Our weekly round up of ferry news includes an update on the yet-to-be-updated ferry passenger rights app; a great new special offer for families heading for the Channel Islands this year and Stena’s record 2012 Harwich-Hook of Holland.
TECH ISSUE HOLDS UP FERRY PASSENGER RIGHTS APP
Six weeks after defined consumer rights for ferry passengers came into force, the official smartphone application spelling out entitlements is yet to be updated.
New rights for ferry passengers came into effect on 18 December 2012 following rights for air travellers in 2004 and rail in 2009.
Essentially, where the operator is at fault, delays of over 90 minutes or cancellation mean passengers could now be entitled to compensation, based on a proportion of the ticket price.
According to a spokeswoman for the European Commission, a technical issue with the translation means the updated app won’t be available until mid-February at the earliest.
In the meantime, operators are required to display concise summaries of passenger rights on board. For more information click here.
BIG SAVINGS FOR FAMILIES ON CHANNEL ISLANDS CROSSINGS
Families could save nearly 50% on mid-week Channel Island crossings this year with Condor Ferries’ eyecatching ‘kids go free even in the school holidays’ special offer.
DriveEurope was quoted £245 return for sailings on 10 and 16 July 2013, Portsmouth-Guernsey-Poole, including £5 online discount. That compares to £470 return for a similar trip starting and ending at the weekend.
The advance offer applies for all trips up to seven days travelling Tuesday to Thursday, for two adults and two children, and lasts until 4 November.
Meanwhile, a source close to the company has pooh-poohed suggestions Condor is undertaking a wholesale review of its business.
A BBC Jersey interview with brand new managing director James Fulford last weekend quoted him saying, ‘We have a clean sheet of paper now. We need to make sure we provide people with what they want, and don’t provide them with what they don’t want to pay for.’
The article went on to say the company was considering which English ports it uses and asking passengers ‘if weather capability was more important than speed’.
Condors (almost exclusive) fleet of hi-speed catamarans are much faster than conventional ships but are more prone to cancellations in bad weather.
Operations from Weymouth were affected last year by a crumbling harbour wall. All Condor services were transferred to Portsmouth and Poole. Latest reports say repairs are on track with the berth expected to reopen on 17 July.
Condor re-signed a five year operating licence with Channel Islands’ authorities in December 2012.
BOOST FOR MYFERRYLINK.COM
Each of the 371 former SeaFrance employees transferred to new operator MyFerryLink has now been accompanied by a €25,000 payment from administrators. The cash is a welcome boost for the fledgling operator as it seeks to establish itself on the hotly contested Dover-Calais route. According to widely reported figures MFL took 4% of the market in its first three months of operation. This month will see all three of its former SeaFrance vessels operating simultaneously for the first time. The company is currently offering fares from £29 each way, any duration.
STENA’S RECORD YEAR
2012 was a record year for Stena Line’s on its Harwich-Hook of Holland route. The company carried over half a million passengers (up 2.4%) and 110,000 cars (up 5.2%).
The boost comes as the company’s two impressive new ‘super ferries’ bed down on the route. DriveEurope sailed from Hook in September 2012, lounging (out of necessity) on leather banquette sofas near the double wind lock doors to the outside deck area. Very comfortable indeed. We paid £165 one-way for a stand-by ticket. The company is currently advertising fares at £59 each way.
In more travel app news, Stena’s smartphone booking and info app has now been translated into English.