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2021 Timetables


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2 hours ago, Gareth said:

Interesting.  If they have decided to close the Le Havre route, you'd think they'd say so.  Unless they're worried about undermining bookings while the route continues to operate through to early November.  No firm date implies they are either stalling while they decide what to do or are managing the messages.  As I see it, the Le Havre bit of that could have one of the following meanings:

  • They have decided to close the route but want to wait until the last of the current advertised sailings before saying so;
  • They would like to continue the route but don't have a ship available and are seeing if they can get hold of one;
  • They won't be running a conventional ferry but might (as yet undecided) operate the odd NEX sailing there?

Or, maybe, the apparent dithering on Le Havre may be all wrapped up in behind-the-scenes activity surrounding Honfleur.  If their goal is still, by some round-about route, to get Honfleur into the fleet then they may not have completely ditched the idea of eventually deploying Normandie to Le Havre.  But there may be factors to do with possible timescales for getting hold of Honfleur, how likely it is to happen, how long they can hold off not sailing to Le Havre until Normandie becomes available without vacating the route for someone else, that are reasons why they can't publish any concrete information yet but don't want to put up a big flag saying route available to take over.  There must be something complex going on, otherwise why not just say the route is closing?

The bit about NEX is either an indication that they genuinely haven't decided what to do with her, or a stall pending some announcement about what the plans are (possibly involving Condor).  Does anyone ( @Nick Hyde ?) have any intel on when Condor is planning to release 2021 timetables?

Sorry don't know about Condor's 2021 plans yet. The company has been hit hard by Covid despite maintaining revenue from freight. I guess they will be considering the 2021 season and timetables shortly.

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One season the port of Arromanches did have 2.5 million passengers and 500,000 vehicles.

The most sensible and logical option for the CI is to join the EU in their own right, France is a far more logical place for them to belong too anyway. Rhys

Yeah, the French BFenthusiasts website has been on strike from about 5 minutes before it went live. And that was 15 years ago. Ed. 

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1 hour ago, David Williams said:

Is it any worse than a Vissenti for tourists ?

Very limited passenger capacity (though maybe within what is needed at the current time).  Her achilles heel in current configuration, for passenger operation, is shared bathroom facilities.  Seems to have been ok in the Baltic, but UK tourist expectations these days are for en suite facilities in cabins.  So, in that respect, even a Vissentini is probably better.

But I reckon freight-only will be enough to keep the route ticking over.  So the idea of Cotentin appearing on it is not a daft one.

(Assuming, that is, that she really is coming back to BF.  I know there was a lot of excitement a while back about a story that somebody stumbled across to indicate she might be, but we’ve heard precious little else (and certainly nothing official) to corroborate it.)

If she does come back, however, you’d think the first call on her would be Poole-Bilbao.  (Essentially the route, apart from Spanish port, for which she was built).  No indication as yet of what the plans are for that route when Pelican’s charter is up.

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8 minutes ago, nick hall said:

Timetables still show it as Etretat.

So, either there was a late change to the plans between the press release being put together and the timetables being published, or there is a late change since the timetable publication yet to filter through, or the press room is in a bit of a muddle, one of the bits of information is simply wrong.

Intriguing!

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2 minutes ago, Gareth said:

(The line that says “Armorique is new to Ireland” rather lends weight to the scenario that the press office is in a bit of a muddle with its facts).

Well it's a new 'regular' service. The only time she's been there before was covering for one of PA's periodic breakdowns. Ed. 

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47 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Timetables still show it as Etretat.

So, either there was a late change to the plans between the press release being put together and the timetables being published, or there is a late change since the timetable publication yet to filter through, or the press room is in a bit of a muddle, one of the bits of information is simply wrong.

Intriguing!

I know someone who works in Connemara and who confirms to me that it is indeed Connemara that will make Cherbourg / Rosslare and not Etretat.  Very strange these new schedules. When you think that we waited for St Malo when there is no change ...!  If it continues Etretat will come back to Le Havre as if nothing had happened

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5 minutes ago, LHCity said:

I know someone who works in Connemara and who confirms to me that it is indeed Connemara that will make Cherbourg / Rosslare and not Etretat.  Very strange these new schedules. When you think that we waited for St Malo when there is no change ...!  If it continues Etretat will come back to Le Havre as if nothing had happened

Jane's view

 

 

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7 hours ago, Gareth said:

The notion of Pont Aven stopping sailing to Spain in 3 or 4 years' time is quite a sober thought.  (I see your logic Jonno but I hope you're wrong!).  In all the 43 year history of BF's route to Santander from Plymouth, there have only ever been 5 ships to serve it on a regular basis (excluding refit cover), and in 4 or 5 years' time Pont Aven will have been the route's "ship" for double the length of time of the next longest-serving vessel (VDL).  I do hope that, by the time it does come to retire her from the Bay, BF manages to order a proper bespoke replacement to follow in her wake - and not just a slow, lumbering Stena conversion like the behemoths they are sending to Portsmouth.  It will be the end of a magnificent era when she goes.

My hunch is that sailings from Plymouth will continue, clearly the burning question is new build or fairly recent pre loved, for me it'll be a 200m new build... a shortened Viking Grace perhaps?

With the 3 E-Flexers there won't be such a need for HGV lane metres.

 

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One innovative thing for BF could be to assign NORMANDIE to Le Havre and leave MONT ST MICHEL to Ouistreham, operating the two ships as a single route from Portsmouth. In addition, assign the NORMANDIE EXPRESS to Ouistreham / Portsmouth and Le Havre / Portsmouth to always offer 2 to 3 departures per day from each French port. It would group the two biggest routes of Freight. Failing this, BF could lose the 40,000 trucks that leave Le Havre each year, already many passing through the Detroit due to the lack of frequencies from BF.

It would also prevent BF from letting the competition settle in Le Havre because this route is clearly underused compared to its potential.

I know that this pattern does not please fans of BF, but you have to know how to shake up habits to progress.

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12 minutes ago, jonno said:

With the 3 E-Flexers there won't be such a need for HGV lane metres.

Depends where the third Flexer goes.  If, as you think, she is Rosslare-bound then that only leaves 2 at Portsmouth.  Assuming CF is then released from Portsmouth, the Plymouth contribution to freight capacity becomes more important.

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10 hours ago, nick hall said:

Press release also says that they are only running freight at present !

  • In normal times, twelve ships operate services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • At present five freight routes in operation: Portsmouth-Caen, Porstmouth-Cherbourg, Portsmouth-Santander, Bilbao-Poole, Bilbao-Rosslare
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Out of interest following the release of the time tables. I looked at our September crossing to Bilbao.

This had been full for a number of weeks. It now has the majority of cabin types available. Is this because BF have upped the capacity or was it due to a large number of amended bookings sitting on the crossing waiting for the new timetables to be released which have now been moved?

Another point we booked early on the full flexi option. The cost is now £120.00 more if we booked today. This is a bigger saving than booking the economy ticket today

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19 hours ago, hhvferry said:

Gareth, wondering what the long term plan might end up being, would a three e-flexer Portsmouth-Spain operation work with those three also maintaining a six time a week Portsmouth-Cherbourg operation?

Sorry about the delay in replying to this Matt - been pondering it!

Yes, it would be possible.  The itinerary would have to switch the Spain 2-nighter to the northbound crossing and work to something like the following schedule:

Day 1:  2000 arr Portsmouth;  2230 dep Portsmouth

Day 2:  0700 arr Cherbourg;  0900 dep Cherbourg;  1230 arr Portsmouth;  1500 dep Portsmouth

Day 3:  2000 arr Santander;  2300 dep Santander

Day 4:  At Sea

Day 5:  0700 arr Portsmouth;  1000 dep Portsmouth;  1530 arr Cherbourg;  2200 dep Cherbourg

Day 6:  0600 arr Portsmouth;  0900 dep Portsmouth

Day 7:  1400 arr Santander;  1700 dep Santander

 

If Ship 1 slotted into the schedule with Day 1 on Mondays, Ship 2 with Day 1 on Saturdays and Ship 3 with Day 1 on Sundays, then the following schedules would operate:

Portsmouth-Cherbourg:  Mon 2230, Weds 1000, Thurs 1000, Fri 1000, Sat 2230, Sun 2230

Cherbourg-Portsmouth:  Mon 0900, Tues 0900, Weds 2200, Thurs 2200, Fri 2200, Sun 0900

Portsmouth-Santander:  Mon 1500, Tues 1500, Thurs 0900, Fri 0900, Sat 0900, Sun 1500

Santander-Portsmouth:  Mon 2300, Tues 2300, Weds 2300, Fri 1700, Sat 1700, Sun 1700

 

Obviously, the days could all be shunted forwards or backwards by the same amount, but the above arranges for the days on which there are no sailings to and from Spain to be Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively, coinciding with days when PA is sailing from/to Plymouth.

Each ship has several opportunities in the week to catch up lost time, with the 2-nighter from Santander, the overnights to/from Cherbourg, and the extended (crew change) layover in Cherbourg on Day 5 (which is obviously different for each ship).

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2 minutes ago, David Williams said:

Presumably there will be a season with 2 eflexers !

Yep - and maybe 2 is all there will ever be (if Jonno is right and the third Flexer goes to Rosslare).  That’s a different scenario, and there is probably a way they could get 5 weekly sailings to and from Spain out of them, but that would be at the expense of any Cherbourg rotations.  (There would still need to be a Cherbourg call for crew change, but that would be its only purpose).

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