Clear blue skies, 34 degrees temperature and a shining cruise ferry was the scenery at Europoort yesterday, it was my fourth trip of the year on PRIDE OF ROTTERDAM, really good to see the ship full with passengers and freight, passengers some ending their holidays, others on their way to the UK to begin theirs, modern cruise ferries are the present day liners, transporting people and cargo to their destinations, the photos above show the ship ready for her passengers and sailing on her way to the UK, 24.8.2016.
Ferries loading and unloading at Calais, such a busy Port, especially during the summer months, the ships are restless crossing the Channel, on these photographs, COTES DES FLANDRES, SPIRIT OF FRANCE, CALAIS SEAWAYS, EUROPEAN SEAWAY and PRIDE OF KENT. Photos 3.7.2016
"COTES DES FLANDRES" is one of the two new ships operated by DFDS on the Dover to Calais service, they are in fact not new, COTE DES FLANDRES was introduced in 2005 and her sister ship, COTES DES DUNES, four years earlier, I have sailed on both many times when they were sailing first for SEAFRANCE and after to MY FERRYLINK, last year both ships were laid-up for the second time, before joining DFDS. "COTES DES FLANDRES" was built by CHANTIERS DE L'ATLANTIQUE at Saint-Nazaire and first introduced in 2005 as the SEAFRANCE BERLIOZ, following the demise of her operator SEAFRANCE in 2012, she was laid-up awaiting new life, which happened the same year, a new Company was created to operate the ships, MY FERRYLINK, ownership also transferred to EURO-TRANSMANCHE, following a not very successful career, she was once again laid-up until DFDS decided to operate the ship in 2015. COTES DES FLANDRES and her sister were fully refit, changed liveries and brand new passenger amenities also were added, the ships are still registered in France and are manned by French crews. Last week I had the opportunity of sailing on COTES DES FLANDRES twice, first impression was, how beautiful she looks with the new DFDS livery with a much improved logo and very smart letters on their hulls, as for the amenities, I was disappointed at first, the ship lost her charming interiors of the past, they looked even somber in some places and bland, but and this is a big but, she is still a work in progress, overall the ship will be much improved surely in the coming months, she's only been in service for about six months, nevertheless for a ship that was completely rebuilt, she looks really smart and very well "remastered" to use a new term. COTES DES FLANDRES doesn't have a "La Carte Restaurant" anymore, she has in fact two self-service restaurants, photos above, the focus for DFDS on the route is without question the Freight, as a result she has the most magnificent "drivers lounge" I have ever seen on any ferry, the facility includes private access to an outside deck, for a touch of luxury the way to travel is the "Premium Lounge", for an extra cost of £12, passengers can have exclusive use of the lounge and help themselves to pasties, soft drinks and newspapers, last two photos on this post. One final comment for the paying customers aboard the ship, both Freight and tourists in much larger numbers compared to the previous operator, a good sign, hope the new employment will flourish and has a bright future, healthy competition is needed on the route. Photos 27.6.2016 and 3.7.2016
The cruise ferry CRUISE OLYMPIA of MINOAN LINES, departs Ancona for Patras, the ship is the newest of the current fleet and displays just over 54.000 G.T., she was introduced in 2010, her sister ship the CRUISE EUROPA operates on the same route and came into service one year earlier. Photos 28.5.2016
"AURELIA" is a ferry owned by TIRRENIA and operated on the Ancona to Split route by SNAV, she debuted in 1980, the ship went into massive conversions in 2002 and 2003, decks 10 and 11 were totally modified in order to accommodate first class cabins, for her volume, just over 14.000 G.T., she has a very high passenger capacity nearing 2200, she can transport 650 vehicles, it was really good to meet the ship for the first time last weekend and see her sailing almost to full capacity on the Saturday 20.15 sailing to Split in Croatia, she gets at her destination about 7am, the following morning, cruising at about 14 to 15 knots, just to appreciate the transformation from new, when built she was less than 10.000 G.T. with capacity for only 1000 passengers and 450 vehicles.
"OLYMPIC CHAMPION" owned and operated by ANEK LINES departing the Italian Port of Ancona, the ship links the Italian city with Igoumenitsa and Patras, she is a very fast cruise ferry with a top speed of 32 knots, built in Norway by FOSEN MEK and displays just over 32.000 G.T., the ship has capacity for 670 vehicles and 1850 passengers, she was built in 2000, the first of two super cruise ferries for ANEK, her sister ship is the HELLENIC SPIRIT, delivered in 2001. Both ships are among the most beautiful cruise ferries I have seen, they have a very sleek profile with a distinctive and original funnel. Photos at Ancona, 28.5.2016
UNIVERS Hotel and bar is one of my favourite places for a drink at the walled city of Saint-Malo, it's one of the most nautical bars I ever came across, the drink on this occasion was a "GROG CHAUVIN", recipe in one of the photos included. Saint-Malo 2.3.2016