Val de Loire was a ship operated between 1993 and early-2006 by Brittany Ferries. Built in 1986 as Nils Holgersson, she is the second of four sister-ships built in the late-80s. Her named comes from the valley of a French large river, which reaches the sea in Saint-Nazaire.
|M/V Val de Loire (1993 - 2006)|
|Launch||16th August 1986|
|Maiden Voyage||26th June 1987|
Schichau Seebbeckswerft AG, Bremerhaven, Germany
I.N.M.A. shipyard, La Spezia, Italy (rebuilding)
|Cost New||£70 millions|
|Cost Purchased||$60 millions|
|Cost Rebuilding||$80 millions|
|Owner||Bretagne Angleterre Irlande S.A.|
Plymouth - Santander; Plymouth - Roscoff; Cork - Roscoff (1993 - 2004)
Portsmouth - Saint-Malo; Portsmouth - Cherbourg-en-Cotentin (2004 - 2005)
|Port of Registry||Morlaix, Brittany, France|
32.01 m (extreme)
|Engines||4 MaK 8 M 552 engines|
|Speed||21.00 knots (service)|
2 Controllable Pitch Propellers
2 Bow Thrusters
|Auxiliarry Engines||Four generators|
|Fuel & Consumption||
58l/min (Main Engines)
8l/min (Auxiliary Engines)
|Passengers & Cargo|
|Passengers Capacity||2,280 passengers +140 crew members|
|Cabins||583 cabins (1,686 berths)|
|Garage Capacity||570 cars /or/ 120 trailers|
Nils Holgersson is the second ship of what was called the Peter Pan class (the name of the first ship of this class). Four ships were built in the late 80s with this design, and another fifth (built in 1986) shares a lot of similarities with those ships. Nils Holgersson was built in 1985-1986, and was launched on 16th August 1986. In February 1987, she was sold to Wallenius Line and delivered. She was eventually introduced by TT Line on its Travemünde (SWE) – Trelleborg (DEU) service on 26th June 1987. She was sold to SweFerry in February 1992 that kept operating her on this route until the company faced bankruptcy in December 1992. Thus, Nils Holgersson were laid up on 21st December, stopped from operating the route for which she was built.
Following the bankruptcy of Swe Ferry, Nils Holgersson was offered for sell. Brittany Ferries purchased her in January 1993 for an estimated cost of $60 millions, and renamed her Val de Loire. She was to replace smaller Bretagne on the popular Irish and Spanish routes, since Val de Loire has more cabins alongside a bigger car deck than Bretagne. Val de Loire was then overhauled in Flender Werft (Lübeck, DEU).
Once overhauled, Val de Loire was sent to I.N.M.A. shipyard (La Spezia, Italy) to be rebuilt, including the complete rebuilt of her bow. Moreover, her accommodations were refurbished in order to turn this day ferry in an overnight one. Hence, she was equipped with Commodore Cabins (more comfortable than the usual cabins), a Swimming Pool at Deck 1 (something that had not been seen before on a cruise ferry), a Night Club, two Cinemas, a Children Play Room, and Bars. It cost the company $80 millions (€65 millions) to refurbish her, and therefore the purchase of Val de Loire cost €114 millions over all.
Once rebuilt was competed, in May, Val de Loire set sail to Plymouth via Santander. She arrived in Plymouth on 4th June, and was introduced on 9th June on the routes she was bought to serve, replacing Bretagne. At the time, Brittany Ferries had considered the purchase of her three sister ships to renew its entire fleet, after having made on them the same refurbishment. However, due to the cost of Val de Loire’s purchase, that was abandoned.
In September 2000, Val de Loire failed when one of her propeller shaft overheated. Engineers initially thought it could be repaired whilst at sea but they quickly saw that a dry dock would be required. Therefore, she had to be diverted to Brest and took 30 hours to reach Brest from Cork. Barfleur was rescheduled to replace her. However, due to repairs being longer than planned, Bretagne was also rescheduled to replace her during her second week of repairs.
On 19th June 2001, Spanish Police arrested terrorists from the ETA, that were to explode on board Val de Loire whilst moored in Santander, that would have sunk the ship. She therefore benefited worldwide media coverage.
In March 2004, Brittany Ferries was delivered of Pont Aven which was to replace Val de Loire on the Spanish and Irish routes. Both ships met each over on 11th March 2004 when Pont Aven arrived for the first time in Plymouth whereas Val de Loire was departing Plymouth for her peninsulate crossing to Santander.
On 28th March 2004, replaced by Pont Aven, Val de Loire was transferred to the Portsmouth services to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin and Saint-Malo. Actually, Brittany Ferries wanted to operate the Saint-Malo route with two crossings a day from both ports at week ends, using Val de Loire and Bretagne, whilst they were also operated on a new Cherbourg-en-Cotentin – Portsmouh service at week days on the purpose of taking some market shares from the Poole service. However, this proved to be unsuccessful and the service was scrapped for the 2005 summer season. Val de Loire remained on the Saint-Malo route whilst Bretagne was sent to the Roscoff – Plymouth route.
In November 2005, Brittany Ferries announced that Val de Loire has been sold to DFDS Seaways, for delivery planned in early-2006.
Val de Loire performed her last sailing with Brittany Ferries on 20th February 2006, after having been operated on the Ouistreham - Portsmouth service. She was then partially repainted in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, with the DFDS’s logos painted on her starboard side. She was eventually delivered to DFDS Seaways on 26th February, which renamed her King of Scandinavia. Brittany Ferries was delivered meanwhile of former Duke of Scandinavia. Duke of Scandinavia was actually to be replaced by King of Scandinavia on the Ijmuiden – Newcastle service.
Once repainted, she was allocated on 11th March 1986 to the Ijmuiden – Newcastle service for which she has been purchased. She was joined on the route by Princess of Norway in 2007, which was known formerly as Peter Pan. The operation of two identical ships eased the operation of the Newcastle service. Between 4th January 2007 and 16th January 2007, King of Scandinavia was refitted in Orskov shipyard, in Frederikshavn.
On 28th February 2007, she collided with the pier of IJmuiden. She was damaged on her stern but soon resumed service after repairs were made.
On 22nd February 2008, King of Scandinavia broke her mooring in Newcastle in High Winds. She crossed the entire river Tyne and collided with oil rigs berthed on the other side of the river. No passenger was aboard during the incident, but her crossings were canceled until 1st March to enable repairs.
In January 2011, King of Scandinavia was repainted in Danemark to wear DFDS’ latest corporate identity. She was also renamed King Seaways meanwhile. She was then overhauled completely in 2013. On 28th December 2013, a fire broke into one of her cabins. Nobody has been injured, however the vessel had to be diverted to North Shiled where two people were put under arrest by British Police, thought of being responsible of the fire.
King Seaways will be drydocked in January 2017, very likely in Remontowa shipyard in Gdansk. She will benefit from general maintenance and an upgrade of her electronic systems.