Friday, 15 July 2016

Busy Calais, hype of activity for the ferry industry

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

Monday, 4 July 2016

"COTES DES FLANDRES" the new DFDS ship operating on the Dover to Calais route

"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