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Initial thoughts of Galicia (10th Dec)


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On the 10th December, I travelled from Portsmouth to Santander on-board Galicia.  Here are my thoughts about the new ferry.

Boarding felt like a disaster.  I think this is the first ferry I have travelled on for which you have to wait for the large majority of the freight traffic to board before the cars.  From the check-in booth to boarding took about 90 minutes.  Over the summer, I travelled to Rotterdam on North Sea Ferries and being able to access the car deck from a dedicated ramp seemed much more efficient.  It never felt this bad on the Pont or the Cap.  The first thing I did notice when we parked up was how wide the lanes are.  No more banging doors or having to wait for over cars to move be being able to gain access to your own.

The Car deck was on the sixth floor and the Commodore Cabin was on the ninth so was happy to find an empty lift.  Unfortunately, this lift only went to the eighth.  Once I found the correct stairs to get up to the ninth it was easy to find the cabin.  First impressions of the Outside Commodore Cabin are very positive.  They are roomy and the bunk is about the size of a proper single bed.  The second bunk is stalled away (I was sole occupant of the cabin) the cabin is quite big.  TV is in an interesting position if two are staying in the cabin as it is above the second bunk.

Walked down to the Commodore Lounge (21:30 in the evening) to find it was shut and only open till 21:30, i.e. closed on the Thursday night.  Had a bowl of beef strew, some tapas and red wine in the Tapas bar instead.  Food was nice but is a shame it was self-service.  Quite a lot of people complaining that the ship was sat in a dock under UK Tier 2 rules and therefore food needed to be ordered with a drink.  People soon clocked that tapas does the job.

First night sleep was lovely… maybe the best night sleep I have had on a ferry.  Very few vibrations and the English Channel was behaving.   Shower seems tighter than the Cap but it does the job.  The lip on the shower base is not great so can be very easy to flood the bathroom floor.  Bathroom is still equipped with silly size towels.

Breakfast is self-service which is a pain when you have an iPad and phone in your hand.  Seems to be a bit of a downgrade not having any table service breakfast available.  English breakfast seemed to be the worse I have on Brittany Ferries.  Not sure what the bacon actually was.  How comes Brittany Ferries seem unable to provide a consistent breakfast?  Additionally how comes Brittany Ferries have never travelled on a P&O ferry to see how a breakfast should be done?  How hard would it be to procure some half-decent bacon and sausages in England?

Main Bar is current closed due to COVID-19 so I went straight to the Commodore Lounge.  Very relaxing, easy to get a drink or snack.  Only problem was it was stinking hot in the lounge and when it started to get a little lumpy I found myself having to retire to the cabin.

The ability to watch movies in the cabin is excellent.  I do not have the best sea legs and find it best to lay down.  Being able to watch some movies is fantastic and the selection was very good.  Only thing missing on the TV was a map showing where you are.  Thinking about it, I did not see a map anywhere.

By Friday evening, it was getting a little too lumpy for me to eat so never managed to try the included evening meal.  I hope that I can do this when I return next month.

Friday night was very lumpy so did not get a lot of sleep but was very comfortable.   The ship was rolling about 9 degrees according to my iPhone but was not jerky like you get on the Cap.

Arrival was 7AM local time so wakeup call was about 6:15AM local time.  No breakfast on offer at this time which was a shame.   Getting off the ship was a nightmare as again we need to wait for lots of freight to move first and then the floating floor we parked on jammed.  Took the crew about 30 minutes to fix it.  I guess this is just one of those teething problems.

The most annoying thing … the Police never asked to see my COVID-19 test certificate.  Not sure if that was £120 wasted or not.  I guess if I did not have one, it would have been sods law and they would have checked.

Am I looking forward to traveling again on the newest member of the fleet … yes.  However they need to sort out a few things like boarding etc.   

 

 

 

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On the 10th December, I travelled from Portsmouth to Santander on-board Galicia.  Here are my thoughts about the new ferry. Boarding felt like a disaster.  I think this is the first ferry I have

British tourists who have chosen to holiday in France, not Britain. They do attempt to cater for them, because they do provide an English breakfast to the best that can be expected of a company t

At the moment the powertrain system at 400/800V and 12V system are supplied by separate batteries. There are many reasons for this including safety. They are also different types of batteries - L-ion

Excellent review, look forward to your comments on return.

I think that the lorry first policy is probably temporary - they are doing that on a lot of Caen sailings at present as the car decks become lorry decks plus a few cars !

Re covid tests - I believe that BF look at them & as far as Spain is concerned you promised that you had a negative test when you filled in your form & the authorities reserve the right to look at it and fine you if you don't have it.

I hope that the self service element goes when normal service resumes

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8 minutes ago, David Williams said:

Excellent review, look forward to your comments on return.

I think that the lorry first policy is probably temporary - they are doing that on a lot of Caen sailings at present as the car decks become lorry decks plus a few cars !

Re covid tests - I believe that BF look at them & as far as Spain is concerned you promised that you had a negative test when you filled in your form & the authorities reserve the right to look at it and fine you if you don't have it.

I hope that the self service element goes when normal service resumes

BF basically asked if you had a certificate ... they had no interest in looking at it.

I think one of the massive positive of North Sea Ferries is that you can board a few hours before departure.  Usually on BF I can finish off a bottle of wine before we leave port... thinking out it... we did depart late and I might have finished the bottle before we hit the Channel.

The best thing about this crossing was the new ship smell 🙂  

I like the design of the ship.  She is very bright with lots of open space.  She has been fitted out to a high standard.  I was surprised all the tv screens are LGs and not some random Chinese make.  I was surprised the TV in the room has two remotes.  You would have thought like most hotels, it would have been a single one.  Will be interesting to see how many will need replacing after every crossing.  Same goes for the pillows ... I can see a few of them going missing as they are by far the nicest ones I've seen on a ferry.

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Thank you for posting an informative review of the ship. On the subject of breakfast, I suppose it comes down to personal taste; It's been a while since I sampled a cooked breakfast on BF, but I find their continental options more than adequate personally. I can't say anything I've eaten on P&O has ever left any kind of lasting impression, breakfast or otherwise. 

I must say having to spend 24 hours plus on a ship where the main bar is closed does sound pretty miserable to me, especially when it is a brand new vessel. I suppose if you can upgrade to the commodore lounge that is some consolation, but personally I think I'll wait until some kind of normality has returned before I try her out. 

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18 minutes ago, Northern_Si said:

BF basically asked if you had a certificate ... they had no interest in looking at it.

I think one of the massive positive of North Sea Ferries is that you can board a few hours before departure.  Usually on BF I can finish off a bottle of wine before we leave port... thinking out it... we did depart late and I might have finished the bottle before we hit the Channel.

The best thing about this crossing was the new ship smell 🙂  

I like the design of the ship.  She is very bright with lots of open space.  She has been fitted out to a high standard.  I was surprised all the tv screens are LGs and not some random Chinese make.  I was surprised the TV in the room has two remotes.  You would have thought like most hotels, it would have been a single one.  Will be interesting to see how many will need replacing after every crossing.  Same goes for the pillows ... I can see a few of them going missing as they are by far the nicest ones I've seen on a ferry.

  The lifts... The red stairwell and lift towards the stern of the ship supposedly reach the 9th deck.

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38 minutes ago, Ryan_H said:

Thank you for posting an informative review of the ship. On the subject of breakfast, I suppose it comes down to personal taste; It's been a while since I sampled a cooked breakfast on BF, but I find their continental options more than adequate personally. I can't say anything I've eaten on P&O has ever left any kind of lasting impression, breakfast or otherwise. 

I must say having to spend 24 hours plus on a ship where the main bar is closed does sound pretty miserable to me, especially when it is a brand new vessel. I suppose if you can upgrade to the commodore lounge that is some consolation, but personally I think I'll wait until some kind of normality has returned before I try her out. 

I have always found it odd BF attempt to do English Breakfast with entirely French ingredients.  SeaFrance, MyFerryLink, Transmanche Ferries, LD Lines spring to mind as French companies that use(d) British sausages/bacon etc.

But I agree entirely - no bar open on a long crossing sounds like my idea of hell.  I know it's odd times and all those other cliches but still - another reminder why I will save my money and travel when things are normal.

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38 minutes ago, RickOShea said:

I have always found it odd BF attempt to do English Breakfast with entirely French ingredients.  SeaFrance, MyFerryLink, Transmanche Ferries, LD Lines spring to mind as French companies that use(d) British sausages/bacon etc.

But I agree entirely - no bar open on a long crossing sounds like my idea of hell.  I know it's odd times and all those other cliches but still - another reminder why I will save my money and travel when things are normal.

I'm very much in the minority, more than happy to sit off somewhere with a book or my tablet, outside, in the cabin or a designated quiet area such as was found on deck 10 of Baie du Seine.

In terms of onboard bars & alcohol, I hardly touch the stuff but do enjoy a pint or two... or three as a foot passenger but certainly not when I have the keyfob of a 155mph 2t killing machine a couple of decks below or 3.5t Moho.

3 pints of Kronenbourg less than 10 hours before driving means you're over the limit. A double gin needs to be consumed more than 15 hours beforehand and drink a 13% bottle of wine on your own an hour or two before sailing from Plymouth and you've got a snowballs chance in hell of being under the limit when you drive off the ramp in Santander 22 hours later.

Scary...

I accrue enough points from speeding thanks!

Have play on here: https://morning-after.org.uk/

PS... https://www.healthline.com/health-news/can-alcohol-hurt-your-immune-system-during-covid-19-outbreak#Drinking-impairs-immune-cells-in-key-organs

This turned into a bit of a soap box special I'm afraid so if Andy or Gareth feel this post needs to be removed, no problem...

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2 minutes ago, jonno said:

I'm very much in the minority, more than happy to sit off somewhere with a book or my tablet, outside, in the cabin or a designated quiet area such as was found on deck 10 of Baie du Seine.

In terms of onboard bars & alcohol, I hardly touch the stuff but do enjoy a pint or two... or three as a foot passenger but certainly not when I have the keyfob of a 155mph 2t killing machine a couple of decks below or 3.5t Moho.

3 pints of Kronenbourg less than 10 hours before driving means you're over the limit. A double gin needs to be consumed more than 15 hours beforehand and drink a 13% bottle of wine on your own an hour or two before sailing from Plymouth and you've got a snowballs chance in hell of being under the limit when you drive off the ramp in Santander 22 hours later.

Scary...

I accrue enough points from speeding thanks!

Have play on here: https://morning-after.org.uk/

PS... https://www.healthline.com/health-news/can-alcohol-hurt-your-immune-system-during-covid-19-outbreak#Drinking-impairs-immune-cells-in-key-organs

This turned into a bit of a soap box special I'm afraid so if Andy or Gareth feel this post needs to be removed, no problem...

I think you make some excellent points.  I am amazed how many people stay up drinking until after midnight and jump into car.  My personal habit... on a 24 hour crossing, I will stop drinking at 10pm if it is a 9am start.  Also not having the best sea legs ... being drunk on a lumpy crossing is a recipe for diester.  On the St Malo overnighter ... I drink very little.

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2 hours ago, Ryan_H said:

I must say having to spend 24 hours plus on a ship where the main bar is closed does sound pretty miserable to me, especially when it is a brand new vessel. I suppose if you can upgrade to the commodore lounge that is some consolation, but personally I think I'll wait until some kind of normality has returned before I try her out. 

To be fair I don't think the Thursday sailing from Portsmouth to Santander is the best timing.  You end up spending the whole of the second day in the Bay of Biscay and that can be evil in the middle of summer.  I must prefer when you leave Portsmouth at about 1pm, and sleep through a large part of The Bay.

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8 minutes ago, Northern_Si said:

not having the best sea legs ... being drunk on a lumpy crossing is a recipe for diester.  On the St Malo overnighter ... I drink very little.

You would have loved the Pride of Bilbao then. A ship not particularly suited to the Bay and a 70 tonne bow visor which hit the heavy seas with a very loud boom followed by lots of shaking and vibrating.

I was on one sailing when as her stern rose out of the water all you heard was clank, clank, clank and the hull flexed, that cruise was a day late.

I also remember one Bretagne sailing when as you walked along the cabin corridors the floor would disappear beneath your feet, the staircases would feel like they were above your head and the lifts made a few interesting noises in the shafts.

If I remember they were both during 1995? 

Stand in a stern corridor on Pont Aven and look towards the bow when she's bouncing around, the way she hogs and sags... mmmm. Personally I'd rather nail my ears to a pillory!

 

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OOh lovely stuff Jonno takes me back..imagine being in the engine room when the prop comes out of the water cos her head has gone deep down..Then you feel it shake rattle and roll and the prop shaft spins like its about to part company with the engine. If you get a sea like that, stand on the rear most part of the stern and the up and down motion is very similar to being in a fast lift.

Happy days😁

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Just touching quickly on the alcohol issue, having stupidly, quite a few years ago, driven just over the limit and been checked .... Did the alcohol awareness course, which was excellent in every respect.

Each individual is different in the time it takes to metabolise alcohol, and body weight is a factor, as is sex. (Your sex, not how often .....). As a rule of thumb, an average man will clear 1 unit of alcohol per hour. The first hour sees no métabolisation for the sake of the calculation. A woman will generally take longer to clear one unit.

Each country has different limits, so you need to check them if you want to drink before arrival in the country or during your stay.

Different drinks amount to different numbers in terms of units of alcohol.

I am deliberately not quoting drinks or countries and their limits, as it is a complicated subject to cover comprehensively. Look things up for yourself if you want.

The best answer is for the driver not to drink.

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5 hours ago, Northern_Si said:

Breakfast is self-service which is a pain when you have an iPad and phone in your hand. 

Maybe a "man bag" on the Christmas wish then , all chic and continental like .

Edited by Chef
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3 hours ago, RickOShea said:

I have always found it odd BF attempt to do English Breakfast with entirely French ingredients.  SeaFrance, MyFerryLink, Transmanche Ferries, LD Lines spring to mind as French companies that use(d) British sausages/bacon etc.

I found BF version of spaghetti bolognaise a bit lacking, , I had it on the Pont , picked it up at the self service and by time I got to my table the bolognaise had worked its way  trough to the bottom of the bowl with the pasta on top .

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I have to agree that the BF hot breakfast is close to awful. OK, they generally avoid trying to do "British" food, but I cannot find an excuse for the poor ingredients and the poor cooking of them.

The French would all buy the proper thing, and sing the company's praises.

Stornoway black pudding is of course obligatory, even if you come from Lancashire or one of the other places that thinks it is smart ....

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I use to really enjoy the Little Chef Olympic Breakfast with the added 6oz Sirloin, a good meal at anytime of the day during a long journey. On the whole I don't tend to go for a full English anymore although I have a soft spot for a Maccy 'D's double sausage Mcmuffin, hashbrown and an orange juice. I'm now banned from their delivery service!

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5 hours ago, colin said:

Just touching quickly on the alcohol issue, having stupidly, quite a few years ago, driven just over the limit and been checked .... Did the alcohol awareness course, which was excellent in every respect.

Each individual is different in the time it takes to metabolise alcohol, and body weight is a factor, as is sex. (Your sex, not how often .....). As a rule of thumb, an average man will clear 1 unit of alcohol per hour. The first hour sees no métabolisation for the sake of the calculation. A woman will generally take longer to clear one unit.

The best answer is for the driver not to drink.

All sound advice...I must point out I don't drive so I don't have such concerns about myself.

But I did once watch a bunch of drivers get very drunk on the Celtic Horizon one Sunday night.  Even though the bar shut at midnight, I know how I'd feel the next lunchtime to drive home and even if legally safe (dubious) you wouldn't be mentally or physically safe...

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8 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

I imagine that if you were teetotal and went on an all inclusive holiday break you wouldn’t be too popular asking for a refund...😂

Chris

That's my point you wouldn't go all inclusive. There should be an option not to. How much do you think BF will save on meals not taken due to the Bay? A lot of people avoid eating a full meal on the boat due to sickness

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