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In defence of Brittany Ferries

We have found none more pleasant and reliable than Brittany Ferries

WE REFER to Alan McCorkadale's quite extraordinary letter (January). Are we actually talking about the same Brittany Ferries?

We believe that he is perhaps confusing the terms "cheap" and "value". If you want "cheap", then there are many ways of crossing the Channel, most of which we've tried, that are sometimes cheaper.

We have found none more pleasant and reliable than Brittany Ferries. Given the longer and thinner crossings that they support (remember how many other carriers have pulled out of these routes), we believe that they do a superb job. They have set their stall out as being a "minicruise", and by and large that works well.

It's not a bargain basement, but I don't think it was ever meant to be.

Bear in mind, also, that all their vessels are registered locally, not in the Caribbean. That no doubt costs a little more, but puts funds back into our economy. All their crews are local, not eastern European: same applies.

Mr McCorkadale refers to a "captive market". There is no such thing on these routes: they are open to new competition. Other carriers are free to compete, but choose not to.

Brittany Ferries are 110 per cent above all the other companies when its comes to customer service, smiling faces and food. Certainly no British carrier comes near. That is why we use them.

Annette and John QUAYLE
Notre Dame de Cenilly (Manche)

IN COMMON with Peter Hindley (December), I'm writing in defence of Brittany Ferries. The food is adequate; the cabins are comfortable; the boats are clean; the sailings are always punctual.

I would also take issue with your correspondent who said it was cheaper to travel to Calais. This may be OK for people who live in the south-east or London, but for those of us who travel to south-west of England, it is quicker, easier and cheaper to use Brittany Ferries.

The only point that I would take up with Brittany Ferries is the price of pets (in our case, dogs). A quick comparision shows that, of those checked, Brittany Ferries charges the most; P&O and the Tunnel charge £60 return for two dogs,
LD Lines £72 and Brittany Ferries £82.50.

My question for is: what do we get for our money? There are no special arrangements for dogs, the car is loaded along with all the other cars with no provision for a quick departure once the ferry docks. We always travel via Portsmouth
and the dogs are never scanned or their passports examined.

The majority of people who transport their pets are responsible and in most cases the dogs are better behaved than children who are allowed free rein throughout the public areas of the ship.

Would it not be possible to allow passengers who have pets, and who have a cabin booked, to take their animals to the cabin? At least we would then be getting something for our money.

Paul TYLER
Correze

I HAVE lived in France for nearly 10 years and have been crossing the Channel several times a year for nearly 40 years. I am getting very frustrated with the constant complaints about the value for money offered by Brittany Ferries.

If you are privileged to live in western France, I see no sense in driving all the way to Calais to save money on ferry costs. From central Brittany, where I live, it is almost a day's drive to Calais. Then, unless you are travelling to London or the south-east, you have to circumnavigate London.

From a safety point of view, you should now be adding to your costs an overnight stop. You have already spent a lot of euros on fuel, tolls and general running costs of a vehicle, plus a day lost of your trip.

In contrast to all the above problems, on Brittany Ferries you can have a stressfree trip on a very pleasant ship run by a professional company with a very helpful crew. I cannot understand how anyone can complain about the restaurant services available; the self-service food has always been appetising, hot and good value. I have never found any food of comparable quality to the main restaurants on any other ferries anywhere in the world; in fact, the food is superior to most restaurants in the same price bracket in either France or England.

May I suggest that the moaners join the Brittany Ferries Property Owners Travel Club, thus saving considerable costs on their crossings plus other benefits.

Alan COURT
Côtes d'Armor

I THINK Alan McCorkadale exaggerates. He has had a bad experience. I will not support Brittany Ferries on its fares, but to criticise the food is well over the top.

My wife and I always enjoy the restaurants on board; the food is always superb. We have just returned from Christmas in the UK and had two wonderful meals.

Service could not be faulted. The meal for two was about £50 inc wine. We would pay that, or more, in a similar establishment.

We enjoy Brittany Ferries, they have good clean cabins and, although the staff are not turning cartwheels, they are there. We can remember Townsend Thoresen and P&O, and not fondly.

John and Christine JENKINS
By email

... and one exception

WE LIVE 20 kilometres from Cherbourg and would use ferries from there in preference to others. However, the fares are exorbitant, and timetables inconvenient.

I speak for ourselves and our visitors. We look after a number of gites, occupied by people from around the UK, and the vast majority prefer to travel Dover-Calais. In one extreme instance, a couple, with wife several months' pregnant, chose to travel from Northern Ireland by way of Stranraer, the length of England, Dover, Calais and round the corner to Barfleur.

Eight per cent of our visitors last year came via Calais. Brittany Ferries uses its monopoly to catch the infrequent, summer, and inexperienced traveller and has little regard for others.

Andrew Gordon
By email

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