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May Day on the Mont Saint Michel !


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No, not seven short blasts but the day we were travelling again. May 1st.  A follow up Brittany hospital visit for Mme’s wrist broken during the last trip and we have to attend.

With so much paper work required check in took a bit longer. But with everything easy to see in a display book we weren’t delayed for long.

Security at Portsmouth gave the car a more thorough going over than a Volvo garage checking the engine compartment, bonnet lining and the whole of the underside with torch and mirror, but weren’t interested in us or our luggage.

The Saturday lunchtime Mont Saint Michel sailing had just 10 cars, 5 vans and a lady on a bicycle.

Clear evidence of the difficult situation Brittany Ferries are facing.

We were all parked on deck 5, bien sûr there was freight down below.

By the time we reached the cabin on deck 9 the ship was moving, it left 20 minutes early.

Down to LA GALERIE self serve restaurant for some lunch, round rolls greeted us  🙂 but no sign of the favourite  little raspberry tarts, mousse au chocolate or Îles Flottantes. There was however still a reasonable choice. A big thank you to the one man behind the counter who appeared to be the Maitre d’ and doing everything, cooking, serving, refilling the counters etc. He spotted Mme’s dodgy arm and immediately came round and carried her tray to the checkout (contactless card payments only) and on to a table in the restaurant.

Brexit rules and all that, I’m now legally obliged to display a separate GB plate but I’d forgotten to fit one.  No problem, the one onboard shop that was open sold them in 3 sizes, for motorbikes, cars and caravans. Big problem, they are magnetic and the back of my car appears to have no metal panels, £4.90  wasted ?  Be warned !

Perhaps Brittany Ferries could commission some self adhesive ones incorporating a BF Logo ?

Commandant de St. Pierre made it one of the smoothest crossings I have ever known. There was no engine noise in Cabin 9003 and no movement either. I was convinced we had broken down or stopped !   A check on channel 30 on the cabin TV confirmed the MSM’s position and we were almost there.

We docked on time and were called back to our vehicles according to the deck our cabin was on , driving off minutes later.

 

“Passports please”, and that was it !

We weren’t asked for any documents whatsoever.

Our folder displaying the negative covid certificates, the declaration for essential travel into France, the sworn statement of no symptoms, the attestation to drive during the curfew, all seemed like a waste of time. We were not asked about any food we might be carrying either, the customs shed was deserted.

I appreciate the easy passage but think the world would be safer if rules were observed.

 

Brittany Ferries are making clear both online, by texts and with Information Desk announcements all the paperwork legally required, they couldn’t do more.

 

Perhaps its not surprising that Coronavirus is still rampant here in France, with Border Control like that and despite France still being in Lockdown, 500 people turned up for a Rave party near St Brieuc yesterday.

201 miles later we arrived “home” unchallenged, quiet roads and not too many roadworks.

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9 minutes ago, BZH29 said:

Our folder displaying the negative covid certificates, the declaration for essential travel into France, the sworn statement of no symptoms, the attestation to drive during the curfew, all seemed like a waste of time.

Perhaps because you presented all the documents at check-in there was no need to check it again once you reached France. If companies risk being fined for allowing people to travel without the correct documentation then they will be more vigilant and the information may be passed electronically to the French authorities while you are still at sea. 

Ed

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4 hours ago, BZH29 said:

 

Brexit rules and all that, I’m now legally obliged to display a separate GB plate but I’d forgotten to fit one.  No problem, the one onboard shop that was open sold them in 3 sizes, for motorbikes, cars and caravans. Big problem, they are magnetic and the back of my car appears to have no metal panels, £4.90  wasted ?  Be warned !

Perhaps Brittany Ferries could commission some self adhesive ones incorporating a BF Logo ?

 

BF used to hand out GB stickers at Portsmouth check-in if you asked for one. I have one on my roofbox and when I changed my car (I haven't used the roofbox on this car) and was using a magnetic one, I asked for another in case I lost the magnetic one.

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  • Gareth changed the title to May Day on the Mont Saint Michel !
On 02/05/2021 at 20:21, elaine80 said:

BF used to hand out GB stickers at Portsmouth check-in if you asked for one. I have one on my roofbox and when I changed my car (I haven't used the roofbox on this car) and was using a magnetic one, I asked for another in case I lost the magnetic one.

They still were available at Plymouth check-in on our final trip last October

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Part 2, the return…… Mont St Michel  11.00 pm Thursday 6th May

 

Despite there still being a curfew in place in France between 7pm and 6am there was plenty of traffic on the roads between Carhaix and Ouistreham.

Arrived in good time and watched the unloading, around a dozen cars, one camper van and a Transit along with a fair amount of freight came off.

A varied load for our homebound sailing, around 30 cars and 20 vans. 4 bicycles and one motorbike.

Freight was a wonderful mix of a “gift wrapped” sailing boat, a combine harvester, an artic full of Artisan Broccoli, a Bristol Event Services lorry with its roof peeled back

(The driver must have driven under a low bridge !) and plenty of Spanish and British lorries.

Customs picked out a few cars to check, they x-rayed Mme’s bag with jumpers scarves and berets and a cold bag with oranges a banana and blueberries

(breakfast leftovers from our trip)    No hassle though.

Passports stamped, only question there “Do you live in France?”

Plenty of space on deck 5 behind the lorries.

Onwards and upwards to Commodore Cabin 9004 at  £169,   

TV not working,  A Samsung remote control for a Sharp TV ? Man at Information desk rummages in a drawer and gives me another. Remote now lighting up probably even functioning but TV still not working. The annoying thing is the neighbouring cabin has its TV blaring through the wall from the moment we arrived till I fell asleep.

Were these the ‘earing impaired passengers of the tannoy safety announcements, because the telly was full on again from 5.40 am.

The mattress has all its springs collapsed. I might as well be sleeping on the slats beneath it. Its damned uncomfortable, Its  gone 11pm,

I’m undressed for bed so I do nothing but grumble aloud.

Poor show BF, that mattress is not fit for purpose.

Breakfast in the cabin used to be a jug of coffee, now its just a cup, the croissant, pain au chocolat and a fine round roll 🙂, but no butter to spread on it !

Returning to vehicles was a disciplined affair, Red van man with a flat battery quickly helped by BF crewman. Driving off I was aware of lorries as far as the eye could see, it seemed unusual, there was one narrow lane through for us motorists towards Border Control.

Passenger Locator Form and file of documents was all in order, the only question was, “Why have you come to the United Kingdom ?”

The BF bill for two of us for our five day trip came to £467 with Commodore Cabins but  included a mysterious Ferry Only Service Charge of £10. ?????*

The Covid tests added another £595.

Boots @ £99, French tests to travel (45€ ) £39.50, Day 2 and day 8 tests on our return £159 all times two.   This trip was an “essential journey” for a hospital visit.

I love to travel but at that price the thrill is somewhat dampened.

 

* Moving an existing FLEXI  booking forward from 11th July to the 2nd July and I’ve just been charged a £20 Amendment Fee !

 

Is it any wonder I’m turning into a Grumpy Old Man .

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Thanks for this account. We need to hear about travellers experiences on our lovely ferries, so we can make our own choices and decide about travelling. Useful to know. Looking forward to hearing more accounts.

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Thanks for the report. £595 of tests for 2 people. That’s just mad.

What are port security looking for to go through a normal family car so thoroughly.  It seems a bit over the top. 

 

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4 hours ago, lg12 said:

Thanks for the report. £595 of tests for 2 people. That’s just mad.

What are port security looking for to go through a normal family car so thoroughly.  It seems a bit over the top. 

 

I think on the outward crossing there were so few cars the Portsmouth security needed something to do, i.e. justify their presence.

At Ouistreham, in my experience the searching has only happened since Brexit.  Sort of symbolic.

It wasn't hostile because they had the pick of the boot and they chose a bag of jumpers over a cool box.

A suspicious mind could have suspected we were carrying cheese or saucisson, they would have been disappointed with the boxes of insulin !

I read in the Telegraph yesterday that tour operator Tui is to offer PCR tests for £20 for "Green" destinations and £50 for "Amber" ones. 

Perhaps BF could arrange a similar deal.  

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2 hours ago, VikingVoyager said:

Ah, Brittany Spheres!

If we are doing fortuitous name combinations, I've just found out (rather pleasingly) that Kier Starmer's parents decided the most appropriate middle name for him was Rodney. I doubt they chose it as a tribute to the Royal Naval ship of the same name but, as she was instrumental in the sinking of a much admired/much hated (delete as applicable) symbol of power, anything's possible.

Ed

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After the grotty cabin experience I contacted Brittany Ferries.

Customer Services have today reacted generously !

Good service results in one happy traveller. 🙂

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12 minutes ago, BZH29 said:

After the grotty cabin experience I contacted Brittany Ferries.

Customer Services have today reacted generously !

Good service results in one happy traveller. 🙂

But wouldn't you have preferred that 'good service' on the original crossing?

Ed

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