BY TIM HEDGLEY, GROUP TRAVEL EDITOR
Brittany Ferries has announced that its first LNG powered ‘cruise style’ ferry will serve Ireland from November this year.
‘Salamanca’ will replace freight-oriented vessel ‘Connemara’ and will operate for five months.
Sister-ship Galicia will take over to complete the summer season 2023, but the company says Salamanca is likely to return to serve the route full-time from 2024.
Reservations on the ship can be made for Spanish services from today, June 22nd, as the company has just opened phase one of its books for 2023 season: https://www.brittany-ferries.ie/ferry-routes/planning/2023-sailings
Salamanca will sail from the Rosslare to Cherbourg on Mondays, and from Rosslare to Bilbao on Wednesdays and Fridays. Like Galicia, she is a fully-appointed cruise-ferry with bars, restaurants, a cinema and shops.
The news was welcomed by Rosslare Europort who see it as having great potential for Rosslare Europort, the South-East and for tourism and trade in Ireland in general.
On a recent visit to Ireland, President of Brittany Ferries, Monsieur Jean Marc Roué, confirmed that a new cruise ferry, would take over from the ‘Connemara’ on the Rosslare routes to Spain and France this autumn. ‘Salamanca’ will set sail for the first time on November 2nd, a further endorsement of the company’s commitment to Ireland.
Launched in March 2022, ‘Salamanca’ is Brittany Ferries’ newest vessel, and first-ever to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). The fuel is far kinder to the environment, and particularly for those living and working around ports. Local air quality emissions like particulates and nitrogen dioxide are almost eliminated, while CO2 is cut by as much as 20% thanks to more efficient combustion.
Salamanca is currently serving Portsmouth in the UK to Santander in Spain. It is the first of four LNG-powered ferries to join the Brittany Ferries fleet.
By 2025 this will include two LNG-electric hybrids, capable of running on gas, on batteries or a combination of the two – like a hybrid car.
Confirmation of the new ship for Ireland follows recent booking data showing a sharp increase in reservations.
Passenger numbers in and out of both Cork and Rosslare, are up by 44% on figures for 2019, the last year of uninterrupted travel before the pandemic.
“LNG-powered ships like the Salamanca are part of our long-term plan for Ireland,” said Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries CEO.
“They are a are a clear statement of our commitment to the future, to fleet renewal and importantly to the ports in which we operate.
“They are cleaner vessels from day one, significantly cutting emissions and have the capacity to be even greener in the years to come.
“That’s because Salamanca is capable of running on future fuels like e-methane or bio-methane should these become available in future.”
Salamanca is one of the largest ships in the Brittany Ferries Fleet. An E-Flexer class vessel, she is 214.5 m long, with ten decks and gross tonnage of 41,716 UMS. She can host up to 1,015 passengers in 341 cabins with nearly 3km of space in her garage ready to transport cars and freight. Once operational, the service between Rosslare Europort and Cherbourg will take 13 hours, while the Rosslare Europort to Bilbao crossing will take 28 hours
Glenn Carr, General Manager, Rosslare Europort said “Rosslare Europort very much welcomes the introduction of Salamanca and in due course Galicia by Brittany Ferries to its services into the port.
The introduction of these “cruise style” vessels will benefit both our freight and particularly our passenger customers. The additional volume these new ships will deliver will also bring great economic benefit to Wexford and to the southeast region as a whole”