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Ferry options? Day or night? Thoughts and info, please


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Another factor for Club Voyage members to take into consideration is the variation in benefits for crossings at different times of day.  Namely a free basic interior cabin (or exterior for just £5) on afternoon crossings from the UK or on morning crossings from France.  No reduction for cabins overnight but a generous breakfast allowance for each passenger.

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4 hours ago, Solo said:

when the boss goes to the shop she has somewhere to put the bags.

Toblerone….

it’s the only thing I see people buying (Armorique Plym to Ross). I’m yet to do this myself. 

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1 minute ago, PGTV said:

Toblerone….

it’s the only thing I see people buying (Armorique Plym to Ross). I’m yet to do this myself. 

Cheaper to buy that in the shops in the UK!!  Although I still get it on the boat anyway..🤣

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1 hour ago, David Williams said:

My purchases will be in bottles and at least 40% ABV (ideally 50% )

Unfortunately I cannot tolerate alcohol so I raid the chocolate.  And biscuits...

 

Edited by Khaines
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2 hours ago, David Williams said:

My purchases will be in bottles and at least 40% ABV (ideally 50% )

We discovered that whisky is cheaper in French supermarkets than it is here in Scotland so we used to stock up.

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I have been travelling to France for work, I used to work for a company based in St Malo and holidays initially to Brittany then to the vendee and now to the south of France.

Living in Cumbria for me and my family there is only one option outward an that is Portsmouth to St Malo leaving after breakfast and getting to Portsmouth around 5 o clock.

I have tried evening crossings to Caen and Roscoff from Plymouth but always arrived in France feeling knackered to be honest so St Malo is default choice, anyway nothing better than sitting at rear of Bretange watching Blighty dissapear with a G n T in hand.

Return crossing Caen to Portsmouth as easier to join motorway network and head home.

   

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2 hours ago, Khaines said:

Unfortunately I cannot tolerate alcohol so I raid the chocolate.  And biscuits...

 

Might be just me - but I find the coffee from the £ 1.00 vending machine onboard the Armorique better than the £ 3.50 one from the cafe onboard? There is a bitter chocolate coffee (think it is), I purchased by mistake, took a few sips and thought ewww, but actually turned out really nice. It’s the one I go for now.

i avoid the tea pots in the self service thou - I mistakenly opened the lid on one. Yes, you can get 2-3 cups worth, but gee, it was black inside! Don’t think they are cleaned properly 

completely useless facts - but someone might find it interesting 

 

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1 hour ago, PGTV said:

Might be just me - but I find the coffee from the £ 1.00 vending machine onboard the Armorique better than the £ 3.50 one from the cafe onboard? There is a bitter chocolate coffee (think it is), I purchased by mistake, took a few sips and thought ewww, but actually turned out really nice. It’s the one I go for now.

i avoid the tea pots in the self service thou - I mistakenly opened the lid on one. Yes, you can get 2-3 cups worth, but gee, it was black inside! Don’t think they are cleaned properly 

completely useless facts - but someone might find it interesting 

 

I remember picking up an Earl Grey teabag instead of an English Breakfast one.  One sip of that...🤢. Luckily they changed it in the self service!! 

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Sorry i know it's not normandy relevant but here goes. For us we travel to Bergerac, we live in somerset so our best departure ports are Plymouth or Poole. Poole means cherbourg and we find the overnight gets us rested for the long drive which we do in one hit. Plymouth means Roscoff and again overninght suits for the same reason, although it is slightly further. Coming back we do afternoon on a monday, meaning we leave Bergerac PM Sunday, stop overnight somewhere near Nantes and then get afternoon ferry back to Plymouth. Always get a cabin, but we are CV members so this helps. At least then you a) have storage for belongings and b) have somewhere to crash if tired or it's a rough crossing. 

Leaving Plymouth we try and take the later overnight boat and eat in the harbourside in Plymouth, then you can get onboard have some drinks and get your heads down. Coming back from Roscoff you can get lunch in the town before returning (as long as you don't forget the time as we nearly did last year when we were last on board!!)

As I say, not Normandy, but gives some other views. As an aside, from Somerset the Portsmouth drive is a ball ache before and after. Hate it.

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Portsmouth is usually a 6 hour drive with a pit stop if we use the A43 passing Towcester & Silverstone for the M40 rather than use the M42.

When we travel to Ouistreham we always opt for the AM sailing. We'll either overnight in one of the check in lanes or leave around midnight. Both options still mean I sleep until dinnertime in the cabin.

Problem with that is I'm then awake too late the following night, compounded by the time adjustment.

Ideally we opt for the St Malo sailing then drive for 3 hours at most back into Normandy as it doesn't knacker my sleep cycle and we're still at our destination in the Region by dinnertime.

We always book a cabin, usually a commodore, we tend to keep ourselves to ourselves and like the option of having a kip or sitting on the couch. Must have a shower and a change.

I like most of the ships which serve France, there always seems to be a nice balance between cabin location and onboard services... been on all of them at least 3 times (Armorique), lost count how many times I've sailed on Bretagne & Normandie and must admit to having a soft spot for Barfy. 

For Spain we'll tend to look more at the Cap Finistere although the Saturday AM sailings provided by BDS were very comfortable up in your cabin on deck 10. Looking forward to sampling Galicia to Cherbourg and Spain.

We'll head to Spain if we're venturing into the south of France up as far as Bordeaux.

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3 hours ago, jonno said:

Portsmouth is usually a 6 hour drive with a pit stop if we use the A43 passing Towcester & Silverstone for the M40 rather than use the M42.

When we travel to Ouistreham we always opt for the AM sailing. We'll either overnight in one of the check in lanes or leave around midnight. Both options still mean I sleep until dinnertime in the cabin.

Problem with that is I'm then awake too late the following night, compounded by the time adjustment.

 

Sounds a familiar journey to me, although I prefer to leave the north early in the morning and hit the A34 post rush hour to arrive at Portsmouth for lunch then get the afternoon sailing to Ouistreham.  I then book a hotel in Caen to hit the motorways the next day so I'm in Brittany or the Loire by lunch.

I've found heading down to Portsmouth the night before more tiring with the M1 and A34 being slow going, and find it harder to doze off in a hotel being alert from the drive.

St Malo is the ideal choice but getting it booked in time is the issue!

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I have noticed that occasionally some overnight Plymouth - Roscoff sailings are 11-12 hours. Does anybody know the reason for this - is it due to tides? I have also noticed how people say some ships sail along the Cornish coast or even stop dead or slow right down early in the journey - similar to a cruise. 
 

A long overnight crossing to Roscoff sounds quite appealing.

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On 08/05/2021 at 17:45, Le Quiberon said:

I have noticed that occasionally some overnight Plymouth - Roscoff sailings are 11-12 hours. Does anybody know the reason for this - is it due to tides? I have also noticed how people say some ships sail along the Cornish coast or even stop dead or slow right down early in the journey - similar to a cruise. 
 

A long overnight crossing to Roscoff sounds quite appealing.

Possibly to schedule a not too early arrival at Roscoff - overnight sailings are quite often time extended to allow passengers a decent arrival time

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On 06/05/2021 at 13:29, jonno said:

Portsmouth is usually a 6 hour drive with a pit stop if we use the A43 passing Towcester & Silverstone for the M40 rather than use the M42.

When we travel to Ouistreham we always opt for the AM sailing. We'll either overnight in one of the check in lanes or leave around midnight. Both options still mean I sleep until dinnertime in the cabin.

Problem with that is I'm then awake too late the following night, compounded by the time adjustment.

Ideally we opt for the St Malo sailing then drive for 3 hours at most back into Normandy as it doesn't knacker my sleep cycle and we're still at our destination in the Region by dinnertime.

We always book a cabin, usually a commodore, we tend to keep ourselves to ourselves and like the option of having a kip or sitting on the couch. Must have a shower and a change.

I like most of the ships which serve France, there always seems to be a nice balance between cabin location and onboard services... been on all of them at least 3 times (Armorique), lost count how many times I've sailed on Bretagne & Normandie and must admit to having a soft spot for Barfy. 

For Spain we'll tend to look more at the Cap Finistere although the Saturday AM sailings provided by BDS were very comfortable up in your cabin on deck 10. Looking forward to sampling Galicia to Cherbourg and Spain.

We'll head to Spain if we're venturing into the south of France up as far as Bordeaux.

Looking at the Galicia/Salamanca Portsmouth - Cherbourg timetables the arrival times are still ghastly. 23:00 evening departure arriving Cherbourg 07:00 - which is technically still 06:00, meaning you are waking up at 05:00. The late departure and early arrival means there is no opportunity to sample food and drinks on board. The return is even worse - departing at 21:45 and arriving UK 06:00. To me it seems to strange to have these vessels running these services as nobody will get a real opportunity to fully enjoy them.

On a side note, an e-flexer could easily do Portsmouth- Cherbourg in 4 hours, so how will they drag the journey out? Will they traverse the crossing at a slower rate of knottage, take a detour or just arrive early and allow passengers disembark later on, as Stena Holland do. Nevertheless it will be interesting.

 

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On 08/05/2021 at 17:45, Le Quiberon said:

I have noticed that occasionally some overnight Plymouth - Roscoff sailings are 11-12 hours. Does anybody know the reason for this - is it due to tides? I have also noticed how people say some ships sail along the Cornish coast or even stop dead or slow right down early in the journey - similar to a cruise. 
 

A long overnight crossing to Roscoff sounds quite appealing.

The Caen boats do the same thing in the Baie de Seine, as does Barfleur often on their overnight crossings.

 

Portsmouth and St Malo is our proffered crossing. Portsmouth is a 4-5 hr drive for us. 

Although because of where we travel to in Brittany the last few times we are doing Plymouth - Roscoff.

In past years we have done an early Yorkshire dep for Plymouth overnight on Armorique. This year, assuming we go,  we're staying en route to break the journey up a bit.

As has been mentioned the evening arrival in Plymouth, and the very slow transition through customs is a negative experience.  We have stayed locally in Plymouth, and then Exeter overnight on the way back. 

This year we have Pont Aven on a Sunday morning so are planning on driving straight home. 

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I have done Harwich - HoH a couple of times now which has similar timings to the Galicia/Sal Portsmouth - Cherbourg overnight crossings.

The vessels depart Harwich at 23:00 and arrive HoH 08:00 Dutch time. On the return the departure is 22:00 Dutch time and arrive UK at a ghastly 06:30. I have never slept before 02:30 on those crossings so al lucky to have gotten 4 hours sleep meaning I am always very tired in the morning. However there are a couple of interesting things to note:

You can board the vessels at 08:30 , some 2.5 hours before departure meaning you can eat and drink and get your head down early enough and have a reasonable nights sleep. To do is clever by Stena as it generates income on food and drinks and allows you to enjoy the experience more. 
 

Secondly the vessels sometimes arrive earlier than disembarkation and allow truckers to leave but passengers can obviously stay on board which is good. It remember the first time I did the crossing staying up till around 2/3am drinking with a friend and we could see that lights of the English coast not too far away and we hadn’t even gone to bed!

I wonder if BF will take a similar approach with the e-flexers schedule - allowing early boarding would definitely generate more income and enhance the customer experience.

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It would make sense. P&O do a similar thing with the Rotterdam route, boarding starts around 16:00 for a 20:30 dep.  I like to get on board and have eaten etc before departure.  Works well, we were able to do a similar thing on PA last time we sailed from St Malo too. 

Edited by Tumnus2010
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24 minutes ago, Tumnus2010 said:

It would make sense. P&O do a similar thing with the Rotterdam route, boarding starts around 16:00 for a 20:30 dep.  I like to get on board and have eaten etc before departure.  Works well, we were able to do a similar thing on PA last time we sailed from St Malo too. 

Yes, I ‘did’ that crossing last August - around 250 people on board it was a truly unique experience. 
 

Obviously I understand that early boarding can only be done with a vessel bathed in port for the best pet of a day, but if they are it should be done. Would make sense to maximise the on-board facilities the e-flexers can offer and thus maximise revenue.

 

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I see that BF (on Twitter) are pushing themselves on media outlets, newspapers etc saying that travelling by ferry is safer/better than plane. 

Does anyone know if BF will be limiting the numbers (of passengers) on their ships?

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2 hours ago, Le Quiberon said:

 

Obviously I understand that early boarding can only be done with a vessel bathed in port for the best pet of a day, but if they are it should be done.

You can do this most times when there are overnight sailings from Roscoff.  This works well for us when we do a 24hr cycling trip from Plymouth, over Friday night cycle all day and back on board early evening for a shower, something to eat and drink before even leaving Roscoff.

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How long before departure tIme

17 minutes ago, Solo said:

You can do this most times when there are overnight sailings from Roscoff.  This works well for us when we do a 24hr cycling trip from Plymouth, over Friday night cycle all day and back on board early evening for a shower, something to eat and drink before even leaving Roscoff.

Out of interest how long before departure time can you board the vessel?

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If I remember correctly last year boarding was open from 6 to 7 and then normal boarding was from 9.00.  The trouble now is there are no over night sailings from Roscoff to Plymouth.

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