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Galícia, Salamanca and Santona - Newbuilds for Spanish Routes (e-flexers)


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Where's Galicia? You can see the latest AIS tracking map by clicking here!

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To give you an idea, 'Stena Estrid' left China around November 29th 2019, arrived in Wales on December 23rd 2019 (Approximately 4 weeks with 2 stops?) 'Stena Edda' left China around January 22nd 2020, arrived in Ireland on March 3rd 2020 (Around 6 weeks with 2 stops?).

Edited by TonyMWeaver
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I can confirm, she does fit Millbay (this is from the opposite side of Plymouth Hoe, next to the barracks)    

I believe anyone wanting such a thing would find one located just off the side of the ship...

And off she goes...

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Thanks @jonno and not at all. Some of it I knew, some I couldn’t remember (the Spanish shipping line but I remember their logo appeared in the P&O European Ferries brochure), some is new to me and Bristol-Vigo made my jaw drop - surely the port in Avonmouth is better situated geographically for much of the country than Portsmouth and certainly Plymouth. Vigo’s a beautiful place, a bit of a drive unless you’re just going to Galicia or Portugal, but a Bristol-Bilbao route would be really seriously interesting!

I do remember at the time that PoB was sold (because Rederi Slite AB went bankrupt because of the 1992 recession and devaluation of the Swedish Krona which meant they couldn’t pay Papenburg for Europa, that’s how Silja got it in a huge coup) that it was stated it’d never cost ICG a penny; because the charter fees were paid by P&O in dollars, the yield on it exchange rate back to the Irish punt meant ICG could service the debt interest repayments from buying the ship with the $ > £EIRE exchange rate.
 

1993 was a good year for the Spanish routes, the newly introduced Pride of Bilbao (we’d never seen anything like it in the UK before) and the newly introduced Val de Loire (still the best ship they ever sold, knocked the socks off Bretagne whether to Spain or St Malo)... wonder if we’d get that competition again, I’m now holding out for Bristol, I live in Devon and it’s quicker and easier for me to get to Bristol than Plymouth.

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10 hours ago, jonno said:

Originally Acconia planned the service from Vigo to Bristol - sailing up the Bristol Channel and through the locks is quicker than sailing up the English Channel.

Interesting and I had never considered this before. But, with a quick measure on a map (not a chart), I found the distances almost the same. So, I am interested to know how it would be quicker, considering there are locks to negotiate at Bristol?

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You don't have to slow down to a crawl through Portsmouth?

I've just googled distances and by road it says London to Portsmouth is 1h 45m (82.2 miles) and to Avonmouth is 2h 24m (122.8 miles) so there's a reasonable variety. But not the entire world lives in London (sometimes the BBC would do well to remember that, but that's going well off topic) so for many people from Bristol, Midlands, the populus North West, Wales etc will find Bristol far closer and more accessible.

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13 hours ago, jonno said:

It was initially set up with Flota Suardiaz who sold & advertised the freight offering on the route. Sailings began in 1993. PoB's problem was in only having 1100 lane metres so ultimately Suardiaz pulled out. The ships other issue was that she didn't really have a bow shape suitable for the Bay, her 70 tonne bow visor made one hell of a noise when crashing into Atlantic waves... she was like a bouncy castle.

P&O originally chartered her from Roderi AB Slite who within a year had sold her and the long term charter to ICG. The charter was very expensive and in many ways cost prohibitive meaning that certain areas of the ship were never truly refreshed or refurbished even after her 2002 refit.

By 2006 the gap in class between her and the newer Pont Aven had become a gulf, the expensive charter was up for renegotiation and the only reason the route survived after all of the talk of them ending the service in the same way as the Le Havre ships was due to vastly reduced charter costs.

This is where Acconia Trasmediterranea using the Fortuny come into play...

Originally Acconia planned the service from Vigo to Bristol - sailing up the Bristol Channel and through the locks is quicker than sailing up the English Channel. Acconia had even finalised plans with the ports and began to brief the local media then due to the unknown fate of the P&O service at that time in 2006, Bilbao Port approached and successfully convinced them to sail from Portsmouth to Bilbao instead... Acconia didn't advertise in the U.K. so it was probably obvious the sailings would fail but I think having the extra competition from P&O still sailing to the same port didn't help either. The reason her freight decks were full was due to carrying the company subsidiaries cargo at a loss.

When she was pulled in January 2007 the rumour was that another ship would begin in the Spring, the Murillo I think which is now at PolFerries? They never returned.

When BF began to sail from Portsmouth to Spain in 2009 the writing was on the wall for the Pride of Bilbao, her reputation had plummeted, her charter was up for renewal and she had very limited freight capacity.

Within the industry it had become known that Brittany Ferries were seeking a 2nd hand Ropax. It's a little known fact that BF had already approached the Attica Group during the winter of 2009/10 and had received Guarantees from the EU offering a €5.5m annual subsidy in the form of Motorway of the Seas funding for 48 months if a vessel matching the criteria could be secured. Moving the linkspan to Zierbena would also cut 30 minutes of her sailing time.

Sorry Seashore, I went on a bit!

edit... Forgot to add that Irish Ferries were seriously considering using PoB as a seasonal service to Bilbao from PIP until St Peter line made them an offer they couldn't refuse.

 

Acconia did advertise the service in the UK. Remember seeing an advert in the Times newspaper. I think the vessel used (Fortuny or her sister) aside from having an outdoor swimming pool and being modern was rather spartan inside and had limited onboard entertainment. Obviously not affecting her freight viability but perhaps not the best passenger ship. Pride of Bilbao had a great range of facilities and when introduced in 1993 was way ahead of the Brittany Ferries competition. As you say full investment in her facilities did not continue and at the end she became dated and tired.

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29 minutes ago, Nick Hyde said:

Pride of Bilbao had a great range of facilities and when introduced in 1993 was way ahead of the Brittany Ferries competition. As you say full investment in her facilities did not continue and at the end she became dated and tired.

I loved sailing on her to Spain as I did Bretagne & VDL too. For me the difference was the onboard vibe. PoB was the ship you sailed on with your mates, Bretagne, VDL & Pont Aven were the ships you sailed on with the girlfriend/Wife & the kids.

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33 minutes ago, Nick Hyde said:

Acconia did advertise the service in the UK.

Yes, they did - they produced a quite nice brochure using the AT Ferries name.

One of the main reasons Acciona moved onto the route was the expectation that P&O would be pulling out - I don't think anyone really expected they would drag it out until 2010 but they did, with the POB in increasingly poor condition. We visited her in Portsmouth just before the end in 2010 and the office staff there were already triangulating how to revive things with a new operator - the names of the Blue Horizon and the Ikarus Palace were two which were bandied about; the latter would have been a fantastic ship to come to the UK, she and her various half-sisters are superior to the rival Superfasts in most ways.

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1 hour ago, hhvferry said:

Yes, they did - they produced a quite nice brochure using the AT Ferries name.

One of the main reasons Acciona moved onto the route was the expectation that P&O would be pulling out - I don't think anyone really expected they would drag it out until 2010 but they did, with the POB in increasingly poor condition. We visited her in Portsmouth just before the end in 2010 and the office staff there were already triangulating how to revive things with a new operator - the names of the Blue Horizon and the Ikarus Palace were two which were bandied about; the latter would have been a fantastic ship to come to the UK, she and her various half-sisters are superior to the rival Superfasts in most ways.

I thought Ikarus Palace was one being named as a Irish consortium service from either Rosslare or Dublin to Bilbao but the economy in Ireland at the time didn't make it viable?

ALSA (owned by National Express) also had a look at Poole - Gijon with either Regina Baltica or Napoleon Boneparte in their thoughts, I think there was a Greek ferry in the mix too, can't remember which but she was a late '70's build?

We know it was LD who eventually took the plunge but couldn't compete with BF due to the MoS funding they received.

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3 hours ago, jonno said:

I loved sailing on her to Spain as I did Bretagne & VDL too. For me the difference was the onboard vibe. PoB was the ship you sailed on with your mates, Bretagne, VDL & Pont Aven were the ships you sailed on with the girlfriend/Wife & the kids.

Whatever the PoB lacked in modernity, she certainly made up for in atmosphere. Likewise, with MV Fortuny a very chill atmosphere onboard.

 

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10 minutes ago, zuludelta said:

Whatever the PoB lacked in modernity, she certainly made up for in atmosphere. Likewise, with MV Fortuny a very chill atmosphere onboard.

 

I sailed on Pride of Bilbao for the one and only time back in 2009, and would agree with many of the comments about her condition by that stage; she looked very tired and dated compared to any of the BF ships at that time. I would also very much agree that the mini-cruises she did (most of the other passengers seemed to be on mini-cruises) were definitely something to sample with your mates, rather than your significant other. She remains the only ship on which I witnessed a full-blown brawl on the dance floor, in 'Silverstones', complete with beer glasses being thrown around - not even on my 5 Newcastle-Amsterdam trips to date have I seen anything quite like that on any other ferry. 

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13 minutes ago, Ryan_H said:

I sailed on Pride of Bilbao for the one and only time back in 2009, and would agree with many of the comments about her condition by that stage; she looked very tired and dated compared to any of the BF ships at that time. I would also very much agree that the mini-cruises she did (most of the other passengers seemed to be on mini-cruises) were definitely something to sample with your mates, rather than your significant other. She remains the only ship on which I witnessed a full-blown brawl on the dance floor, in 'Silverstones', complete with beer glasses being thrown around - not even on my 5 Newcastle-Amsterdam trips to date have I seen anything quite like that on any other ferry. 

She was quite unique in terms of atmosphere alright.

I remember visiting Silverstones at around 10pm one night and had to make a hasty retreat. It was like a crowded working mans club at sea. However, the nice thing about the ship it's choice and size. Going up to the "Posh Bar" - atmosphere totally different. In fact, it was like being on another ship. During the daytime, Silverstones was just like a normal pub albeit some fantastic stern views of Bay of Biscay. 

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4 hours ago, zuludelta said:

She was quite unique in terms of atmosphere alright.

I remember visiting Silverstones at around 10pm one night and had to make a hasty retreat. It was like a crowded working mans club at sea. However, the nice thing about the ship it's choice and size. Going up to the "Posh Bar" - atmosphere totally different. In fact, it was like being on another ship. During the daytime, Silverstones was just like a normal pub albeit some fantastic stern views of Bay of Biscay. 

I also liked her arcade on starboard side. Lots of comfy casual chairs with great sea views and a good place to people watch. DFDS vessels also had this arcade / lounge concept.

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20 hours ago, Seashore said:

I’m now holding out for Bristol, I live in Devon and it’s quicker and easier for me to get to Bristol than Plymouth.

Maybe you should re-name yourself ‘Bristol City’ in order to proclaim the benefits of the aforementioned.

😀

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On 07/09/2020 at 15:39, TonyMWeaver said:

Tony is there no deck plans yet for the Galicia?has you said when the cf got cancelled for my January crossing ,we were moved over to the galicia .got the ticket today but no other info and which I understand there is two types of cabins  but ticket does not tell me which cabin we have got apart cabin 740.i will give them a call tomorrow morning.stay safe

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2 hours ago, nodwad said:

Tony is there no deck plans yet for the Galicia?has you said when the cf got cancelled for my January crossing ,we were moved over to the galicia .got the ticket today but no other info and which I understand there is two types of cabins  but ticket does not tell me which cabin we have got apart cabin 740.i will give them a call tomorrow morning.stay safe

You should get the guide soon, the BF team are working on the guide now and should be released soon. Unfortunately, you can't look up the guides from Stena Estrid or Stena Edda as they are different.

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I doubt she’d have gone to the trouble of anchoring just to kill a few hours before docking alongside.  She’d have just pottered around at sea until it was time to come in.

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1 hour ago, Gareth said:

I doubt she’d have gone to the trouble of anchoring just to kill a few hours before docking alongside.  She’d have just pottered around at sea until it was time to come in.

Ships often go to anchor for a few hours prior to their berth becoming available. In my experience, only the occasional large car carrier or container ship will 'drift' (engine off) prior to entering the Thames Estuary.

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