Booking in advance has it’s drawbacks. PlanA was a ferry ride from Plymouth to Santander. Not available in my timeframe. So booked my PlanB, a ferry from Portsmouth to Santander.
Booked a hotel in Valladolid, so I could hang out with Amelia, and pass along a gift for her brand new nephew. Chose our usual cafe, so ended up with a posh hotel. Brilliant location. Very close to the cathedral. My arrival time was 8pm Saturday night. So this way I would ride up, book into the hotel, dress, meet Amelia, and then we would have supper.
Amelia was heading back to the UK on Sunday, so I booked my usual spot in Logrono.
What could possibly go wrong.
A few days after the booking, Brittany Ferries switched my destination from Santander to Bilbao. Adding 30mins to my journey.
On Friday at 10am, the morning of my supposedly 5pm embarkation, Brittany Ferries sent a text message saying departure was delayed till 9pm. This meant I would arrive in Valladolid in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Had tried calling Customer Services in the morning, but after 23mins on hold, the bike was packed, and time to go.
In one way, the delay was a good thing. When my TomTom gps took me into a random housing estate in Southampton, I could laugh at the Dutch. Supposed to be at the Brickmakers pub in Swanmore. It was preloaded in TomTom. Where it took me? Who knows. Not a pub in sight.
Luckily, I had Toni’s house as a POI. The pub is “kitty corner” from Toni’s house and therefore easy to find.
Yup, TomTom is still a DLB. Lulls you into a false sense of security, then lies to you.
Still. Had an extra 4hrs until the ferry departed. Lots of time to make the pub, and lunch with Barry&Toni.
After a nice lunch at the Brickmakers, I rode down to the ferry port. Where the DLB’s were everywhere.
The check-in person at the gate, estimated we should be in Bilbao by 9pm.
Took only 20mins to reach Customer Service over the phone, who said that the Captain would make up the time, and we will be in before 7pm.
Check-in person inside the Terminal said to wait till onboard.
Information desk on-board the ferry, said to wait until the morning.
Saturday morning an announcement over the shipboard tannoy gave our arrival time of midnight. They tried disguising the arrival time by giving UK-time, which is one hour behind Spanish time.
Means that the earliest I will be in Valladolid is 3am.
Luckily Amelia was able to pop by my hotel and give them the “good news”. We were able to txt, whilst the boat was close enough to France.
When I confirmed arrival times with the Information desk, I also enquired how much extra time was needed for disembarkation. Was told 30mins. At most 45mins. Even when I explained that I witnessed the boat unloading for over an hour in Portsmouth, was told 30mins. Even after I explained that I was parked in the furthest corner of deck one, the lowest deck.
I knew they were lying. Am sure they knew.
The only good news, when I disembarked an hour later, immigration waved me to the front of the queue. Stamped my passport and let me go.
I headed straight out, arriving in Valladolid at 0438hrs. Yup. Nearly 5am.
Storm Denis was cited as the cause of the delay. Sea was no rougher than any other crossing. Blaming weather, means there is no compensation. Weather is “an act of God”.
And the result? I was over 8hrs late, getting into Valladolid.
Think that’s bad? Others had it much worse.
The nice Portuguese couple who had purchased a “naked scooter” had a friend with a van awaiting their arrival in Santander, where they were all going to spend the night. Said friend had to drive for over an hour to Bilbao, pick them and the bike up, then drive back to Santander, so all could sleep before their 6hr drive home.
The nice Irish couple travelling to the south of France. were supposed to be on a direct ferry from Cork. That was cancelled. They took the only offered alternative, a drive to Dublin, ferry to Anglesey, drive to Portsmouth, ferry to Bilbao, drive to southern France.
So. When you travel with Brittany Ferries and want information about the trip, remember, they are all DLB’s.