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‘The Art of Travel’ as Brittany Ferries Officially Launch New Cruise-Ferry Salamanca

16th November 2022
Artwork strongly feature on the new cruise-ferry Salamanca named after the stunning 'heritage' city in Castilla y Léon in Spain, which was officially launched in Rosslare Europort this morning. Among the luxurious facilities is the central Plaza Mayor bar, designed to evoke Salamanca city’s spectacular main square and the new 'greener' LNG powered ferry which connects Bilbao, boasts more than 200 artworks by local Spanish artists.
Artwork strongly feature on the new cruise-ferry Salamanca named after the stunning 'heritage' city in Castilla y Léon in Spain, which was officially launched in Rosslare Europort this morning. Among the luxurious facilities is the central Plaza Mayor bar, designed to evoke Salamanca city’s spectacular main square and the new 'greener' LNG powered ferry which connects Bilbao, boasts more than 200 artworks by local Spanish artists. Credit: Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries brings a taste of Spain to Ireland in the form of the new cruise-ferry Salamanca which officially was launched at Rosslare Europort this morning.

Salamanca, named after the stunning heritage city in Castilla y Léon in Spain, replaces the freight-orientated Connemara vessel, offering more than double the capacity, with space for over 1000 passengers in 343 comfortable cabins, 22 of which are especially designed for passengers travelling with their pet dog.

The new state-of-the-art ship is also the first LNG-powered ferry to serve Ireland and promises lower emissions and a smoother, quieter voyage for travellers.

Art, Culture & Cuisine 

In addition, the luxury cruise ferry offers a destination-themed experience from the moment you step on board, with bespoke interiors throughout, and local Spanish cuisine cooked by Brittany Ferries’ expert chefs in the Azul and Taberna de Tapas restaurants. The ships’ numerous cosy and comfortable lounges offer plenty of space to relax, while the central Plaza Mayor bar – designed to evoke Salamanca city’s spectacular main square – is a buzzing and convivial meeting place. Salamanca also boasts a curated collection of over 200 artworks by local Spanish artists, for passengers to peruse at their leisure.

Frederic Dumoulin, Chief Commercial Office for Brittany Ferries stated, “Salamanca is a modern and luxurious cruise ferry, connecting the Emerald Isle with Green Spain. She is spacious, comfortable, and powered by cleaner fuel and the latest software technology - delivering a more efficient and smoother voyage for passengers. However, it is the passenger experience on board that she really excels. Passengers will feel as though they have been transported to a Spanish city from the moment they step on board. From curated artworks to local cuisine, there are echoes of the Castilla y Léon region throughout.”

At the official launch event, Brittany Ferries also announced that it would now be accepting passengers on foot and bike, for the first time ever on this route.

Mr. Dumoulin added, “Until now it has been very difficult to accommodate bike and foot passengers on this route. Now we have the right ship, on the right route, so I am delighted to announce a change. From today Brittany Ferries confirms to Irish travellers that they may travel to Spain by car, by bike, or on foot. A sustainable tourism option, that’s perfectly aligned with our cleaner greener ship.

Cyclists and foot passengers will boost the number of passengers travelling to Spain and vice versa. Our aim is to add 50,000 in total this year. That’s a big challenge, but we are up for it.”

  • Salamanca offers increased passenger capacity, space, and luxury on voyages from Rosslare to Bilbao and is the only ferry service connecting Ireland to Spain
  • Luxury Cruise-Ferry Salamanca offers a destination-themed travel experience and boasts 200 custom artworks on board and local Spanish cuisine
  • The first Liquified Powered Gas (LNG) powered passenger ferry to service Ireland, promising lower emissions and a smoother voyage
  • Travel by bike or on foot to Spain, as Brittany Ferries now offers space for foot and bike passengers on Rosslare to Bilbao route

Monica MacLaverty, Tourism Ireland’s Manager of Southern Europe, said: “We very much welcome the launch of the new Brittany Ferries ship, the Salamanca, operating between Bilbao and Rosslare. The Salamanca is really good news for tourism from Spain, tripling the capacity of the existing service to 90,000 passengers per year. As an island, the importance of convenient, direct access cannot be overstated – it is absolutely critical to restoring growth in inbound tourism. Tourism Ireland will take every opportunity to highlight the service and recently hosted an event for key travel trade and media contacts in Bilbao to celebrate the launch of the new ship. We already work very closely with Brittany Ferries and we look forward to continuing to co-operate with them to maximise the promotion of this service.”

Rubén López, of the Spanish Tourism Office in Ireland, added, “We are delighted with this new Brittany Ferries passenger route to Northern Spain from Ireland. We are both of Celt origin so we feel a very strong bond with our Irish visitors. The north of Spain has a lot to offer in terms of food, wine, and culture so we are sure the Irish visitor will enjoy visiting the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias, and Galicia. The Irish visitor will also find good value in Northern Spain. Congratulations to Brittany Ferries and the best of luck with this new venture."

Salamanca will sail from Rosslare to Bilbao twice weekly departing Wednesday and Friday mornings. 

Published in Brittany Ferries
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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About Brittany Ferries

In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK. In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born.

The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story, therefore, begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain's entry into the Common Market (EEC).

From these humble beginnings however, Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative.

Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British.

Key Brittany Ferries figures:

  • Turnover: €202.4 million (compared with €469m in 2019)
  • Investment in three new ships, Galicia plus two new vessels powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) arriving in 2022 and 2023
  • Employment: 2,474 seafarers and shore staff (average high/low season)
  • Passengers: 752,102 in 2020 (compared with 2,498,354 in 2019)
  • Freight: 160,377 in 2020 (compared with 201,554 in 2019)
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain (non-Covid year) across 14 routes
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: 231,000 unique visitors, staying 2.6 million bed-nights in France in 2020 (compared with 857,000 unique visitors, staying 8,7 million bed-nights in 2019).

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