Monday, April 20, 2009

Slow boat to Jersey

At the end of our Easter break in the UK we made it to the ferry terminal in good time only to find I’d confused Poole with Portsmouth and instead of the fast cat that would get us home by lunchtime we were to be cooped up all day on the conventional ferry. The family were amazingly forgiving, though the need for penitence changed once we went up from the car deck.

What used to be called the Purser’s Office (in those grim, dank, interminable days - and nights - of Sealink crossings) , was now ‘Reception’ and we went there first to enquire about a cabin. How many berths would you like? That’s £34 please, (a four-berth cabin is £73 on the night crossings) and and so-and-so will show you to your cabin. Lo and behold, a smiling member of staff appeared to conduct us there. The en-suite cabin with views over Portsmouth harbour had clean linen, soap towels; a desk and socket for working at a laptop; the bunks were comfy, too. Exploring the Commodore Goodwill, we found ourselves in clean, comfortable and relatively empty cruise ship, with a choice of lounges, restaurant and bars, and a family film to watch.

Later on the kidz opted to stay in the cabin with all its novelty so the parents, kicking their heels with glee as they legged it down the corridor, could enjoy lunch on their own: a choice of several main courses washed down with a choice of half a dozen wines, followed by coffee. The restaurant staff were as friendly and helpful as everyone else we were served by. Far from being a bore, the journey turned out to be an enjoyable extension to our holiday, a perfect mini-cruise. Okay, so the sea was calm, but as one of our fellow travellers said, the conventional ferry has the advantage of not being subject to the vagaries of the weather.

I realised today how much I dislike travelling by air, the whole wretched experience from the online check-in, luggage worries, the queues, the searches, the long walks, the close confinement in a narrow metal tube at 20,000 feet – no, whenever I can find the extra time I’m going to take Condor's slow boat between Jersey and the U.K.


TonyTheProf said...

Slow boats are fine in good weather! I've been on the old Solidor in a force 10 across to St Malo, and eventually got there (minus some bar crockery on the rolls!) after around four hours of tossing and rolling sometimes so extreme it made one think it was going to go over (especially when plates started sliding off tables).

But I hate flying too. The last trip - just to Guernsey - was also bumpy with strong winds, and tossing about up in the air is not pleasant either.

A bridge to France would be great. It would mean cheap supplies (less freight costs), job opportunities both ways, tourism boosts, wave power, and a solution to land reclamation for the next 30 years. What do you think, Simon?

Anonymous said...

I just walked-n-talked with Sntr Cohen as he made his way to the States. I asked about Bouley Bay and Havre des Pas eyesore developments and he told me he wasn't keen on the former but the latter was already passed.

I was then mortified to find CTV and the JEP taking footage of me as I spoke with him!

Mickey Napalm said...

I seem to remember some pretty horrendous crossings on that ferry in the old days. The memory of us all huddled together on the bunk, while the ferry rolled and pitched for what seemed like days.

Glad to hear it's got better with time.

Anonymous said...

Overall I prefer to take the fast ferry. I have travelled on the conventional boat a couple of times but I really don't enjoy it. I never get a good night sleep in the cabin and I dislike having to disembark early. The food is good, but I don't find there to be a lot of atmosphere onboard, it's always very quiet.

I do, however, prefer the ferry to the plane. I think going by sea to France is just so easy and always a fantastic start to the holiday. Of course, flying can be fun - if you're up front in first class!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn t let social services know that lol

Anonymous said...

The slow boat is much more civilised, but it's also a long time to waste when holiday time is such a premium.

A bridge to France would be a terrible idea, huge cost and what benefits would the island reap? None. Yes there'd be cheap shopping, but that would simply mean even less shops/jobs in Jersey.

Louise said...

Anonymous,aked "what benefits would a bridge reap for the island?"

It would revitalise Jersey. It would be the shot in the arm tourism needs. The new influx of vistors who could hop in a car and drive here within the space of an hour would make sure our shops were kept busier than they are now. Consider the potential for the daytrip market alone.

The extra point of easy access would also see Jersey rubberstamped as the premier Channel Island to visit. Why mess about with the time and expense of taking boats or planes to Guernsey when you can drive to Jersey in your own time at low cost?

A bridge would take Jersey into a brand new era of prosperity based on self-reliance. Perfect for when the finance industry deserts the island.