We left it too late to book our usual overnight crossing fro Freda Portsmouth to St Malo – this is highly civilised. A two hour drive to Portsmouth to arrive at around 7pm, get on board for 8pm, unload overnight bags into cabins and hunt down the fabulous restaurant. The only downside to this is Brittany Ferries now operate a kids menu consisting of items such as ham and chips. My children, much to my admiration, take one look at the buffet crammed with king prawns, poached salmon, langoustines, heaps of dried and cured meats, a fabulous salad selection and puddings to die for and totally balk at the kids menu, so after much discussion with the waiter , maitre d’ and the restaurant manager weve always negotiated half portions of the buffet for the children.
Well, not this time, this lovely start to the holiday went out the window as we had to get the ‘fast craft’ at 7am, that meant check in at 6am so leaving home at 4am (groan). Positive thinking – “we’re going on holiday”, negative thinking “we’ve only taken the fast craft twice before and it’s been awful – been seasick each time where we’re not on the big, slow ferries.
Ho hum……enter, stage right – the crossing from Hell. At the end of the day it wasn’t that bad, no one died, the boat got us to France all together in one piece and we didn’t get wet, there have been much worse ferry crossings in the past so we really shouldn’t moan on about this, it wasn’t the Herald of Free Enterprise after all, however I do remember thinking at one point that when the Titanic went down at least they weren’t all seasick as the sea may been cold but it wasn’t rough. Inappropriate, I admit.
The crossing began OK, although I wasn’t impressed with the ‘restaurant’ option – cafe with either soup or croissants, I had a coffee and a smoothie, can’t eat wheat and soup at 7am didn’t take my fancy – call me fussy if you wish.
Got round the Isle of Wight, 20 mins out and things deteriorated. One of the engines went on the boat which screwed up the stabilisers and the seasickness started. And continued for four and half hours as the boat was much slower due to losing one engine. I reckon that about 70% of people on the boat were ill, I was the worst out of our family with Peter and big girl being fine, small boy made it to the toilets which was treacherous as it was like walking on a roller coaster, medium sized girl and I stuck to the sick bags and we had an absolute star in the shape of this lovely gentleman who’s wife and toddler were really poorly who struggled to run and fetch bags for everyone in our part of the boat.
The word spread quickly about these fast crafts having the nickname the ‘vomit comet’ oh boy is it true. We’re on the slow old ferry on the way back so can have a wonderful breakfast and lunch, catch a couple of films and not pray for the sailing to end.
we stayed last night in the Loire and are packing up for the long drive to just north of Biarritz luxuriating in having a flipping huge 3 bedroom glorified caravan with a flushing loo after last weekend in the tent, on a hill, with no running water.