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Galicia - Inauguration - 27th November


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Save the date! The inauguration ceremony for Galicia's entry into the Brittany Ferries fleet will be taking place virtually on the 27th November.  Everyone will be able to take part via a weblink

Unfortunately 9h arrival turned out to be South African time - she was tying up when I got down to the port at 8h so only just getting light. She does look mighty impressive though, will try agai

What's the crusade for? We're into the 5th page of this nonsense. Every Ro-Pax and passenger ferry at sea has different levels of accommodation. Are we to begin rattling our sabres at t

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I think it's difficult to provide a full ensuite cabin per driver at the best of times. It would reduce the overall capacity significantly. So it's only fair (I think) that the companies pay for it. They get a berth because that's what they pay for.

 

Sharing the bathrooms between 120 drivers is a significant exaggeration. As has been said, it's more like 35~. That's still not ideal obviously. But it's a compromise between sharing a cabin between 4 and having a full ensuite cabin to yourself.

 

Until the companies are willing to pay for the full cabin (which of course some are when available as another member has explained) it seems relatively reasonable to provide the current facilities.

 

Considering Galicia's freight vehicle capacity, one cabin per driver would reduce the available cabins for passenger traffic significantly.

 

Drivers have a very difficult and stressful job away from home and are sometimes regarded as 'lesser' by morons. But they do never seem to be happy and regularly blame carriers for their own companies incompetence and tightness. Obviously needs to be said that that doesn't apply to everyone and of course carriers create issues too.

 

I can see why the lack of a lock for female drivers is ridiculous and that speaks for itself.

 

I don't really know what the solution for this is when ships are full. Reduce capacity? Hundreds of tiny ensuite cabins on new builds? Which you would struggle to sell to the public if available and meaning there are fewer 'superior' cabins available.

 

Of course at the moment things are different and one cabin per vehicle is essential.

 

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13 minutes ago, Andy said:

Galicia will primarily use No4 berth in Portsmouth, with the Caen ship on No.3. 

Thanks Andy.  Further indication of the demise of a regular Le Havre link.

Must be quite a squeeze, getting Galicia round the corner and on to berth 2.  Makes sense if she can primarily use the more accessible berth.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop the Le Havre ship using berth 2 on occasion, if required.  Will slow down the turnaround, but then again, the Le Havre ship rarely used to get away on time In any case, back when the route was operating regularly.  Very tight turnaround in Portsmouth, and absolutely no hurry to get to Le Havre by any particular tIme in the morning.

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On 30/11/2020 at 20:01, Nick Hyde said:

Cap Finistere carries less passengers (and has 300 odd fewer cabin berths) than Galicia but the Cap appears to have more well appointed bars and entertainment. I like Galicia's Tapas restaurant, digital facilities and a gym and much better cafe than the Cap.

“Well appointed bars and entertainment” cost money to run.  Galicia carries 85 crew while Cap Finistere carries 107 according to BF.  That’s a lot of additional cost given that crewing along with fuel one of the biggest running costs on a ferry! 

As I commented elsewhere, ferries with “cruise-style” facilities are falling out of favour with operators.  Enjoy them while they last.

On 02/12/2020 at 19:10, David Williams said:

Bah humbug.

However I don't see this much noise from other operators when they launch new ships and basically this is a new cost to a company who has most of it's fleet laid up in disused docks that date back to the glory days of French shipping. (In London we have turned those docks into office blocks !)

I really hope that this is the start of a revival of BF fortunes, however the Galicia marks the start of a new reduced crew version of the brand and not a return to the old days !

Love and Peace !

Survival is surely the most important thing at the moment?  Galicia should be a much cheaper ship to run - Estrid and Edda have exceeded expectations I believe.  I imagine it would cost a lot more to go back on the long term charter arrangement with Stena RoRo in any case!  At least they don’t have the added expense of a still not completed Honfleur hanging around their necks as well.

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3 minutes ago, The Ferry Man said:

Fair enough - thanks. Never realised there was a difference, assumed since the two are on the same pier they'd be the same

The issue is blocking the access to berths 1&2 and the AJQ.  She would stick out too far.

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Putting a lock on a toilet door I would say is a snagging issue and one relatively easily solved by the onboard handyman or equivalent.  On a large project such as this it’s easy to miss such details.  The allocation of cabins could be another snagging issue too.  Stena’s freight driver cabins have four berths I believe, but there should only be two drivers allocated to each in normal circumstances.


Queues for restaurants are a common issue  and will always be an issue when people want to eat at exactly the same time!

With regard to driver cabins, their employers pay for a berth.  I am sure Brittany Ferries like others would gladly allow their employer to top up the fare to provide a 4-berth cabin just for one driver.  The problem is that would either eat into already tight margins or mean they charge a higher rate to their customers who may just go elsewhere as a result.  Overnight drivers should be pretty used to sharing facilities on dry land I would assume, it’s not like they stay in five star hotels every night!  I’d bet the facilities onboard this ship are a lot more modern and cleaner than those in some service areas and truck stops!
 

It does seem a rather bold move by Brittany Ferries to specify this accommodation (these cabins are actually in the extended part of the superstructure the Stena ships don’t have from what I can see), but I doubt they didn’t at least try to consult with their customers (that’s the haulage companies, not the drivers themselves) beforehand.  On the plus side, surely sharing with one person for much of 24 hours is better than with another three, and the bunks do look like they provide a degree of privacy.  Perhaps it will be the case that each driver will get an individual cabin on quieter crossings, or at least share with someone from the same company, too.   It’s an interesting move and one I was a bit surprised by when I first heard of it if I’m honest.
 

As someone posted above, it’s not uncommon for there to be “feedback” from drivers.  Much of this on various routes is about being forced to share with three strangers and eat inferior food.  On Galicia they share with one person (albeit with communal facilities) and eat the same food in the same surroundings as everyone else. Unfortunately, for better or worse, that means other compromises have had to be made.

Someone mentioned kennels.  They are the same as the Stena vessels AFAIK.  All shiny stainless steel, heated and ventilated.  Accessed from the outside deck on deck 7.  I believe they can even pipe in music!

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I should add that the above is my conjecture, inferred from the fact that they didn’t trial her on 3.  I’m sure that, in an emergency, she would be able to dock there.  But they obviously feel that the obstacle she would cause there to access to the inner parts of the harbour make it unnecessary for them to plan on her using anything other than berths 2 and 4.

in passing, the fact that they clearly feel she is too long for Portsmouth 3 implies to me that she is also far too long for the current berth at Le Havre.  I’ve always been quietly surprised at the suggestions that she might appear in Le Havre at some point for berthing trials.

But....you never know.....!

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A lot of complaints on Facebook about her.one says she is nothing but a tarted up ropax.other say they are stuck on the ferry because ramps will not come down.cabins are very small.and a two berth commodore cabin is tiny.long queues to get anything to eat.not a good start they wanted.stay safe

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15 minutes ago, nodwad said:

A lot of complaints on Facebook about her.one says she is nothing but a tarted up ropax.other say they are stuck on the ferry because ramps will not come down.cabins are very small.and a two berth commodore cabin is tiny.long queues to get anything to eat.not a good start they wanted.stay safe

To be honest I don’t pay too much attention to what’s broadcast on social media, at least until I’ve tried it myself. Booked on the Monday evening departure ex Cherbourg on the 21st so will give a completely unbiased view of her the next morning, and as mentioned earlier I want to try out the (tiny?) 2 berth commodore cabin - unless of course @rogerpatenall beats me to it the previous night..🤣

Chris

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10 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

To be honest I don’t pay too much attention to what’s broadcast on social media, at least until I’ve tried it myself. Booked on the Monday evening departure ex Cherbourg on the 21st so will give a completely unbiased view of her the next morning, and as mentioned earlier I want to try out the (tiny?) 2 berth commodore cabin - unless of course @rogerpatenall beats me to it the previous night..🤣

Chris

Just saying what people who were on board of her.sorry if I offended you just thought people might be interested.biut sorry to say not on your case.stay safe

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2 hours ago, nodwad said:

A lot of complaints on Facebook about her.one says she is nothing but a tarted up ropax.other say they are stuck on the ferry because ramps will not come down.cabins are very small.and a two berth commodore cabin is tiny.long queues to get anything to eat.not a good start they wanted.stay safe

Ramp issues are quite common on new builds and are often just a case of crew getting to know the ship.  TTS supplied them - they know what they are doing.  There was a bit of an issue with the upper bow door on the maiden voyage of Estrid - that doesn't mean it has happened on every sailing!  The cabins are similar in size to any other modern ferry - I cant see how the commodore cabin could be "tiny" given the space they take up, but I guess it depends what you are comparing to.  Double beds take up a lot of space mind.  Tarted up Ro-Pax?  Perhaps they should take a trip on EPSILON between Ireland and France? ;) 

Unfortunately sometimes people don't like anything that isn't exactly the same as what they experienced before.  Personally, like @Fine Whine,I wouldn't pay too much attention to social media.  Especially from the maiden voyage.  Best way to find out what she is really like is to experience her for ourselves!

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5 hours ago, nodwad said:

Just saying what people who were on board of her.sorry if I offended you just thought people might be interested.biut sorry to say not on your case.stay safe

Not offended in the slightest Nodwad...😎

All I was alluding to is I’ve seen far too often on social media platforms folk who rant and rave about the slightest thing, sometimes justified but I would imagine invariably not. Hopefully I will give her an unbiased opinion once I’ve actually been on board and seen what she’s like myself (although I think I’ll give those freight cabins a miss....😂)

From your own personal experiences regularly using the Spanish services I presume you’ll agree that although not necessarily perfect both PA and CF are both very acceptable vessels and will please most people most of the time. I simply don’t trust folk who complain about BF staff being rude, one of the Twitter comments I noticed yesterday. In my 34 years using their services on a regular basis I’ve never encountered rudeness at any level, even in the most trying of circumstances. 

Chris

 

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10 hours ago, Gareth said:

Seems rather a big thing to just put down to “teething problems”.  How are they going to de-snag this one?  Either they fully expected this reaction (in which case, is their idea of sorting out the teething problems just expecting customers to get used to it and waiting until that happens?).  Or this has taken them by surprise (the very fact of which raises serious questions), in which case surely they’ll need to take her out of service in short order and get the accommodation reconfigured?

Maybe bigger engines as well 😀

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10 hours ago, David Williams said:

The main problem that was being reported by the female trucker was that the female showers did not have a lock on, I also saw a report that the food queue was long - hopefully those issues can be cured !

Re the accommodation - BF are just going to have to point out the advantages over the other ships, there is not a lot that can be done about it - they should also make sure that they assign regular cleaners and keep the showers and toilets spotless.

ps - when I worked I travelled a lot and regularly used showers in airports - especially Hong Kong - they were the cleanest and most pleasant showers that I have ever used.

When we went out and back on CF in September I saw no cleaning at all plates were left out on tables between opening times which included overnight. Tables were not cleaned between users. Unlike in Spanish bars where you could not sit before they had been disinfected.

To be fair I believe they were trying to protect the crew by having minimal contact with the public

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7 hours ago, tarbyonline said:

“Well appointed bars and entertainment” cost money to run.  Galicia carries 85 crew while Cap Finistere carries 107 according to BF.  That’s a lot of additional cost given that crewing along with fuel one of the biggest running costs on a ferry! 

As I commented elsewhere, ferries with “cruise-style” facilities are falling out of favour with operators.  Enjoy them while they last.

Survival is surely the most important thing at the moment?  Galicia should be a much cheaper ship to run - Estrid and Edda have exceeded expectations I believe.  I imagine it would cost a lot more to go back on the long term charter arrangement with Stena RoRo in any case!  At least they don’t have the added expense of a still not completed Honfleur hanging around their necks as well.

Agreed cheaper to run but not cheaper to use by the paying customer. People will expect less if they pay less. Not Cruise prices for Economy  BF are pocketing all the savings knowing there is no competition 

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14 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

There’s a great photo of the firework reception at her arrival into Portsmouth last night on the NI Ferry website, courtesy of Brittany Ferries...

https://www.niferry.co.uk/galicia-arrives-at-portsmouth-at-the-end-of-her-maiden-commercial-voyage/

If I don’t get a firework reception on the morning of the 22nd I might just have a hissy fit...🤣

Chris

It's a shame none of the truck drivers will have seen it. They will all have been wedged in the cabin doorways fighting to use the limited toilet facilities one last time before disembarkation. Ed

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I’ve not yet tried any of the E-Flexers, lockdown and all, but am keen to try. I think if I were to go I’d probably pick one of the ships in their intended guise, most likely a return trip on the Birkenhead-Belfast route.

With only the photos to compare (mostly from @tarbyonlineexcellent site), I’d say that in “look” the Stena version has it for me. I like the splash of colour on the Galicia but the mention “tarting up” is what springs to mind with the decor around the skylight in the Playa Major bar; but I think it may have been necessary as lifeboats will surely block the whole view and most of the light, which Estrid/Edda/Embla don’t have the same issue. That said, I think there’s been some “dumbing down” in the decor on Galicia. The recliners look far less comfortable than the Hugge lounge on Stena, the Azur restaurant looks just like the Taste self service but with the cool features like the fish in the dividers missing (the Azur restaurant to me looks like a food hall) and a rather stark colour scheme (Taste looks warm) and the atrium area now being full of shop rather than coffee shop does make it look less spacious.

I was wondering what those deck 8 cabins were from the first photos showing tiny windows. As that was the space that the deluxe cabins are on the Stena ship, my (wrong) assumption was that these would be Commodore Cabins with double windows. I was slightly surprised to see they’re essentially couchettes; made me think 1980s configuration Northern European ferry or something from the Eastern Med. Rather a come-down from Cotentin where each driver has a single cabin and own WC - it doesn’t take much to see why hauliers might be disappointed; BF set a standard a decade ago and have rolled back to something four decades ago.

I don’t think it’s too much of a surprise that BF asked for a configuration less generous to hauliers than Stena - for starters, the Truckers Lounge on Stena is the tapas restaurant on Galicia. I assume they have a small corner of the Azur restaurant. Surprising given that the lane meterage of Galicia is the same as Estrid, although typically will carry less as no extra car deck.

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12 hours ago, tarbyonline said:

“Well appointed bars and entertainment” cost money to run.  Galicia carries 85 crew while Cap Finistere carries 107 according to BF.  That’s a lot of additional cost given that crewing along with fuel one of the biggest running costs on a ferry! 

As I commented elsewhere, ferries with “cruise-style” facilities are falling out of favour with operators.  Enjoy them while they last.

Survival is surely the most important thing at the moment?  Galicia should be a much cheaper ship to run - Estrid and Edda have exceeded expectations I believe.  I imagine it would cost a lot more to go back on the long term charter arrangement with Stena RoRo in any case!  At least they don’t have the added expense of a still not completed Honfleur hanging around their necks as 

If you are right about the cruise ferry concept disappearing it is a very boring future. It was travelling on excellent cruise ferry like Tor Britannia in 1984 that iginited my interest in ferries.

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