This week ends with some very exciting news for the Cruise Ferry Industry and the Maritime World in general, BRITTANY FERRIES released details of their new ship to be named "HONFLEUR", named after the picturesque town in Normandy on the Seine estuary, in line with all the other ships on the fleet, this is a very fortunate choice, the company is known for a fleet where each ship has a different personality and character and this starts with the name allocated to the ship, "HONFLEUR" is the first new build for the company since the introduction of ARMORIQUE back in 2009, she is expected to debut in June of 2019, the new ship will have capacity for 1680 passengers and will replace the NORMANDIE on the Ouistreham ( Caen ) to Portsmouth route, the famous and now legend NORMANDIE will be moved to the Portsmouth to Le Havre service, good news for the service, meaning more garage capacity and cabin availability. "HONFLEUR" will offer fully cruise ferry service with a "A La Carte Restaurant", WI-FI and TV on every cabin, the ship's information desk will be fully adapted to the digital age with large screens helping passengers to research new places to visit upon arrival at destination. "HONFLEUR" will be built in Germany by FSG-(Fleinsburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft) and will be powered by LNG-electric propulsion, this innovative system will reduce vibration, LNG emits lower levels of pollutants enabling the ship to be more environmentally-friendly, the photo released by the shipyard designers gives me the impression of a ship that will be a evolutionary version of the ARMORIQUE. The significant investment by BRITTANY FERRIES on the new ship is not only a commitment but also a re-assurance to the many passengers sailing with the company and for the regions and environments that the company operates.
SOVEREIGN at Livorno during a cruise, built in 1988 as the SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS for ROYAL CARIBBEAN, she was at the time the largest cruise ship in the World, today she is operated by PULLMANTUR CRUISES, she's lost a long time ago the status of the biggest cruise ship in the World, she is today a classic, a class of her own, she is seen here from cruise ferry CRUISE OLBIA, photos 26.4.2017
REFRESHED, UPGRADED, IMPROVED that's how P & O describes the recent refit on both PRIDE OF YORK and PRIDE OF BRUGES, some 8.5. million have been spent to guarantee a new lease of life for both ships connecting Hull in the UK with Zeebrugge in Belgium, I have sailed twice this year on PRIDE OF YORK after the new makeover and really value the changes on the ship, she looks ready for several more years in service which is good news for the much loved route, the mini cruise to Bruges is quite popular and a very good first time cruise experience. Photos of the PRIDE OF BRUGES sailing from Hull on the 18th of April 2017 included
Just over a week ago I went to Sardinia for the first time, sailed from Mainland Italy using the Tuscany Port of Livorno, a city steeped in maritime history, my round trip was to the Port of Olbia in Northern Sardinia, outbound sailed on ZEUS PALACE, my second trip on the ship, returning on CRUISE OLBIA, my first trip on this former SUPERFAST FERRIES cruise ferry, a ship very similar to my very well known CAP FINISTERE of BRITTANY FERRIES, Olbia is a wonderful destination for ships enthusiasts, cruise ferries book a presence on daily basis and also cruise ships call now and then. Photos selected were taken onboard the GRIMALDI's CRUISE OLBIA on the 26th April 2017.
AMSICORA was built in 2001 by FINCANTIERI for MINOAN LINES, she was named at the time EUROPA PALACE, the name is still very visible today at a close look at her bow, she has a sister ship, the BONARIA, in 2012 she was chartered by TIRRENIA, a company started in Naples in the 1930's connecting mainland Italy with several MED Ports, the company was acquired by CIN - Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione in 2011, interesting to see the name of TIRRENIA still going strong in the Mediterranean, these photos were taken from ZEUS PALACE at Olbia on the 23rd April 2017
KING SEAWAYS seen departing Ijmuiden in September of 2016, the ship is now thirty years old, she has been in service with DFDS on the Newcastle to Ijmuiden ( Amsterdam ) route since 2016, she is now fresh from a refit at Gdansk, next week follow the blog for new "posts" as I will be boarding her again next week.
A few photos taken today on board ARMORIQUE during a voyage from Ouistreham to Portsmouth, the 8.30 am departure from the French Port, the trip was mainly in sunny weather and mill pond seas, a dense fog was also a presence for over two hours of the crossing, arriving on time though was never in question, in fact the ship arrived earlier, Portsmouth was also sunny and with mild temperatures for January. Aboard ARMORIQUE 24.1.2017
Ordered in 2006 "ARMORIQUE" left Plymouth to Roscoff on her maiden voyage on the 10th of February 2009, so within two weeks she will be eight years old. I am writing these words on my Hotel at Ouistreham, prior to embark tomorrow morning on the ship, I will be once again sailing on ARMORIQUE to Portsmouth, she is replacing NORMANDIE at the moment undergoing refit, this will be my first sailing on the ship from Ouistreham, sailed before several times, mainly when she was covering for BRETAGNE during the winter of 2015 on the Saint-Malo route, ARMORIQUE's main service is the Plymouth to Roscoff. the ship has changed since I last been on her, new scrubbers were installed, her funnel needed big changes to accommodate the filters, in the coming days I will upload new photos of the ship with special emphasis on her new funnel. The photos uploaded here show ARMORIQUE arriving Ouistreham this afternoon, 23.1.2017
Every now and again I remember and miss the years I sailed on monthly basis on VAL DE LOIRE, she will always be a special ship for me, 57 times I had the immense pleasure of sailing this fantastic ship, today still cruising for DFDS as the KING SEAWAYS, the vast majority of my trips on the ship were from Plymouth to Santander or the other day round, we were "pals" sailing the Bay of Biscay and the memories and stories we share are unique and unforgettable, there is always a great deal of emotion and sentiment to write a few words about VAL DE LOIRE, today I remembered her once again after checking her progress on Marine Traffic, she is now at Gdansk undergoing a refit, also at Gdansk is another very special ship to me, the BRETAGNE, still sailing for BRITTANY FERRIES.