Journey aboard Brittany Ferries
There are many great ways to travel to and from Plymouth. The city has a lot to offer from fine dining, a wide range of shopping experiences to top award winning attractions and breath-taking views from the hills of Dartmoor to stunning waterfront views. There is always plenty to see and do making Plymouth a must see destination.
We had an exciting opportunity to explore the travel links our wonderful city has to offer to its residents and visitors by sea. We took a trip to the beautiful Roscoff, courtesy of Brittany Ferries – www.brittany-ferries.co.uk.
It was our team’s first time travelling by ferry and first visit to France, so we thought we’d document it for all of you who are considering giving it a go. It was also our first trip at sea for a great length of time so a true test of our sea legs awaited us!
We documented our journey to Roscoff and back to Plymouth on Friday 25th to Sunday 27th September via live tweeting.
We must say, travelling with Brittany Ferries is by far one of our most favourite and comfortable options. For the first time traveller it did not feel like a chore or a necessity to get to our desired location, it was an enjoyable part of our short break filled with entertainment, comfort and breath-taking views.
The Journey to Roscoff begins…
For this trip we would be travelling by foot and having opted to live tweet our journey our bags were loaded with an assortment of mobile phones, portable chargers, passports and a selfie stick (just in case!). It was just after 10pm in the evening, travellers started slowly filling the waiting area. Unlike with many other means of transport, the boarding was fuss free and went very smoothly. To our surprise there was no sense of imminent rush or chaos, especially compared to rushing for seating board a plane! We boarded the beautiful Armorique a 1500 passenger ferry designed for Brittany ferries especially for the Roscoff Crossing.
We were welcomed by friendly and helpful staff who very efficiently helped all the guests find their cabins. We found ours with no trouble at all since we were equipped with a handy little map available from the reception or at the check in desk. After dropping our bags and having a brief look around our cabin, we headed outside to admire the views of Plymouth at night. Seeing Smeaton’s Tower lit up and the beautiful string of lights on the foreshore as we departed was quite spectacular. Despite the cold, there were many like us who had come to the top deck terrace to feast their eyes and enjoy the peaceful night views on board.
Once back inside, we had a little snoop around the shops on deck 6 which offered a good selection of gifts for yourself or your close ones, great duty free offerings and souvenirs. With our stomach rumbling and gasping for something to drink we headed to the self service restaurant on deck 7. The selection of freshly made salads seemed like a perfect choice for a late supper and what a great choice it was. Accompanied by a small bottle of wine with bowls packed with delicious pasta and vegetable salads we chose a comfortable seat by the window and enjoyed the rest of our evening. The bars and restaurants close at 00.30 which was perfect for us.
We stayed in an en-suite cabin just below the top deck. To our big surprise, it was actually very roomy, craftily designed to maximise the space and make the most of the glorious views. The tea and coffee making facilities was a great bonus and proved very handy the next morning.
Arrival in Roscoff
After a very good nights sleep we were gently woken up by some lovely chime- like, shanty style music. This is definitely much nicer than waking up to a toddler jumping on your bed back at home. Armed with hot coffee, we made our way to the chilly viewing deck in search of a sunrise, and dear me, it was worth it! Sunrises are so underrated and something we don’t stop to watch them often enough.
Before embarking on our journey, we deliberately did not do much research about Roscoff, simply because were intrigued to see what sort of experience it offers to its non French speaking visitors and I must say, we had no trouble at all. This little town is very well sign posted throughout and all of the information boards are translated into English for international visitors. Roscoff itself, is very charming little town full of character and boasting with cafés, restaurants, creperies and stunning architecture. The harbour reminded us of home and the quirky little land train offered trips to visitors who were keen to explore in a less traditional way. Roscoff’s varied and rich in sea-life coast offers a perfect opportunity for rock pooling and a nearby beach is perfect for those wanting to relax on the warm sand and read a good book.
We were also quite taken by the Roscoff Pier. It is used to access the boat to the Ile de Batz in low tide and offers spectacular views of the ever-changing scenery of Roscoff and surrounding islands. We would certainly recommend taking a stroll.
There is plenty of choice for accommodation in Roscoff, from centrally located gites (holiday apartments), B&B’s, small hotels, international chains to camp sites situated further away from the ferry port. We booked ours by using a popular accommodation site and were not disappointed at all.
This was only a very short getaway, more of a research trip but a very pleasant one. We could most certainly imagine staying for a little longer to enjoy the scrumptious baguettes and croissants, fantastic restaurants and sipping local ‘Cidre’ whilst watching a game of ‘Boules’.
Journey to Plymouth
We very much looked forward to hopping on board of Pont-Aven for our crossing to Plymouth. We heard a lot of great comments about this vessel and were very keen to explore. Pont-Aven is Brittany Ferries flagship cruise ferry, and currently the largest one within their fleet.
It was indeed a very busy morning at the ferry port with many like us returning to Plymouth but not only. The waiting area was filled with French school children going to Plymouth for a little trip and English pupils returning home, French holidaymakers and British Expats going to see their families. The atmosphere was great and even though much busier than the last time, there was still no sign of any flustered travellers or endless ques, everything went very smoothly and stress free.
Once on board we quickly grabbed a map of the vessel and headed for our cabin. Many thanks to the lovely English steward who helped us open our door and explained how to do it in future. You sir are an absolute star!
Our cabin was perfectly set up for a daytime crossing, with the bed made up as a very comfortable sofa, flat screen TV, teas and coffees, there was simply nothing more we could have asked for. After a quick cup of tea in the room, we rushed upstairs to watch the ferry depart. It was incredibly windy, but the views made up for any chill and we managed to take some fantastic shots.
Keen to see more of the inside, we started with a delicious breakfast from the self service restaurant on deck 7, one of the many eateries on board. The selection was great and we could not resist coming back later for some delicious cakes from Le Café du Festival. The facilities on board are excellent, in fact, we wish our crossing took longer so that we had more time to fully explore them all. From a very well stocked duty free and a lovely boutique, to swimming pool, spa, games room and a play room to keep your little ones entertained, 2 cinemas, tastefully decorated and very comfortable lounges, restaurants and bars, there was no time for boredom.
There was also some great entertainment on board. The younger audience had a chance to watch a magic show whilst the adults could enjoy a glass of Bordeaux and listen to a great set by the resident pianist. We chose the latter and also had a lovely chat with Le Fastnet Bar bartender, who was very enthusiastic and a great ambassador for Brittany Ferries.
The one main thing we noticed during our stay was that all the staff on board was very helpful, polite, smiley and dedicated, nothing was too much trouble to ask. This along with a fantastic décor and a wide range of facilities on board of Pont-Aven makes it a truly memorable experience.
As we were nearing Plymouth, once more we took a chance to get some wind in our hair and admire the views. The weather was beautiful and can we just say, wow Plymouth certainly makes an impact when approached from the water. Britain’s Ocean City, you really do know how to welcome your guests, with open arms and your best frock on. We think that the photos speak for themselves.
We would like to thank the marketing team of Brittany Ferries for offering us a chance to experience the Plymouth-Roscoff crossing. We will most certainly recommend for all our followers in both UK and France to embrace the fact we are so well linked with each other. We had a wonderful weekend break and can’t wait to get back on board again some time. We are definitely hooked.
Article and Photos (via mobile) by Scott Grenney and Kamila Bielawska.