Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
David Williams

BF operations to Le Havre (and related history!)

Recommended Posts

I think Jonno said, on another thread, that the port of Le Havre, contribute to Somanor therefore BF are obliged to continue with the route unless economically unsustainable. Ditto the route to Cherbourg. What happens and how it operates after the arrival of Honfleur remains interesting points of conjecture. I think it will be operated in the short to medium term, by the Normandie, but as a full BF route and dropping the `Economie` brand. Plus of course it does serve to keep anyone else out and in the process provides protection for the lucrative Caen route..

Edited by Paully
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Paully said:

I think Jonno said, on another thread, that the port of Le Havre, contribute to Somanor therefore BF are obliged to continue with the route unless economically unsustainable. Ditto the route to Cherbourg. What happens and how it operates after the arrival of Honfleur remains interesting points of conjecture. I think it will be operated in the short to medium term, by the Normandie, but as a full BF route and dropping the `Economie` brand. Plus of course it does serve to keep anyone else out and in the process provides protection for the lucrative Caen route..

I like Le Havre as a destination in itself. Completely different to other BF French ports, a big city but with tons of history and charm. 
They even have a dinky little funicular railway:)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s also a useful overflow from Caen when the Ouistreham route is operating at capacity.  Plus, it serves a slightly different market when it comes to onward destination.  Caen traffic is generally headed south.  Le Havre is better suited for traffic heading more in the Paris direction.  Plus, in terms of tourism, while Caen is used to market the Normandy beaches, Le Havre opens up a whole different marketing area for BF, in the form of the Alabaster Coast.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Gareth said:

It’s also a useful overflow from Caen when the Ouistreham route is operating at capacity.  Plus, it serves a slightly different market when it comes to onward destination.  Caen traffic is generally headed south.  Le Havre is better suited for traffic heading more in the Paris direction.  Plus, in terms of tourism, while Caen is used to market the Normandy beaches, Le Havre opens up a whole different marketing area for BF, in the form of the Alabaster Coast.

Le Havre was (and still is I beleive) the berth port advertised by some cruises as "Paris". I would be pretty cheesed off if I didn't know I had a hefty coach hike each way and only had a night or day to spend.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Le Havre was (and still is I beleive) the berth port advertised by some cruises as "Paris".

As Warnemunde is sometimes advertised for Berlin and even further away. Warnemunde and nearby Rostock are worth visiting in their own right.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hf_uk said:

Le Havre was (and still is I beleive) the berth port advertised by some cruises as "Paris". I would be pretty cheesed off if I didn't know I had a hefty coach hike each way and only had a night or day to spend.

I don't think LD were pushed out by anyone. They partnered with DFDS who decided to pull out in order to concentrate on Newhaven. There are cruise berths at Rouen and there is also a linkspan in the dock opposite.

To be really radical you could send a RoPax down the Seine and have a terminal there with a little investment in pre fab units and tarmac.Customs are already in place dealing with the port anyway.

I wonder whether Seine-Maritime's decision to be involved in SOMANOR is in part a strategic move to protect Dieppe. History would indicate that DFDS are more than capable of pulling out when the subsidies run out, the Society coupled with BAI's operating chutzpah may well be a solution to Transmanche's continued service?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder how long it will be before Santander, Bilbao, Gijon, Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante all become “Madrid”! 🤣

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Gareth said:

I wonder how long it will be before Santander, Bilbao, Gijon, Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante all become “Madrid”! 🤣

Surprised BF haven't capitalised more on that actually, perhaps a 'Paris Mini-cruise' is a little ambitious, but at least as an easy to reach weekend break destination from Le Havre...
They quite aggressively push London to the French market...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LD got off to a really good start at Le Havre, and could well have made a success of it.  But no sooner had Norman Spirit settled into the role than they started messing around with fleet deployment.  It all went downhill from there and they never got the early positive momentum back. LD’s departure from Le Havre was therefore entirely self-inflicted by their spectacular catalogue of own goals.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Gareth said:

LD got off to a really good start at Le Havre, and could well have made a success of it.  But no sooner had Norman Spirit settled into the role than they started messing around with fleet deployment.  It all went downhill from there and they never got the early positive momentum back. LD’s departure from Le Havre was therefore entirely self-inflicted by their spectacular catalogue of own goals.

 

Yep, but Norman Voyager didn't want to go anywhere. She simply put her BF overcoat on and stay put:)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, hf_uk said:

Surprised BF haven't capitalised more on that actually, perhaps a 'Paris Mini-cruise' is a little ambitious, but at least as an easy to reach weekend break destination from Le Havre...
They quite aggressively push London to the French market...

There could soon be another attraction in Normandy to bring in cruise passengers, but it may never actually get built.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7911323/Outrage-plans-build-85million-Disney-style-D-Day-Land-theme-park.html

Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Gareth said:

LD got off to a really good start at Le Havre, and could well have made a success of it.  But no sooner had Norman Spirit settled into the role than they started messing around with fleet deployment.  It all went downhill from there and they never got the early positive momentum back. LD’s departure from Le Havre was therefore entirely self-inflicted by their spectacular catalogue of own goals.

 

 

I often wonder whether how we, the enthusiasts, see the fortunes of a route stack up to the actual economic performance. For example, did LD's passenger and freight numbers actually tail off in direct reaction to the ships they used or is that just how we see it?

This isn't a criticism of Gareth, just wondering aloud - in part prompted by the earlier comments about PAX numbers for P&O from Harwich and on Portsmouth to Cherbourg. I.e. the perception is generally that the routes were failing under P&O due to old or inappropriate tonnage and poor management but the numbers don't seem to back that up.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seeing someone mentioned us (enthusiasts)...
I wondered if it might be nice to organised some kind of official unofficial BFE outing when Honfleur is with us towards the end of the year?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hf_uk said:

Seeing someone mentioned us (enthusiasts)...
I wondered if it might be nice to organised some kind of official unofficial BFE outing when Honfleur is with us towards the end of the year?!

I think you’ve in the wrong thread old chap, been chased off course by Paully’s farter bummer....🤣

Certainly a good idea though, I will be doing my best to be on her maiden voyage if work permits, but an official unofficial BFE jolly would be fun - maybe you can start a new thread with that in mind. It would be great to put faces to names but hang on, I know you already....😳

Currently enjoying a superb sunset on Armorique having watched it come up in chilly Cherbourg this morning - my 6th ferry trip in 10 days, just Normandie to go tomorrow night then that’s it for another 2 weeks.

Chris

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back on topic (sort of), my first paid employment was for a firm of ships chandlers based in Avonmouth back in 1978 but muggins was sent to look after their new Le Havre depot, so every weekend I was  back and forth on either Dragon or Leopard, or TT’s Super Vikings. One of my abiding memories was the local French staff who at bang on midday took the keys to the bonded warehouse, selected a couple of the best bottles of whisky they could find, gave me a wink and said ( in French) you’ve seen nothing son, only the 2 bottles that fell off the shelf earlier. Who was I to argue?

Rest assured very little work was done after lunch.
 

Chris

Edited by Fine Whine
  • Like 3
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, hf_uk said:

Seeing someone mentioned us (enthusiasts)...
I wondered if it might be nice to organised some kind of official unofficial BFE outing when Honfleur is with us towards the end of the year?!

We can't do it at the end of the year as we need another jolly to welcome Galicia.

I'm always up for it and taking the car over. @Paully knows he has transport & @neilcvx can be sorted for Twirl multipacks, bannock & fizzy water. Space for one more anyone?

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

Back on topic (sort of), my first paid employment was for a firm of ships chandlers based in Avonmouth back in 1978 but muggins was sent to look after their new Le Havre depot, so every weekend I was  back and forth on either Dragon or Leopard, or TT’s Super Vikings. One of my abiding memories was the local French staff who at bang on midday took the keys to the bonded warehouse, selected a couple of the best bottles of whisky they could find, gave me a wink and said ( in French) you’ve seen nothing son, only the 2 bottles that fell off the shelf earlier. Who was I to argue?

Rest assured very little work was done after lunch.
 

Chris

Which did you prefer, the Normandy Ferries or the Super Vikings? The Dragon and Leopard look rather more swish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A decade their senior though.  Dragon and Leopard were in a different league from the original Vikings, but I think TT had the edge with Venturer and Valiant.

Those four ships formed the mainstay of my childhood!

It says a lot, I think, that TT only ran with Dragon and Leopard for one year after they took over Normandy Ferries.  The three-daily-sailings-in-each-direction schedule was not easy to manage with stern-only loaders.  They were more suited to the more relaxed Southampton schedule - and I agree, in their day they were the most luxurious ferries on the Channel.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Gareth said:

A decade their senior though.  Dragon and Leopard were on a different league from the original Vikings, but I think TT had the edge with Venturer and Valiant.

Those four ships formed the mainstay of my childhood!

Gareth we must meet!

An informal arrangement of course, with a couple of Enthusiasts to judge how the blind date goes ...🤣

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed Chris.

Worth reflecting that, to this day, Venturer, Valiant, Dragon, Leopard and the three original Vikings are the only ferries that were ever purpose-built for the Le Havre route to have served it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, hhvferry said:

Which did you prefer, the Normandy Ferries or the Super Vikings? The Dragon and Leopard look rather more swish.

It’s funny how time plays tricks but Gareth will hopefully agree with me here. When the Super Vikings first came into service they were the dogs tranklements (thanks so much Paully!), innovative, comfortable, the open bow foredeck with glass/plastic shielding when it got rough, and often did. And then the Le Havre twins were butchered, horrible and ugly from the outside, no different inside but those memories stuck. 

I loved the 2 Normandy Ferries, stylish to look at with proper lines, not big in terms of tonnage just nice ships. But that’s over 40 years ago now.....

Of course my first ferry crossing was back in 1960 from Folkestone to Boulogne - well we won’t go there !

Chris

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Indeed Chris.

Worth reflecting that, to this day, Venturer, Valiant, Dragon, Leopard and the three original Vikings are the only ferries that were ever purpose-built for the Le Havre route to have served it.

Depends how far back you go... Normannia and her railway predecessors would disagree 🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Chris, completely agree.  When they were new, the SVs were special.  TT deciding to butcher them instead of invest in new tonnage was one of the signs of the management losing its way in the mid-80s that culminated in the end of the company.

Dragon and Leopard were always class acts.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...