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After the news regarding quarantine yesterday I decided to cancel ( was due to sail next week ) , actually they would not let me cancel as they are still running to schedule but have re-booked at no charge to December for now and will see how things pan out. To be honest I was beginning to get quite concerned as I had been reading the information regarding the Amsterdam bus transfer on the DFDS website...........it says that only 1 bus will be running per day "at 100% capacity according to Dutch regulations" - I really can't see the point of all of the social distancing measures onboard only to cram us onto a fully occupied bus in Amsterdam? 

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I did the mini cruise last weekend on the val de Loire 😟😟😟. Travelled up from Portsmouth and stayed the night before doing the trip, the ship is currently sailing at half capacity . On our sailings there were approx 500 passengers, no booze cruisers (which helps). You didn’t have to wear masks whilst on the boat , only in the ports.   I didn’t opt for the Amsterdam bus (there were 2 running that day). I got an Uber to IJmuiden beach as it was 32c and then went for lunch at the kop van haven which is by the dfds terminal. Early boarding was at 1400 cet. 
 

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After my last mini-cruise on this route (which was NYE 2017) I said I probably wouldn't bother with the bus to Amsterdam again but just spend a day in Ijmuiden instead, which I think might be more relaxing. It looks like there's more than enough to kill a few hours there from what I can see. 

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4 hours ago, Ryan_H said:

After my last mini-cruise on this route (which was NYE 2017) I said I probably wouldn't bother with the bus to Amsterdam again but just spend a day in Ijmuiden instead, which I think might be more relaxing. It looks like there's more than enough to kill a few hours there from what I can see. 

It depends what your interests are I guess but it’s not a particularly exciting Place to spend an afternoon. However nearby Zandvoort has more to offer, especially in high season.

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They are still selling Mini Cruises for this week which i would had though they would have stopped selling like P&O have.

have to say i need a break and would take up a mini cruise with them this week but can not do the 14 days staying at home.

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I don’t know why UK based operators aren’t doing what Tallink and Viking are doing and offering UK based cruises. DFDS have done them in the past however with no stay over - up the Tyne for the airship etc. There are some fascinating trips that could be done....

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On 19/08/2020 at 13:02, Le Quiberon said:

I don’t know why UK based operators aren’t doing what Tallink and Viking are doing and offering UK based cruises. DFDS have done them in the past however with no stay over - up the Tyne for the airship etc. There are some fascinating trips that could be done....

Very good idea. How about Newcastle to the Shetlands?

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1 minute ago, Seashore said:

It’s quite a different market though, the UK vs Scandinavia.

Perhaps BF could do it? If the based it on the number of posts it would have to be on Barfleur or Honfleur though.

It really is a good idea, can someone not mention it to BF.

Day cruises at sea around the Channel Islandsfor example, for even cuises in the UK where disembarkation is allowed to Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Literally salivating at doing the Pont on a Portsmouth - Dublin/Belfast.

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The 'proper' cruise companies are now starting to offer counrtry specific mini cruises ( particularly Germany) but they offer a lot more in terms of accommodation and facilities than you would find on the average ferry with its tiny cabins and very limited entertainment facilities.

Really they are marketing mobile hotels. Ferries can't usually match that for regular cruise passengers. Just no comparison really. People on here might be ferry enthusiasts but the wider public want better standards if the ship is essentially the destination.

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3 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

It really is a good idea, can someone not mention it to BF.

The Scandinavian ferry market is utterly different to the Western Europe model. For example the Stockholm to Turku route carries about 8 times as many passengers annually as Portsmouth to Caen (and about 24 times that of St Malo), but a fraction of the cars and freight of the Caen route. In Scandinavia they view each other culturally as cousins with a shared history, not like some of the xenophobic and racist comments more widespread that Brits make about the French and Spanish and vice versa. It’s long been a historical thing to travel by water in the Scandinavia area and forgetting duty free, there’s huge price advantages in international travel for cheap booze.

The quality of the ships in Scandinavia are made for that. The Silja Serenade and Symphony are of similar vintage to Bretagne and Normandie but even now are light years ahead. A few new carpets every now and again and a quick polish of the horses doesn’t make the BF come close. Then there’s the Viking Grace that’s just on a whole other level. Even the less flashy Baltic Queen, Baltic Princess, Galaxy etc from a passenger experience far exceed what we have on the channel.

To even think of competing with cruise, BF would need to invest significantly in everything from the standards of the bedding to actually something to entertain passengers. A mini cruise, to the general public, wasn’t a mini cruise - it was a method of going from a to b back to a loaded up with a haul of cheap alcohol. If that market still existed post the end of duty free here, we’d not be seeing 31 year old ships trudge across the Channel and be seen as the bee’s knees... that’s like having the choice of going on Bretagne or a Thoreson Viking in 1989... for what they have in Scandinavia on those “cruise routes” makes BF look like the Thoreson Vikings. Unfortunately the channel market just has not kept pace the past few decades.

Maybe you’ll get the chance to have a domestic pootle about on something from P&O Cruises or Fred. Olsen etc early next year on a proper cruise ship with decent cabins and bathrooms, entertainment and a genuine choice of places to eat. Cruising is slowly restarting in geographically constrained areas, so ex-UK cruising (the second largest cruise market in the world) has to start somewhere.

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The main problem with "normal" cruises I find (apart from some often very poor taste decor that would horrify people in Roscoff), on British-based ships at least, are your fellow passengers. It's either every night is Friday night on the Pride of Bilbao for them or, even worse, it's 2,000 Hyacinth Buckets afloat.

BF tends to attract a somewhat more discerning clientele - or if they are the same people, at least whilst on BF ships they are better behaved.

Edited by hhvferry
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10 hours ago, hhvferry said:

The main problem with "normal" cruises I find (apart from some often very poor taste decor that would horrify people in Roscoff), on British-based ships at least, are your fellow passengers. It's either every night is Friday night on the Pride of Bilbao for them or, even worse, it's 2,000 Hyacinth Buckets afloat.

BF tends to attract a somewhat more discerning clientele - or if they are the same people, at least whilst on BF ships they are better behaved.

This very much sums up my feelings on cruises up till now. I've been on three to date and really enjoyed the ships & destinations overall, but I'm afraid being stuck in the company of some of the other "guests" for at least a week was sometimes quite trying. A lot of them seemed to need to be spoon-fed everything, almost literally at times, and this made me crave the more varied mix of travellers, who are often much more independently minded by nature, which you tend to find on the longer ferry crossings. 

I also genuniely think the sheer scale of many modern cruise ships is pretty grotesque, and the amount of cheap cruise deals we've seen in recent years unsustainable in the long term for a number of reasons, which others have alluded to elsewhere. 

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13 hours ago, hhvferry said:

BF tends to attract a somewhat more discerning clientele - or if they are the same people, at least whilst on BF ships they are better behaved.

Yes, really sounds like it...

"I love this haunting tune, even if it woke me at 5.45am after a skinful...."
https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/brittany-ferries-wake-up-call-4439354

After about 30 cruises, I've never really seen a lot of bad behaviour, the first night tends to be a little livelier since many passengers have been on board since about lunchtime and drinking their way through the day (there's always a rush to get the drinks down before the muster drill) with no one getting off in port, but since most people know they'll be sharing the environment with all the other people they'll see for the next week, fortnight etc there's a bit of a difference from having "a skinful" and then hitting the road early the following morning (not that implying they're drink driving). Sea days tend to be calmer on board because folks get up at different times and the last night, when you'd think it would all go crazy, actually tends to be rather sedate as passengers are packing, saying goodbyes and sad to go at the end of the holiday usually also tempered by having to be out the cabin by 8am on arrival in port.

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Different cruise lines have different clienteles and atmospheres. Very often, customers don't do their homework and end up being disappointed because they didn't get the experience they expected or ended up in a social situation in which they felt uncomfortable.

Anyway, BF don't attract cruisers, they cater for travellers for whom the ship is simply a means of transport to their eventual destination and convenience is usally the overriding factor for choosing the route. Ferries are not cruise ships and  those serving the UK don't have the same ramge of amenities and standards of comfort.

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Entirely agree with you Colin, as another seasoned cruiser with probably more under your belt than I, you know what the score is. And yes, it's remarkable how many customers part with ÂŁthousands for a cruise but do no research; I once had a couple complain to me when we were chatting at the bar that their cabin didn't have a separate sofa in it, to which I replied if it said sofa you'd have a sofa if it didn't then it won't, if it was a big deal to you you should have checked (they were on P&O where sofas aren't always standard). But imagine them turning up on Pont-Aven for a "cruise", the shock would be palpable.

Perhaps the "cruise ferry" marketing has worked too well at making passengers think that they're getting anything that remotely ressembles a cruise. The BF product is very far from a real cruise at just about every level from food to entertainment, pools to activities, cabins to the whole experience from embarkation onward. A cruise ferry it may be, a cruise it is not.

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5 hours ago, Ryan_H said:

I also genuniely think the sheer scale of many modern cruise ships is pretty grotesque, and the amount of cheap cruise deals we've seen in recent years unsustainable in the long term for a number of reasons, which others have alluded to elsewhere. 

I tend to agree with this - grotesque is the right word for these huge cruise ships, and utterly inauthentic; smaller ones and smaller operators tend to be somewhat better. Now it depends what you're looking for and if it's pure escapism that's fine. But spending two weeks surrounded by people "enjoying" Joe Farcus's "entertainment architecture" would be too much for me. So many of these ships have become utterly unmoored from whatever culture they sprang from. And those which use the zombiefied names of famous passenger lines as "brands" having removed what actually made those lines distinctive are perhaps worst of all. Carnival corp get people like Farcus to fill their ships with pastiches of what they think made those lines special: so Costa go into the "Italian bucket", Cunard go into the "pompous fake art deco" bucket, P&O the Hyacinth Bucket. Hell, of that lot the only one which is vaguely authentic now is Carnival itself.

Ferries, by definition, are going somewhere and come from somewhere and, like the liners and cruise ships of the past, the best ones tend to reflect that, for good or bad. You step aboard a BF ship, even one of the Vistentinis, and you can almost smell where you are and where you're going; step aboard a Jadrolinija ship or one of TT Line, Grandi Navi Veloci or Finnlines, Blue Star Ferries or Tunisia Ferries, Stena or ANEK, and the ambience of the ship, its aesthetic and the crew tell you everything you need to know.

Edited by hhvferry
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18 hours ago, hhvferry said:

The main problem with "normal" cruises I find (apart from some often very poor taste decor that would horrify people in Roscoff), on British-based ships at least, are your fellow passengers. It's either every night is Friday night on the Pride of Bilbao for them or, even worse, it's 2,000 Hyacinth Buckets afloat.

BF tends to attract a somewhat more discerning clientele - or if they are the same people, at least whilst on BF ships they are better behaved.

I think that says more about the type of people who holiday independently in France compared to the type of people who cruise than it does about BF.  Accepting your experience as I've not been on a cruise!

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I think that says more about the type of people who holiday independently in France compared to the type of people who cruise

It is entirely wrong to pigeonhole people in this way. People who holiday independently in France are not in some way superior to those who prefer other types of holiday the latter simply have different tastes. (or may be constrained by health issues).

I cannot abide the thought of going to some sunny country and sitting on the beach for 14 days, it would bore me rigid. But I have friends for whom this is their preferred means of relaxation so who am I to criticise?

Secondly there isn't 'a type of people who cruise'. I've not been on as many cruises as Seashore above but they have included conventional cruises to Norway, around the Baltic, along the Adriatic coast and from Vancouver to Alaska. We have done the transatlantic on QM2 to New York. We have also cruised the Rhine once and the Nile twice, the latter being something which will never be forgotten.

All these have been very different experiences and you meet all sorts of people with different interests, some of whom you relate to some you don't.

Plus, we have regularly visited France and the Continent as independent travellers, often using BF. In recent years we have independently visited many parts of Greece as well.

We have good friends who cruise regularly because they enjoy the ambience, formal meals, dressing up and dancing etc. It's not for us but they love it.

 

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16 hours ago, cvabishop said:

It is entirely wrong to pigeonhole people in this way. People who holiday independently in France are not in some way superior to those who prefer other types of holiday the latter simply have different tastes. (or may be constrained by health issues).

I cannot abide the thought of going to some sunny country and sitting on the beach for 14 days, it would bore me rigid. But I have friends for whom this is their preferred means of relaxation so who am I to criticise?

Secondly there isn't 'a type of people who cruise'. I've not been on as many cruises as Seashore above but they have included conventional cruises to Norway, around the Baltic, along the Adriatic coast and from Vancouver to Alaska. We have done the transatlantic on QM2 to New York. We have also cruised the Rhine once and the Nile twice, the latter being something which will never be forgotten.

All these have been very different experiences and you meet all sorts of people with different interests, some of whom you relate to some you don't.

Plus, we have regularly visited France and the Continent as independent travellers, often using BF. In recent years we have independently visited many parts of Greece as well.

We have good friends who cruise regularly because they enjoy the ambience, formal meals, dressing up and dancing etc. It's not for us but they love it.

 

I did not suggest superiority.

I have not been on a cruise (as stated in my post), I was merely following up on another poster's contribution - my point actually being that I don't feel that BF attract a more discerning clientele than other travellers wishing to get to the same destination (certainly not now that the booze cruises to Bilbao are a thing of the past). I'm sure that there are some people that fall into the types that were suggested just as it's probably possible to stereotype the western channel ferry passenger. 

FWIW, Mrs Voyager and I would love to do a European river cruise, we say so every time we watch Midsomer Murders!

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2 hours ago, VikingVoyager said:

Wrong continent!

I'm not so sure. i seem to recollect am old episode of TopGear where they were searching for the source of the Nile and said that some experts believe that the mouth of the river isn't Northern Egypt but in fact Gibraltar. That would make the Nile a (part) European river.

Ed

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6 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

I'm not so sure. i seem to recollect am old episode of TopGear where they were searching for the source of the Nile and said that some experts believe that the mouth of the river isn't Northern Egypt but in fact Gibraltar. That would make the Nile a (part) European river.

Ed

hmmm, it isn't even the largest river draining into the Med!

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