Étretat is a ship operated by Brittany Ferries on its route between Le Havre and Portsmouth. She takes her name from famous cliffs located north of Le Havre.
|M/V Étretat(2014 onwards)|
|Maiden Voyage||06th November 2008|
|Shipyard||Cantieri Navale Visentini, Donada, Italy|
|Routes||Le Havre (FR) - Portsmouth (GB)|
|Port of Registry||Le Havre, Normandie, France|
|Gross Tonnage||26,904 GT|
|Engines||2 Diesel MAN B&W 9L48/60B engines|
|Speed||24.50 knots (max) - 23.50 knots (service)|
|Passengers & Cargo|
|Passengers Capacity||375 passengers + 38 crew members|
|Cabins and Seats||103 cabins (428 berths) + 51 seats|
|Garage Capacity||200 cars + 95 lorries|
|Garage Linear Length||2,250 lane meters|
Norman Voyager is one of 17 sisterships built by the Cantiere Navale Visentini in the late-00s for Epic Shipping Ltd. Once launched, Norman Voyager was chartered to LD Lines which introduced her on their Le Havre – Rosslare service. However, the service proved to be unsuccessful and the ship was soon chartered to Celtic Link Ferries, which renamed her Diplomat for service between Cherbourg-en-Cotentin to Rosslare and Portsmouth.
LD Lines chartered the ferry in 2011 for service between Marseille and Tunis, and her name reverted to Norman Voyager. She was transferred in early-2012 to the route linking Le Havre and Portsmouth instead of Norman Arrow. She was sold the same year to Stena Roro, however LD Lines kept chartering her.
As LD Lines created with DFDS Seaways a joint-venture called New Channel Company A/S in 2013, and therefore Norman Voyager has been operated by DFDS Seaways since then. However, DFDS Seaways found the route unprofitable and had been looking for years to close it down, which was eventually done in 2014.
In 2013, Brittany Ferries decided to launch its service from Le Havre to Portsmouth, operating during the summer season a high speed service using Normandie Express that proved to be successful. Hence, Brittany Ferries wanted to strengthen its position in Le Havre for the following year, and decided to charter in a conventional ferry to operate a year-round service, in addition of one return Portsmouth – Santander sailing a week. Therefore, the company chose to charter in Norman Voyager from Stena RoRo. The chartering contract lasts only one year, and can be renewed every year as long as Brittany Ferries will like to do so. Renamed 2tretat, the ship was repainted and introduced on this new route (for Brittany Ferries) on 11th March 2014.
Less comfortable than the other ships operated by Brittany Ferries, it has been decided to launch with Étretat a No-Frills service, with more affordable sailings. The service proved to be popular, with 80,000 passengers carried on the line in 2014 (30,000 more than on its first year).
During Winter 2014-2015, it has however been decided not to operate a passenger service. Indeed, Brittany Ferries has decided to operate Étretat on the Spanish routes in order to replace Cap Finistere whilst she was being equipped with scrubbers. However, Étretat has been unreliable during that winter, with numerous faults of her engines. In late-February 2015, she also lost one of her two stabilizers whilst sailing to Spain, before losing the other one a few days after. Therefore, it was decided to laid up her until repairs were made, Armorique (2) taking her place.
Eventually, Brittany Ferries decided to reintroduce Etretat on a freight-only service between Le Havre and Portsmouth, waiting for the repairs to be made. She left Portsmouth on 29th April, heading to Gdansk to be re-equipped with stabilizers. She resumed service only on 23rd May. For the 2015 season, she has been operated alongside new Baie de Seine on the Le Havre route.
2016 service planned that Étretat would only operate six return sailings a week to Le Havre, Baie de Seine replacing her on her weekly Spanish service.