyway back to the topic...

I think the group are attempting to strike a balance between the three companies and it must be remembered that the Breton & Normandy regions have the final say in the boardroom, they have the casting vote.

All but one of the chartered vessels are paid for by BAI, their revenue is generated by these chartered ships, Cap Finistere, NEX and the contracts for operating & maintaining the vessels owned by SOMANOR & SOMABRET.

Looking ahead towards the end of the year SOMABRET will have just the one vessel in use, SOMANOR two and BAI three, two of which are charters.

The use of Armorique in replacing the Caen vessels for maintenance is in order to continue SOMABRET's income stream during the time of year when the most westerly route is suspended. This year that's more crucial as the revenues generated by fare paying passengers is so low. In terms of simply hauling freight SOMANOR could easily look after themselves on the route as Barfleur is the far superior vessel at transporting HGV's and can still exploit the twin deck linkspans.

The obvious point that Armorique has more cabins etc is a little moot at the moment.

What puzzles me is the decision to suspend all links with Cherbourg. After the Caen route it's by far BF's most used freight route enjoying a greater vehicle volume than Roscoff, St Malo & Le Havre combined.

I need to get my hands on the figures but I'm wondering whether the quarantine rules (which are joke, but that's another story) mean that hauliers are now beginning to bypass France and are sailing direct to Spain whether accompanied or not, on the three ships sailing to Santander & Bilbao.

The hassle of one quarantined country is better than two?

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2 minutes ago, David Williams said:

I hate to say it, however Le Havre seems to be more popular than Cherbourg, even when they weren't doing Grayling specials

key_figures_2019_-_7.jpg

Yeah, just revisited the DfT numbers, don't know where I was at, pax figures maybe? For LH that's big drop from the previous year and obviously you can't get many trucks on an Incat to Cherbourg.

Thanks D.

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6 minutes ago, jonno said:

Yeah, just revisited the DfT numbers, don't know where I was at, pax figures maybe? For LH that's big drop from the previous year and obviously you can't get many trucks on an Incat to Cherbourg.

Thanks D.

 Maybe the Cherbourg figures that you saw included the Irish sailings, it is definitely a strategic port going forward

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33 minutes ago, jonno said:

The hassle of one quarantined country is better than two?

You start to see where the rationale for ships with a big freight load (like Cap Finistere and Galicia) really come into play to Spain.

Let's say it averages a sailing a day in a "normal" year then Spain is carrying 41,673 freight units.

Similar French routes with a sailing a day like Poole-Cherbourg 19,499 freight units and Portsmouth-Le Havre 23,255 freight units combined only just overtake the Spanish routes. Ok, BF have to spend more fuel to get there it becomes fairly clear why the routes that are left now are the routes that are left; the Roscoff-Plymouth/Cork routes remaining open now is clearly just as a consequence of the Spain services.

Haulage drivers are exempt from quarantine.

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35 minutes ago, jonno said:

Maybe the forum should change it's name as many members aren't that enthusiastic about Brittany Ferries anymore?

Many of us have travelled a lot more since the forum was established so many of us can see first hand how dated the ships are and how poorly maintained the the interiors have become.

Pont Aven is supposedly the flagship, she's never had a refit,  apart from the odd carpet the cabins are the same as they were 16 years ago and even then they were out of the 1990's. The fleet is flogged like a cart horse.

Compare her to Tallinks Sija Europa whose maiden voyage was less than 12 months after Normandie. Regardless of her originally having fuel hungry propulsion and having been chartered out as a floating home for Australian contractors then put up for sale, since 2016 Tallink have invested nearly €50m on her in order to bring her up to date to maintain her status as one of the finest ferries ever built.

You'd be lucky to see BF invest €5m... which is the most BF have ever spent on Bretagne - one of the first AA 5 star rated ferries - during her 31 years.

Lack of competition? Resting on their laurels?

Bretagne is ancient and so dated, those pink interiors scream 1980s. There's a YouTube video of traveller on Pont-Aven last year I think laughing at how dated Pont-Aven looks, the neon coloured lighting and crazy decor, just how many more people think that?

Most customers are bothered about the basis that said, I've got some very well-to-do friends who live in Poole but she's French and her family lives in Rennes. They go to Portsmouth to take the Economie service to Le Havre, which I thought was astonishing they go out of their way; the answer was the beds, that they are awful on the Caen and St Malo ships, bigger on a Visinitini along with bigger cabins. Not a lot you can do with the basic structure of the cabin, but they are a festival of 1980s or 1990s retro non-chic.

The Baltic routes have some utterly stunning ships like you say very well maintained and loved, including Silja Serenade and Silja Symphony which are both older than Normandie but look like they're from now not two decades ago.

But you just need to look closer to home sailing from the UK where there is some competition. The DFDS pair from Newcastle in videos (not been on them myself recently) look much more contemporary, the irony being DFDS have perhaps spent more refreshing the ex-Val de Loire than BF have on the rest of their existing fleet in the same timeframe. They're competing against the Hull ships which have been refitted periodically and the more modern Stena twins in Harwich.

If a smaller BF does come out of this then it might not be a bad thing for the travelling public. Open up the opportunity for another operator to go into Le Havre and provide a proper service rather than the linkspan blocking tactics that BF have been running.

Yes, BF used to be very good but over the past decade they've stagnated and that means they've gone backward.

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Pont-Aven and MSM really need a BIG major internal refurbishment to bring them up to a sensible standard.  It's a shame this has been largely neglected over the years.  😥

As for Bretagne and Normandie with only a few more years, new carpets and repainted walls/ other hard surface's and a intense deep clean will do the job!

Edited by Bf Bretagne
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19 minutes ago, Bf Bretagne said:

Pont-Aven and MSM really need a BIG major internal refurbishment to bring them up to a sensible standard.  It's a shame this has been largely neglected over the years.  😥

As for Bretagne and Normandie with only a few more years, new carpets and repainted walls/ other hard surface's and a intense deep clean will do the job!

Armorique hasn’t changed since 2009 it needs a decent refit new beds, bathrooms , carpets, self service redone etc , Pont Aven needs ripped out from bow to stern and reconfigured for St Malo, MSM needs ripped out from bow to stern and modernised and Bretagne needs retired ASAP  , just my opinion of course .

(I’m booked to sail on Bretagne next year so I don’t think she’s that bad)

Edited by neilcvx
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Here's the full story from behind their paywall:

The French government has promised to bail out Brittany Ferries after claims that the cross-channel ferry operator could go bankrupt under pressure from Brexit, the pandemic and Britain’s decision to quarantine passengers arriving from France.

The rescue package is likely to be hammered out in Paris this week after Jean-Marc Roué, chairman of the French company, warned that it faced its “worst crisis” since it began in 1972.

Mr Roué told French media outlets that the group’s turnover, which was €442 million last year, was likely to drop by €250 million this year.

The group, based in Brittany, has 12 ferries that operate between France and Spain, Ireland and Britain, serving ports such as Portsmouth, Plymouth and Poole. Britons make up 85 per cent of its annual 2.6 million passengers.

Mr Roué said that passenger numbers had fallen by 5 per cent last year from 2018 levels because of uncertainty over Brexit and by a further 75 per cent this year because of the pandemic.

He said that the company had been expecting a much-needed recovery in revenue during the tourist season, but its hopes were crushed when Britain reimposed a 14-day quarantine of people arriving from France. “In one weekend, 35,000 passengers cancelled or postponed their trips,” Mr Roué said.

As a result, four ferries have been temporarily taken out of service and a further two will be in September.

 

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BF are very good at playing Politics with the involvement of the Regions. The Press conference on the Amorique was part of that,

Still interested in how they are crewing the Irish ferry from November, economically that should be via Stena, politically that should be with French sailors !

 

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5 hours ago, Seashore said:

You start to see where the rationale for ships with a big freight load (like Cap Finistere and Galicia) really come into play to Spain.

Let's say it averages a sailing a day in a "normal" year then Spain is carrying 41,673 freight units.

Similar French routes with a sailing a day like Poole-Cherbourg 19,499 freight units and Portsmouth-Le Havre 23,255 freight units combined only just overtake the Spanish routes. Ok, BF have to spend more fuel to get there it becomes fairly clear why the routes that are left now are the routes that are left; the Roscoff-Plymouth/Cork routes remaining open now is clearly just as a consequence of the Spain services.

Haulage drivers are exempt from quarantine.

Le Havre is the largest port in France. It is normal that even with very poor BF frequencies, this route is very popular for freight. Normally, Le Havre / Portsmouth carries as much Freight as all Spanish BF routes. Last year, the port of Le Havre was heavily impacted by French social movements (blockades by yellow vests and pension reform).

With only one start a day in 2018, Le Havre accounted for half of Ouistreham's Freight. This is why Le Havre / Portsmouth lives without a subsidy from the French state (unlike other routes)

In my opinion, Brexit will bring down a lot of cards on the Trans-Channel. Managing the queues at customs will require a better distribution of supply from the various Norman and Breton ports (unless the city of Ouistreham is converted into a freight car park)

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