Category: Blog posts

Maintaining Ancona

A whole day in port – time for the crew to take a breather and relax in advance of another packed sailing in the evening?

Not so for the crew of the Ancona. Even with her imminent retirement, there were lots of routine maintenance tasks to perform during a stopover in the ship’s namesake port in mid-July. I suspect maybe some of the officers were taking it easy, but plenty of the crew were out in the mid-day sun – washing, painting, brushing or testing lifeboats. Here are some pictures of them hard at work – many taken, I must confess, from the comfort of a table in the shade of the canopy at the old Stazione Marittima‘s restaurant.

Lifeboat drill in the morning.

Lifeboat drill in the morning.

No. 2 in the water, no 4 coming down. In the background is a fellow former North Sea ship: once of Rederi Ab Svea/Svenska Lloyd's big rivals, the ex-Tor Dania is now AGEMAR's Filippos.

No. 2 in the water, no 4 coming down. In the background is a fellow former North Sea ship: once of Rederi Ab Svea/Svenska Lloyd's big rivals, the ex-Tor Dania is now AGEMAR's Filippos.

Splashdown...

Splashdown...

A rusty smear just within stretching distance.

A rusty smear just within stretching distance.

Good as new. Well, sort of.

Good as new. Well, sort of.

Down on Promenade Deck, a colleague is wrapped up against the Summer chill.

Down on Promenade Deck, a colleague is wrapped up against the Summer chill.

The Ancona and the Hellenic Spirit shine together in the afternoon sun.

The Ancona and the Hellenic Spirit shining together in the afternoon sun.

Blog admin

Note that you can now follow this blog via Google Friend Connect by following the link on the bottom of the right-hand sidebar.

Meanwhile, Bruce Peter’s new blog has been added to the links section. The first ship-related posting is a paean to the Kungsholm.

Smokin’ in the Sun

The peak season for Southern Europe’s ferry fleets is in full swing with chartered, elderly and seasonal tonnage pressed into service alongside the regular ships to cope with the seasonal demand.

One thing that is notable from sailing in the area in recent times has been the dark and oily emissions from many of the ferries’ funnels. Ever-higher fuel costs have meant that many operators have opted for the lowest grade fuel oils available, presumably after considering the potential adverse effects this can have on the machinery against the cost savings. The results in terms of emissions from the ships themselves are quite spectacular – though hardly environmentally friendly. Here are a few images from the past year or so of Southern Europe’s ferries, and the results of what their owners have been feeding them.

Isabel Del Mar

Isabel Del Mar

Isla de Botafoc

Isla de Botafoc

Berkane

Berkane

Moby Corse

Moby Corse

Moby Corse

Moby Corse

Moby Vincent

Moby Vincent

Mega Express Five

Mega Express Five

Moby Freedom

Moby Freedom

Moby Freedom

Moby Freedom

Liburnija

Liburnija

Azzurra

Azzurra

Sveti Stefan II

Sveti Stefan II

Sveti Stefan II

Sveti Stefan II

Athens

Athens

Ionis

Ionis

Rigel

Rigel

Rigel

Rigel

Apollon

Apollon

Flaminia

Flaminia

Elli T

Elli T

Superfast VI (and her self-made weather system)

Superfast VI (and her self-made weather system)

Superfast VI

Superfast VI

Penelope A

Penelope A

Phivos

Phivos

Last, but not least, from a couple of years ago the Romilda, notorious for spewing dirty fumes before it became fashionable.

Last, but not least, from a couple of years ago the Romilda, notorious for spewing dirty fumes before it became fashionable.

Cool Hollandica conquers Stena Blandica

Despite being one of the world’s most successful ferry companies, the mundanity of Stena Line’s modern on board offering has always been puzzling, almost as if the company were determined to portray a ferry crossing as something everyday, nothing to get excited about. The food has never been too much to write home about and the decor from ship to ship was broadly consistent – there were the myriad different ‘Globetrotter’s, dear old Spike’s Sports Bar, Rudi’s Diner or, latterly, the dreaded Food City. Perhaps this familiarity was meant to be reassuring. For a company with such a wide variety of operations I have always found it rather constraining and the chosen decor somewhat depressing – descriptions of floating motorway service stations have not been far from the mark.

Food City - Stena Baltica

Food City - Stena Baltica

I will not, cannot, argue though against Stena’s success. There was once a memorable, possibly apocriphal, quote from Gothenburg that the company just couldn’t find enough things to do with its money. In the ferry part of the Stena sphere, in addition to operating ships, that money was made from building and rebuilding, buying and selling, predicting how the market was going to grow and ordering the right ships at just the right time – when prices were cheap, yards were desperate or demand about to explode.

Yet I had wondered if no one in Gothenburg in more recent times has ever really understood anything other than the freight market, that to many passengers even the shortest ferry crossing IS extraordinary and perhaps the experience deserves to be a little exceptional.

Stena Danica (1969)

Stena Danica (1969)

Despite being founded on a philosophy little short of ‘pile em high and sell em cheap’ earlier Stena ships were in many ways very beautiful indeed: the Stena Danica of 1969 ranks as perhaps the most beautiful ever Swedish ferry, inside and out. The Yugoslav quartet of the early 1970s were rather striking when one got past the flower power touches; the ‘Danica’ and ‘Jutlandica’ of 1983 as built actually were rather lovely and even the potentially soul-lessly huge Kiel ships of 1987/88 had endearing touches.

Stena Olympica (1972)

Stena Olympica (1972)

Stena Germanica (1987)

Stena Germanica (1987)

In the 1990s however what we can call the ‘Stena Blandica’ look took over. Wipe clean surfaces and slightly cheap looking shiny laminate flooring predominated. Worst of all, the desire to apply this look to every ship, regardless of service, took over and so, for example, one found on the overnight ships ‘Germanica’ and ‘Scandinavica’ where once there had been a series of delightful inter-connected à la carte restaurants a dreary Food City was installed instead. Passenger numbers have fallen dramatically from their peak: social and economic factors outside Stena’s control doubtless accounts for much of this yet one still wonders if Stena needlessly abandoned some of the non-transport market it once had.

Food City has now been discarded – the standardisation of onboard names and styles remains however. Yet, in recent times, there has been a marked uptick: starting with the Irish Sea fleet, suddenly Stena has endeavoured to decorate its ships in a most Scando-trendy and sympathetic style. The 2008 and 2009 refits of the Stenas Voyager, Caledonia and Nordica were perhaps the first hints of this movement, whilst the rebuild of the newly acquired Stena Navigator was the first really coherent evidence.

Stena Voyager (in 2008)

Stena Voyager (in 2008)

Stena Nordica (in 2009)

Stena Nordica (in 2009)

Stena Nordica (in 2009)

Stena Nordica (in 2009)

Stena Caledonia (in 2009)

Stena Caledonia (in 2009)

Stena Navigator

Stena Navigator

Which brings us, at last, to the Stena Hollandica, newly built for the Harwich-Hook of Holland route. Here, for once cast free from the constraints of converting existing tonnage, Stena’s house designers, Figura, had the chance to show just what they could achieve. A first glance of the ship’s guide is all too familiar: here is your C-View Bar, there your ‘Taste’ Buffet and over there a Riva Bar. Yet despite the familiarity somehow the whole coheres in a quite striking way. Carpets, seating, some bulkhead finishes and even layouts are replicated from other recent ships yet now it all makes sense and is often quite beautiful. Some unpleasant finishes remain such as a couple of the once uniform shiny metallic ceilings; the outside decks have, with more work still to do, thus far failed to remotely replicate the progressiveness of those on the ‘Navigator’. Yet these are quibbles, for in the ‘Hollandica’ Stena have introduced probably the newbuild ferry of 2010. One thing which is striking is the choice of a wood-effect laminate for many of the bulkheads in the corridors and arcades. This is all a mirage of course – doubtless there is not a single grain of wood in any of the wall panelling – and one could choose to take them to task for choosing effect over reality. However the effect is to make the ship feel distinctly warm in a quite endearingly old-fashioned way, perfect for an overnight ship.

The new Stena Hollandica: Metropolitan Restaurant

The new Stena Hollandica: Metropolitan Restaurant

Taste

Taste

Taste Restaurant

Taste Restaurant

Taste Restaurant

Taste Restaurant

Riva Bar

Riva Bar

Stena Plus

Stena Plus

Freight drivers' lounge

Freight drivers' lounge

Freight drivers' lounge

Freight drivers' lounge

Conference room

Conference room

Aft lounge

Aft lounge

Suite

Suite

Stena Line has since the loss of Duty Free focussed on freight – and the ‘Hollandica’s vast vehicle decks show that for good reason this will continue to be the case. But the passenger side did seem to have become a little neglected: the agonised debate on LandgÃ¥ngen as to why the Stena-dominated Swedish West Coast can no longer support “cruise ferries” whereas on the East Coast ex-Stockholm mini cruises continue to thrive offers a few pointers in what could be perceived to have gone wrong. “Sterile” and “easy to clean” are two descriptions from that discussion which apply certainly to the current state of the Stena Danica, rebuilt in 2003 along much the same lines as Fishguard’s Stena Europe. The ‘Danica’, on the company’s premier route, deserves more than any other ship to be rescued from its sad ‘Blandica’ era and given just a little hint of the ‘Hollandica’ treatment. And maybe, just maybe, Stena will discover that people in the company’s home town will once more feel the urge to head out to sea – and that beautiful ships and profitable services are not as mutually exclusive as they perhaps had come to believe.

The Paddle Steamer Ryde


Some pictures of the pitiable remains of the paddle steamer Ryde seen at Binfield on 3 May 2010.

Completed by Denny’s in Dumbarton in 1937, the ship operated between Portsmouth and Ryde Pier for a period stretching over 30 years, interrupted by war service during which she participated in the Dunkirk evacuation and supported on the Normandy beaches. Latterly, she was used only seasonally before being retired in 1969. She has spent longer still in her post-service career, taken to a site adjacent to what is now the Binfield Marina on the Isle of Wight where, as a hotel, bar and nightclub she was closed more often than not.

The millpond in which she was originally berthed has long since mostly dried up, leaving the ship entombed in the mud. A couple of years ago, the funnel collapsed during a storm and, more recently, she has been partially demolished.
There can be no come back for the ship from here.

Farewell Mette Mols, Balkanija, Istra

A few weeks ago, Jadrolinija’s Istra was sold for scrapping in Turkey. As the Mette Mols, Mols Linien’s very first ship, she was the lead vessel of what became a very successful class of four completed by the Aalborg shipyard between 1966 and 1969. Passing to Jadrolinija in 1981, initially as the Balkanija, the Istra is the first of the quartet to pass for scrap.

Her demise is not entirely unexpected: for most of the past decade there have been rumours that every season may be her last. Her engines were in notoriously poor shape – one wonders if the engine room explosion which forced her passengers to flee in the lifeboats back in 1970 had any long-term impact. The Croatians made her work however and, although long since relegated from the coastal express or international services, she was still a local favourite as she chugged slowly along from Split to Stari Grad, Hvar Town, Vela Luka or Ubli.

On board she was a time warp: although she had been modified in places over the years, particularly with the addition of a Duty Free shop and a small number of cabins in part of the aft cafeteria, she was in many places still that pioneering little Danish domestic ferry right to the end and was maintained in pretty good general condition, all things considered. In her final seasons, even the former first class restaurant on the upper passenger deck was tidied up, the Italian rosewood panelling polished, white tablecloths laid and the tiny galley pressed into action to produce some unexpectedly good lunches.

The Istra's main lobby.

The Istra's main lobby.

But one knew it couldn’t last – with the local shipyards churning out new double-ended ferries at an alarming rate, supplemented by some second-hand Greek acquisitions of dubious quality, Jadrolinija’s fleet expansion was outpacing even the growth of the Croatian tourist industry and the older ships have, after decades of reliable and memorable service, finally started to make way. The Ivan Zajc was dispensed with for last year and even the glorious little Liburnija, the pride of the fleet, now faces an uncertain future.

After 29 years, one civil war, several post-war refugee sailings and the odd mishap, the Istra, one of the “legends” of Croatian coastal shipping, left her lay up berth in Å ibenik on 6 May bound for Aliaga.

From the scrapyard: Oujda


The pair of stretched ‘Super Vikings’, Oujda (ex-Viking Venturer/ Pride of Hampshire) and Mogador (ex-Viking Valiant/Pride of Le Havre/Cherbourg) were sold for scrap earlier in the year and Unique Marine Machinery have, in the process, taken posession of a couple of items from the former ship, in particular the ship’s bell and the builder’s plate from her 1986 rebuilding and these are now available for sale through their website.


The ships did not have entirely satisfactory final years, bouncing around between COMANAV charters and service for their owners El Salam. COMANAV latterly were able to source better-quality charter tonnage and the ships disappeared to the Red Sea, never to return.

Naples to Milan, via Palermo. Part 1: SNAV Sardegna

Over the Easter weekend I found myself in Naples – with a need to get to Milan a couple of days later. By train this is a journey of a little under five hours, but with time to spare a more interesting way of doing things appealed and so I decided to take something of a “long cut”, via SNAV to Palermo on Sicily, then taking one of the longest domestic train journeys in Europe, the ‘Trinacria’ sleeper from Palermo to Milano Centrale.

Arriving in port in the early evening from Ischia on board Medmar’s local ferry the Lora d’Abundo, a fine selection of ships was to be found in refit or layup. These included the Moby Corse (ex- Pont-l’Abbé/Dana Anglia), still under refit in advance of her entry into service on Moby’s new Corsica routings; next to the Stazione Marittima the Leviathan (ex-Wilhelmshaven), reportedly due to be converted into a restaurant vessel for Venice; and the long laid-up Logudoro of BlueVia/FS, late of the old Civitavecchia-Golfo Aranci train ferry route. There was, however, no sign of the Abundo (ex-Quiberon/Nils Dacke), so she may well have already begun her voyage to the scrapyard.

On the other side of the Stazione Marittima was the little Leviathan (ex-Wilhelmshaven).

On the other side of the Stazione Marittima was the little Leviathan (ex-Wilhelmshaven).

The remains of the Ischia Express (ex-Freia).

The remains of the Ischia Express (ex-Freia).

One veteran whose end has been less than noble is the 1936 car ferry pioneer the Freia, later the Ischia Express, whose half butchered remains are still floating alongside one of the more distant quaysides. SNAV’s Adriatic fast craft pair the Croazia Jet and Pescara Jet were alongside the Western breakwater, awaiting a Summer return to service, whilst nearer the shipyards were Tirrenia’s inglorious Aries and Capricorn. With no cruise ships in port on this evening however, one huge passenger vessel dominated everything – the brand new Cruise Olympia of Minoan Lines, which had been brought around from the Fincantieri yard in Castellammare di Stabia to dry dock in Naples in advance of a June debut on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona run.

The Moby Corse and Cruise Olympia

The Moby Corse and Cruise Olympia

Three ferries were lined up ready to take their evening departures to Sicily – the Trinacria of TTT Lines, Tirrenia’s Raffaele Rubattino and SNAV’s SNAV Sardegna (ex-Pride of Le Havre/Olau Hollandia). SNAV are ultimately a subsidiary of transport giants MSC and have had the financial support which has enabled them to establish a decent network of Italian domestic overnight services over the course of the past decade using a fleet of five ex-North European ferries. SNAV stands for Societe Navigazione Alta Velocita and the company’s legacy fast craft services in the Gulf of Naples remain, together with some more recently added Adriatic high speed services.

The SNAV Sardegna from astern.

The SNAV Sardegna from astern.

The ‘Sardegna’ and her sister (SNAV Lazio, ex-Olau Britannia) are employed during the peak season on the Sardinian run to Olbia from Civitavecchia – this is presently being covered by the former Peter Wessel (now SNAV Toscana); in season the latter ship operates the seasonal Civitavecchia-Palermo line. The ‘regular’ Naples ships are another pair of ex-P&O sisters, the SNAV Campania (ex-Norstar) and SNAV Sicilia (ex-Norland); in recent weeks the ‘Sardegna’ and ‘Sicilia’ have been maintaining the service together; over Easter, however, the ‘Lazio’ was deployed on the run alongside her sister, leaving the former North Sea Ferries vessels laid up/under refit in Palermo.

Earlier this year SNAV announced that they were planning an interior rebuild of the former Olau pair to increase vehicle capacity; one could have been forgiven for fearing the worst – the ships’ half sister the Stena Baltica (ex-Koningin Beatrix) was heavily modified in 2005 with an upper freight deck and drive through loading and the results have not been entirely satisfactory – from the outside at least. Not that there has ever been much external beauty to this pair of slab sided jumbo ferries, but still the prospect of strange lumps and bumps, duck tails and sponsons would do little to improve things. As I walked up to the ‘Sardegna’ on her berth however the ship looked remarkably unchanged, the only discordant note being SNAV’s livery which, in dark black, is slightly too severe to be entirely attractive (although on paper one would have thought it should be).

The main vehicle deck.

The main vehicle deck.

Walking on board over the car deck, a quick glance around gave an indication of the work done however – looking upwards to either side, new areas of car deck were visible where once there had been two decks of cabins either side of the upper freight deck (with which the ships, unlike the former ‘KB’, were built, loaded slightly cumbersomely over one level forward and aft and accessed via huge ramps).

SNAV first acquired the ships after the end of their UK service in 2005 and the original pre-service refits made only modest changes onboard – most notably the addition of a forgettable ‘SKY TV saloon’ on Deck 7 adjacent to the information desk and main lobby, an area previously part of the large shopping complex. Beyond that, and subject to some new signage and SNAV posters, the ships were left largely unchanged from their final P&O guises and this remains the case today. Cabins found forward on Decks 7, 8 and 9 and through Decks 10 and 11 remain, although since some of those removed in the car deck extension were crew accommodation, certain cabins elsewhere have been appropriated to compensate.

The TV lounge built in the area of the former Duty Free shop.

The TV lounge built in the area of the former Duty Free shop.

Aft of the remaining section of shop (which even in its reduced state still looks too large, featuring plenty of unstocked shelves) can be found the self service restaurant, fitted out by P&O in 2002/03 in the slightly dismal International Food Court style. What was originally the curiously located disco and latterly a roro drivers’ restaurant remains in a corner of the self service, and seems to be sometimes used by crew.

On the port side, shown here is the remaining shop and the arcade heading aft to the self service restaurant.

On the port side, shown here is the remaining shop and the arcade heading aft to the self service restaurant.

The self service - after closing time.

The self service - after closing time.

On the Deck above, that final P&O refurbishment again predominates – the former Langan’s restaurant is to starboard and the Harbour Coffee Company to port. Aft on the port side is the old Club Class lounge, which is largely unchanged save for some rearranging of the furniture – this space isn’t always open with SNAV, largely dependent on whether passengers booked with reclining seats are accommodated here or in the lounge on the deck above.

The main restaurant, formerly Langan's, on Deck 8.

The main restaurant, formerly Langan's, on Deck 8.

Looking from the Coffee Shop towards the restaurant to starboard.

Looking from the Coffee Shop towards the restaurant to starboard.

The former Harbour Coffee Company area, to port on Deck 8.

The former Harbour Coffee Company area, to port on Deck 8.

The entrance to the former Club Class area, aft on Deck 8.

The entrance to the former Club Class area, aft on Deck 8.

An overall view of the forward section of the old Club Lounge.

An overall view of the forward section of the old Club Lounge.

On Deck 9 the port area was originally a series of small conference rooms with a cinema; quite what use the conference facilities saw under either Olau or P&O I’m not sure but in the 1990s they were partly appropriated for use as an additional cinema whilst part of the main bar, aft, was carved out to serve as a large reclining seat lounge. SNAV use the former conference spaces as a ‘library’ and, typical for Italian ferries, a card room, but – equally typically – both these spaces were locked on this crossing.

The small seating area adjacent to the old conference suite still has decor harking back to the 'Las Vegas Bar' name of the adjacent showlounge. This space also retains the original carpetting, complete with tiny inlaid tulips.

The small seating area adjacent to the old conference suite still has decor harking back to the 'Las Vegas Bar' name of the adjacent showlounge. This space also retains the original carpetting, complete with tiny inlaid tulips.

To starboard, a narrow arcade winds its way back to the main showlounge (originally the Las Vegas Bar, in its final P&O days it became, depressingly, another Silverstones). Inboard of the arcade are small seating areas, a children’s play area and an area of slot machines; as on other Italian ferries, the desire to see and be seen means that the tables lining this arcade prove surprisingly popular – an ideal place to people watch and engage in energetic discussion, on this occasion in particular the Serie A game between Sicilian rivals Catania and Palermo which was being shown live on TV screens throughout the ship, resulted in a 2-0 win for Catania and proved to be the subject of much anguished Palermitan hand-wringing.

The narrow arcade leading aft on the starboard side to the bar on Deck 9.

The narrow arcade leading aft on the starboard side to the bar on Deck 9.

Seating area adjacent to the bar's entrance.

Seating area adjacent to the bar's entrance.

The aft bar - as with their TT Line sisters, the decor of the Olau Line ships included plenty of decorative glass features, and a lot of these remain today.

The aft bar - as with their TT Line sisters, the decor of the Olau Line ships included plenty of decorative glass features, and a lot of these remain today.

Before departure I took the chance to have a quick peek at the new car deck areas; one reason the modifications are almost unnoticeable from the outside is that the cabin windows all remain, resulting in a reasonably well lit space. Presumably only limited structural or buoyancy modifications are required as the cabin areas have been converted only for cars rather than freight so the weight impact is less marked. The access arrangements look slightly tortuous, particularly on the upper of the two decks, Deck 6, whose centre section has always been a retractable mezzanine deck. So the new area at this level is to the side of a mezzanine accessed from an upper freight deck accessed from a ramp from the main deck. I wouldn’t count on getting out of there in much less than an hour after arrival on a full sailing.

The new car deck area at Deck 6 level on the starboard side.

The new car deck area at Deck 6 level on the starboard side.

Linking bridges have been built forward and aft at Deck 6 level to enable port/starboard movement.

Linking bridges have been built forward and aft at Deck 6 level to enable port/starboard movement.

Looking forward from Deck 6 with the new area on Deck 5 (to port) visible.

Looking forward from Deck 6 with the new area on Deck 5 (to port) visible.

The view from Deck 5, looking forward.

The view from Deck 5, looking forward.

The one other significant difference which previous passengers will notice from the rebuild is in the main lobby where originally quite distinctive staircases led down on either side both to gangway doors and the cabin decks below – these have now been removed and, with all the lobby furniture also having disappeared at some stage, the whole space now looks rather spartan.

With reception in the background, this picture on the ship in 2007 shows one of the old staircases leading down to Deck 6, now removed.

With reception in the background, this picture on the ship in 2007 shows one of the old staircases leading down to Deck 6, now removed.

A 2007 view at Deck 6 level.

A 2007 view at Deck 6 level.

The main lobby as it is after the 2010 rebuild.

The main lobby as it is after the 2010 rebuild.

Another view, on the port side.

Another view, on the port side.

Four berth inside cabin, with the upper berths folded away.

Four berth inside cabin, with the upper berths folded away.

The Trinacria prepares to depart for Catania on Sicily's east coast.

The Trinacria prepares to depart for Catania on Sicily's east coast.

Passing the Cruise Olympia on our departure for Palermo.

Passing the Cruise Olympia on our departure for Palermo.

Departure at 8pm was on time with only a light load aboard; the ship sailed in the company of the Raffaele Rubattino through the night and was on the berth in Palermo by the scheduled 6.30am the next morning. Dinner in the self service was fine, although rather expensive, and the allocated inside four berth cabin entirely original but clean enough. In Palermo a nice collection of ex-North Sea tonnage was to be found laid up, with the SNAV Sicilia and Campania together with the adorable little Baia Sardinia (ex-Tor Anglia, Tor Line’s very first ship). Amongst the other ships visible were SIREMAR’s fast craft Isola di Stromboli and Tirrenia’s Clodia (on dry dock) and Vincenzo Florio (laid up on the outer breakwater, still awaiting the tow to Croatia for the repairs required following her catastrophic fire in May 2009).

The Clodia on dry dock.

The Clodia on dry dock.

Beneath the bows of the SNAV Sardegna at Palermo, the Baia Sardinia and the SNAV Campania.

Beneath the bows of the SNAV Sardegna at Palermo, the Baia Sardinia and the SNAV Campania.

One couldn’t really have any complaints with SNAV’s service – certainly I think the ex-Olau twins are of a slightly higher standard than the route’s normal ships, but even then the difference is relatively marginal as the ex-NSF pair are very well maintained although again largely unchanged from their P&O days. With the established competition from Tirrenia not always of the highest standard, despite their more modern fleet, SNAV’s success on this route can be readily understood. The company has been talking about new tonnage since 2004 when a pair of vessels for the Naples-Palermo link were supposedly ordered in Brazil (the 2005 brochure even included an artist’s impression of the first ship “currently under construction, to be launched in June 2006”) but this apparently came to naught. Then, in April 2007, an announcement was made that a letter of intent had been signed for four large ships from Astilleros de Sevilla with capacity for 1,500 passengers and 3,400 lane metres. This option was allowed to lapse however and the company’s fleet looks set to remain unchanged for the next couple of years at least.

Pictorial interlude: Reflections

Pearl of Scandinavia

Pearl of Scandinavia


Sardinia Regina

Sardinia Regina


Sophocles Venizelos

Sophocles Venizelos


Stena Scandinavica & Color Magic

Stena Scandinavica & Color Magic


Corsica Marina Seconda

Corsica Marina Seconda


Grand Princess

Grand Princess


Apollon

Apollon


Cristal (courtesy Ann Haynes)

Cristal (courtesy Ann Haynes)


Pride of Hull

Pride of Hull


Stena Navigator

Stena Navigator


Superfast VI

Superfast VI


Corse

Corse


Riviera Adriatica & Flaminia

Riviera Adriatica & Flaminia


Mega Smeralda

Mega Smeralda

Superfast V: the end

On Friday 12 February, the Superfast V arrived in Patras from Ancona after her last crossing on the route she has served primarily since being delivered in 2001. Later that day she left Patras for the final time, with much farewell horn blowing from other ships in port, and early in the morning of the 13th she was off Syros in advance of a very brief drydocking in the floating dock there prior to handover to Brittany Ferries to become their Cap Finistère.

By the same afternoon the ship had dismounted the dry dock and preparations were in hand for the renaming with the Superfast titles on the hull and the ship’s name painted out. Nikos, a regular on nautilia.gr and resident of Syros, captured the ship as she entered port, and after drydocking with her former identity blanked out.




By the 14th, the ship had lost her Superfast markings...

By the 14th, the ship had lost her Superfast markings...




... for now however the Superfast flag remains flying.

... for now however the Superfast flag remains flying.

After the ship is finally handed over in Syros, it now appears to be Brittany Ferries’ intention to overhaul and repaint the ship elsewhere.

With thanks to Nikos V & nautilia.gr

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