After an eight-month layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brittany Ferries has finally sailed to Spain from Millbay Docks in Plymouth.
The first ferry left Millbay at 4:45pm on Sunday, June 6, with 807 passengers, 180 crew members and 421 vehicles making the voyage, before arriving in Santander at around 2pm on Monday afternoon.
The trip was undertaken by the company’s flagship ferry boat, the Pont-Aven, with spirits said to have been high among passengers and crew.
A Brittany Ferries spokesperson said: ‘It’s an exciting day here on the port. The sun is shining and it’s full of happy customers who are excited to be going on their holidays. There’s a real sense of normality in the air, as well as a sense of summer which has been much needed.’
At full capacity, the Pont-Aven can accommodate 2,400 passengers, 650 cars and has a total of 650 cabins, but in order to meet health requirements, the number of passengers allowed on board has been significantly reduced. Self-service restaurants have replaced A La Carte services and the main bars on all ships will not be open due to a change in the French government’s guidance.
While the sailing was seen as a step towards normality, passengers must still adhere to a number of Covid guidelines, including the wearing of masks, social distancing and utilising sanitising stations on deck. The ferry boat’s shops cinemas, playrooms and video games rooms have now opened with limited capacity, and with some on-board entertainment also now available.