French and Spanish ferry operator Brittany Ferries has launched the latest addition to its fleet, Galicia, in an online inauguration ceremony – a first for the company and the maritime sector.
Galicia is the first in a trio of sisterships, with the sisterships Salamanca and Santona set to arrive in 2022 and 2023. Galicia will serve routes linking Portsmouth and Santander (northern Spain) and Portsmouth and Cherbourg (Normandy). Galicia is making its first commercial crossing between Santander and Portsmouth on December 2.
Built at the CMJL shipyard in Weihai, China, Galicia is an ‘E-Flexer’ class ferry. With a length of 215 metres, hosting 3,000 lane metres of garage space, the super ferry is among the largest in the company’s fleet. Galicia offers a Spanish-styled interior with decor, paintings, photography, sculptures and murals inviting passengers to take a journey through the towns, countryside and coastlines of northern Spain. The theme will even extend to the food and drinks served on board, with authentic Spanish dishes and drinks on the menu in bars and restaurants.
‘Galicia’s arrival marks the start of a bright new future for Brittany Ferries,’ said CEO Christophe Mathieu. ‘When we ordered her, we could never have imagined the current pandemic situation and its impact on trade, travel and tourism. But she is our symbol of hope and optimism, and above all our confidence in a much brighter future on the horizon.
‘Our customers demand modern, comfortable and environmentally-friendly sea travel. We can only meet their expectations by introducing new, advanced and innovative ships. Galicia is a vital first step in our fleet renewal programme, and proof of our ongoing commitment to our customers, partners and colleagues in the years to come.’
Jean-Marc Roue, Brittany Ferries’ chairman added: ‘This has been a challenging year for our customers, and also for my colleagues across our business in France, the UK, Spain and Ireland.
‘But this is a new start, and Galicia is a sign of hope for all of us. She will be followed by two beautiful sister ships: Salamanca in 2022 and Santona in 2023. The entire project demonstrates our conviction and our ambition to continue serving our passengers, and our all-important freight clients, as well as the regions we serve during the years to come. We know that without them there would be no Brittany Ferries, and no Galicia.
‘We made this investment before the pandemic hit, but we still believe in this decision. Galicia will be kinder to the environment. She’ll be more efficient. And of course – she will be crewed by expert, welcoming French seafarers – an aspect our British customers appreciate. These three new ships are just the start of a bright new future for our company and most importantly our customers’.