Brittany Ferries has strengthened its commitment to Ireland and Rosslare by announcing its newest ferry to serve its Irish routes to Spain and France, launching in November.
The ‘Salamanca’ will replace Brittany’s freight-orientated vessel the ‘Connemara’ and will operate for five months.
The ‘cruise-style’ ‘Salamanca’ is also Brittany Ferries’ first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered ship.
It will sail from Rosslare to Cherbourg on Mondays, and from Rosslare to Bilbao on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Its sister ship, the ‘Galicia’ will take over to complete the summer season for 2023, but Brittany Ferries has said the ‘Salamanca’ is likely to return to serve the route on a permanent basis from 2024.
On a recent visit to Ireland, Brittany Ferries’ president, 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 2, 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 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.
Reservations on the ship can be made for Spanish services as of now, as the company has just opened phase one of its books for the 2023 season.
“LNG-powered ships, like the ‘Salamanca’, are part of our long-term plan for Ireland,” said Brittany Ferries chief executive Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries.
“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,” he said.
Rosslare Europort general manager, Glenn Carr said: “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 south-east region as a whole.”