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Displaying items by tag: Brittany Ferries

#FerryNews - The new Cork-Santander route, the first ever direct ferry service connecting Ireland and Spain, originally scheduled to start today, has been delayed to next weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Afloat had noted the change of sailings and confirmed with operator, Brittany Ferries which commented that Connemara’s entry into service has been slightly delayed in order to allow our technical teams at the Astander shipyard (in Santander) all the necessary time to prepare the ship fully.

Brittany Ferries added the new route's first sailing will now be at 12.00 on the Santander-Cork route on Sunday 6th May, a week later than scheduled. Afloat adds that the revised inaugural Cork-Santander sailing is scheduled for a departure at 11.00 on Wednesday, 9th May.

Afloat also highlights that the Irish-Iberian route operating to an 'économie' no-frills service does not take 'foot' passengers on the twice-weekly operated service. 

In the interim period between the first inward bound sailing to Ireland and of the first outward sailing to northern Spain, Connemara is also scheduled to make a debut on the Cork-Roscoff route that this years celebrates a 40th anniversary. The 14 hour route since 2004 is operated by flagship Pont-Aven, providing cruiseferry services at weekends.

Connemara will also introduce new capacity on the Ireland-France link (in the lead up to Brexit) by operating a single weekday round trip. These additional sailings are also based on the économie' service and include 'foot' passengers unlike the Spanish service.

In what will be a historic occasion, the launch of the Connemara connecting Cork and Cantabrian city of Santander is a game-changer. The crossing taking around a day, brings benefits to tourism in both directions but also freight bypassing on Ireland-France links and avoiding the long distance drive south to Spain and Portugal.

As previously reported in January, the new continental route sees Brittany Ferries charter Connemara from Stena RoRo. 

The previous charter of the 500 passenger/195 car /120 cabin ropax as the Asterion was to ANEK Lines on a Italy-Greece service, but the 27,415 gross tonnage ropax is no stranger to the Bay of Biscay. Then as Norman Asturias, the ropax operated GLD Atlantique (later LD Lines) St. Nazaire-Gijón route in recent years though no longer exists nor does the operators onward link to Ireland between St. Nazaire and Rosslare Harbour.

The 2007 Visentini shipyard built Asterion this week arrived from Greece to Santander for dry-docking and also be renamed Connemara. Another Irish connection is fastferry, Jonathan Swift which Irish Ferries sold. The high-speed craft (HSC) which when departing Dublin yesterday was understood to be renamed, Cecilia Payne arrived also in northern Spain this morning but further to the west in La Coruña, Galicia.

The en-route call of the Austal-Auto Express 86m catamaran, likely to be for bunkers, is to continue on a delivery voyage to the Mediterrranean. A new career for the craft beckons between Spain and the Balearic Islands. 

Returning to Connemara, the Cypriot flagged 186m ropax is at Astander's No. 2 dry-dock in El Astillero (near Santander). Connemara becomes Brittany Ferries first vessel to be named with an Irish connection. Compared to the rest of the fleet that in the majority are named after scenic locations and towns in Brittany and neighbouring Normandy.

Connemara is not Brittany Ferries first 'économie' service as the concept was introduced in recent years on the Portsmouth-Le Havre route. This is one of the operators five services on the English Channel. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - Brittany Ferries resumed seasonal Cork-Roscoff service this Easter Bank Holiday, the sailings also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the route, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 41,700 gross tonnage flagship, Pont-Aven launched the Ireland-France season having arrived in Roscoff yesterday morning. The 14 hours crossing marked the completion of the first round trip of the season that began on Friday night.

The 2,400 passenger/650 car capacity cruiseferry operates on what continues to be the shortest fastest route to France which has proved popular with Irish holiday-makers.

In 2017, Brittany Ferries carried more than 87,000 passengers, which was an increase of 4% on the previous season and contributing to the national economy. While France continues to be a popular travel destination for Irish travellers, the number of French people visiting Ireland showed no signs of waning as nearly 45,000 availed of the route, representing 52% of all passengers carried.

The service which asides providing a convenient direct route to the continent has also developed strong cultural ties between Ireland and France. This year sees the launch by Brittany Ferries économie no-frills Mondays sailings from Cork (from 30 April) in tandem to the flagship's routine Saturday service.

Brittany Ferries as previously reported are to launch the first ever direct Ireland-Spain route, Cork-Santander service starting on 2 May. A chartered in ropax, Connemara will operate the Bay of Biscay route and based on an économie no-frills service.

Rolling back the years and prior to the launch of the Cork-Roscoff route in May, 1978, a special promotional visit to Cork City centre quays took place on St. Patrick's Day. This involved the arrival of the 5,372 tonnes flagship Armorique.

The sleek profile of this 1972 French built ferry, the former Terje Vigen, was acquired three years later by the operator and renamed Armorique. The ship named after the Armorique Natural Park stretches from the Altantic Ocean to inland countryside. As for the ships' stylish lines combined with the French novely factor drew large crowds of curious Corkonians along the South Custom Quay, opposite Cork City Hall. On board were representatives from Brittany that travelled over and took part in the annual festival parade. 

In addition a fleetmate, albeit even smaller, Penn-Ar-Bed made a special trip too that month to Cork and again to the same quay. The maiden commercial voyage was performed by Armorique on 27 May and proved an instant success with holidaymakers and freight. The venture paid off and had defied the critics at the time as to its viability.

The Armorique with a 700 passenger capacity and space for 170 vehicle decks, carried the vast majority of traffic as the end of season sailings were operated by Penn-Ar-Bed. This custom-built ferry of a mere 2,981 tonnes could only handle 420 passengers and 160 cars.

At the end of the first season, the Breton based operator announced that carryings were so encouraging and that they would in 1979 charter a freight-only ferry, Normandia. This allowed all freight to be carried separately and free-up space for passengers and holiday-based motorists on Armorique.

Services then used the former ferryport terminal in Cork at Tivoli downriver of the city, before operations transferred to the current Ringaskiddy Terminal in lower Cork Harbour. In the four decades of the Roscoff service, there have been 14 ferries, some appearing under different names. Also the role of three freight ro-ro ships operating the route.

Some ships it should be added made a once-off call to Cork (see Duc de Normandie) due to providing relief cover for routine ships going for dry-dock. This ferry for example had been deployed from the operators France-UK network which includes direct UK-Spain services.

The network in 1978 comprised of 5 routes, this included the launch of a new direct UK-Spain route, Plymouth-Santander. Over the past four decades the network has expanded to more than double the number of routes linking the four nations. 

Published in Ferry

#FerryNews - It was getting white-hot as plasma jets cut through sheets of steel for Brittany Ferries English Channel newbuild cruiseferry Honfleur at the FSG shipyard Germany, which is completing Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats due to enter service this summer. 

The steel cutting ceremony of Brittany Ferries’ Honfleur on Monday, marked the first step of the cruiseferry that will take little over a year to complete. By June 2019, the metal being cut will form part of a complex and complete 42,400 gross-tonne vessel, powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), making her first crossing from Portsmouth to Caen, Normandy.

“This is a very exciting day for everyone at Brittany Ferries,” commented Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO speaking from the yard. “In little over one year, a mighty ship will rise, ready to carry passengers in comfort, style and on the cleanest vessel regularly operating on the Channel. Today’s ceremony is like a glimpse into the future of sustainable ferry travel. It is a future that is not so far away for millions of holidaymakers and freight customers.”

Brittany Ferries will tell the story of the build through a new website, www.destinationhonfleur.com . It will host regular news updates, video interviews and a stunning gallery featuring shipbuilding and destination imagery, all free to download in high res.

Steel cutting, of course, is not the start of the process. Before Honfleur is built in steel, she is built virtually. Every other cut and weld has been carefully planned, along with the countless other operations required to build such a complex craft. For shipbuilding in the 21st century is as much about CAD design, complexity management and logistics as it is about forming steel.

When complete, Honfleur will carry up to 1,680 passengers, 550 cars and 64 trailers and come with 261 cabins, two cinemas, restaurants, boutique shopping and expansive passenger lounges. Wi-Fi will come as standard in all areas of the ship, including cabins and access from the car decks to passenger areas will be made as easy as possible for all passengers.

She will be the first ferry regularly operating on the English Channel, powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas). This fuel emits less carbon dioxide during combustion than diesel and burns with no smoke. It is entirely free of sulphur and produces very low emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter. Her dual fuel engines coupled with LNG-electric propulsion will bring further efficiency, as well as a smoother and quieter ride for passengers.

Overseeing the project is naval architect Brice Robinson, working on his fifth vessel for the company. He is based in Germany with a team for the duration of the build. “Building a ship is a little like cooking,” he summarised. “It’s a recipe that requires the same quality ingredients, but you optimise the mix every time during its preparation. And with experience, you make it better and better.”

Project: Honfluer milestones:

Steel cutting: March 2018
Keel laying: August 2018
Launch: December 2018

Sea trials: March 2019
Delivery /naming ceremony: May 2019
Entry into service: June 2019

Published in Ferry

For the first time Brittany Ferries will not be operating a ship under the French flag when it starts its new ferry route, linking Cork directly to Spain, next month.

As a result French maritime unions have accused Brittany Ferries of ‘social dumping’ by using, they claim, a ‘flag-of-convenience’ on the planned new route, from Cork to Santander, reports Tom MacSweeney.

Brittany Ferries has chartered the Cyprus-registered vessel, Connemara, from Stena to operate the route. The CFDT union has expressed concern because, it says, this will be the first Brittany Ferries vessels not to fly either the main French flag or the country’s RIF international flag. The RIF is an EU Registry which guarantees to the vessels registered in it access to l European Union Member State’s waters.

Management have, it is understood, admitted that using a non-French registered vessel for the service is ‘exceptional’ but assured the union that it does not “call into question the company’s commitment to the national flag.”

The Chairman of Brittany Ferries has been quoted as saying that the company did not want to take too many risks in the “uncertain context of Brexit” and had decided to use a non-French vessel for the start-up phase of the planned twice-weekly service. The CFDT union says that it “will be vigilant” in watching the operation of the service and will not allow sailors from other countries to be hired to the detriment of French sailors.

Published in Ferry
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#FerryNews - Today, Brittany Ferries announced a new direct Ireland-Spain route, the first time ever a ferry service has linked the countries.

Starting at the end of April, the service between Cork and Santander, will be making two return-sailings a week.

The announcement comes as Brittany Ferries celebrates its 40th year in Ireland as previously reported on Afloat. The popular Cork to Roscoff route opened on St Patricks Day in 1978 and has been serving Irish holiday makers and haulage companies ever since. It has also brought millions of French passengers to Ireland, boosting the local and national economy.

A new ship will be chartered to serve the route to Spain, and to deliver an additional weekly return-sailing from Cork to Roscoff. To be called Connemara, she will follow the successful économie model that the company has established on UK-France and UK-Spain services. As well as opening a new route Connemara will add much needed capacity to the company’s existing line to France, creating more opportunities for short breaks.

“This is a significant move for Brittany Ferries, offering haulage companies a direct route to Spain and passengers a far greater range of holiday options from Cork,” said Hugh Bruton, general manager Brittany Ferries Ireland. “As a destination so-called green Spain promises visitors a wealth of opportunities. It hosts sweeping sandy beaches, snow covered mountains just an hour from the port, fabulous food and offers visitors a welcome as warm as the Spanish will receive when they join us in Ireland.”

The ship is currently operating on routes between Italy and Greece and will be chartered from Stena RoRo for an initial period of two years. She will carry around 500 passengers with space for 195 cars. She hosts 2,225 lane metres of garage space and Brittany Ferries expects a fifty-fifty split between passengers and freight carried.

The Port of Cork welcomed the announcement which will facilitate and enhance significant freight and tourist activity already established in Cork. Commercial Manager Captain Michael McCarthy said, “The Port of Cork wholeheartedly welcomes a service we have been trying as a port to establish for some time now. We are delighted that our long term customer, Brittany Ferries, has committed to this new service which will see an increase in tourism and freight. The option for freight carriers to bypass the UK land bridge will be seen as very attractive, as Brexit uncertainty continues. We have no doubt that both exporters and importers will make this a viable service.’

On board, passengers can expect a comfortable, no-frills service with a distinctly Spanish theme. Dining options will reflect the regions served, reinforcing the company’s drive to reveal more about its destinations at every stage of the journey. There will also be a small shop and café-bar as well as passenger lounges.

Interior and exterior cabins are spacious, with beds for up to four passengers. Four-legged members of the family will also be accommodated thanks to a small allocation of pet-friendly cabins on the ship.

The new service from Brittany Ferries is expected to be on sale by the end of January.

Published in Ferry

#ferrynews - Cruiseferry Pont-Aven has made its final Ireland-France voyage of the year, marking the end of the Brittany Ferries 2017 sailing season.

Building on the success of 2016 when numbers were up by 3%, 2017 showed a further 4% increase on the number of people travelling on the Cork-Roscoff route. The cruise-ferry operator carried more than 87,000 passengers in the year and ended the season strongly with 4,100 passengers and 1,157 cars on the last two sailings of the season.

While France continues to be a popular travel destination for Irish travellers, equally the number of French people visiting Ireland with Brittany Ferries show no signs of waning as the number of French passengers travelling with the cruise-ferry operator continued to grow. 2017 saw nearly 45,000 French passengers avail of the route, representing 52% of all passengers carried on the Cork-Roscoff crossings.

Commenting on the 2017 season, General Manager Hugh Bruton said, "2017 was another successful season for Brittany Ferries. We have experienced strong passenger growth over the last few years and we are delighted to report that this trend has continued again this year. France has so much to offer holidaymakers, from family fun, to those searching for adventure activities, to golfing getaways. We’re also delighted to see that our French passenger numbers remain strong, as Brittany Ferries continues to make a valuable contribution to the Irish economy. We look forward to building on the success of 2017 and welcoming new and returning passengers in 2018, in what will be the 40th anniversary of our Cork-Roscoff route.”

Earlier this year, Afloat reported on Brittany Ferries £175m order of a new LNG-powered ferry,Honfleur to operate the Portsmouth-Caen route. Due to be delivered in 2019, she will come with an innovative fuel delivery and storage system to help navigate a way around the absence of LNG storage in ports.

Although the 2017 season has concluded, holidaymakers planning their next escape can book now for 2018 and avail of a 15% early booking discount. Passengers will also have the added benefit of being able to secure their preferred travel dates and accommodation.

The Pont-Aven continues to offer the fastest direct ferry crossing from Ireland to France, taking just 14 hours and operating to a convenient weekend schedule. The state-of-the-art ship is the newest and most modern ship to be found on any direct crossing between Ireland and France. Afloat adds that the first outbound sailing from Cork to Roscoff resumes on 31st March.

Passengers can enjoy an authentic French on board experience, unmatched cruise style standards and award-winning service and cuisine. Facilities include pool and bar areas with panoramic sea views, two cinemas, shopping malls, luxurious spa treatments and a wide range of restaurants as well as complimentary Wi-Fi in all public areas of the ship.

Published in Ferry

#ferrydisruption - Today's Brittany Ferries sailing from Cork to Roscoff is among routes that have seen crossings cancelled due to the adverse weather conditions arising from Storm Brian.

The company is currently contacting all passengers to offer assistance due to the cancelled scheduled sailing this afternoon.

Last night's inward bound sailing to Cork from France had too been cancelled. As a result cruiseferry Pont-Aven was forced to vacate the single berth at the Breton port. This was to faciliate another Brittany Ferries cruiseferry, Armorique that too has had to cancel sailings today to Plymouth in the UK.

The cancellation of Pont-Aven's round trip Irish route this weekend has led to cruiseferry having to take shelter further along the coast in the Baie de St. Brieuc.

For latest sailing updates on Cork-Roscoff route, click Brittany Ferries website here to include contact details (by scrolling down) beyond English Channel routes.

The seasonal operated Irish service ends this year with final sailings taking place from France on Friday, 3rd November and that from Ireland on Saturday, 4th November.

Other operators have also cancelled and delayed sailings between Ireland and the UK along with those serving between Ireland and France. 

For the latest information from Irish Ferries click here for Stena Line, click this link and for those from P&O Ferries.

 

Published in Ferry

#NewBuild - Almost exactly a year after the Brexit vote, Brittany Ferries on Thursday confirmed an order for a new "£175m LNG cruiseferry for English Channel service.

The 42,400 gross tonnage newbuild (slighty larger to Pont-Aven of 41,000 on the Cork-Roscoff route) will be placed on the company’s busiest route Portsmouth-Caen from spring 2019 – as Brexit negotiations move towards completion.

The new ship will be named Honfleur after the charming seaside destination on the Seine estuary in Normandy. First details have been revealed today after contracts were signed with the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellshaft (FSG) shipyard in Germany.

Afloat adds FSG are currently constructing ICG's €144m euro newbuild cruiseferry for Irish Ferries. The 50,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry is due to enter operations by mid-2018.  

As for Honfluer, she will be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas) and promises to be the most environmentally-friendly vessel operating on the English Channel. LNG emits less carbon dioxide than diesel following combustion and burns with no smoke. It is entirely free of sulphur and produces very low emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.

In LNG-electric propulsion, four engines feed electric generators and two electric propulsion motors. This quieter and more efficient form of power delivery reduces vibration, meaning an even smoother ride for passengers.

Published in Ferry

#FrenchDucVisit – On this date a quarter of a century ago, a Brittany Ferries ship made a once-only visit to Cork, a unique event in Irish ferry terms which was personally observed, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 1500 passenger/350 vehicle ferry Duc de Normandie was seen sailing into Cork Harbour on 28 March 1992, having sailed overnight from Roscoff, Brittany. To add to the unique occasion the arrival of the business-like yet handsome looking ferry was noted when entering the neck of the lower harbour. This was noted from the elevated site of the former Fort Camden beyond Crosshaven.

The site now officially named Fort Meagher also affords views to its counterpart Fort Carlisle (Fort Davis) on the opposite side of the harbour. Further south along that side of the coast is the iconic landmark of Roches Point Lighthouse.

As an avid ferry enthusiast, the course of the Duc de Normandie was keenly traced as the former Dutch ferry (Prinses Beatrix) gently weaved further into the expanse of the natural harbour, yet a route that is dictated by the channel beneath. By the time the ferry was between Whitegate Oil Jetty and Spike Island, it was decided to depart this vantage point and head to Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal.

Upon arrival in Ringaskiddy, the distinctive sound of 'live' Breton traditional musical was clearly heard within the grounds of the ferry terminal. Reasons as to why soon transpired as a wedding celebration was underway. It was nice to see such an occasion and how the seasonal ferry link gave an example in connecting Celtic traditions between the Irish and Bretons.

It should however be noted that this now historic visit by Duc de Normandie, which was made early into the seasonal service of 1992 had followed the opening sailing. This saw the deployment of a chartered but former Brittany Ferries ship, Cornouailles.

This would not be a conducive return to Cork of the ferry renamed Havelet of British Channel Island Ferries. Following a late arrival, Havelet set off on the return crossing to Roscoff but a freak wave struck the Norwegian custom-built ferry.

The incident caused a serious listing and damage on the vehicle decks. This led to the Havelet having to turn around and head back to Cork for repairs. Two days after the terminated sailing the ferry departed after repairs, however this caused a row with the Department of the Marine who claimed that enquires into the incident were not completed.

To replace Havelet on the Ireland-France service this led to this first and only visit of the Duc de Normandie, however it would be Quiberon that would take over the shoulder months that season. The Quiberon been no stranger to the continental route having entered service in 1982 on a route that was established almost four decades ago in 1978 by the Armorique.

As for the high-season summer months of 1992, they were carried out by the then flagship Bretagne. The first custom built 'cruiseferry' for Brittany Ferries entered service in 1989. She was designed to operate Spanish and English Channel routes in addition to serve the seasonal duties of the Irish route.

There have been other once-off callers from the Brittany Ferries fleet but they were deployed during the earlier years of the route. Asides Duc de Normandie, the most recent once-off caller was Bretagne albeit having served the route until 2004, the cruiseferry made a return visit to Cork two years later.

On that occasion, a trip was made to see the Bretagne make an arrival and departure in October 2006. The reason was that routine flagship, Pont-Aven was on charter for the Route du Rhum yacht event.

Pont-Aven as Afloat recently reported was deployed on St. Malo-Portsmouth duties in tandem with routine ship, Bretagne. The Cork-Roscoff regular, Pont-Aven is scheduled to resume the seassonal service this week.

The first sailing from France departs Roscoff on Friday, 31 March and the corresponding return sailing from Ireland departs on Saturday, 1 April. 

Published in Cork Harbour

#Increase – An increase of 5% has been reported by operator Brittany Ferries in the number of passengers travelling to Ireland in 2016, compared to the previous year.

The company begins its seasonal Ireland-France service next month operated by Pont-Aven. On Saturday, 1 April, sailings depart from Cork (Ringaskiddy) and every subsequent Saturday throughout the season. The return sailings depart from Roscoff every Friday until early November.

Ireland’s popularity as a travel destination show no signs of waning as the number of French passengers travelling with the cruise-ferry operator has been rising steadily over the last number of years. General Manager Hugh Bruton said ‘We’ve noticed an increase in the number of French passengers travelling to Ireland, which has been a continuing trend in the last few years, and demonstrates both the popularity of Ireland as a travel destination and the valuable contribution that Brittany Ferries is making to the Irish economy.’

Bruton added, ‘There’s no better way to experience all that France has to offer than on a self-drive holiday and the figures reveal that passengers enjoy the many advantages of ferry travel. Not only does it allow holidaymakers to explore the region at their own pace, it also means you can pack as much as you want, which is particularly convenient for families with a large amount of luggage, adventurers travelling with bikes or keen golfers hoping to get into the swing of things on France’s greenways.

The service in 2016 ended strongly with 4,500 passengers and 1,100 cars on the last two sailings of the season. 2017 looks set to be an even more successful year with ferry bookings up 4% on the previous year.

Pont-Aven will resume the fastest direct ferry crossing between Ireland to France, taking just 14 hours and operating to a convenient weekend schedule. The state-of-the-art ship is the most modern to be found on any of the direct continental crossings .

Published in Ferry
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