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Andy

BAIE DE SEINE: Charter of 'Sirena Seaways' for Le Havre and Bilbao

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Sites list some interesting features on her.... Movies on demand to your cabin, cabins sleep up to six, with double beds. I wonder if BF will be keeping that?

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Andy and I had a very comfortable trip to Esbjerg on her a few years back. Facilities are small but very comfortable. Looking forward to seeing her!

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This sounds like good news. I suspect BF will make a better job of operating her than DFDS did on my last crossing to Esbjerg; things had certainly gone down hill service-wise. Given the standard of some of her cabins and public areas, such as the commodore lounge, I wouldn't have thought they could call her 'economie'?

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Official Press Release:

 

Brittany Ferries expands fleet to offer more no-frills ‘économie’ sailings to Le Havre and Bilbao

 

Ferry and holiday company Brittany Ferries has today announced the charter, commencing May, of a vessel which will operate under its ‘no-frills’ Brittany Ferries économie brand, which has proved so successful following its launch last March. The additional ship will serve the Portsmouth to Le Havre route (four times a week) and the Portsmouth to Bilbao route (once a week).

 

The économie brand is aimed at customers who wish to travel to France or Spain at a very reasonable fare without the cruise-style experience normally provided by Brittany Ferries. One-way fares for a car plus two this May start from just £79 to France and £209 to Spain.

 

Facilities and space on board are limited compared to Brittany Ferries’ cruise-ferry services, but still include a bar, boutique, café and restaurant, as well as free Wi-Fi internet access and a reading lounge.

 

Along with the other économie-branded ship, Etretat, this new vessel is an especially convenient option for pet owners thanks to its 14 pet-friendly cabins which allow dogs to travel with their owners in comfort. In fact, Portsmouth-Le Havre remains the only route between the UK and France to offer this feature, helping meet an ever increasing demand for cross-Channel pet travel.

 

Mike Bevens, Group Commercial Director, comments: “We have been really pleased with the demand for our new no-frills service so this additional ship will provide a welcome boost in capacity and provide our customers with an even wider range of sailing times. Furthermore, it now brings the total number of services to Spain to seven a week, again providing more choice.”

 

Customers can mix and match Brittany Ferries économie sailings with the company’s other cruise-ferry and high speed sailings to Normandy, Brittany and northern Spain, travelling out by one route and returning by another. Altogether there are now 10 routes and up to 142 weekly sailings, giving unparalleled flexibility and choice.

  • This vessel is owned by DFDS and is currently named "Sirena Seaways" although she will be renamed once she enters service with Brittany Ferries.
  • Scrubbers are being fitted to enable her to burn low cost heavy fuel oil yet comply with new low sulphur emissions regulations.
  • The ship is certified to carry 610 passengers but Brittany Ferries will limit numbers to well below this to ensure passengers have plenty of space to enjoy.
  • Maximum speed is 21 knots.
  • There are 196 cabins of which 14 will be pet-friendly.
  • There is capacity for 160 cars and 84 lorries

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Interesting - when I saw the headline I assumed that BF had finally tired of Etretat's poor reliability and found a replacement - perhaps Sirena Seaways became available and BF thought they should snap her up while they had the chance so that they can release Etretat when the lease expires?

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So, mv Honfleur anyone? ;)
If so it will be nearly 10 years after it was first reported that Honfleur and Etretat would ply Portsmouth & Le Havre for Brittany Ferries. Ships look a bit different than envisaged then though!

 

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I have a question - why does her GRT seem so low? 22k compared with Etretat 26k? I am aware of her shape, but public areas certainly look larger, and many more cabins. She is 199 x 25 metres, surely her GRT is more than 22k? That is the same as Cotentin and she is much shorter with much smaller public areas?

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Gross tonnage is a function, please correct me if I am wrong, of the internal volume of the ship. Perhaps this ship is less than Etretat ?? Or, it might just be a mistake.

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I haven't sailed on Etretat but from what I have seen and read, the Sirena Seaways is a much nicer vessel and prove a lot more popular with passengers, especially if they reduce the passenger certificate. It will be interesting to see what BF do with the restaurant arrangements, as DFDS had her configured with a buffet restaurant, a la carte and a café....a bit different to the current economie vessel. The cabins are also appear to be much nicer than those on Etretat.

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BF may have a problem if they run these two side by side under the same 'economie' label and pricing, even until Etretats charter runs out. Perhaps they could covert Etretat to be freight only - then problem solved, and the economie brand just steps up a level for passengers.

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A few interesting points from the French Press Release:

 

- There will be a 22:00 Economie sailing from Le Havre.

- States Normandie Express will operate two sailings to Le Havre per week (down from the current four) but strengthen sailings to Cherbourg.

 

http://corporate.brittany-ferries.com/actualite.aspx?card=2476

 

Guided by the constant desire to develop its fleet and enhance its service offering, Brittany Ferries has to charter a new vessel, the "Sirena Seaways" DFDS property. This ship will operate four return sailings per week on the Le Havre-Portsmouth plus a sailing between Portsmouth and Bilbao.For 40 years, Brittany Ferries has been built around a strong idea anchor the Company on its territory. By choosing to position the ship in Le Havre, just like the "Etretat", the Company strengthened its presence in the English Channel, where it is present, from five ports (Roscoff, St Malo, Cherbourg, Caen, Le Havre) . The first connections are provided in early May 2015. This new offering meets a growing demand from customers in the Paris basin and Normandy, especially with a start for Portsmouth on Friday night at 22:00 from Le Havre. Our ambition is to support the strategy of the Grand Paris project linking Paris to the sea. The connection Portsmouth-Bilbao in turn brings to seven the number of departures operated by Brittany Ferries from England to Spain. The Normandie Express will perform in this new fleet plan two round trips a week on the line Le Havre-Portsmouth. It will also strengthen the connection of the Cherbourg-Portsmouth line bringing to 15 the number of round trips operated by Brittany Ferries. The new ferry will embark 610 passengers, 160 cars and 84 trucks and will have 196 booths. It will be equipped with an exhaust fume filtration system to meet the new environmental standards that limit sulfur emissions, set by MARPOL VI applicable since 1 January 2015. Finally, in recent offering nearly 200 sailors employees under fixed-term contracts, contracts of indefinite duration, the Company demonstrates its confidence in its economic and social future.

For the 2015 season, it also results in the need for recruitment of more than 570 sailors seasonal workers (hotel and nautical). Jean-Marc Roue, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Brittany Ferries: "By developing its offering for the Norman territory, Brittany Ferries has established itself as one of the actors of the opening of the metropolis of Greater Paris on the bow Channel-Atlantic. I am delighted that this ambition is accompanied by a real development of French maritime employment. »

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Wow!!! That has come unexpectedly! From the Stena Nordica, the Dieppe Seaways (or Stena Superfast X), all this news is coming at once!

 

I always thought that Sirena Seaways would fit the Le Havre route well. I am surprised she will be branded as economie tho and how she will be serving Bilbao not Santander like the Etretat. Is she a double-deck loader? I too imagined a replacement to the Etretat.

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I always thought that Sirena Seaways would fit the Le Havre route well.
Obviously great news for BF, but makes you wonder why DFDS didn't operate her to Le Havre themselves rather than closing down the route?!

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Sod's law, I don't log in during the day because I don't think there will be anything particularly exciting to report, and then there's this!

 

Yes, very exciting. I'm looking forward to seeing which 'type' of livery she will take, our blue and red lines or something like Etretat's 'wave'

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