Displaying items by tag: Brittany Ferries
Operator Brittany Ferries this week announced plans to increase services out of two Irish ports in 2021 but the new developments may lead to further consequences for the ferry firm given fluidity of Brexit, Covid-19 and economies impacting ferry holiday-makers and freight, writes Jehan Ashmore.
As a second Cork-Roscoff cruiseferry move which Afloat highlighted last weekend was followed by further plans for a new Ireland-France route published on mainstream media, demonstrated the company’s long-term commitment to Ireland. According to Brittany Ferries this in despite of on-going uncertainty over (Covid-19) travel restrictions and quarantine requirements this season, and the effect this is having on service viability.
- New Rosslare – Cherbourg route to open (in 2021) Afloat confirms to begin on 22nd March (using the Irish Rail operated 'Europort')
- connecting Cherbourg which is in response to demand from Irish and continental hauliers
- Additional mid-week sailing added to Cork – Roscoff 'seasonal' service (also 2021) Afloat also confirmed to be 24th March
In 2021, as alluded above a totally new route Rosslare-Cherbourg connection is to be added to the Rosslare-Bilbao sailings (from the Wexford port) which commenced earlier this year. In addition according to Brittany Ferries there is further good news for the Port of Cork with the addition of an extra mid-week sailing from Cork – Roscoff. The development Afloat adds follows the closure earlier this year of the first Ireland-Spain direct route of Cork-Santander only launched in 2018.
The new sailings Brittany Ferries adds will see the utilisation of Connemara* (a ropax for Rosslare) and the Armorique (cruiseferry for Cork). The Amorique will join the flagship Pont-Aven which (like today) continues to serve the main Cork – Roscoff sailings at weekends.
Afloat however consulted the website sailing schedule to discover no-frillls (économie) branded ferry, Etretat* is rostered instead of Connemara deployed on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route. So Afloat awaits a reply from Brittany Ferries for the change of ropax which had served Rosslare before and for the former Celtic Link Ferries. In addition the Etretat is rostered to take over Kerry from November on the Rosslare-Bilbao crossing that covers both the Celtic Sea and Bay of Biscay.
The announcement of developments on Thursday comes on the day the company launched its schedules for 2021 sailings connecting the UK & Ireland with Spain. Reservations for all 2021 routes are now open. Passenger reservations can now be made for services up to the end of (October next year) on the following routes:
Rosslare – Bilbao
Cork – Roscoff
Rosslare – Cherbourg
The new Rosslare-Cherbourg connection promises more choice and greater capacity on ferries linking Ireland and France.
Earlier this year, Brittany Ferries opened a new Ireland-Spain service, Rosslare-Bilbao and (more recently the 'seasonal' Rosslare-Roscoff) operated by another no-frillls / économie branded ferry, Kerry. This ropax took over from Connemara on the original operators Cork-Santander service which was withdrawn earlier this year.
Primarily for freight, the twice-weekly Spanish rotations proved popular. However Irish and French hauliers have asked Brittany Ferries to move the weekly French rotation from Roscoff to the transport hub of Cherbourg.
Afloat requested a response from the ferry operator as to why no sailings are advertised for bookings on the Rosslare-Roscoff route in 2021, however no reply was forthcoming. In the meantime this 'holiday' route is the second shortest sea duration route connecting Ireland and mainland Europe and is so far available to book at least until late October.
Brittany Ferries has agreed to the hauliers request and confirmed that Connemara (despite ferry website's schedule of Etretat) to operate as a 'no-frills' branded service and which will serve two weekly Rosslare-Bilbao rotations, as well as a single Rosslare-Cherbourg rotation as of March next near.
It would appear that freight is 'king' in this regard to the priority of French port use and likewise the decision by Brittany Ferries to abandon the Cork-Santander link in favour of haulier demands then to relocate both Ireland-Spain ports to the current Rosslare-Bilbao route.
There is however good news for the Cork-Roscoff route too cited Brittany Ferries. As primarily the service serves the tourist market with a near 50-50 split of Irish and French holiday-makers. These travellers will now benefit from an additional weekly rotation between the two ports, thanks to the introduction of the operator's aformentioned Armorique.
Roscoff-Cork weekend sailings will remain served by flagship Pont-Aven and with this new rotation by the Armorique during the week, significantly increasing capacity out of and into Cork. It will open more choice for those seeking a shorter break in either Ireland or France, with options to leave and return with Brittany Ferries, either mid-week or at the weekend.
Armorique will also continue in 2021 to maintain Roscoff-Plymouth service from where the cruiseferry custom-built for the western-most English Channel route made a maiden debut in 2008. Since then the cruiseferry has covered in for fleetmates on other routes among them Cork-Roscoff last year and previously reported on Afloat on the Caen (Oustreham)-Portsmouth route.
The Port of Cork will see as Afloat on Saturday reported a new midweek sailing from Cork to Roscoff in addition to the weekend service already in place.
The Armorique vessel will be used for the sailings, which is new to Ireland (albeit see relief duties last year)
The Pont-Aven, one of the company’s (which is the flagship) ferries, will continue to serve the main Cork to Roscoff (seasonal) sailings at the weekend.
This route serves primarily tourists, with an approximate 50-50 split between French and Irish holidaymakers.
The company said: “It will open more choice for those seeking a shorter break in either Ireland or France, with options to leave and return with Brittany Ferries, either mid-week or at the weekend.”
For more plus announcement of a new Rosslare-Cherbourg route also in 2021, click here.
AFLOAT adds Brittany Ferries is to reintroduce ropax Connemara (following this year's closure of Cork-Santander service) back to Irish waters but running out of Rosslare. Afloat however also consulted the operator's website and noted that another 'Visentini' built ropax Etretat (ex. Norman Voyager of former Celtic Link Ferries) is scheduled to operate the 'économie' branded route from November. (It should be noted the schedule was updated today).
Connemara originally launched the Cork-Spain route in 2018 before replaced by yet another Visentini built ropax the Kerry.
Currently, Kerry operates the relocated Ireland-Spain service of Rosslare-Bilbao. In addition to serving Brittany Ferries other second new route out of the Wexford ferryport, the seasonal service to Roscoff which was due to open in March but was delayed due to the initial impact of Covid-19 and related travel restrictions.
Afloat also consulted the Rosslare-Roscoff sailings scheduled for this season up to October (but not listed for 2021). So could it appear the overcapacity by Brittany Ferries themselves be at the expense? of yesterday's official announcement of their newest route of Rosslare-Cherbourg (also seasonal).
As passenger reservations currently available for services up to the end of October (2021) aply to the following routes: Rosslare – Bilbao, Cork – Roscoff and the aformentioned Rosslare – Cherbourg route but excludes any reference to the Wexford-Brittany link.
Operator Brittany Ferries have confirmed that passengers will be able to travel to France from Cork via the high seas from (next) Monday, 29 June.
For the safety of passengers, freight drivers and crew, passenger capacity will be limited onboard by more than 60%.
From next week Irish passengers will be able to travel from Cork and Rosslare to Roscoff, France, and Rosslare to Bilbao, Spain.
Ferry travel is thought to be one of the safest modes of international transit as passengers can opt to stay in their cars for the duration of the journey, in their personal cabin, social distance in the wide public spaces or stay on the open deck areas.
In a statement, Brittany Ferries said: “Capacity limits will be ship dependent, and will be reviewed as the summer progresses.
For further reading includng the operator's 12-point guide to safe travel this summer click here.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and following advice given by governments in all countries in which Brittany Ferries operate the company have been forced to temporarily suspend passenger services connecting the UK, Ireland, France and Spain.
All passenger sailings between the UK and France, Ireland and France and Ireland-Spain have 'ceased' operating for the time-being. The operator apologise sincerely to all those affected.
As Afloat previously reported, the final 'passenger' ferry service on the Ireland-Spain route involved an inward sailing to Rosslare Europort on Monday in advance of this latest all route network development.
As for the final passenger repatriation service leaving Spain for the UK which takes place this weekend is full.
A small number of ships in the fleet will continue to operate with limited crew as a lifeline freight-only service. During this period of uncertainty the operator must and will do all they can to ensure that essential goods continue to flow freely.
In a message from Christophe Mathieu, CEO of Brittany Ferries he said that the actions have been taken in the best interests of passengers and colleagues. Our priority, of course, is the safety and well-being of passengers, crew, shore-side staff, suppliers, as well as the communities we serve across four countries.
The CEO added our teams have been working hard to answer calls, but due to the exceptionally high level of affected bookings we now have to close our phone lines and divert all resource to contacting passengers proactively over the coming days. If you have a booking with us over the coming days and haven’t heard from us, please bear with us. For urgent enquiries, you can still contact us via a web form on our website.
For amendments to sailings from mid-April onwards, (again using Irish website HERE) please use the online ‘manage my booking’ facility. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause and we hope to return to normal service as soon as we can.
We know that everyone is doing the best they can during this ever-changing and unprecedented situation. And that’s what we are trying to do too.
There is further suspension of Brittany Ferries passenger services as a consequence of the on-going Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis which Afloat adds the French ferry operator has posted on its website, so click for updates.
According to Brittany Ferries this is in response to changing government policy in France, Spain and Ireland, and to protect all passengers and crew members at this difficult time. This decision has not been taken lightly, but has been taken in the best interest of all.
Changes France-Ireland routes:
Brittany Ferries will cease its weekly rotation connecting Roscoff in France with Rosslare Europort (however Afloat adds the new seasonal service was scheduled to start next Monday, 23 March). Afloat also adds the seasonal Cork-Roscoff route was to begin tomorrow, St. Patrick's Day, however sailings have been re-scheduled to Saturday, 11 April, according to their 'Irish' website.
The French operator added that the Kerry will however continue two rotations per week, carrying freight between Rosslare and Bilbao in Spain as Afloat previously reported on Saturday. (Since then Afloat adds the ropax ferry was tracked this afternoon arriving at Rosslare with the last 'passenger' service prior to becoming freight-only).
We are systematically contacting all affected customers by telephone, email and SMS but there is enormous pressure on our contact centre staff. The speed of response may not be up to its usual standard for which Brittany Ferries apologises in advance. Passengers are being asked not to contact us by telephone but to visit website: www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/routes/sailing-updates (scroll down for Irish routes) for the latest information.
Brittany Ferries very much regrets the effect that this ongoing disruption will have on customers. Directors will continue to monitor the situation with a view to resuming normal service as soon as the situation allows.
We respectfully ask all customers who are not booked to travel within the next two weeks to delay contacting our customer call centres. In addition, normal two-way interaction via social media may not be possible due to the volume of enquiries and availability of staff. Brittany Ferries apologises in advance for delays in usual response times.
As outlined below there are other changes on Brittany Ferries network from the UK to France and Spain.
Changes UK-France routes:
- Cherbourg to Poole service – Barfleur (until 23 March at least)
The last sailing will leave Cherbourg tonight 16 March 2020 at 21:45 for Poole.
- St Malo to Portsmouth service – Bretagne (until 24 March at least)
The last sailing will leave St Malo on Tuesday 17 March at 20:30 for Portsmouth
- Roscoff to Plymouth service – Armorique (until 26 March at least)
The last sailing will leave Roscoff on Wednesday 18 March at 15:00 destined for Plymouth
As things stand, sailings between Portsmouth and Caen on Mont St Michel and Normandie will continue as normal, for passengers and freight.
Changes UK-Spain routes:
For now ships serving routes connecting Spain with the UK will continue to sail. However, they will only carry passengers who must return home, therefore offering a lifeline-only service for British and Spanish whose travel is essential. Freight will continue to be carried as normal.
Ferry operator Brittany Ferries has outlined a series of immediate changes to its schedules, in response to the on-going Coronavirus crisis.
On 12 March, the French government announced steps to protect its citizens.
According to the company employing all-French crew, Brittany Ferries announced that they must also respond quickly. It must prepare for the possibility that many crew may not be available to work, either through self-isolation or because they are caring for family members at home.
In addition the Spanish government has announced a state of alert, applicable from 14 March. This follows a significant increase in Coronavirus cases and advice from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance advising citizens to avoid travel to certain regions of Spain.
The measures are therefore designed to ensure sufficient crew are available to operate as many services as possible, while responding to the dynamic political situation in Spain.
The following changes will apply until at least 9 April 2020:
Brittany Ferries’ Kerry service operating between Rosslare and Bilbao will take only freight. The last passenger service will leave Bilbao tomorrow at 12:00 on Sunday 15 March bound for Rosslare. This change applies until at least 9 April 2020. For sailings schedule click HERE.
Following dry-docking in Poland, Pont-Aven (as Afloat reported) the flagship will not return to service on Tuesday as planned on 17 March (St. Patrick's Day) until at least 9 April 2020. Pont-Aven was scheduled to serve the following destinations: Portsmouth-Santander-Plymouth-Roscoff-Cork. For sailings click HERE.
These changes will be reviewed by directors in the days and weeks to come. All passengers with existing reservations will be offered a full refund. Where possible - and acceptable to the traveller - alternative arrangements will be made on other Brittany Ferries services.
“On behalf of everyone in the company, I would like to apologise for the significant disruption this will cause to many customers,” said Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries. “However, under the extraordinary circumstances of the current crisis, we have no option but to take decisive action now to respond to the challenges we face. We thank everyone for their understanding at this difficult time.”
It is likely that customer relations teams in all markets will be extremely busy in the days to come. In addition, normal two-way interaction via social media may not be possible due to the volume of enquiries and availability of staff.
Brittany Ferries apologises in advance for delays in usual response times.
Click here for further information on changes to some of the operators other routes.
Brittany Ferries ropax ferry Kerry which completed a repositioning voyage to Rosslare Europort earlier today has since departed having embarked on an inaugural direct sailing to Bilbao in northern Spain.
- First Rosslare to Bilbao sailing today, Friday, 28th February
- First French rotation (to Roscoff) next month on Monday, 23rd March
- Move welcomed by Irish and Spanish hauliers
The new route out of Rosslare in Co. Wexford according to Brittany Ferries has been welcomed by hauliers given the port’s proximity to Dublin and the east coast road network. Equally hauliers operating on the European mainland have welcomed the move to Bilbao, a port more attuned to freight traffic with easier transport links into the Iberian Peninsula.
While primarily aimed at the freight market into Europe, the route will also carry holidaymakers to both Spain and France (noting new route also to Roscoff). It will be part of Brittany Ferries ‘économie’ service, offering a comfortable, no-frills voyage. Sailings will be twice-weekly and will incorporate a weekly Ireland/France rotation.
Speaking at the launch of the new route to Spain, Brittany Ferries Group Freight Director, Simon Wagstaff: “I am delighted to be here for the first Brittany Ferries sailing from Rosslare. Since we opened operations linking Ireland and Spain in 2018 we have listened carefully to feedback from freight customers, on what is predominantly a route for commercial traffic. The clear message was that a move to Rosslare would help them and us deliver a more attractive option to the UK landbridge. We now operate from two ports in Ireland, reinforcing our commitment to the country, its people and its economy.”
Glenn Carr, General Manager, Rosslare Europort added: “We are delighted to welcome Brittany Ferries’ Kerry to Rosslare Europort today. We look forward to working with Brittany Ferries to building a successful partnership to serve freight and passenger customers. The decision to introduce this service not only shows the appeal of Rosslare Europort to shipping lines, freight and tourism customers, but also is the first of what we intend to be a number of new business announcements, building on our €25 million investment plans in port facilities, infrastructure and technology".
Carr added "Rosslare Europort is Ireland’s closest port to mainland Europe, and is now the only port outside of Dublin with a Border Inspection Post facility, and will provide the quickest direct services for exports and imports to both Europe and the UK post-Brexit".
The new Rosslare to Bilbao route will open for passenger bookings online in early March but customers can now book through the Brittany Ferries reservations team by phone on 021 427 7801. Our Freight Reservations team can be contacted on +44 (0)330 159 5000.
Bad weather has brought forward the departure time of Brittany Ferries maiden commercial crossing tomorrow on the new Rosslare-Bilbao, Spain route, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The looming weather system of Storm Jorge as named by the Spanish met office, has forced in the re-scheduling of the inaugural Brittany Ferries sailing on the new Ireland-Spain service. The launch of the Iberian service will be a first for the French operator to provide a passenger ferry service using Rosslare Europort.
Afloat has consulted the Brittany Ferries website (sailing updates) which cites due to poor weather, (the sailing from Rosslare at 23.30) will now instead depart at the earlier time of 11.00 (tomorrow morning), Friday, 28 February.
An expected arrival into Bilbao is at 08:00 on Saturday, 1 March and the operator added their apologies for the inconvenience caused. For the latest sailing information click here in addition to the operators Reservations Team on (021) 427 7801 (Mon - Fri: 09:00 - 17:30).
The new twice weekly Ireland-Spain route to be operated by ropax Kerry, replaced the Cork-Santander service which ceased recently after a two-year trial period when launched by ropax Connemara. The route received enouraging passengers numbers however Brittany Ferries added the closure arose from freight figures that were not robust and hauliers expressed better road connections and shorter driving distances.
In addition to the relocation of both Irish and Spanish ports, the Kerry will also serve Brittany Ferries which is to launch another new Rosslare to Roscoff route on a weekly return basis starting next month on Monday, 23 March.
This route in addition to Rosslare-Cherbourg was not revived in 2019 as Irish Ferries abandoned these French routes based out of the 'Europort' following the introduction of newbuild W.B. Yeats serving Cherbourg but out of Dublin Port from where the cruiseferry currently operates on the Irish Sea during the winter months to Holyhead. The company however on the St. Georges Channel continue to operate through the Wexford port to Pembroke Dock in Wales.
Likewise of the former Britanny Ferries Cork based route to Spain, Kerry will continue to provide an économie service ship to compliment the weekly seasonal offering from Cork to Roscoff, operated by flagship cruiseferry Pont-Aven.
Afloat this morning tracked Kerry having departed Santander for the final time last night as the ropax makes a repositioning crossing across the Bay of Biscay bound for Rosslare Europort.
The Cypriot flagged ropax is due to arrive in the Co. Wexford ferryport tomorrow morning around 07.30 and remain until the revised morning departure sailing to Spain.
Also tracked by Afloat is Pont-Aven which recently had a new engine installed while in dry-dock at the Remontowa Yard, Gdansk, Poland, following last year's fire on board as previously reported.
The incident caused damage to one of the ferry's port-side MAK 12VM43 engine units resulting in the cruiseferry running on the three remaining engines during 2019 which caused disruption and cancelled sailings. Also berthed nearby at the Polish shipyard is Irish Ferries cruiseferry Ulysses. Afloat will have more to report.
As for the resumption of Brittany Ferries Cork-Roscoff seasonal service, this is scheduled to start with the first inward sailing from France departing on Friday, 20 March. The corresponding outward sailing from Ringaskiddy in lower Cork Harbour is to take place the next day, Saturday, 21 March.
In an announcement Brittany Ferries is to move its Ireland/Spain sailings from Cork to Rosslare Europort, with the first sailing due to take place on 28 February. The new Spanish arrival port from Rosslare will be Bilbao as Afloat also reported yesterday.
The French ferry company nevertheless emphasised its continuing commitment to its popular Cork-Roscoff route which celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2018. Each year the Cork-Roscoff route carries nearly 100,000 holidaymakers between Ireland and France.
“This was not a decision we took lightly and follows extensive consultation with our freight customers who sought better road connections and reduced driving distances,” said Christophe Mathieu Brittany Ferries CEO. “We opened the route in 2018 with a two-year trial window. While passenger numbers have been encouraging, the reality is that freight numbers, which are key to route viability, were not sufficiently robust. However I want to make it clear that we remain committed to Cork, with our flagship Pont-Aven cruise-ferry service to Roscoff. We’re also committed to an Ireland-Spain route, now via Rosslare, and we’ll look after existing passengers whose future travel will be affected by this change.”
All customers already booked on affected sailings from the Port of Cork (see: response) will be given the option to transfer their booking to sailing between Rosslare and Bilbao/Roscoff. An allowance will be given to cover additional transfers. Alternatively, a full refund will be provided to those who choose to cancel.
The Cork-Santander route which was launched in 2018 was primarily aimed at the freight market into Europe although it also carried holidaymakers, with an ‘économie’ no-frills onboard experience. The new route out of Rosslare will again concentrate on freight with an option for holidaymakers.
Glenn Carr, General Manager, Rosslare Europort said: “We are delighted to welcome Brittany Ferries to Rosslare Europort. This new Rosslare to Bilbao service will be attractive for trade and tourism alike. We very much welcome that this service is being launched because of demand from freight customers, due to Rosslare’s strategic position and access to key markets. Brittany Ferries will also benefit from our €25 million investment in port facilities, infrastructure and technology, as part of the Port’s strategic plan. We look forward to working closely with Brittany Ferries to ensuring the success of their new service.”
Why Rosslare - Bilbao?
- Rosslare-Bilbao replaces Cork-Santander as key freight route to Europe
- The change is in response to demand from Irish and continental hauliers
- Company confirms ongoing commitment to Cork-Roscoff, which will continue to be primary tourism route
- New Rosslare services will include an Ireland-France rotation to Roscoff
- Rosslare sailings to commence 28 February 2020
The consensus among hauliers is that Rosslare, with its proximity to Dublin and the east coast road network, is a preferred option. Equally hauliers operating on the European mainland noted that Bilbao is more attuned to freight traffic and has easier transport links into Europe. Detailed discussions also took place with the Ports of Cork and Rosslare. The company has confirmed that Cork-Roscoff will remain a vital route for tourism, both into and out of Ireland.
As with the current Cork-Santander sailings, the new Rosslare-Bilbao sailing will be twice-weekly and will incorporate a weekly Ireland/France rotation. It is expected that despite the concentration on freight, the route will carry a number of holidaymakers to both Spain and France. This has been the experience with the existing Cork-Santander route.
Rosslare Europort has welcomed the announcement by Brittany Ferries that it is to launch its new Rosslare Europort to Bilbao twice-weekly service from 28th February 2020. In addition, the French-owned shipping line will also operate a weekly Rosslare to Roscoff service during the peak season (March to October).
Earlier today, Port of Cork responded to the decision by Brittany Ferries to depart Cork Harbour ending a link from Ireland's second city to Santander in Spain.
The arrival of Brittany Ferries means that Rosslare Europort will now offer business up to seven weekly sailings in each direction between Ireland and mainland Europe, cementing the port’s status as Ireland’s Gateway to Europe.
Brittany Ferries will be Rosslare Europort’s fourth major shipping line customer, and along with Stena Lines, Irish Ferries and Neptune Line, offers both freight and passenger customers a comprehensive range of connections to both mainland Europe and Britain.
Rosslare Europort’s General Manager Glenn Carr said “this is an exciting and positive announcement which not only shows the appeal of Rosslare Europort to shipping lines, freight and tourism customers, but also is the first of what we intend to be a number of new business announcements, building on our €25 million investment plans in port facilities, infrastructure and technology. Rosslare Europort is Ireland’s closest port to mainland Europe, and is now the only port outside of Dublin with a Border Inspection Post facility, and will provide the quickest direct services for exports and imports to both Europe and the UK post-Brexit.”
The appeal of Rosslare for business is improving all the time, with the port providing a real alternative for the movement of RO-RO, RO/Pax traffic to and from Ireland, with berth capacity, storage availability and the improving road networks connecting to the port - including the opening today of the New Ross Bypass on the N25.
As Port Authority, Iarnród Éireann is committed to investing in the port to ensure its growth and support both for the region and the wider economy. Port management is continuing discussions with existing and potential new shipping lines, and will continue to explore new possible routes with Ports in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Carr continued “we have had tremendous local support from the business, tourism and local authority stakeholders in the region as we develop our plans, and we look forward to continuing to strengthen the role of Rosslare Europort in the regional and national economy.”