What a ghastly hotel room it was! And expensive. Quoted €58 but this did not include the €12 breakfast. Not that they told us this! Dinner too was quite expensive – no wonder they told us we should book, otherwise our Euros would have gone to a less expensive purveyor of food!
But, above all stands the bathroom. This bathroom was truly exceptional. Not really wide enough for a normal adult. Pipes that continuously swoosh water and a toilet that appears to be on a jumbo jet. The hot water isn’t, though the pressure is okay. There is a very dim light giving the room the appearance of being in a subterranean cave lit by half dead glow worms – I kept expecting a troll to emerge from the shower stall. Well, until I got into the shower stall and realised it wasn’t big enough for me let alone a troll.
Anyway, we left the hotel at about 10am in the drizzly rain for the terminal where we then sat until 12! But at least we managed to lay claim to a seat! Ha!
Not too keen on the P&O version of service. Though we were encouraged to arrive early, there is no reason to. We may as well have turned up 10 minutes before the sailing time and just walked straight on!
A few notes to anyone travelling on the Caen to Portsmouth fast service by foot
Arrive 30 minutes before departure, go to the desk and check in then stand at the boarding gate. You will stand there for about 15 minutes so make sure you have a book. When the door opens you are issued with a boarding card and your passport is checked and your luggage gets x-rayed, all at the same time! It’s then a walk to the shuttle bus which drops you at the ferry ramp.
It is also important to note that cars get by far the greater priority (I assume because they pay more) so if you become friendly with a driving family, even better, because if you hitch a ride on, you’ll be onboard ages before any of the pedestrians. At the stairs you have to leave your luggage by the rubbish skip – don’t hand the guy your boarding pass first! He WILL forget you in the melee! Don’t let him have it until you have dumped your bags and are ready to go upstairs. It is then every person for themselves.
If you really hate kids, this is probably NOT the trip for you. The seats are comfortable enough but in rows of 2, 3 and 4 and of course lovely long aisles for little legs and lungs to use for exercise and adult toppling.
You can actually go outside, though, something I was concerned would NOT be the case.
Thank Neptune it was only three hours! What an awful way to end a holiday! You really know you’ve reached the English service industry when you have to queue for a bottle of water along with people queuing for meals and coffee. And then they promise Bruce Almighty but the video machines don’t work (why don’t they use DVDs?) so two guys fiddle with them and we had the beginning twice then another movie started (Daddy Day Care) which the kids cheered then booed when it abruptly stopped and Bruce restarted. Half way through the film, which I was enjoying, the volume vanished so we missed a big bit.
Then we reached Portsmouth and in a display of gross incompetence, the foot passengers had to wait almost half an hour to disembark. Naturally the cars went first but when I finally went down to the bottom deck, there’s a separate gangway for foot passengers but the luggage was on the opposite side to it! This means in order to get off the boat you would have to collect your luggage then cross in front of the departing cars. Surely that can’t be too hard to work out.
As we sat and waited the crew changed over and the boat was cleaned around us. We were expected to raise our feet as this guy vac’d through us. I felt sorry for the French people getting their first glimpse of England this way. We, on the other hand, expect it and are never disappointed.
Our cab, booked for three, met us easily (see how we expect it? We booked the cab for later than the arrival time) and our homophobic driver, whose father lives in Caboolchure, prattled on until we hit the usual traffic jam just by the Liphook turnoff.
But eventually we made it home. Ah, lovely. The garden has gone insane. We went to bed and ignored it.