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After lockdown The new Normal


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I wonder what type of cruise ferry experience we will get to see after this Pandemic passes. 

I do not mean the immediate post lockdown restart.  But in the media  comments are being made of social distancing being maintained etc for a very long time.   BF crossings have always been more than just a way of crossing to France.   The restaurants and shops on board, the relative spaciousness and pretty good cabins are why I think people pay a premium for for using BF cruise ferries.  If this is watered down by health requirements what will the cruise ferry experience look like and will it cost less?

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I reserve judgement. Boris's statement was the window dressing. Tomorrow we can peruse the official 50 page document and contemplate the small print. I will be back with my verdict in 24 hours.

I am closing this thread for 7 days to allow people to cool down.  When it re-opens, off-topic posts, and posts abusive towards other forum members, will be removed without further notice.

Not really, just realised that not many on here are interested in anything factual because it's harder to believe than fiction. Plus I think those who incessantly post negative links in order to affir

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The Portsmouth - Ouistreham route could well start with:

a) Limited passenger numbers and very unlikely to see the return of group or school parties for some time.

b) Hand sanitisers in key areas, screwed down to stop people walking off with them

c) Limited access to seating lounges with alternative rows closed off

d) Served restaurant and bar closed

e) Very limited catering in self-service with pre-packed stuff and drinks and no hot meals

In fact a pretty miserable crossing. Bring you own sandwiches and stay in your cabin if you've got one.

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2 minutes ago, veryoldbear said:

The Portsmouth - Ouistreham route could well start with:

a) Limited passenger numbers and very unlikely to see the return of group or school parties for some time.

So at least one positive then :D

Seriously, though, it does sound a fairly realistic prospect.

As for prices, not sure whats going to happen, probably have to go up to  try and help cover the losses from this year, pay off any covid loans, and balance the lossses from onboard spending.

I finally decided to book the QM2 Transatlantic cruise last Nov for earlyish next year, just before this started, that could be, interesting now...

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10 minutes ago, veryoldbear said:

In fact a pretty miserable crossing. Bring you own sandwiches and stay in your cabin if you've got one.

Get a portable induction hob and have a self catering crossing  .

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1 hour ago, veryoldbear said:

The Portsmouth - Ouistreham route could well start with:

a) Limited passenger numbers and very unlikely to see the return of group or school parties for some time.

b) Hand sanitisers in key areas, screwed down to stop people walking off with them

c) Limited access to seating lounges with alternative rows closed off

d) Served restaurant and bar closed

e) Very limited catering in self-service with pre-packed stuff and drinks and no hot meals

In fact a pretty miserable crossing. Bring you own sandwiches and stay in your cabin if you've got one.

If thats what`s on offer I think I`d go for the Tunnel, if I had to cross the Channel..Otherwise I`ll be reacquainting myself with maritime Cornwall and/or the Isle of Wight.

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There's a description on the Stena page of what they are offering right now on the Harwich to Hook run -  and even more drastic than Very Old Bear's  suggestion above. 

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14 minutes ago, wortley said:

There's a description on the Stena page of what they are offering right now on the Harwich to Hook run -  and even more drastic than Very Old Bear's  suggestion above. 

Stena's Harwich Hook page doesn't sound too bad. The Riva bar is still open and hot food is still been served.

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I'm glad that some companies are still offering crossings for those who need to travel for professional or family reasons. 

My father is 71 years old, in reasonable health but overweight, and self-isolating in the Waitrose wine section as far as I can ascertain. If the worst should happen, I would obviously need to travel back and it's reassuring that DFDS and the tunnel (among others) are continuing to function.

Ed. 

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The last few times that we have crossed to France we have left Glasgow early morning, eaten breakfast in Cumbria (either Asda in Carlisle or Tebay services), had an evening meal in Portsmouth and then boarded the Portsmouth-Ouistreham crossing to head straight to bed after a long day as it worked out cheaper than staying overnight in Portsmouth. Breakfast the next morning has always been eaten either after we have disembarked or at an Aire once we have got part of our journey under our belts. Other than returning to the car ahead of disembarking, social distancing wouldn't affect what we have always done on our way over to France. Returning on NEX would be a different kettle of fish....

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1 hour ago, elaine80 said:

The last few times that we have crossed to France we have left Glasgow early morning, eaten breakfast in Cumbria (either Asda in Carlisle or Tebay services), had an evening meal in Portsmouth and then boarded the Portsmouth-Ouistreham crossing to head straight to bed after a long day as it worked out cheaper than staying overnight in Portsmouth. Breakfast the next morning has always been eaten either after we have disembarked or at an Aire once we have got part of our journey under our belts. Other than returning to the car ahead of disembarking, social distancing wouldn't affect what we have always done on our way over to France. Returning on NEX would be a different kettle of fish....

Interesting comment. The ferry travel scenario like you've just described could be one of the few ways (excluding the Chunnel of course) people could still holiday abroad whilst still maintaining social distancing.

(I'm sure operators could come up with a system to avoid the scrum for the car decks...)

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26 minutes ago, zuludelta said:

Interesting comment. The ferry travel scenario like you've just described could be one of the few ways (excluding the Chunnel of course) people could still holiday abroad whilst still maintaining social distancing.

(I'm sure operators could come up with a system to avoid the scrum for the car decks...)

We tried the Chunnel once (BF cancelled our outbound sailing and our only alternative was the Chunnel if we were to preserve all our other constraints - ourbooking was via a tour operator); our elder daughter described the Chunnel as like a poor simulator ride.

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I suspect that they will start running in (say) August with very strict limitation on passnger numbers. This may enable them to spread out the cars on the car deck (every other lane), but even with that how will they control the scrum on the stairwells unless they have a very strict way of marshalling (like the supermarkets)?

if they do that we won't get off the car deck until Bembridge and we'll be called down in batches about an hour from Ouistreham. It won't make night crossings very attractive. Laundry will be a frightful problem.

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My feeling on what will happen in the short term (until they can get a vacine rolled out across the entire population and those vacinated can provide certified evidence of the fact - maybe added electronically to your passport) is that the only crossings available to France will be overnight. Given that demand is likely to be lower initially (reluctance to travel, age and health worries, inability to get insurance etc) I think BF will opt to run a reduced service with extra time allowed for deep cleaning. The ferries may leave at perhaps 10pm with no catering option available (but with an option for a pre-ordered food pack/kettle in the cabin for tea and coffee etc), passengers are given staggered arrival times and then confined to their cabins for the duration with arrivals timed to allow staggered disembarcation before breakfast. This will mean reduced crew numbers to keep costs down (the same team can work twelve hours on and twelve hours off, sleeping during the day), cleaning teams have a full day to sterilise all the cabins and reset the ship and limited contact between passengers and crew. Tax and duty-free shopping may still be possible by pre-order and delivery to the cabin. The service could be offered to St Malo, Cherbourg, Roscoff, and Le Havre if the demand exists. The Ouistreham service is obviously more difficult to adapt this way but in that case the daytime crossings may have to operate without passengers. Sailings to Spain are clearly more complicated but at least the cabins on the new ships coming onstream will be more comfortable places to spend long periods of time and set periods could be allocated for on-deck exercise and picnicing. The one positive aspect of this is that the onboard WIFI service might be improved, even if you have to pay for it, as people are going to want conectivity if unable to stroll around the ships. Ed

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You may be right but it sounds very unappealing. But the other issue is what will you face when you get there?..OK if you are going to your own place or staying in a detached gite. A lot will depend on the rules appertaining at that time. I can`t imagine the French authorities would be happy to have `happy campers` roaming about all over the place. Beach access and holiday camps/caravan sites etc may still be restricted. Social distancing will apply to everywhere you go..Sorry to be realistic but on the positive side vaccine trials are due to start this week by Oxford University boffins..Lets hope for a breakthrough..

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I tend to agree with the idea that passenger services will recommence on an overnight only (and no catering) basis initially.  How that would work with Spain sailings, not sure.  Might be quite a while before Spanish sailings resume to passengers.

The one prediction that I think can be made with a reasonable degree of confidence is that prices will be substantially higher.  Wouldn’t surprise me to see them hiked by as much as 30%.  They have to make up for this year’s losses somehow.  And all those people sitting on vouchers will find them substantially devalued, such that, in order to be able to use them, they will have to cough up half as much again in addition.

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24 minutes ago, Gareth said:

I tend to agree with the idea that passenger services will recommence on an overnight only (and no catering) basis initially.  How that would work with Spain sailings, not sure.  Might be quite a while before Spanish sailings resume to passengers.

The one prediction that I think can be made with a reasonable degree of confidence is that prices will be substantially higher.  Wouldn’t surprise me to see them hiked by as much as 30%.  They have to make up for this year’s losses somehow.  And all those people sitting on vouchers will find them substantially devalued, such that in order to use them they will have to cough up half as much again in addition.

I noticed the other day the voucher value is being notionally increased by 20% for France and 15% for Spain and did wonder if I book a like for like holiday how it would work out.

easyJet are apparently going to fly with middle seats empty. Simon Calder did some back-of-a-fag-packet maths which suggested fares could increase by as much as 50%. That's true on the basis of number of seats available but may not be entirely accurate.

Whilst there are signs of the current outbreak levelling off and heading towards a downward trend, the often cited Imperial College study by Prof Neil Ferguson forsees it coming back later in the year unless a medical solution is found or other measures are taken.

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20 minutes ago, Gareth said:

The one prediction that I think can be made with a reasonable degree of confidence is that prices will be substantially higher.  Wouldn’t surprise me to see them hiked by as much as 30%.  They have to make up for this year’s losses somehow.  And all those people sitting on vouchers will find them substantially devalued, such that, in order to be able to use them, they will have to cough up half as much again in addition.

I think thats what they would like to do but I very much doubt they can make it stick. Firstly it would put potential passengers off, Dieppe isnt that far away, nor the short sea crossings. Secondly I don`t think the travel market will be buoyant at all. Next year will be slowly feeling the way forward. I think any losses will have to be sustained over a number of years.

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2 minutes ago, Jim said:

I noticed the other day the voucher value is being notionally increased by 20% for France and 15% for Spain

???

Is this new vouchers, or are the ones already issued also being increased?

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1 minute ago, Gareth said:

???

Is this new vouchers, or are the ones already issued also being increased?

I think its retrospective Gareth from something I picked up on their Facebook site..Its coming into line with a lot of other `voucher providers` to try to gain some kudos with affected customers.

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My understanding of this extra 20% is that it's a discount off a replacement booking, not extra value added to the voucher and, crucialy, time-limited. I got this email this weekend after receiving two vouchers for my cancelled crossings. 

 

"Furthermore, in light of the disruption you have experienced we would also like to offer you a saving on future travel when used in combination with the travel voucher(s). A discount of 20% will apply to sailings to France and 15% on travel to Spain when using the exclusive booking link below. And, as we understand you may wish to wait before making new arrangements, we're holding this open until 31 July 2020. This will enable you to take advantage of these savings on travel either later this year or into 2021*."

Ed

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30 minutes ago, Gareth said:

???

Is this new vouchers, or are the ones already issued also being increased?

This was mentioned somewhere last week and I think it was an official BF statement.  They must have been listening to you Gareth, as people said it has taken time for a proper response after the initial panic.

Just seen Ed's post.

 

Edited by Solo
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Apologie

1 hour ago, Gareth said:

???

Is this new vouchers, or are the ones already issued also being increased?

Apologies, poor phrasing on my part. Having double checked, it's discount for booking until 31st July 2020. Only applies to the passenger and vehicle elements of sailings. Also, unfortunately in our case, useless.
 

 

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I think there is an interesting trade-off here. If you increase ticket prices too much, people will head for the tunnel instead. We regularly (or rather used to travel regularly) Oxfordshire to our No 2 maison in Manche, so comparing travel by BF with the tunnel is normally no contest. But in the event of a serious price hike the tunnel might become an attractive (?) alternative to a locked-down and expensive ferry service. In practice the door-to-door time is not much different and the exposure to nasty bugs might be considerably less particularly if one took ones own refreshments (pork pie and cheese and pickle sandwiches southbound, baguette and cidre northbound).  I am sure that BF will be contemplating this Laffer curve effect and trying to optimise revenue accordingly.

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4 hours ago, veryoldbear said:

This may enable them to spread out the cars on the car deck (every other lane), but even with that how will they control the scrum on the stairwells unless they have a very strict way of marshalling (like the supermarkets)?

Not sure why they would need to spread out the cars. They aren't at Aldi!

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Personally, I don't think it will be as drastic as others seem to. There will be changes in restaurants and seating lounges to encourage spacing is adhered to but most of the schedule changes will just reflect demand.

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