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Displaying items by tag: Flagship PontAven

#PontAven10years – This day ten years ago Brittany Ferries flagship cruiseferry Pont-Aven, was named in a ceremony, by her Breton owners in Roscoff, from where the luxury vessel sailed last night to Cork Harbour and returns to France this afternoon, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Pont-Aven is named after an attractive small Breton town also known as the 'cité des peintres' as the location drew artists to sketch its picturesque scenery.

Among those drawn to paint scenes of Pont-Aven were Monet and the flagship celebrates the heritage of its namesake through of course it paintings, even boosting among its artwork collection a painting by Gaugin.

She was designed primarily for the UK-Spain market in which she made her maiden voyage from Plymouth to Santander on 24 March 2004, with crowds lining Plymouth harbour to cheer her off.

Further maiden voyages included her English Channel route from Plymouth to Roscoff which included a reception on 27 March. She made her 'Irish' maiden crossing to Cork's Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal arriving on 2 April. Later that month, on 26 April she was officially named in Roscoff.

A decade on and at 41,700 tonnes, the 184m Pont-Aven, remains an impressive vessel within Brittany Ferries modern fleet. She has a 2,400 passenger capacity and crew of 470 which service the luxurious facilities which can easily be described as cruiseferry standards.

Pont-Aven is unique to any cruiseferry serving Ireland as she features the Finistère indoor swimming pool offering sea-views on a high-deck and with an adjoining bar.

Also among her extensive amenities is Le Fastnet Piano Bar to reflect her Irish trading route connections with her season-only sailing schedule operating to a weekend round-trip from Roscoff to Cork.

Pont-Aven was custom-built for Britanny Ferries by Meyer Werft shipyward in Papenburg, Germany, to serve the UK-Spain market as well to the Breton-Cornwall link between Roscoff and Plymouth.

The western Engish Channel route was Brittany Ferries first route in 1973 with its origins stemming from exporting Breton vegetable produce to the UK market. Since then the company have dramatically expanded to offer gite, cottages, chalets holidays and more. 

The Irish service followed five years afterwards and the Roscoff-Cork route is currently the only ferry route from Munster and therefore the longest continous operating service since its inception in 1978.

In addition to the the Irish route, Pont-Aven is kept busy linking three other nations on an intensive schedule. In order to maintain the sailing roster, the 28 knot Pont-Aven can achieve this from an engine power of 50,400 kW and propulsion power of 43,200 kW.

Published in Ferry

#BrittanyFerries35th – Today Brittany Ferries celebrates launching into its 35th year in operating the Cork-Roscoff seasonal service served by 'flagship' Pont-Aven, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Speaking about the upcoming 2013 season, General Manager of Brittany Ferries, Mr Hugh Bruton said: "This is always a busy time for us as we re-commence our service from Cork to Roscoff. We are delighted to report that the route is currently ahead by 12% on last year which is a great sign for The Gathering!

"It's also an exciting time for the business as we are celebrating our 40th anniversary globally and 35 years of sailing from Cork to Roscoff. Our continued service offers affordable, convenient holidays to France which is perfect for families of all ages".

Pont-Aven, is not just 'any' ferry as at 41,000 tonnes, she has an array of luxurious facilities to include a spa and swimming pool and an on board ambiance of French flair combined with a bilingual crew.

The flagship departs every Saturday from Ringaskiddy Ferry Terminal until November 2013. She offers the shortest and fastest route between Ireland and France, taking 14 hours, several hours shorter than rivals running routes from Rosslare.

The origins of Brittany Ferries can be directly derived to Breton vegetable farmers who wanted to export their produce to markets in the UK following the closure of other west English Channel ferry routes more than forty years ago.

A co-operative of French farmers got to together to form Bretagne-Angleterre Irlande (B.A.I) otherwise as we know today as Brittany Ferries, which started a new service to Plymouth in 1973.

Brittany Ferries soon found demand not just from agricultural exports but in the reverse direction with passengers from the UK which really boosted the fortunes of the company. On foot of this success and within the next few years further routes were added to include its first route to Ireland opened in 1978.

Armorique, Quiberon, Bretagne and Val de Loire are not just nice-sounding names from locations in Brittany and beyond to conjure images and memories of travels past but these placenames were also given to name the ferries that served the route down through the decades.

The route has also brought closer ties through Irish-Gallic history and heritage but also Celtic cultural connections.

For more information on Brittany Ferries 2013 season schedule and more visit www.brittanyferries.ie

 

Published in Ferry

#FERRY TO FRANCE – Brittany Ferries flagship Cork-Roscoff route is underway, as the first sailing in 2012 of the seasonal-only operated service started last weekend and runs to early November. Serving on the 14 hour route which is the shortest sailing to France, is the luxurious flagship Pont-Aven, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 2,400 passenger /650 vehicle capacity Pont-Aven is unique to Irish services as she features a swimming pool. The indoor facility located on the top deck,  includes a leisure area and pool bar which is open during the summer season and on busy off-season crossings.

In addition there are restaurants, a piano bar, main lounge, café and shop facilities. She has a wide choice of cabin accommodation that includes 'Commodore' cabins complete with balconies. For details about sailing schedules click HERE.

Roscoff is set in picturesque surroundings on the north-west Breton coast and the ferryport is a short distance even by foot to the town which has restaurants facing the coast. There is a botanical garden and a century-old thalassotherapy that has seawater and seaweed treatments used for healing and relaxation therapies.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS- Established ferry operators on routes to France are gearing –up for market share with the first battle for 2012 targeting the Spring Easter period, with recent T.V. advert campaigns launched by Irish Ferries and Brittany Ferries, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Last week Irish Ferries reopened Rosslare-Cherbourg sailings by the cruiseferry Oscar Wilde (1987/31,914grt). The largest ever vessel to serve Irish Ferries French routes will also resume high-season sailings to Roscoff in May. For sailing times of both routes click HERE.

Brittany Ferries will embark their season with Cork-Roscoff sailings on 31st March with 'flagship' Pont-Aven (2004/41,748grt). This route operates a single weekend round-trip schedule, with arrivals and departures to Cork each Saturday, for more on sailings click HERE.

While Celtic Link Ferries, which entered the continental sector in 2005 having taken over from P&O (Irish Sea) introduced a new vessel on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route last October with the chartered ro-pax Celtic Horizon (2006/27,522grt) as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Unlike their rivals, Celtic Link Ferries are the only operator to maintain year-round sailings in this sector, for schedule click HERE.

Published in Ferry

Direct continental ferry services between Ireland and France will be reduced as of this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Brittany Ferries last sailing for this year on the Cork-Roscoff route ends today. The 11-hour route is normally served by 'flagship' Pont-Aven but this weekend's final round-trip will be operated by the Bretagne. The former flagship, built in 1989 had served on the Irish route for several years but now operates St.Malo-Portsmouth sailings. Cork-Roscoff sailings resume in 2011 with the first crossing from the Breton port on 1 April 2011 and the corresponding departure from Ireland on 2 April.

In the interim period, alternative routes to France are maintained by Irish Ferries and Celtic Link Ferries. On the Rosslare-Cherbourg route, operated by Irish Ferries, sailings are scheduled to run to 31 December but there will be no sailings throughout January 2011 and up to mid-February. This is to allow the routes cruiseferry Oscar Wilde to undergo annual dry-docking before re-opening the route on 16 February. In addition Irish Ferries operate the seasonal Rosslare-Roscoff route which starts on 13 May.

Celtic Link Ferries also operate on the Rosslare-Cherbourg route. During January 2011, the company will be the only ferry operator providing services between Ireland and France.

At_sea_3

Celtic Link Ferries ro-pax Norman Voyager

The 17-hour route to Cherbourg is served by the 2008-built ro-pax Norman Voyager, the newest vessel on the continental routes. Norman Voyager accommodates 800 passengers, 200 cars and up to 120 freight vehicles. There are 110 cabins and facilities for passengers include a bar, restaurant, lounges, cinema and a shop.

Published in Ports & Shipping

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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