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Displaying items by tag: 2nd Cruiseferry (2021)

Brittany Ferries flagship began Cork-Roscoff seasonal service earlier this month following lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and notably another cruiseferry is to enter the popular Ireland-France route too but not until 2021, writes Jehan Ashmore

Asides the current routine Saturday afternoon departures from the Port of Cork by flagship cruiseferry Pont-Aven which arrives to the Breton port on the Sunday morning, Afloat has noted on the Brittany Ferries website that there will be the added choice next year to board another cruiseferry. This is to be the Armorique offering a Wednesday afternoon departure from Ireland with an arrival on Thursday morning at the Breton port in north-west France.

The development is apparently only referred once on the website in regards to the new Irish role for Armorique's Wednesday departures see within brackets (new for 2021).

Afloat also consulted the booking section which revealed Armorique's first outward sailing, Cork-Roscoff is scheduled for Wednesday, 24 March followed three days later with Pont-Aven departing on Saturday, 27 March 2021.

Armorique has actually previously called to the Port of Cork last year on foot of standing in for Pont-Aven which had hydraulic and beforehand engine-trouble with repairs both taking place at Damen Shiprepairs, Brest.

The introduction in next year's season of the Armorique will increase overnight ferry departures to twice a week on the Cork-Roscoff route. Luxury facilities of the cruiseferry are available for 1,500 passengers and accommodation comprises of 247 cabins and reserved seat lounges for 336 and space for 470 cars.

Also according to the ferry website, Afloat noted the Pont-Aven's sailing times (from Cork) take 14 hours however with next year's seasonal newcomer Armorique are timetabled for an 18 hour passage. As for sailing duration times (from Roscoff) both cruiseferries sailings are reduced. Two hours for those operated by the Pont-Aven and three hours served by Armorique.

Currently Armorique operates routine daily Roscoff-Plymouth sailings on the English Channel route which saw the custom Finnish (STX Europe) built cruiseferry enter service in 2009. The Armorique takes her name from an area of north west France meaning 'the country that faces the sea' and follows a predessor of the same name that launched the Cork-Roscoff route more than four decades ago in 1978. Pont-Aven also operates in tandem on the France-UK route, which was Brittany Ferries first route when launched in 1973.

This afternoon Pont-Aven is scheduled at 16.00hrs to depart Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal in lower Cork Harbour on the overnight crossing of the Celtic Sea to Roscoff.

In addition Brittany Ferries which closed the Cork-Santander earlier this year and switched both Irish and Spanish ports to begin a new Rosslare-Bilbao route served by ropax Kerry and on an 'économie' service has resumed for passengers. As the Kerry had operated throughout the height of the Covid-19 restrictions by maintaining the Ireland-Spain link albeit in a freight-only mode.

The French operator had intended to launch a second new route out of Rosslare Europort, however Covid-19 also impacted the new Rosslare-Roscoff route which was due to open in March. This never materilised due to restrictions from governments and by the ferry company itself in the interests of crew.

Rosslare-Roscoff sailings finally launched late last month on 29 June (later than planned due to Covid-19). This route is also branded under the économie banner as the ropax Kerry has no-frills facilities compared to the luxurious Cork-Roscoff serving flagship cruiseferry.

The Ireland-France route along with Rosslare-Cherbourg in neighbouring Normandy was abandoned by Irish Ferries following the debut of W.B. Yeats operating instead out of Dublin Port but still retains the connection to the port located at the tip of the Contentin Peninsula in northern France.

Returning to Brittany Ferries which will continue operating both the seasonal Ireland-France routes until late October, whereas the Rosslare-Bilbao remains a year round service. Noting the Ireland-Spain overnight service subject to the sailing taken can involve up to 2 nights on board.

For Coronavirus updates, travel advice click here with important links.

Published in Ferry

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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