Brittany Ferries’ 6,581gt/2000 built Normandie Express departed Portsmouth International Port on 13th September for the final time this season, bound for Cherbourg. Once de-stored the vessel moved to the Darse de l’Océan in Le Havre on 19th September for lay-up until 20th April 2017 when her 2017 season commences. In 137 days of operation the Normandie Express lost 3 rotations due to inclement weather and no technical problems were reported. By contrast, in the same period Condor’s troubled Condor Liberation lost 28 rotations, 21 due to technical issues, 7 to weather.
Condor Ferries’ Guernsey Consumer Group undertook a survey that was completed by 1,281 people of which over 1,000 said that they were dissatisfied with the service offered by Condor. More than 36% of those questioned also said they would prefer to travel to Weymouth, with 15% choosing Southampton (where no passenger service operates nowadays), 14% Portsmouth and just 13% selecting Poole while 21% expressed no preference. The service was described as unreliable by 1,079 people with the majority of criticisms involving the beleaguered Condor Liberation. Condor has also been urged to buy a second passenger vessel for the U.K. route and to operate a passenger only inter-island service like the good old days. The Poole sailing was cancelled on 20th August due to bad weather whilst a bomb hoax on 22nd August delayed the departure while a security search was undertaken of the ferry and the ferry terminal. Both the Condor Rapide and Commodore Clipper experienced technical problems of their own in mid-September.
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