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K2rockall

Poor Deck Space on P&O

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Does anyone know why P&O Ferries have such a putrid amount of deck space on their Dover-Calais ships? I can't speak for other P&O routes/ships as I've never been on any. One of the great pleasures of crossing the channel is looking at the stunning Dover cliffs and impressive French coast, breathing in that lovely sea air at the same time. All that happens on those cramped deck spaces is you end up breathing in the joys of other's cigarette smoke.

 

I'm particularly disappointed with the Spirit class ships. To say they are the largest ships to ever operate the Dover Strait, the deck space provided is simply awful. I travelled on both ships at the weekend and the rear deck (the only one for standard passengers) feels like the steerage deck from the RMS Titanic with the few people on the 'club' class deck above looking down us. That doesn't exactly look huge either.

 

I have always loved how Brittany Ferries are almost access all areas outside. It greatly adds to the experience and enjoyment of crossing to France/Spain and you really feel part of the ferry like it is an old friend when you return. It is so atmospheric to walk towards the bridge at night and see the radar screens, making you feel really safe and secure. With the P&O ships you feel quite unloved and rather like a cattle transfer on them which is very disappointing. I love P&O as a company (not convinced by the new branding, but there you go) and want them to do well, but I do not feel they really get the idea of enjoying a sea crossing anymore. Such a shame.

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Retail!

 

People outside don't buy things in the bars, restaurants and shops or pay supplements for Club Class. It's a quick hop so they don't have much time to get you inside spending - enough time/space to watch departure then get inside - and most travellers will want the "motorway services at sea" experience. So they don't need deck space, it's more a break from the driving on the way to somewhere else.

 

The Townsend Thoreson ships were even worse, especially Pride of Bruges. The sister ship Pride of Kent was significantly enhanced when the sponsons added during her lengthening were made into publically accessible deck space which was only about 3 storeys above the water. Pride of Dover and Calais had a bit more deck space outside, reduced when they turned the covered aft deck space into a Coca Cola Megadrome video games arcade, but also some sheltered deck space on the sides if you knew where to find it.

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

different ships for different rotes bit unfair to make direct comparissons, Dover Calais is what it is fast and furious and the product does whats needed

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

As above. Open deck space doesn't earn revenue. Might as well stick some gambling machines or trucks there instead! Love the open space on the Stena Superfast's!

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Barfleur amazed people when she was there with her vast amount of outdoor space, remember that was what most people noticed about her!!

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Just back from a summer road trip. Travelled Stena Superfast , DFDS Princess Seaways and Stena Horizon. All great deck space especially the Stena Horizon.

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Barfleur amazed people when she was there with her vast amount of outdoor space, remember that was what most people noticed about her!!

 

That was my first experience of Barfleur back in 1992. It was early summer, she'd been in service for a few months and Quiberon was off service having caught fire mid Channel. So lots of Quiberon's passengers were sent elsewhere and Barfleur was running to capacity. In her first year her capacity was over-inflated to 1,200 which anyone who knows Barfleur knows there is certainly not room for that many passengers inside; it was literally impossible to move anywhere, go to the restaurants or bars and getting to the loos was a mission. Fortunately it was dry and there were some plastic outdoor chairs provided but not enough for everyone.

 

The return crossing was much, much quieter and fortunately could explore properly (and get something to eat on the evening crossing having had to skip lunch).

 

Apart from that return in 1992, only ever did one other crossing on her an outward in 2004. Going back on her from Cherbourg next week so will be interesting to travel on again; with the exception of CF, she is the BF ship I have travelled on least.

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

I am waiting till after the school holidays for my next trip - she been heaving of recent!! Maybe a bit quieter next week or so, so be more comfortable, weather improving too then.

 

I noticed when I went on Spirit of France how P&O lacked outdoor space on this vessel. I personally like being outside, my trip on her though it was stormy and quite unpleasant, remember the wind literally blew my coffee out of the cup and into my face!!

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

I thought that retail might be the answer which is honestly very disappointing. I find plenty of time to shop along with being out on deck on the Dover to Calais ferries, but the indoor spaces are always very crowded and you often want to flee outside. How do MFL and DFDS compare to P&O?

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Just back from a summer road trip. Travelled Stena Superfast , DFDS Princess Seaways and Stena Horizon. All great deck space especially the Stena Horizon.

 

I would have thought the Superfasts have more given they have a sun deck and promenade deck. The older generation Visentini's where great as they had open deck space at the bow below the bridge.

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Rodin and Berlioz have about the same publically accessible deck space as the P&O ships; it's the part at the stern on the lowest passenger deck and the small space on the deck above it that are open to passengers. Like most of the Dover ships, the stern is open for hazardous cargo so you can't look over the stern as you might do on Bretagne, Pont-Aven etc. I've not been on DFDS so can't speak for them, but was initially suprised to see that on Cote d'Alabtre they roped off the stern part of the lower deck so you can't get right to the back of the ship. Must be some sort of safety reason, possibly to do with the ramps or they're just paranoid about 'jumpers'.

 

Unfortunately though, most ferries are designed for commerical operation including BF's, and not really designed to please the ferry enthusiast. Freight space almost always comes first, followed by retailing opportunities to subsidise ticket prices and provide facilities that most of the public are willing and wanting to pay for.

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Stena Horizon had a huge open deck space, marked as a heli pad, at top of the ship. This space was above the height of the bridge. Did get very windy up there tho. Great views!

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Stena Fantasia had absolutely loads of outdoor deck space when on the Calais run. Did Stena Line lose out on revenue from onboard spend?

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Someone else can advise better - but might that have been something to do with the fact Fantasia/Fiesta were converted freighters and was dictated by what the hull could take. Believe that was the case with P&O's Darwin twins.

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Probably! They were certainly worth 50% than the P&O business when they merged; it was a 60:40 split in favour of P&O.

 

I always preferred the Sealink Stena Line, Stena Sealink Line, Stena Line ferries to Calais. Stena Fantasia was my favourite, although I did prefer her before Stena toned down the decor, installed McDonalds, split the motorists lounge up and (just a personal thing) changing the way the blue/yellow Sealink logo appeared on her funnel. Plenty of deck space she definitely had, with huge windows everywhere and at one time it was possible to go out on the deck space at the bow.

 

Fiesta was much more like the original and the conversion of the dome was much more fitting turning it into a lounge rather than a useless video games arcade (only marginally less useless than its original purpose as a disco).

 

Stena Invicta was a favourite too and back in 1993 I visited the information desk before departure and asked if I could visit the bridge; I'd done it on many other ferries before and don't think I ever got a no. But on this occasion the captain turned off the auto pilot and let me steer it, pretty much from just outside Dover to just outside Calais (that goes down as a highlight; I also got to steer Stena Sea Lynx for a short while, spend full return crossings on the bridge of Stena Challenger to Dunkerque and the previous Isle of Inishmore to Rosslare, and on Pride of Suffolk I wrote in advance and got a brilliant goodybag and letter from the captain and invited to the bridge before departure - unfortunately it's not 20 years ago so these things don't happen any more perhaps, and most importantly I'm no longer 13!). Back to the subject, Stena Invicta had loads of deck space, as did Stena Challenger, Stena Empereur and Cote d'Azur.

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Deck space is very important to me on a ferry as I like to spend a lot of time outside whatever the weather, time etc.

 

I must say I prefer the rear of the deck to look over to the see rather than an extended outdoor garage.

 

My memories of Brittany Ferries was that there was always plenty of outdoor deckspace, some of it unique such as the bow of Bretagne.

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

Came back on Spirit of France yesterday, first trip on Spirit class. I think the previous comment that they are not much more than floating motorway service stations is a bit harsh. The seating alone is much better! To be honest I found the ship to be fine and well suited to the very short crossing. Plenty of room to exit your car too, unlike BF. Open deck space very limited and infested with smokers but it was quite foggy so I didn't feel any need to be outside. Instead we had front seats in the family lounge overlooking the bow and there was a decent cup of tea to be had. very comfortable trip really.

 

The only drawback was that there were no UK newspapers on sale which I would have liked after several days in deepest Belgium. Decent price on whisky though!

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Re: Poor Deck Space on P&O

 

MFL ships are brilliant, you can get a great view from the open decks at the stern in or out of the weather (they've added wind guards on one deck)!

 

The Dieppe Seaways isn't bad either, but slightly less space and little weather protection. I haven't been on the other one.

 

I didn't think much of the P&O deckspace when I went, but it was the Pride of Canterbury at 2.30am 8-)

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