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Rise in Advance Reservations Sees Brittany Ferries Hail Strong Start to 2023

23rd January 2023
Strong advance reservations for Brittany Ferries in 2023 which sees Salamanca, the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) ferry to operate in Irish waters continue operating Rosslare-Bilbao sailings. AFLOAT adds a sister E-Flexer class cruiseferry Galicia is to take the Ireland-Spain service on 31 March.
Strong advance reservations for Brittany Ferries in 2023 which sees Salamanca, the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) ferry to operate in Irish waters continue operating Rosslare-Bilbao sailings. AFLOAT adds a sister E-Flexer class cruiseferry Galicia is to take the Ireland-Spain service on 31 March. Credit: Rosslare Europort-twitter

A strong rise in forward reservations for 2023 has been revealed by Brittany Ferries as bookings jump by 38% across all routes connecting Ireland with France and Spain compared with this same period last year.

The ferry operator has more than 105,000 reservations made, indicating strong demand for the year ahead.

Across the company there has seen a 20% increase for all routes which include Ireland, the UK, Spain and France.

Travel to Spain via Brittany Ferries is proving popular for Irish holidaymakers as the company revealed bookings on this route have increased by 69% to nearly 23,000 passengers compared to 2022 figures.

In November, Brittany Ferries unveiled its luxury newbuild cruise-ferry the Salamanca, as Afloat highlighted operating between Rosslare Europort and Bilbao in Spain. The Salamanca, which is the first LNG (liquefied natural gas) powered passenger ferry to operate from Ireland, offers significantly increased capacity on the Rosslare-Bilbao route and promises lower emissions and a smoother, quieter voyage for travellers.

The Salamanca Afloat adds will be replaced by a sister, Galicia in March. This will see Brittany Ferries first E-Flexer class cruise-ferry to operate in Irish waters return to running UK-France and UK-Spain services. 

Commenting on the positive start to 2023, Hugh Bruton, General Manager of Brittany Ferries in Ireland said, “We are delighted to start 2023 in a strong position as demand continues to grow across our routes, in particular our Rosslare to Bilbao route which we have invested heavily in with the introduction of the Salamanca.

Brittany Ferries is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year making it a very exciting time as we welcome increased passengers travelling with us between Ireland, France and Spain.”

Along with the Rosslare Europort to Bilbao route, Brittany Ferries serves three destinations in France between Rosslare and the Port of Cork which include Le Havre, Cherbourg, and Roscoff.

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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