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2021 Timetables


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7 minutes ago, Andy said:

Not sure if it's been reported here yet, but the Le Havre route (resuming on 31/12/20) will initially be operated by the Etretat, followed by the Barfleur for a two week period, before moving to her usual Poole/Cherbourg route.

https://www.brittanyferriesfreight.co.uk/5102

It has, however there is no harm in repeating it.

The interesting question is why a 2 week stint of the Barfleur which led to the cancellation of her Easter bookings. Is she really going back to Poole afterwards or will the Cotentin continue there ?

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

I think we all make the mistake in not appreciating the ways and means. A port may have excellent facilities but if the access and approaches are limited HGV's and holiday traffic will look elsewhere.

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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32 minutes ago, Gareth said:

What’s the time scale now on Etretat’s charter?  Is she heading back to her owners at some stage?

I understand that it is the end of March based on other comments, That is why the Barfleur is filling in, however I could not understand why the Barfleur could not restart Poole prior to Easter and the Cotentin take over from the Etretat.

 

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20 minutes ago, David Williams said:

I understand that it is the end of March based on other comments, That is why the Barfleur is filling in, however I could not understand why the Barfleur could not restart Poole prior to Easter and the Cotentin take over from the Etretat.

 

That bit isn't clear - there must be some reason I guess.

But yes BF has confirmed internally that ETRETAT is back to Stena RoRo at that point.

Charters are often pretty confusing and complex with a headline length but often contain lots of end and extension points.

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I wonder if that means we have seen the last if the Visentinis on passenger operations from the UK?

Scottish Viking gone, Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey gone, Connemara/Norman Asturias back on either Poole freight service or Rosslare-Spain, Etretat/Norman Voyager back to her owners.

RIP Economie?

(Or will the Flexers be the new Visentinis?)

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Epsilon will still be around , she takes over from W B Yeats on  Dublin / Holyhead when W B Y  starts summer France service , Epsilon is on the Dublin / France for the winter at the moment .

 

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7 hours ago, Gareth said:

I

(Or will the Flexers be the new Visentinis?)

This isn’t a sarky question Gareth but have you ever sampled a Visentini? I’ve been on 4 (Connemara, Etretat, Epsilon and Stena Horizon), they’re not that bad and the cabins are huge to their credit but there is very little to do, a bit like a transport cafe at sea. Not the most comfortable of vessels either when the sea gets in a strop, maybe uninspiring is a good way to describe them and you certainly wouldn’t be looking forward to another trip on one for a while in this weather. 
Apart from the cabin debacle (and I should get some genuine, unbiased feedback on this from some of our regular truckers soon) E-Flexers would appear to be in a very different league from Visentinis. I’m booked on Galicia on the 21st ex Cherbourg, cabin 921 so will form my own opinion and impression based on that experience but am pretty confident it will be a huge improvement on the four I mentioned.

It will be interesting to eventually read comments about her sea keeping abilities about which a lot has been trumpeted since launch. Galicia’s 2nd commercial voyage that’s just ended would have been a very good test of those claims...

Chris

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11 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

Galicia’s 2nd commercial voyage that’s just ended would have been a very good test of those claims...

Well she maintained a healthy 21 knots crossing Biscay last night in some pretty heavy seas and arrived 5 hours ahead of schedule .

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Exactly Chef. BF captains will generally put passenger comfort high on the priority list and take a different course or slow down in heavy seas. The fact she kept up a good speed through a nasty swell suggests to me that the Flexers are considerably better sea keepers than Visentinis.

Chris

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In drawing the comparison, I was not intending to imply the standards of the experience were comparable.  Galicia is clearly in a different league.  The similarity I was hinting at was in terms of the concept of having a stock design, that enables new ships to be acquired at relatively economic costs, which, whilst adaptable, essentially fulfils a general purpose role as well as possible but fulfils no role as well as a ship purpose-designed for that role would.

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Yes I knew what you were getting at Gareth, but your last comment is quite interesting, E Flexers don’t fill the role as well as a purpose built vessel. Look at PA, purpose built to BF’s exacting standards - except that she was essentially too fast (and ultimately too expensive to run at full speed), had the wrong cabin configuration (2 many tiddly 2 berths) can’t carry enough freight and now looks a bit of a clown with that noddy hat over the funnel.

In an ever changing and ever more demanding market, I would hate to be a ship designer because it would appear you can never satisfy everyone, and I can’t see BF investing in a one-off, purpose built cruise ferry for a very long time.

Once I’ve tried Galicia I’ll give you an honest opinion as to how she slots in compared to the rest of the fleet - if she really is not good then I’ll say so. We all have our different views about everything in life - I know you don’t rate Normandie highly but I still look forward to travelling on her and gives me the same experience I first had back in 1992.

Chris

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My reading of Gareth's comment regarding E Flexer's is that the Visentini was their forerunner in the concept of an easily to adapt design to suit different operators and routes , and it does seem to be the case .

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The problem with BF's one off bespoke ships is that when market conditions change they find themselves on routes other than those they were designed for. Bretagne was intended for Plymouth/Santander originally but has spent most of her life Portsmouth/St Malo to which she has actually been quite suited. Pont Aven was intended for 24 hour crossings from Portsmouth to Spain and given the speed to do it but this became very expensive in fuel terms and the interior design seemed to favout bling over practicality.

Normandie and MSM are exceptions in that they do the job they were designed for very well but they are both mid Channel short crossing vessels. Armorique would appear to be the most versatile member of the fleet in being able to cover a number of routes when necessary. Updated Armoriques with better catering options might have been a logical option for BF but I suspect the E Flexers are a more attractive financial package.

The homogenous group of E Flexers are presmably intended to deliver a decent but not luxurious experience and there will be the benefit that the one design should bring useful cost benefits in maintaining and running them.

One of the nice things about BF was it's 'fleet of samples' with their individuality whether built or bought in but that must be an expensive way to run a ferry company these days.

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13 minutes ago, cvabishop said:

Pont Aven was intended for 24 hour crossings from Portsmouth to Spain and given the speed to do it

Wasn't she built for Plymouth to Spain and only moved to Portsmouth after 3 years just working from Plymouth during the Summer, which leads to one of the problems with her.  She was built to what was considered the maximum for Plymouth, so to much was jammed into her 180metres, if built today would they have stretched her more with the same facilities?

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I think PA initially did run from Plymouth but I'm sure I recall reading before she entered service that the high speed was to enable a 24hr service to Santander from Portsmouth but things didn't happen that way.

It is still likely that she would have been designed to be able to operate from Plymouth if required anyway. My memory is a bit hazy but I do remember the Po/Sa 24hr comment when she was building. 28 knots are not needed for the Plymouth route. I was interested as we had used the Spanish route from Plymouth in the past and the opportunity to sail from Portsmouth looked very attractive as we live in SW Surrey.

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Interesting (if slightly off-topic) discussion.

 

It was said (I think in Shippax...maybe @tarbyonline can correct me on the source) that Stena considered getting Visentini to build their new series of ships before settling on AVIC instead and you can very clearly see lots of nods to the Visentini design.  Even the main passenger deck has a layout not entirely dis-similar to a Visentini.   So I think Stena very much took learnings from the Visentinis (especially the very lovely Stena Mersey and Stena Lagan) when designing these ships.

 

Also, bespoke ships are very fit for purpose and keep life interesting for ship lovers but in reality it's a bit mad how bespoke many Ropax ferries are.  When we think of other areas of shipping or other transport areas (planes!!! or even buses or trains) it's much easier for companies to have flexible assets that can easily be moved between routes or sold on.

A standard eflexer can operate viably on almost any route. 

I firmly believe almost the entire Stena fleet will consist of Visentinis and e-flexers.

Edited by RickOShea
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3 hours ago, cvabishop said:

I think PA initially did run from Plymouth but I'm sure I recall reading before she entered service that the high speed was to enable a 24hr service to Santander from Portsmouth but things didn't happen that way.

It is still likely that she would have been designed to be able to operate from Plymouth if required anyway. My memory is a bit hazy but I do remember the Po/Sa 24hr comment when she was building. 28 knots are not needed for the Plymouth route. I was interested as we had used the Spanish route from Plymouth in the past and the opportunity to sail from Portsmouth looked very attractive as we live in SW Surrey.

I am not sure but did not P&O sail from Portsmouth at that time and PA only moved to when that stopped. I could be wrong others on here will know. We chose BF for the shorter  crossing time I believe P&O was 36 hours

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2 hours ago, RickOShea said:

Interesting (if slightly off-topic) discussion.

 

It was said (I think in Shippax...maybe @tarbyonline can correct me on the source) that Stena considered getting Visentini to build their new series of ships before settling on AVIC instead and you can very clearly see lots of nods to the Visentini design.  Even the main passenger deck has a layout not entirely dis-similar to a Visentini.   So I think Stena very much took learnings from the Visentinis (especially the very lovely Stena Mersey and Stena Lagan) when designing these ships.

 

Also, bespoke ships are very fit for purpose and keep life interesting for ship lovers but in reality it's a bit mad how bespoke many Ropax ferries are.  When we think of other areas of shipping or other transport areas (planes!!! or even buses or trains) it's much easier for companies to have flexible assets that can easily be moved between routes or sold on.

A standard eflexer can operate viably on almost any route. 

I firmly believe almost the entire Stena fleet will consist of Visentinis and e-flexers.

Yup, Shippax (and others) have said that Visentini was one of the options looked at by Stena.  I suspect it could have been something not unlike the more recent visentini builds which have very similar capacity to the E-Flexer.  In the end it seems it was a case of China or nothing though due to cost and capacity/volume, not to mention getting a truly new product.  How many European yards would be able to put out so many ships to differing specifications within the same timeframe?  

Bespoke is all very well, but from a ship ownership point of view could cost more in the long run when it comes to resale or redeployment/flexibility.  The E-Flexers have been designed with future reconfiguration in mind. Of course the E-Flexer’s will share characteristics with the Visentini’s - they are a bit of a benchmark when it comes to efficiency.  In that regard, I believe Estrid and Edda have actually exceeded the lofty expectations placed on them!

For those criticising what they seem to be implying is an inferior ship, would you rather have no ferry service at all?  The world has changed and ferry companies are in the business of staying in business!  Flexibility is now more important that ever and looks like it could become even more important in future.  There are very unpredictable times ahead for the ferry industry.

Edited by tarbyonline
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8 hours ago, IanN said:

I am not sure but did not P&O sail from Portsmouth at that time and PA only moved to when that stopped. I could be wrong others on here will know. We chose BF for the shorter  crossing time I believe P&O was 36 hours

Pont-Aven was built to operate from Plymouth, with her originally scheduled to complete the sailing to Santander in just 18 hours. This allowed her to do a round trip to Roscoff on a Tuesday, as well as on a Friday, before heading to Cork. The change to the Irish timetable wasn’t well received (becoming a Saturday crossing from Roscoff). 
 

It wasn’t until 2009 that she dropped one Plymouth rotation in favour of Portsmouth. Pride of Bilbao operated until Sep 2010. 

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