Bretagne is a cruise ferry operated by Brittany Ferries built in 1988 and launched in 1989. She was the flag ship the company until the delivery of Val de Loire in 1993. However, she has been one of the company’s most popular ship since her introduction, despite the introduction of larger Pont Aven in 2004.
|M/V Bretagne (1989 onwards)|
|Launch||4th February 1989|
|Maiden Voyage||16th July 1989|
|Shipyard||Chantiers de l'Atlantique (Alsthom), Saint-Nazaire, France|
|Cost New||£55 millions|
Plymouth - Roscoff (1989 - 1992; 2005)
Cork - Roscoff (1989 - 1992)
Plymouth - Santander (1989 - 1992)
Portsmouth - Saint-Malo (1993 - 2004; 2006 onwards)
|Port of Registry||Morlaix, Brittany, France|
4 Wärtsilä-Crepelle engines - 12 cylinders each
[Named from 1 to 4 Véronique, Sandra, Fabienne and Gwenn)
|Propulsion||2 Controllable Pitch Propellers|
24.00 knots (max) - 20.40 knots (service)
47l / min (Main Engines)
|Passengers & Cargo|
|Passengers Capacity||2,056 passengers + 134 crew members|
|Cabins and Seats||376 cabins (1,146 berths proposed) + 319 seats|
|Garage Capacity||580 cars + 40 lorries|
Bretagne was ordered by Brittany Ferries to the French Chantiers de l’Atlantique in June 1987 in order to increase the capacity and the comfort proposed on the Irish and Spanish services. This ship was to be very impressive regarding her size (carrying twice as many passengers as Quiberon she replaced, whilst being 30m longer, 10m wider and two times higher) and her design. She has been one of the first cruise ferry to propose top-of-the-range on board services with a À la carte Restaurant, luxurious Commodore cabins, Cinemas, Shops… illustrating the upgrading of the company. Its interior has been designed by Scottish painter Alexander Goude.
Moreover, she has been named with a very symbolic name: Bretagne, which is the name of the French Region where Brittany Ferries was founded. She became soon the main vector of Brittany Ferries’ corporate identity, being herself an entire part of it. Compared to the ship she replaced, she is exceptional and she soon became one of he much loved ships among those operated by the company.
Bretagne was launched on 4th February 1989 in Saint-Nazaire and was scheduled to be delivered on 4th May. However, she was delivered behind scheduled, on 12th July to Brittany Ferries and the following day to her registered owner, the SABEMEN. She performed her maiden voyage on 16th July with a Plymouth to Santander crossing, the line for which she has been ordered.
In 1993, Val de Loire, a larger second-hand ship, was introduced on the Irish and Spanish services, and therefore Bretagne was transferred to the Saint-Malo – Portsmouth service, although she was only four years old. Indeed, Val de Loire was bigger than Bretagne since it has soon became obvious that she would have been very fast too small for those routes. Bretagne replaced on the Saint-Malo route the older Armorique (1), a much less comfortable and smaller ship. However, Val de Loire didn’t achieve to be as popular as Bretagne.
In the late-90s, Bretagne was equipped with sponsons on her sides in order to increase her stability.
In 2004, replaced by Pont-Aven on the Irish and Spanish routes, Val de Loire was transferred to the Saint-Malo – Portsmouth and to a new Portsmouth – Cherbourg-en-Cotentin service alongside Bretagne, enabling the operation of night crossings from Saint-Malo. However, this service hadn’t been successful and as soon as the following year, Bretagne was transferred instead of Duc de Normandie on the Roscoff – Plymouth service, leaving Val de Loire alone from Saint-Malo. Following Val de Loire’s sell in early-2006, Bretagne was transferred again to the Saint-Malo service, chartered Pont l’Abbé took her place on the Roscoff service.
During Winter 2007, she operated services between Portsmouth and Santander, and also replaced Barfleur on the Cherbourg-en-Cotentin – Poole service. She became at this time the biggest ship ever operated from Poole. She has also been often chartered during the Christmas period to operate special cruises to Rouen from Portsmouth.
She has also operated the Ouistreham – Portsmouth route, although she hasn’t operated this service from 2008. Therefore, she was before the introduction of Armorique (2) the only ship of the company that has served on all of the company’s routes.
For her 20th anniversary, Bretagne was offered a £5 million refurbishment during Winter 2009. Most of her accommodations were renewed whilst her Deck 8 was entirely refurbished in order to separate the seat lounges from the bar. New cabins were also created in Decks 1 and 2. The aim of this refurbishment was to update her to the standards of the entire fleet.
From Winter 2011-2012, Bretagne has always been laid up for a few weeks at Winters. Indeed, as she became older the company has decided to preserve her, enabling her to last as long as possible. In late-2013, Brittany Ferries announced that Bretagne was to be replaced by 2017 by a new LNG-powered ship, known as Pegasis. Despite the cancellation of the building of this ship, the company kept looking for a replacement for her, before eventually deciding to leave her in the fleet due to lack of fitted second-hand ships.
However, Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries’ chairman announced that it is likely that a new ship would be ordered by early-2016 to replace Bretagne. He later announced that three ships were eventually to be ordered, one of those is supposed to replace Bretagne and is to be ordered by late-2016. Hence, it is unlikely that Bretagne would be replaced by a new-built until 2019.
On 1st November 2015, one of her generators took fire before leaving Saint-Malo. Nevertheless, the fire was extinguished without help from the shore and the fire generated minor damages to the ship. Bretagne had not been dry docked in the following months, but will be laid up for almost 2 months during Winter 2016-2017, as during Winter 2014-2015.
We would like to thank commandant Le Josne, his officers and the crew of Bretagne for their welcome on board Bretagne during our crossing on 02nd August 2015, during which we witnessed the departure from Portsmouth and the arrival in Saint-Malo from the wheelhouse.