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Does anyone think that Pont Aven style balcony cabins will be incorporated into the design of the final E-Flexer, given that it seems presumed that the Pont will be retired from Biscay?

They are obviously a very popular feature on the Pont and must generate a good revenue.  

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2 minutes ago, Jack N said:

Does anyone think that Pont Aven style balcony cabins will be incorporated into the design of the final E-Flexer, given that it seems presumed that the Pont will be retired from Biscay?

They are obviously a very popular feature on the Pont and must generate a good revenue.  

Not a chance, that is the downside of a standardised design.

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1 hour ago, nodwad said:

May I ask what is so special about a balcony on the pont ,most of the time it will be to cold and windy to sit outside for to long.stay safe

As Richard Gere says in "Pretty Woman" when asked by Julia Roberts why he rents the Penthouse Suite when he is afraid of heights, because it is the best!

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3 hours ago, nodwad said:

May I ask what is so special about a balcony on the pont ,most of the time it will be to cold and windy to sit outside for to long.stay safe

The main advantage I can see would be the ability to open the door and let fresh air into the cabin as even with the aircon set to minimum the "normal" cabins tend to get very stuffy overnight.

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13 minutes ago, cvabishop said:

Basically it is an indulgence if you don't mind paying for it but not of much practical use on the average Biscay crossing as Nodwad says.

The extra space, the double bed and the extra service together with the fresh air and an outside seat are of more use than a swimming pool !

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22 minutes ago, David Williams said:

The extra space, the double bed and the extra service together with the fresh air and an outside seat are of more use than a swimming pool !

Pont-Aven only has twin beds,no doubles on Pont Aven (plus sofa bed & pull down bed from the ceiling.

 

Every time I go to Spain, I always have a commodore cabin, mainly For the space, irrespective on the Weather, there is nothing better than being out on the balcony during a Plymouth departure & seeing the docking in Santander from “my space” > My Next crossing is from Pompy, trying out Galicia... so I will miss my usual Pont-Aven crossing. 

In October, I’m looking forward to a Commodore Suite (Double bed) outbound, and I’m sure I’ll miss the “balcony” but I will probably just put the cabins’ comfy chairs 🪑 outside by my exterior deck access-door.... <Just hoping for a dry voyage ☀️ > For Me, It’s compulsory to have a lovely bottle or 2 or wine on the deck..
On the return, will be able to check what the difference is between “commodore club” and the “suite” as the (better?) cabins  were unfortunately Sold Out on the return.

 

 

Edited by daves_pad!
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Ah but we are talking about balconies are we not?it makes no difference to me how people want to travel.jusr wanted to know what was so special about balconies.stay safe

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We love the big ones on PA, partly because the kids love them.  Glass of wine in the evening while the kids are in bed - perfectly possible in summer - step outside for fresh air and sunrise in the morning.  Will miss them when PA eventually goes (which I’m sure won’t be for a while yet; she has her new (old) niche at Plymouth and will be very busy on that for the foreseeable future, long after the Flexers have taken over everything at Portsmouth.

The Flexers will never suit us, not because of the lack of balconies but because of the absence of premium cabins for families.  So long may PA continue.

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13 hours ago, Gareth said:

The Flexers will never suit us, not because of the lack of balconies but because of the absence of premium cabins for families.

Yep, I don't understand that decision either. They do offer a a 4 berth Club or Premium Plus but I assume their footprint is no larger than a standard 4 berth, the only difference being that they're on the outside and you get a window.

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Maybe its because its a Stena design and what they wanted after negotiations with the yard. The Lessors, in this case BF, had to pretty much accept it as it was, albeit with some furnishings differences to suit them personally. 

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For me it's a great feeling onboard Pont Aven before she has even left the berth in Cork , the atmosphere onboard is that the holiday has already started , the food, staff etc, I can imagine the feeling is even better for those with balconies to enjoy the voyage to either France or Spain . For those that have had the balconies maybe you could tell me if there is much noise heard from the kennels above .

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If Pont Aven leaves Spanish routes this will be a massive loss. While Galacia is impressive and well fitted out, the lack of a formal restaurant and showbar lounge turns the journey more into a functional crossing rather than an exciting start to a holiday. Some might not value the passing of this, but many do, especially those who appreciate live music and entertainment, drink and a fun time! While it is not a cruise, a cruise ferry does normally have these facilities.  So I think the lack of (or possible lack of) balconies on any new eflexer is the least of our worries.

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5 minutes ago, Nick Hyde said:

the lack of a formal restaurant and showbar lounge turns the journey more into a functional crossing rather than an exciting start to a holiday.

Totally agree,  however this is the direction that BF are going in.

I think that there is a very real risk that these facilities will be removed from the existing ships as well.

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55 minutes ago, David Williams said:

Totally agree,  however this is the direction that BF are going in.

I think that there is a very real risk that these facilities will be removed from the existing ships as well.

Sadly, I have to agree with you David.  It is a risk.  Catch 22 for BF really - they have to find ways of cutting costs, but they also have to try to keep their customers (the ones they have not already lost).  And the additional ones they are most likely to lose in dumbing down the product are the ones that tend to spend the most money on their BF experience.

It was pretty clear, even last year, that the BF product that many of us knew and loved is already long gone.

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Personally I feel the Spanish & Irish crossings should be marketed differently, offer a similar experience to that of the Baltic ships to reflect the longer journey.

It's all very well telling the world that the new ships are larger than anything before but, for me, that decision has been made solely on freight provision... which only accounts for 15% of BF's business.

First and foremost they are a passenger carrier catering to holiday traffic and the fleet should be configured so especially as the E-Flexers will be slowed considerably to offer a two day sailing.

We have many forum members who on the whole are fans of the U.K. & Irish Stena fleet. That's fine but we have to remember that their E-Flexers & both Hollandica & Britannica are featured on short crossings.

BF's Spanish success has it's roots in comfortable stylish vessels catering to the full cross section of passenger needs, you begin to dumb that down whilst still charging similar prices then, I'm afraid, travellers will look towards more cost effective alternatives.

Let's be honest here. Pont Aven's days sailing to Spain are coming to an end, no passenger ferry can spend it's lifetime sailing the Atlantic, the stresses take years off their lifespan. Question is what will BF do then, simply replace her with a similarly limited E-Flexer in Santona or look at a new build worthy of becoming the flagship?

BF need a Viking Grace as a Pont Aven replacement not a non identifiable mass produced glorified freight carrier which since 2010 Stena have specialised in when building for themselves.

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I  fully support the comments that the lack of Pont Aven type balcony cabins is a retrograde step. As Lady AmigoCirculo can get seasick looking at the River Trent and only travels by ship to please me we only consider a Commodore cabin crossing with the possibility of fresh air direct to the cabin. The Plymouth to Santander crossing fits the bill, as by the time you've had dinner, crossing conditions permitting, had a good night's sleep and then had a leisurely breakfast you are pulling into Santander. The idea of a second night on board is not appealing. We did it once with P&O on the Pride of Bilboa and hated it. 

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4 minutes ago, AmigoCirculo said:

As Lady AmigoCirculo can get seasick looking at the River Trent

That's nothing! The last time I spent New Year in Scotland the wind was so strong there were waves in the toilet bowl. It put Cabin-Girl right off going back.

Ed

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Unfortunately, 2 nights outbound seems to be becoming the norm in BF thinking going forward (at least from Portsmouth).  As I’ve mentioned previously, this parting company with their historical USP (24 hours, the success on which their Spanish operation has been based since 1978) is a massive risk for BF.  Will be interesting to see whether they can make a success of that model where P&O, LD and Transmediterranea failed.  I do hope, for the sake of the company, that these Flexers (whatever ambivalence I have towards them in terms of my own travel intentions - I can never see me using them with my family) do not turn out to be the strategic blunder that brings the company down.

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19 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Unfortunately, 2 nights outbound seems to be becoming the norm in BF thinking going forward (at least from Portsmouth).  As I’ve mentioned previously, this parting company with their historical USP (24 hours, the success on which their Spanish operation has been based since 1978) is a massive risk for BF.  Will be interesting to see whether they can make a success of that model where P&O, LD and Transmediterranea failed.  I do hope, for the sake of the company, that these Flexers (whatever ambivalence I have towards them in terms of my own travel intentions - I can never see me using them with my family) do not turn out to be the strategic blunder that brings the company down.

Surely they could work out a timetable that is only one night, it might mean a night in port at some point.  Also remember they are only on an initial five year charter, so if they don't workout could be returned to Stena.

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4 minutes ago, Solo said:

Surely they could work out a timetable that is only one night, it might mean a night in port at some point.  Also remember they are only on an initial five year charter, so if they don't workout could be returned to Stena.

Yes they can, just speed them up to 22kts. I doubt they'll be going back Solo, BF will be back to square one then and looking for other charter vessels. They'll manage 24 hours from Plymouth but with a capacity of 1000 pax that's a big waste of vehicle deck space.

To exploit the E-Flexer as nature intended I suppose realistically they have to serve Portsmouth, Cherbourg, Bilbao & Rosslare. Ouistreham with a lengthened quay? I doubt they'd swing in the anti collision area.

Where else could BF use a ship with 3000 metres designed to carry freight?

Mind you if BF built an a restaurant based on Hildalgo 56 or Nerua in the Guggenheim plus the Seve Ballesteros Sports Bar on the top deck and added a few inter connecting cabin doors they may be forgiven.

 

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2 hours ago, AmigoCirculo said:

The idea of a second night on board is not appealing

I can endorse this sentiment as I know that I will not persuade my family to spend two nights and I assume over 36 hours on a ferry, particularly without a Balcony which we have always found very appealing. The Buffet has also always been a great favourite of ours and would be sorely missed. 

 

7 hours ago, Chef said:

For those that have had the balconies maybe you could tell me if there is much noise heard from the kennels above .

You can hear barking from the balconies, but not to worry over, and occasionally get water spraying down when the deck above is washed. 

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