"Dirty, dated ferries, stuck in a 1990’s time loop"
As a child I regularly crossed the channel, pre-Euro Tunnel, on a ferry from Portsmouth. I hadn’t don’t it in about 15-20 years and I can tell you nothing has changed, except the boats are all a little older and a little more dilapidated.
The facilities were all dirty with rubbish strewn in every nook and cranny, despite us only just boarding (an hour late I might add).
The facilities are akin to a filthy Wetherspoons pub. A nasty bar with terrible music and some dubious DJ-ing, an arcade where over half the machines were broken and two restaurants, one of which was closed, leaving just the buffet. The food on offer there was all the colours of the beige/brown rainbow, with vegetables only on offer if you begged for them. In fairness it was pretty good value but I’ve starred at things ok the bottom of my shoes and salivated more.
Each and every chair, table, corner and area was packed with lorry drivers, grubby families and tired travellers. We eventually stole a sticky table, with a retro 1990’s design, to whittle away the 6.5 hours of warm, humid, cigarette and diesel laced stench.
Several trips out on deck to spy the broken, unsecured plastic furniture, sliding across the deck, was about the only activity unless you include drinking the “coffee” at the bar on the top floor. I can’t believe it actually was coffee, I’m sure it was being pumped straight from the bildge?
It will take us many years to step foot on a ferry again, especially with 3x small children, so I suspect we will stick to planes and trains until then. I can’t believe so little has been updated or improved in 15-20 years!? Perhaps other operators are better. I don’t really want to find out to be honest, you can make your own minds up!
Reviewed by Henry who travelled with Brittany Ferries on Normandie