News Room

Cruising aboard a Danish Princess

Princess Seaways shortly after her 2018-refurbishment.
Princess Seaways in 2018. Courtesy DFDS

During summer 2016, our team went to Scotland by sailing aboard Princess Seaways, a 30 year-old ship operated by DFDS Seaways. This sailing report is about our unforgettable experience aboard this ship, between the Netherlands and the north of Great Britain.

 

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Brittany Ferries launches new services to Ireland

M/V Connemara, le Visentini-class vessel which will be chartered to reinforce Brittany Ferries’s Irish routes.
M/V Connemara, a Visentini-class vessel which will be chartered to reinforce Brittany Ferries’s Irish routes. Courtesy Brittany Ferries.

Brittany Ferries announces it charters a new vessel, which is to be named Connemara, to reinforce its services on the Irish Sea. Connemara will operate a new mid-week Cork - Roscoff crossing to propose new services new possibilities of short travel to Ireland from France. Moreover, the new vessel will operate a new twice-weekly service between Cork and Santander, in order to address a growing need.

The first crossing is expected to take place in late-April with bookings opening in the coming days. Connemara will be operated on one of the most popular service of the company, which attracted more than 80 000 passengers each year.

The vessel is a sister-ship to Etretat, and was previously known as Asterion and operated between Venice and Patras. Connemara is 186m-long and will have room for 500 passengers accommodated in cabins (with some of them being pet-friendly) and 2 225 linear meter of freight.

Chartered for two years, she will be operated under the “Brittany Ferries Economie” brand, which already proposes no-frill value-for-money services France, Great Britain and Spain.

Jean-Marc Roué, chairman of the supervisory board explain that “in the uncertain context of Brexit (80% of Brittany Ferries’ customers are brittish), we have to reconcile growth and risk dominion in order to protect the shareholders and the current workers of the company". Therefore, Connemara, which is by the way the first vessel of the fleet which will not bear a name inspired by the History and Geograhy of Western France, will not be at first operated under the French flag.

 

The Cork - Roscoff service was launched by Armorique (1) 40 years ago on 17th March. It is the first time since the mid-90s that a twice-weekly service is proposed on that route.

With the introduction of Irish FerriesW.B. Yeats this summer, Brittany Ferries will be faced to further competition on the Roscoff - Ireland link, with Oscar Wilde being mainly redeployed on the Roscoff - Rosslare service at this date.

Irish Ferries to be delivered of a second new ship in 2020

After being delivered of MV W.B. YEATS, Irish Ferries will be delivered of a second brand-new ship in 2020
After being delivered of MV W.B. YEATS, Irish Ferries will be delivered of a second brand-new ship in 2020. Courtesy Irish Ferries
Irish Ferries has just announced it has ordered to the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft a second brand new ship to be delivered in 2020.
 
The state-of-the art 67 300-GT cruise ferry will offer room for 1,800 passengers and 5,610 lanemeters of freight (enabling her to accommodate 330 lorries). It is an increase by 50% of her capacity compared to Irish Ferries' current flagship, Ulysses, making her one of the largest ferries in service worldwide.
Moreover, she will provide 152 cabins with an engine output of 22.8 knots.
 
The new-165 million € ferry will replace chartered Epsilon on the Holyhead - Dublin link. The introduction of this new ferry will enable W.B. Yeats, which will be delivered during this year, to focus entirely on the popular Dublin - Cherbourg-en-Cotentin link.

Condor Liberation to remain out of service for two months

Condor Liberation, seen entering Saint-Malo harbour, is to remain out of service until December following the discovery of damages on her waterjets buckets.
Condor Liberation, seen entering Saint-Malo harbour, will remain out of service until December following the discovery of damages on her waterjets buckets.

Following a routine dive inspection of Condor Liberation held on 23rd October, severe damages have been discovered on her three water jets, the devices that propel and steer her. Condor Ferries was forced to cancel all of her crossings until 6th November, after when she is heading to head to dry dock for routine maintenance until 13th December.

Although Commodore Goodwill is still occupying Falmouth’s main lock, Condor Liberation already went on Thursday 26th October to Falmouth where she will remain laid up until works aboard Commodore Goodwill are completed. She will then immediately enter dry dock to be fully inspected and to benefit from routine maintenance. However, it has not been confirmed Condor Liberation will resume service afterwards, and may remain out of service until 2018.

In order to accommodate affected passengers, Condor Rapide’s schedule have been turned upside down up to 6th November. Throughout this period, she will operate a Saint-Malo - Poole service via Jersey and Guernsey, departing at 08h00 (French Time) from Saint-Malo, returning in the French city just after 23h00. Besides, space has been freed aboard Commodore Clipper to accommodate all passengers at the closest date from their booked departure. It implies fewer freight can be carried aboard until Condor Liberation resumes service.

Besides, all day trips to and from France have been cancelled, to give priority to the affected passengers.

These damages are only the latest of a series that have been teasing Condor Liberation's service since her introduction back in March 2015, when she replaced both Condor Express and Condor Vitesse between Great Britain and the Channel Islands.

An out-of-common cruise aboard Normandie

Normandie leaving Portsmouth's harbour, en route to Ouistreham

Brittany Ferries’ work horse Normandie began service back in May 1992, on the Ouistreham - Portsmouth for which she has been built. It mean she has kept sailing on this route for 25 years, up to three times a day with the reliability of a Swiss clock. Built to accommodate the growing numbers of passengers traveling to Normandy, she still looks very modern, despite her age.

Willing to make something relaxing throughout a mid-August week end, we decided to make a cruise with Brittany Ferries. That was an occasion to sail aboard a workhorse we haven’t given the attention she deserves the last time we sailed on her five years ago.

A travel report (text and pictures) by Antoine and Benjamin.

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Brittany Ferries to operate another new ship in 2020

Brittany Ferries is to operate the third vessel of the Stena Line's E-Flexer class
An artist view of the new Stena Line's E-Flexer class vessels. Courtesy Deltamarin

Brittany Ferries has confirmed to our colleagues from Shippax it will charter from Stena Line a new vessel for its popular Spain - Great Britain route beginning 2020.

Antoine Hurtaut

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Brittany Ferries commissions M/V Honfleur

An artist impression of Brittany Ferries' new ship, which is to be christen M/V Honfleur in April 2019.
Artist impression of M/V HONFLEUR, released on19th June. Courtesy Brittany Ferries.

Brittany Ferries has announced during a press conference hold on 19th June it has ordered to the German shipyard Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft its new state-of-the-art cruise ferry for its popular Ouistreham – Portsmouth service.

Antoine H.

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Brittany Ferries' new ship to be bunkered by Total

An artist impresion of Brittany Ferries' new ship,, which is expected to serve the Ouistreham - Portsmouth route from 2019.
Artist impression of Brittany Ferries' new ship. Picture Brittany Ferries.

Earlier this month, Brittany Ferries has announced it has chosen Total to bunker its new LNG-powered ship, which is expected to be ordered in the coming weeks.

Antoine H.

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A trip to Portsmouth #1: fifty shades of great

In a previous travel report, I wrote I was unlikely to sail abord Bretagne soon. However, I soon really missed my favourite ship on the British Channel. Therefore, our YouTube-channel manager and I wanted to sail aboard her to Portsmouth once again (it is my eigth crossings aboard), in order to propose you a new report of our favourite. Besides, we also decided to spend a few days in Portsmouth, to which we will dedicate a further report.

 

Travel pictures and pictures by Antoine.

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Brittany Ferries. A new LNG-powered ship to be built

An artist impression of the new LNG-powered ship which is to be delivered to Brittany Ferries by 2019 to replace Normandie.
An artist impression of the new ship of Brittany Ferries. Picture Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries has just unveiled it is to order shortly a new LNG-powered ship for its Ouistreham - Portsmouth service. This new ship is to be delivered by 2019.

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Brittany Ferries. A project to replace Normandie

An artist impression of Pegasis. Picture STX France.
An artist impression of Pegasis. Picture STX France.

A few weeks ago, the president of the executive board of Brittany Ferries' announced that the future of the company has been blurred by the Brexit, owing to the uncertainty it has created on the cross-channel market. Therefore, nonetheless the age of two of the company's ships, the company announced it is unable to order new ships to replace them.

However, it is now reported that the company would have decided in its last meeting of its supervisory board, its subsidiary SOMANOR would order by early-2017 a new ship for its Ouistreham - Portsmouth route. This ship, that may be powered by LNG-engines, is likely to be introduced at Spring 2019.

Antoine H.

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Brittany Ferries. Strong performances and thwarted projects

M/V Bretagne performing a U-Turn in Saint-Malo, before berthing in the harbour.
Bretagne was to be replaced by 2019 by a new built. It is now very unlikely. Picture Antoine H.

Two weeks ago, Brittany Ferries has ended its 2015-2016 financial year (which goes from 1st October to 30th September), and has announced very good performances for this year despite the Brexit has been eventually chosen by British voters as a future for their country a few days before the crucial Summer period.

On the other hand, although Brittany Ferries is now in much greater condition than a few years ago, the company remains unable to order news ships, although it has been announced earlier this year that at least two ships were to be ordered in late-2016.

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A royal crossing on board King Seaways

King Seaways leaving North Shields, heading to IJmuiden.
King Seaways departing North Shields two days before our crossing. Picture Antoine H.

30 years ago on that day, a German shipyard launched its latest day ferry, the second of the ‘Peter Pan class’: Nils Holgersson, whose keel was laid on 03rd October the previous year. Nils Holgersson is a 162m-long RoPax ferry, that belongs to the ‘super ferries’, actually ferries that were bigger than those ever built before. From her maiden voyage on 26th June 1967 to late-1992, Nils Holgersson has been operated. Following the collapse of her owner (SweFerry), she was sold to Brittany Ferries for $60 millions in early-1993 which rebuilt and renamed her Val de Loire. We first met her 10 years later, in 2003, and she is the first ferry we have ever sailed on board. Therefore, she has a very special place in our memory. Unfortunately, she was sold to DFDS Seaways in 2006 which renamed her King of Scandinavia, preventing us from sailing on her again. She was later renamed King Seaways.

However, we have decided this summer to go to Scotland. And we have also chosen to sail on board our beloved King Seaways on that 6th August, 10 days before her anniversary and almost exactly 12 years after our last crossing with her. That was also to be the first time we would use DFDS Seaways’ services, having mainly travelled with Brittany Ferries. Eventually, we were really looking forward to board again a ferry we really missed.

To wish an happy birthday to our beloved King Seaways, we propose you today this illustrated Travel Report, written by our Editor-in-Chief, Antoine H. and our Responsible of Pictures, Benjamin H..

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Brittany Ferries' Saint-Malo - Portsmouth route, the 40th anniversary

40 years ago, on that day, Brittany Ferries launched its route linking Saint-Malo, in Brittany and Portsmouth, in Hampshire, using two purpose-built ferry terminals in Saint-Malo and Portsmouth (which also celebrate their 40th anniversary today), less than one year after the Saint-Malo - Plymouth route was created.

M/V Armorique, the first ferry that was operated on the St-Malo route.
M/V Armorique, the ferry that opened the St-Malo route in 1976. Courtesy Brittany Ferries.
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Portsmouth - Ouistreham : the 30th anniversary of a success story

Today, on 6th June 2016, whereas some are celebrating the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day in Normandy, Brittany Ferries is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its own landing in Normandy : the one of its first passengers of the new route linking Ouistreham, in the north of Caen and Portsmouth, operated by its newest purchase : the M/S Duc de Normandie.

Antoine H.

The M/V Duc de Normandie, a ship purchased in 1986 by Brittany Ferries which served the Ouistreham to Portsmouth route between 1986 and 2002.
M/V Duc de Normandie, the first ship that has served the route. Picture : Brittany Ferries
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A purpose-built to replace M/S Epsilon in 2018

Irish Ferries has announced this week that the company has just order a new Cruise Ferry, which is likely to replace the chartered-in M/S Epsilon from 2019.

Antoine H.

An artist view of Irish Ferries' future Flagship, which is to be introduced in May 2018.
An artist view of Irish Ferries' future Flagship, courtesy Irish Ferries
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Some #GoodTimes on board HSC Condor Liberation

HSC Condor Liberation, Condor Ferries' flagship entering St-Malo harbour.
HSC Condor Liberation entering St-Malo's harbour, picture Antoine H.

One year ago, the HSC Condor Liberation was introduced on the route connecting the Channel Islands and the UK replacing HSC Condor Express and HSC Condor Vitesse. During the winter season, when HSC Condor Rapide, the remaining 86m catamaran built par Incat in the late-90s still owned by Condor Ferries, undergoes essential maintenance, the HSC Condor Liberation operates a through UK – France service.

 

The HSC Condor Liberation was initially given a warm welcome by the public, but soon became unpopular owing to teething problems and allege problems of stability whatever the sea conditions.

 

Our team had been wanting to try the HSC Condor Liberation to make up our own mind, that's why we decided to cross between Jersey and St-Malo on 12th March. On that day, the weather conditions were clement, with no more than 0.50cm waves and almost no wind, the crossing was to be perfect as the crew said before departure. Here is our report about HSC Condor Liberation.

 

A Travel report from Antoine.

HSC Condor Liberation, Condor Ferries' flagship entering St-Malo's harbour.
HSC Condor Liberation entering St-Malo's Harbour. Picture Antoine H.
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An important plan of maintenance for Condor Ferries' fleet during Winter 2015-16

Alongside the introduction of HSC Condor Liberation, Condor Ferries has decide to update its visual identity, choosing Pink and Yellow as its predominant colours instead of Blue and Red. Winter 2015-2016 will be the opportunity for Condor Ferries to update its entire fleet to the new visual identity, whilst maintaining its three other ships.

Antoine H. and Benjamin H.

HSC Condor Liberation entering St-Malo's Harbour.
HSC Condor Liberation in Saint-Malo. Picture Antoine H.
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Welcome in Saint-Malo, HSC Condor Liberation

HSC Condor Liberation making a U-Turn before entering St-Malo's harbour.
HSC Condor Liberation entering Saint-Malo's harbour. Picture Antoine H.

Further to Condor Ferries' plan to operate HSC Condor Liberation from Saint-Malo for a few days in January, HSC Condor Liberation came today in order to perform berthing trials whilst no commercial sailing was scheduled that day.

Indeed, from the purchase of HSC Condor Liberation, Condor Ferries has always been wanting to try her on the route linking Saint-Malo and the Channel Islands, for the purpose of making sure she would be adequate for this route. If these trials corroborate the suitability of the ship for this route, Condor Ferries has already announced that a sister-ship of HSC Condor Liberation would be ordered as a successor of HSC Condor Rapide.

Therefore, at 12:00am this 20th October, the HSC Condor Liberation arrived at the entrance of Saint-Malo's channel, her captain helped by Saint-Malo's pilots for this first visit. Once arrived close to the harbour, she performed a U-Turn before berthing at the newest link span. Later in the afternoon, whilst HSC Condor Rapide has been moved a bit further to free the older link span, she performed trials at this link span. However, if the trials at the newest link span were successful, they failed for the older linkspan, which is not wide enough for HSC Condor Liberation wide stern door. Moreover, as HSC Condor Liberation is two meters wider than HSC Condor Rapide, she would encroach upon the lock's access whilst berthed, preventing other ships from using this facility.

Condor Ferries installs exhaust scrubbers on both Commodore

In order to meet the latest European regulations about the percentage of Sulphur in the ship's exhausts, Condor Ferries has just published its plan in order to install scrubbers on M/V Commodore Clipper and M/V Commodore Goodwill.

M/V Commodore Clipper entering Porstmouth Harbour seen from the Wheelhouse of M/V Bretagne.
M/V Commodore Clipper entering Portsmouth Harbour from Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. Picture Antoine H.
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