A new era of ferry travel to England is set to begin when one of the worldâ€™s biggest and most environmentally friendly ships is launched on the market by leading cross Channel operator Brittany Ferries.
The company has ordered a new Â£225 million cruise ferry that will be the largest yet in its fleet and will be built by STX France in St. Nazaire to run on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). It is expected to begin sailing in late spring 2017.
The decision to invest in a vessel that emits about 25% less carbon dioxide during combustion than marine fuel oil comes at time when companies like Brittany Ferries are facing spiralling costs from traditional fuel and also adhering to new global regulations to reduce the amount of pollution created by ferries.
The new ship is entirely free of sulphur and is very low in nitrogen oxide emissions and is the culmination of two years or research between Brittany Ferries and STX France regarding the feasibility of powering a cruise ferry by LNG.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel that emits about 25% less carbon dioxide during combustion than oil does. The gas burns with a clean flame, emitting neither dust nor soot. It is sulphur free and is low in nitrogen oxide emissions. The company said that it will be the first ferry in the world to use technology allowing its LNG fuel to be stored at close to atmospheric rather than high pressure. It will have marine gas oil as a backup.
The new ship will replace Brittany Ferriesâ€™ current flagship, Pont-Aven, which will move to the Portsmouth to St Malo route. Operating on the longer routes between UK and Spain, she will have many of Pont-Avenâ€™s features, such as an indoor swimming pool, two cinemas, a quiet reading lounge, an observation areas, spa treatment rooms and restaurants.
She will also have pet kennels and 30 pet friendly cabins which have proved so popular on the companyâ€™s other ship to Spain, Cap FinistÃ¨re, as well as the latest technology and free Wi-Fi in every cabin and throughout the ship.
Families will be well provided for, with two childrenâ€™s play areas as well as a teenager zone. As you would expect on any cruise ship, entertainment features prominently and there will be three stylish bars and a high tech stage area.
Brittany Ferries said it already has an enviable reputation for the quality of its ships, as well as its service and cuisine, and it believes this will be further enhanced by some of the luxury features of this new cruise ferry. For example, each of the Commodore Suites will have its own balcony.
â€˜This represents a huge investment which will benefit not simply our customers but the environment as well. Unlike other forms of transport, such as aircraft or trains, every one of our ships is different, each possessing its own unique character,â€™ said Mike Bevens, Group Commercial Director.
â€˜This addition to our fleet will be no exception, but will incorporate all the best features of our other vessels so as to provide our customers with a truly exceptional experience. No other ferry on the UK routes will come close to offering this new shipâ€™s range of facilities and its launch will mark a new era in ferry travel.
The new ferry will be 210 metres long and 32 metres with a gross tonnage of 52.500 and capable of a maximum speed of 24.5 knots. It will have 12 decks and be able to carry 2,474 passengers in 675 cabins, including 12 Commodore Suites, 51 deluxe cabins, 30 pet friendly cabins and 15 cabins with wheelchair access. With 189 crew on board it will be able to carry 800 cars or a mix of 325 cars plus 80 freight vehicles.