Posts tagged: brittany ferries

The art of the Baie de Seine

Brittany Ferries introduced the Baie de Seine on their ‘économie’ services in Spring 2015; it was immediately clear that, although still a ro-pax rather than a cruise ferry, she featured an altogether more sophisticated passenger environment than the initial économie ship, the Etretat, which retained her essentially factory-fit Visentini interior design by Studio Ancora. For the Baie de Seine, however, BF went to some lengths to make the vessel feel more like one of their own.

Although ordered by Lloyd Sardegna back in 1999, delays at her Polish yard meant that the ship which became the Baie de Seine was never completed as intended and the order was cancelled. Instead, together with her earlier sister, she was acquired by DFDS and named Dana Sirena (the other vessel becoming Dana Gloria). For her intended role as the new Harwich-Esbjerg ship the ‘Sirena’ enjoyed quite substantial reconfiguring with the interior design being masterminded by Steen Friis, who was also behind the Maersk ‘D’ Class and Stena’s Killingholme quartet.

When the Dana Sirena, by then Sirena Seaways, passed to Brittany Ferries various pieces of DFDS artwork were removed, although some remain. To fill the gaps, the French operator delved into their warehouse and reintroduced pieces which had once featured on earlier ships – in particular the Duc de Normandie and Val de Loire.

Duc de Normandie

Duc de Normandie

The most represented artist on board is Serge Hanin, who in the early 1990s was commissioned to provide 25 pieces for the Normandie and then a further 20 for the Val de Loire. Appropriately enough, Hanin is from Lillebonne, just outside Le Havre, which port the Baie de Seine would be serving in her initial season.

Val de Loire

Val de Loire

In a further DFDS link, some of the pieces now aboard the Baie de Seine remained on the Val de Loire when that ship was sold to DFDS in 2006. For her first year as the King of Scandinavia, she retained much of her French artwork and several of the large ship models. These were subsequently replaced with items from DFDS’s own collection and returned to BF.

Forward on Deck 7 of the Baie de Seine is Le Cafe, which features a pair of paintings from Le Rabelais, the main bar of the old Val de Loire (the one on the right hung in the arcade leading to the bar on the starboard side).

Forward on Deck 7 of the Baie de Seine is Le Cafe, which features a pair of paintings from Le Rabelais, the main bar of the old Val de Loire (the one on the right hung in the arcade leading to the bar on the starboard side).

Le Rabelais, Val de Loire, January 2006.

Le Rabelais, Val de Loire (January 2006).

On Deck 8 forward is the Baie de Seine's main bar; this view looking over to port shows four different pieces.

On Deck 8 forward is the Baie de Seine’s main bar; this view looking over to port shows four different pieces.

The lady in the red dress is one of Serge Hanin's favourites and she appears in a variety of his pieces. The larger one on the left in this view was previously in Le Rabelais bar on the Val de Loire. The smaller portrait hung in the seating area adjacent to the shopping centre on the Val de Loire's Deck 9.

The lady in the red dress is one of Serge Hanin’s favourites and she appears in a variety of his pieces. The larger painting on the left in this view was previously in Le Rabelais on the Val de Loire. The smaller portrait hung in the seating area adjacent to the shopping centre on the Val’s Deck 9.

It can just about be seen here, behind the pillar, still in position on the King of Scandinavia in October 2006.

It can just about be seen here, behind the pillar, still in position on the King of Scandinavia in October 2006.

Another view of the Baie de Seine's bar, looking this time to starboard.

Another view of the Baie de Seine’s bar, looking this time to starboard.

This bored-looking waiter was once located on the starboard side of the main bar on the Val de Loire.

This bored-looking waiter was once located on the starboard side of the Le Rabelais.

Le Rabelais bar, Val de Loire, seen in January 2003.

Le Rabelais bar, Val de Loire (January 2003).

More of Hanin's grotesques from the Val de Loire this painting, now in the Baie de Seine's main bar, was previously located in the forward port corner of the bar/lounge of Le Rabelais.

More of Hanin’s grotesques from the Val de Loire – this painting, now in the Baie de Seine’s main bar, was previously located in the forward port corner of Le Rabelais.

Continuing aft on Deck 8 of the Baie de Seine, next is La Formule Self Service Restaurant. This predominantly features works that once hung aboard the Duc de Normandie but the view above also incorporates another Hanin from Le Rabelais (just visible to the left on the far bulkhead).

Continuing aft on Deck 8 of the Baie de Seine, next is La Formule Self Service Restaurant. This predominantly features works that once hung aboard the Duc de Normandie but the view above also incorporates another Hanin from Le Rabelais (just visible in the upper centre of this image).

The Columbus Club on the King of Scandinavia (ex-Val de Loire) in 2006, with the aforementioned picture still in place.

The Columbus Club on the King of Scandinavia (ex-Val de Loire) in 2006, with the aforementioned picture still in place.

The second of the pictures in the last-but-one image is a landscape scene from the Honfleur Restaurant on the Duc de Normandie, as pictured here in 2004.

The second of the pictures in the last-but-one image is a landscape scene from the Honfleur Restaurant on the Duc de Normandie, as pictured here in 2004.

The starboard side of the Baie de Seine's self-service. The artwork in this area is from the Duc de Normandie's L'Alembic bar.

The starboard side of the Baie de Seine’s self-service. The artwork in this area is from the Duc de Normandie’s L’Alembic bar.

L'Alembic bar, Duc de Normandie in 2003.

L’Alembic bar, Duc de Normandie in 2003.

La Formule self service, Baie de Seine (2015).

La Formule self service, Baie de Seine (2015).

La Formule self service, Baie de Seine (2015).

La Formule self service, Baie de Seine (2015).

L'Alembic Bar, Duc de Normandie, (2004).

L’Alembic Bar, Duc de Normandie (2004).

The Reading Lounge on the Baie de Seine, previously the Commodore Lounge in DFDS service.

The Reading Lounge on the Baie de Seine, previously the Commodore Lounge in DFDS service.

Hanging in the aft port corner is this work, by Jean Yves Blécon.

Hanging in the aft port corner is this work, by Jean Yves Blécon.

This previously could be found in the forward section of the Duc de Normandie's Honfleur restaurant (just about visible behind the partition in this image from 2004).

This previously could be found in the forward section of the Honfleur Restaurant on the Duc de Normandie (just about visible behind the partition in this image from 2004).

More art hangs in the Baie de Seine's stairwells and corridors. This painting shows a running of the bulls by the Catalan artist Lluis Busse.

More art hangs in the Baie de Seine’s stairwells and corridors. This painting shows a running of the bulls by the Catalan artist Lluis Busse.

Here it is alongside a matching painting on the starboard side of La Magdalena self service restaurant on the Val de Loire in 2006.

Here it is alongside a matching painting on the starboard side of La Magdalena self service restaurant on the Val de Loire in January 2006.

This Hanin, in the forward port side stairwell of the Baie de Seine, is another from Le Rabelais on the Val de Loire.

This Hanin, in the forward port side stairwell of the Baie de Seine, is another from Le Rabelais on the Val de Loire.

The port side of Le Rabelais, Val de Loire, in 2006. The chairs in the foreground, incidentally, were originally on the Pont-Aven.

The port side of Le Rabelais, Val de Loire, in 2006. The chairs in the foreground, incidentally, were originally on the Pont-Aven.

This scene of Spanish dancers is by Lluis Busse and was originally hung by the entrance to the self service restaurant on the Val de Loire.

This scene of Spanish dancers is by Lluis Busse and was originally hung by the entrance to the self service restaurant on the Val de Loire.

La Magdalena self service restaurant on the Val de Loire in January 2003 with the mentioned painting to the left.

La Magdalena self service restaurant on the Val de Loire in January 2003 with the mentioned painting to the left.

A final Hanin from Le Rabelais.

A final Hanin from Le Rabelais.

Here it is in its original location on the Val de Loire (2003).

Here it is in its original location on the Val de Loire (2003).

Also hanging in a stairwell on the Baie de Seine is this piece by Concepció Boncompte. It looks familiar and she definitely provided art for the Val de Loire but I haven't been able to place it on board that ship. It is dated 1989 which would be unusual - the 'Val' entered service with Brittany Ferries in 1993 and the company usually commissioned artworks rather than buying them off the shelf.

Also hanging in a stairwell on the Baie de Seine is this piece by Concepció Boncompte. It looks familiar and she definitely provided art for the Val de Loire but I haven’t been able to place it on board that ship. It is dated 1989 which would be unusual – the ‘Val’ entered service with Brittany Ferries in 1993 and the company usually commissioned artworks rather than buying them off the shelf.

Last but not least, something slightly different graces the bridge of the Baie de Seine - a splendid image of the Prinz Oberon of 1970 which served DFDS between 1981 and 1984.

Last but not least, something slightly different graces the bridge of the Baie de Seine – a splendid image of the Prinz Oberon of 1970 which served DFDS between 1981 and 1984.

Farewell Cornouailles, Havelet, Sveti Stefan

The Sveti Stefan of Montenegro Lines, originally Brittany Ferries’ Cornouailles of 1977, this afternoon arrived off Aliaga in Turkey prior to being scrapped.

The ship had been ordered by Brittany Ferries from the Trondheim Mekaniske Værksted following the company’s earlier charter of the Prince de Bretagne (ex-Falster, later Vega), which had been delivered by the Norwegian shipyard two years earlier. The Prince de Bretagne had lacked sufficient passenger space and was considered prone to rolling in even moderate seas but the French evidently saw enough in the basic design to order a similar vessel for themselves. Although the Cornouailles was built with significantly more accommodation, she did inherit some of the poor seakeeping characteristics of her half-sister and, most notably, nearly sank in an incident off Cork in 1992 when, in one of her final periods of service back with Brittany Ferries, she encountered a “freak wave” and barely made it into port.

The design of the Cornouailles was derived from that of the Prince de Bretagne (ex-Falster). She is seen as the Vega at Corfu in 1999.

The design of the Cornouailles was derived from that of the Prince de Bretagne (ex-Falster). That ship is seen as the Vega at Corfu in 1999; she was scrapped at Aliaga in 2004.

The Cornouailles replaced the smaller Penn-Ar-Bed as the mainstay of the Roscoff-Plymouth route but passenger traffic continued to grow and, in 1984, she was chartered out to SNCF for two years, being replaced in BF service by the Benodet (1984) and Tregastel (1985). Painted in full SNCF livery, the ship replaced the smaller Valencay and served as one of two French ships on the Dieppe-Newhaven operation, alongside the Chartres and the British Senlac.

Returing to her owners in January 1986 she initiated freight-only service on the new Ouistreham-Portsmouth route before being deployed that summer on a new passenger option on the Cherbourg-Poole Truckline operation that Brittany Ferries had acquired the previous year. This proved successful and for 1989 the ship was replaced by the Tregastel and transferred to BF’s other affiliate, British Channel Island Ferries, and renamed the Havelet. There she would begin over a decade of service to the islands, running as second ship to the Rozel (ex-St Edmund) between 1989 and 1992 and the Beauport (ex-Prince of Fundy, Reine Mathilde) from 1992 to 1993. When BCIF was taken over by rivals Condor/Commodore in 1994 she operated in support of the car-carrying catamarans until the arrival of the new Commodore Clipper in late 1999, after which she was laid up.

The Havelet eventually found a buyer in the form of Montenegro Lines, who had inherited the Bar-Bari route of Prekookeanska Plovidba which had maintained a car ferry service since the 1960s. The original ship, the first Sveti Stefan (ex-Djursland) operated on the route for three decades and, for a brief period in the 1980s, was joined by the Njegos – a ship which subsequently followed the Cornouailles in service at Roscoff and Poole as the Tregastel.

In 2003 Montenegro Lines acquired a second passenger ship in the shape of the Sveti Stefan II, originally the third Prinz Hamlet and latterly Polferries’ Nieborow. A shorter derivation of the KEH design that had produced the Gustav Vasa (later Norrona) and Nils Dacke (Quiberon), the ship was deployed primarily on the longer crossing from Bar to Ancona. The two ships operated together for a decade until, in early 2013, the newly-published summer timetables indicated that only a one-ship service would be offered to Bari with the Ancona route closed. The Sveti Stefan II was retained and the smaller Sveti Stefan was sold for scrap. Having maintained the core service through the winter, the ship made her final scheduled sailing from Bari to Bar on 16 April. Arriving the next morning, she was promptly destored and sailed straight for Aliaga just two days later.

I first travelled on the ship as part of a three-day visit to Montenegro in the summer of 2003. The Adriatic ferry scene has changed much in those ten years and most of the old ships we encountered on that trip have succumbed to the breakers. We had disembarked in the morning in Brindisi from the venerable Poseidonia of Hellenic Mediterranean Lines, the most famous of all Greek operators themselves no longer with us. That ship was originally the Belfast Steamship Co’s Ulster Queen of 1967 and we arrived in a Brindisi which, that summer, was served by an array of aged tonnage which once served the British Isles such as the Kapetan Alexandros (ex-Doric Ferry), Media V (ex-Viking I), Egnatia III (ex-Saint Killian II) and Penelope A (ex-European Gateway).

After taking the train up to Bari we walked around the breakwater to inspect the Orestes (ex-Cerdic Ferry) which was enduring the long lay up which preceded her final demise. Not long removed from the port was the abandoned Sirio (ex-Cambridge Ferry) whilst in regular service were the Dubrovnik (ex-Duchess Anne), Marko Polo (ex-Zeeland), Azzurra (ex-Olau West), Siren (ex-Dana Gloria) and Polaris (ex-Dana Futura). The ship which had been replaced by the Cornouailles during her two year SNCF charter, the Valencay (by then the Pollux) was in her final season running from Bari to Albania whilst Marlines operated the sole rival operation to Montenegro using their Duchess M, once the Cornouailles’ Brittany Ferries fleetmate the Breizh-Izel.

The Duchess M (ex-Breizh-Izel) at Bari in 2007 in a picture taken from the pontoon berth used by the Sveti Stefan.

On that first crossing the budget did not stretch beyond a place on deck and, after a brief inspection of the accommodation inside, we set up camp for the night on her port side promenade deck. As we sailed to Bar, the ship encountered what appeared to be tremendous seas, and she rocked and rolled alarmingly through the night. We woke the next morning, with our sleeping bags covered in sea salt, to another beautiful and perfectly calm day and with the Duchess M following us into port. Already alongside was Montenegro Lines’ little freighter the Alba, which in an earlier life had served the UK as the Neckartal on charter to Sealink and, latterly worked for Schiaffino Line.

During our 2003 visit to Montenegro we stayed up the coast at Budva, and were able to stop briefly en-route at the small island town of Sveti Stefan after which the ships are named – well, we were able to stop outside it, for the island itself is a private and exclusive hotel, perhaps not the best situation for one of Montenegro’s most famous tourist sights.

Sveti Stefan itself, 30km along the coast from Bar.

Sveti Stefan itself, 30km along the coast from Bar.

Seven years later I had the opportunity to sail on the Sveti Stefan and Sveti Stefan II once more, the former from Bar to Bari on the night of the 2010 football World Cup Final, which delayed departure from port as the crew preferred to wait and watch the conclusion before setting sail. The pictures below are from that sailing and the ship remained in satisfactory condition given her age and limited size – and certainly a world away from the fairly squalid state of her fleetmate.

The Sveti Stefan and Sveti Stefan II together at Bar.

The Sveti Stefan and Sveti Stefan II together at Bar.

A close look at the ship's funnel reveals the painted-over original Brittany Ferries' markings.

A close look at the ship's funnel reveals the painted-over original Brittany Ferries markings.

Bar's modern ferry terminal, whose excellent restaurant provides a much superior dining experience than that generally enjoyed aboard the ships of Montenegro Lines.

Bar's modern ferry terminal, whose excellent restaurant provides a rather superior dining experience to that generally enjoyed aboard the ships of Montenegro Lines.

An afternoon scene on the pier in Bar.

An afternoon scene on the pier in Bar.

Approaching the ship to board our evening sailing to Bari.

Approaching the ship to board our evening sailing to Bari.

The ship's compact main vehicle deck with the ramp leading to the upper deck visible.

The ship's compact main vehicle deck with the ramp leading to the upper deck visible.

The upper car deck...

The upper car deck...

...complete with old-style turntable at the forward end to assist with manoeuvring vehicles.

...complete with old-style turntable at the forward end to assist with manoeuvring vehicles.

For this crossing we had booked a four-berth cabin; as with many of the cabins aboard, this had a basin but no en-suite bathroom.

For this crossing we had booked a four-berth room; as with most of the cabins aboard, this had a basin but no en-suite bathroom.

Across the corridor were public showers.

Across the corridor were public showers, still with original signage.

Cabin signage.

Cabin signage.

A Havelet-era safety plan with the present name surreptitiously added by sticker.

A Havelet-era safety plan with the present name surreptitiously added by sticker.

Passengers crowd into the lounge area to watch football.

Passengers crowd into the lounge area to watch football.

Heading out on deck, the Sveti Stefan II was laying over until her next sailing to Ancona.

Heading out on deck, the Sveti Stefan II was laying over until her next sailing to Ancona a couple of days later.

Early the following morning, the ship was back on time and motoring towards Bari.

Early the following morning, the ship was back on time and motoring towards Bari.

Turning into port.

Turning into port.

The port-side promenade where, back in 2003, we had spent the night out on deck, sleeping on the lifebelt lockers as the ship rolled and pitched her way across the Adriatic.

The port-side promenade where, back in 2003, we had spent the night out on deck, sleeping on the lifebelt lockers as the ship rolled and pitched her way across the Adriatic.

Heading back inside, this is the lobby area on Deck 3; the room to the right was serving as an additional shop but was marked on the Condor-era deckplan as a cinema. Other than this, the ship was largely unchanged from her days serving the Channel Islands.

Heading back inside, this is the lobby area on Deck 3; the room to the right was serving as an additional shop but was marked on the Condor-era deckplan as a cinema. Other than this, the ship was largely unchanged from her days serving the Channel Islands.

The rather gloomy kids play area.

The rather gloomy kids play area.

Up on Deck 4, aft was this large seating lounge.

Up on Deck 4, aft was this large seating lounge.

Moving forward, this starboard-side arcade connected the main public spaces - the entrance to the Clipper Restaurant is on the left.

Moving forward, this starboard-side arcade connected the main public spaces - the entrance to the Clipper Restaurant is on the left.

The Clipper Restaurant.

The Clipper Restaurant.

Looking aft in the large space forward on Deck 4, which in addition to the pictured central area was divided into several smaller sections with the Wheelhouse Coffee Bar (to port), Compass Bar (to starboard) and a comfortable seating area forward.

Looking aft in the large space forward on Deck 4, which in addition to the pictured central area was divided into several smaller sections with the Wheelhouse Coffee shop (to port), Compass Bar (to starboard) and a comfortable seating area forward.

Coffee shop serving area.

Coffee shop serving area.

Coffee Shop.

Coffee shop.

Forward seating area.

Forward seating area.

The Compass Bar on the starboard side.

The Compass Bar on the starboard side.

This further reclining seat lounge was located forward on Deck 5.

This further reclining seat lounge was located forward on Deck 5.

Our ship reflected in Bari's passenger terminal.

Our ship reflected in Bari's passenger terminal.

The Cornouailles was a workmanlike, unglamorous ship, almost always overshadowed by her fleetmates. She was rarely given first ranking – whether it be the Armorique, the Senlac and Chartres, the Rozel, the Beauport, the Condor fast cats or, latterly, the larger Sveti Stefan II, she was always a useful second ship, able to economically cover the routes with lower loads and with less expectations. Only when she headed up the Truckline passenger service and her initial period with Montenegro Lines (2000 to 2003) was she the lead ship. Yet this was still a useful function – she was able to set up new operations and, latterly, maintained Montenegro Lines’ services year round when the use of the larger vessel could not be justified. In her final guise, she also played an important part in the recovery of Montenegro’s tourist industry which had been shattered by the Balkan wars.

Time catches up with all ships in the end, however, and in a continuingly difficult economic climate Montenegro Lines’ downsizing meant the Sveti Stefan had to make way. There was a hope that, as with some other ferries, she might get a reprieve, that some entrepreneurial operator might see some worth in her as she sailed past Piraeus for Aliaga. But it was not to be. She sailed on, under her own power and only a couple of days after carrying her final passengers – a workhorse to the end.

Pont l’Abbé => Moby Corse

In 2006 Brittany Ferries somewhat unexpectedly chartered the long-serving Duke of Scandinavia (ex-Dana Anglia) from DFDS with Brittany’s Val de Loire heading in the opposite direction. With minimal refurbishment, the ‘Duke’ was put into service as the Pont l’Abbé between Roscoff and Plymouth – she was later purchased but the 2009 arrival of the purpose-built Armorique saw her displaced on the Roscoff run. The economic downturn and a strategic rethink meant that plans for a significant refurbishment and long-term future for the ship with the company were aborted and, unwanted, she was despatched to Saint Nazaire where she laid up for over a year.

The Dana Anglia looking her smartest - in original DFDS livery.

The Dana Anglia looking her smartest - in original DFDS livery.

The Pont l'Abbé

The Pont L’Abbé

Down in the Mediterranean, the islands of Corsica and Sardinia are fiercely competitive ferry battlegrounds with legacy operators SNCM and Tirrenia to a great degree nowadays outmuscled by acquisitive and efficient companies such as Moby Lines, Grandi Navi Veloci and Corsica/Sardinia Ferries. The latter is the dominant force on the France-Corsica routes but Moby is stronger in operations to Sardinia – whilst it has long-standing routes from Italy to the Corsican port of Bastia the company has never been able to make its presence felt on services from France. Determined to break into this market, Moby announced in 2008 that they would be launching a new service from Nice in France to Bastia to begin the following year.

In the end, no service was forthcoming for 2009, but in November of that year, it was revealed that the Pont l’Abbé had been acquired to enable the operation to finally start in 2010 – although by this stage the mainland port had been switched to Toulon. Competing directly against Corsica Ferries’ established and popular operations, the Pont l’Abbé was brought round to Naples where she underwent a fairly thorough refit, emerging as the Moby Corse.

The Moby Corse.

The Moby Corse.

In addition to providing overnight sailings every other night from either end, the ship was scheduled, when in Bastia, to make a day time round trip from there to Livorno on the Italian mainland – essentially repeating some of the sailings made by the Maria Grazia On. in her Summer stint in 2009 and supplementing the core Livorno sailings of the Moby Vincent. Alas, the work on the ‘Corse’ was delayed and so the company’s newest build, the Moby Aki, was briefly deployed for a few weeks instead before the ‘Corse’ finally made it into service in mid May.

This Summer we joined the Moby Corse on a day sailing to Livorno. Almost all areas on board have seen some attention, although the Admiral Pub remains essentially untouched, now being a standard Moby feature ever since its arrival with the former Tor Line sisters Moby Drea and Moby Otta (ex-Prince and Princess of Scandinavia) – indeed other ships such as the Moby Tommy have been retrofitted with this facility. Presented below are a few ‘before and after’ shots, along with a couple of images from the Dana Anglia in her smart original guise, long since ripped out in a somewhat misguided DFDS 1990s refit.

Links:
Dana Anglia 1978 Main Deck GA Plan
Dana Anglia 1990 Deckplan
Pont l’Abbé 2007 Deckplan

Boarding the Moby Corse in Bastia.

Boarding the Moby Corse in Bastia.

Boarding for foot passengers is via the car deck.

Boarding for foot passengers is via the car deck.

Heading straight up to the main passenger deck, Deck 7, right aft in the ship's Brittany Ferries days was the somewhat unsatisfactory 'Le Cafe' - metal chairs, hardwearing flooring and a somewhat industrial feel made it an uninviting location for anything other than a brief snack. Originally this aft space was the Scandia Coffee Shop (to starboard) and the Compass Club discotheque (to port).

Heading straight up to the main passenger deck, Deck 7, right aft in the ship's Brittany Ferries days was the somewhat unsatisfactory 'Le Cafe', as pictured in 2007. Metal chairs, hardwearing flooring and a rather industrial feel made the port section in particular an uninviting location for anything other than a brief snack. Originally this space was the Scandia Coffee Shop (to starboard) and the Compass Club discotheque (to port).

Under Moby, although the port side still serves as a snack bar, to starboard an all-new waiter-service restaurant has been added; the 'A.O. Restaurant' (visible in the background) is named in honour of the company's founder Achille Onorato.

Under Moby, although the port side still serves as a snack bar, to starboard an all-new waiter-service restaurant has been added; the 'A.O. Restaurant' (visible in the background) is named in honour of the company's founder Achille Onorato.

'Le Cafe' servery on Pont L’Abbé in 2007.

'Le Cafe' servery on Pont l'Abbé in 2007.

The same area aboard the Moby Corse.

The same area aboard the Moby Corse.

Another 2008 image - the entrance to the reclining seat lounges and cinema can be seen to the left (astern). These have been left unchanged by Moby although the cinema is not generally in use.

Another 2008 image - the entrance to the reclining seat lounges and cinema can be seen to the left (astern). These have been left unchanged by Moby although the cinema is not generally in use.

The same area on Moby Corse.

The same area on Moby Corse.

The starboard side of 'Le Cafe' in 2008.

The starboard side of 'Le Cafe' in 2008.

The same area as part of the 'A.O. Restaurant on Moby Corse.

The same area as part of the 'A.O. Restaurant' on Moby Corse.

The same area from right aft.

'Le Cafe', seen from right aft with the children's play area on the left.

After the Moby refit - the play area has now disappeared.

After the Moby refit - the play area has now disappeared.

Moving forward, the ship's main circulation route is via the port-side arcade - seen from right aft with the old shopping centre to the right, this view is the on the Pont L’Abbé in 2007.

Moving forward, the ship's main circulation route is via the port-side arcade - seen from right aft with the old shopping centre to the right, this view is the on the Pont l'Abbé in 2007.

Moby have completely opened the arcade up - the shop has been demolished and a new pizzeria and seating area has been added together with a play area. A new, smaller, shop has been added forward.

Moby have completely opened the arcade up - the shop has been demolished and a pizzeria and seating area has been added together with a new, larger, play area. A new, smaller, shop has been added forward.

Looking aft from amidships in the arcade on the Pont L’Abbé.

Looking aft from amidships in the arcade on the Pont l'Abbé.

The new open-plan play area/pizzeria on the Moby Corse.

The new open-plan play area/pizzeria on the Moby Corse.

Wile E. Coyote at the ACME Pizzeria. Reviewing the Dana Anglia in 1978, the Naval Architect's reporter sourly commented that, 'Some of the 'murals' in the arcade give the impression that the possibility of graffiti has not been overlooked and replacement made cheap and simple'. One wonders what he would have made of the Moby Corse.

The compact new shop, just forward of the children's play area.

The compact new shop, just forward of the children's play area.

Towards the forward end of the arcade is the current Admiral Pub. Although the ship had a saloon with this name as built, that was a modern Danish space located amidships (where the forward part of the shop was as the Pont L’Abbé). When DFDS expanded the shopping facilities in the 1990s a new Admiral Pub was created in an area latterly occupied by a pair of small cinemas - but which had originally been a private dining room (to starboard) and a modernist children\'s play area (adjacent to the arcade). Depressingly kitsch, the new Admiral Pub survived through Brittany Ferries and into the Moby era - the entrance is seen here in 2007.

Towards the forward end of the arcade is the current Admiral Pub. Although the ship had a saloon with this name as built, that was a modern Danish space located amidships (where the forward part of the shop was as the Pont l'Abbé). When DFDS expanded the shopping facilities in the 1990s a new Admiral Pub was created in an area latterly occupied by a pair of small cinemas - but which had originally been a private dining room (to starboard) and a modernist children's play area (adjacent to the arcade). Depressingly kitsch, the new Admiral Pub survived through Brittany Ferries and into the Moby era - the entrance is seen here in 2007.

On the Moby Corse, Porky Pig guards the entrance but little else other than the carpet has changed.

On the Moby Corse, Porky Pig guards the entrance but little else other than the carpet has changed.

An overall view of the Admiral Pub on the Pont L’Abbé.

An overall view of the Admiral Pub on the Pont l'Abbé.

On the Moby Corse.

On the Moby Corse.

(Pont L’Abbé)

(Pont l'Abbé)

(Moby Corse)

(Moby Corse)

The original Admiral Pub on the Dana Anglia.

The original Admiral Pub on the Dana Anglia.

The Dana Anglia's original children's playroom - now the location of the current Admiral Pub.

The Dana Anglia's original children's playroom - now the location of the current Admiral Pub.

The arcade at its forward end, on the Pont L’Abbé in 2007.

The arcade at its forward end, on the Pont l'Abbé in 2007.

The same area on the Moby Corse.

The same area on the Moby Corse.

Throughout the ship's career the ship's main restaurant areas have been housed on the starboard side of the main passenger deck. As the Pont l'Abbé this became 'La Brasserie' serving a limited interpretation of the full Brittany Ferries menu - this image shows the lobby area adjacent to the entrance.

Throughout the ship's career the ship's main restaurant areas have been housed on the starboard side of the main passenger deck. As the Pont l'Abbé this became 'La Brasserie' serving a limited interpretation of the full Brittany Ferries menu - this image shows the lobby area adjacent to the entrance.

Moby have converted this into a large self-service restaurant and the lobby is seen here in its 2010 guise.

Moby have converted this into a large self-service restaurant and the lobby is seen here in its 2010 guise.

Just off the lobby is a further entranceway - a pay station on the Pont L’Abbé, as seen here.

Just off the lobby is a further entranceway - a pay station on the Pont l'Abbé, as seen here.

Today, passengers pay for food at the self service counter inside the restaurant, leaving the little entranceway in the care of Lola Bunny. Lola Bunny? Apparently she's been Bugs's "love interest" ever since the 1996 movie Space Jam.

Today, passengers pay for food at the self service counter inside the restaurant, leaving the little entranceway in the care of Lola Bunny. Lola Bunny? She's been Bugs's 'love interest' ever since the 1996 movie Space Jam. Is it indiscrete to note that Bugs Bunny is now 70 (human) years old whilst Lola looks around 16?

Looking forward in the restaurant on the Pont L’Abbé.

Looking forward in the restaurant on the Pont l'Abbé.

Moby's comprehensive refurbishment has seen the area modernised, with the dowdy DFDS-era decor completely replaced.

Moby's comprehensive refurbishment has seen the area modernised, with the dowdy DFDS-era decor completely replaced.

(Pont L’Abbé)

(Pont l'Abbé)

(Moby Corse)

(Moby Corse)

This inboard seating area on the Pont L’Abbé...

This inboard seating area on the Pont l'Abbé...

... is now the walk-through self-service servery.

... is now the walk-through self-service servery.

Looking forward on the Pont L’Abbé with the buffet counter to the left.

Looking forward on the Pont l'Abbé with the buffet counter to the left.

(Moby Corse)

A similar view on the Moby Corse.

Right forward was originally the earthily-decorated Bellevue Lounge (seen in as-built condition on the then-new Dana Anglia).

Right forward was originally the earthily-decorated Bellevue Lounge (seen in as-built condition on the then-new Dana Anglia).

Again the mid-life DFDS refit failed to do justice to this tricky space which has always somewhat suffered from a lack of headroom. It is seen here on the Pont L’Abbé, unchanged from her later Duke of Scandinavia days.

Again the mid-life DFDS refit failed to do justice to this tricky space which has always somewhat suffered from a lack of headroom. It is seen here on the Pont l'Abbé, unchanged from her later Duke of Scandinavia days.

The Moby refit has at least freshened things up a little; this remains a space best enjoyed during a night crossing.

The Moby refit has at least freshened things up a little; this remains a space best enjoyed during a night crossing.

Latterly with DFDS this became the Columbus Club and, as the Pont L’Abbé, retained its name whilst with Brittany Ferries.

Latterly with DFDS this became the Columbus Club and, as the Pont l'Abbé, retained its name whilst with Brittany Ferries.

(Moby Corse)

(Moby Corse)

As built the Dana Anglia had bar counters in three corners of the Bellevue Lounge - to ensure the swiftest table service for passengers. At-table service on the ship is now generally a thing of the past and the main bar area at the aft of the lounge suffices.

As built the Dana Anglia had bar counters in three corners of the Bellevue Lounge - to ensure the swiftest table service for passengers. At-table service on the ship is now generally a thing of the past and the main bar area at the aft of the lounge suffices.

Moving down a level, the current Deck 6 is the main cabin deck with the information desk and entrance hall amidships - seen here on the Pont L’Abbé.

Moving down a level, the current Deck 6 is the main cabin deck with the information desk and entrance hall amidships - seen here on the Pont l'Abbé.

On the Moby Corse, a gun-toting Yosemite Sam stands by as a wannabe bellboy.

On the Moby Corse, a gun-toting Yosemite Sam stands by as a wannabe bellboy.

The port-side seating area of the lobby on the Pont L’Abbé.

The port-side seating area of the lobby on the Pont l'Abbé.

This area has received a predictably Mobyesque makeover.

This area has received a predictably Mobyesque makeover.

The centreline alleyway on Deck 6 (Pont L’Abbé).

The centreline alleyway on Deck 6 (Pont l'Abbé).

(Moby Corse)

(Moby Corse)

Most of the ship's cabins have been thoroughly refurbished - such as this five berth (3+2) example.

Most of the ship's cabins have been thoroughly refurbished - such as this five berth (3+2) example.

The 'Sky Bar' on Deck 10, seen her on the Pont L’Abbé, was closed off on the Moby Corse.

Moving back upstairs, the 'Sky Bar' on Deck 10, seen here on the Pont l'Abbé, was closed off on the Moby Corse.

Outside deck - starboard side (Pont L’Abbé).

Outside deck - starboard side (Pont l'Abbé).

A coat of paint and a bit of sunshine makes all the difference (Moby Corse).

A coat of paint and a bit of sunshine makes all the difference (Moby Corse).

(Pont L’Abbé)

(Pont l'Abbé)

(Moby Corse)

(Moby Corse)

The area aft of the funnel on Deck 10...

The area aft of the funnel on Deck 10...

... now complete with kennels.

... now complete with kennels.

Aft on Deck 9, Pont L’Abbé - Le Drapeau Français.

Aft on Deck 9, Pont l'Abbé - Le Drapeau Français.

Moby Corse & Il Tricolore Italiano.

Moby Corse - Il Tricolore Italiano.

At some stage since she left Brittany Ferries service the Aalborg builders' plate, seen here on the Pont L’Abbé in 2008, has gone missing.

At some stage since she left Brittany Ferries service the Aalborg builders' plate, seen here on the Pont l'Abbé in 2008, has gone missing.

The Moby Corse at Livorno

After disembarkation, the Moby Corse at Livorno.

The Pont L’Abbé at Roscoff

The Pont l'Abbé at Roscoff.

What, then, to make of the Moby Corse? Although I was something of a fan of her retro virtues on the Roscoff route, to fully fit into any mainstream operator’s fleet the Pont l’Abbé was in need of a thorough refit. Moby Lines have given her just that and, whilst much of the decor is generic to other ships in the fleet, it is fair to say that the ship has been given a new lease of life. Whilst they have several modern ships, most of Moby’s ferries are older ships which are modernised and well maintained. As has been seen with the success of the Moby Fantasy on the Olbia-Civitavecchia route, the elderliness of Moby’s fleet is not necessarily the key factor by which passengers judge them. Instead, an astutely cultivated image together with a thoroughly modernised on board offering sees families flocking to the company throughout the intensive Summer months. The aggressive self-promotion, liveries and Looney Tunes might not appeal to everyone – but it has been key to Moby’s success. The new French venture meanwhile has opened up another front in the war with Corsica/Sardinia Ferries and, as the Moby Corse seems to have been a qualified success on her Toulon sailings, one wonders if there will be a second ship on the route for 2011, opening up the possibility of daily departures and a real foothold in the freight market.

Picture of the week: Barfleur

The Barfleur laid up near Caen, May 2010. Click for larger image.

The Barfleur laid up near Caen, May 2010. Click for larger image.

Previous image

Previous image

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

Brittany Ferries & the Superfast V

It was confirmed today that Brittany Ferries have acquired the Superfast V from Attica – for what purpose remains to be seen but the speculation is that the ship will be used to consolidate the company’s Spanish routes, particularly after the success of the Cotentin’s freight sailings to Santander.

It is undeniable that Brittany Ferries have acquired a splendid ship; for speedy freight sailings she will most likely be a success. On the passenger side, however, they need to be careful to use her specific capabilities to best effect. She is not, and should not be sold as, another Pont Aven. The ship has a notional passenger capacity of 1,600 of which 842 are berthed in cabins. The remainder in Superfast days have been accommodated partly in a pair of modestly-sized windowless reclining seat lounges, partly through staying in their caravans via ‘camping on board’ but mostly on deck. Given that, for Spanish service to all intents and purposes the capacity will have to be limited to not much more than 900. Even with that many aboard, the ship might feel busy when the weather isn’t good. The two outside bars, huge sheltered seating areas, lido area and promenades on two levels which effectively soak up the passenger loads in her current operations will prove of modest value in a Winter gale.

That said, and depending on what refit work BF carry out, the ship and her sister, with a light passenger load, can be delightful vessels. The layout is slightly eccentric at times – with servicing routed along the centreline, main deck circulation is via parallel alleyways which cut through the otherwise attractive à la carte and self service restaurants giving them something of a corridor feel. The forward bar is compromised by a large centrally located casino area. The pièce de résistance, the twin level aft bar, is not as impressive structurally as it might appear from outside – the decks are carried right aft so there is no actual mezzanine fronting the double-deck glass window. However there is a double height area with spiral staircase adjacent to the bar counter and in the evenings this bar becomes the focus of on board life. It is not, however, a show lounge in any sense.

Click above for a Superfast V General Arrangement plan (passenger decks only)

Click above for a Superfast V General Arrangement plan (passenger decks only)

The Superfast V at Ancona.

The Superfast V at Ancona.

What next for Superfast? The introduction of the two new ro-paxes Superfast I and Superfast II on the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Bari run this year had released the Blue Horizon and Superfast XII. Whilst the future for the former is uncertain, the latter traded, with seemingly moderate success, between Piraeus and Heraklion this Summer, bringing Adriatic-style competition to the home island of ANEK and, moreover, the home port of Minoan. To maintain frequencies, the ‘XII’ could be brought back to the Adriatic as a direct replacement for the ‘V’. Conceding so soon on the Cretan route seems unlikely to me however. Instead my best bet is that the Patras-Igoumenitsa-Ancona service will drop back to just two ships and the duplicate sailing three times a week is abandoned – it had always seemed a little lavish, more so now that Minoan have upped capacity with their new vessels. Unless there are further redeployments, those two Superfast ships will be the slightly mis-matched Superfast XI and ‘VI’. Maybe to even things up the ‘VI’ could be sent to Heraklion and the ‘XII’ back to the Adriatic alongside her sister?

Whatever happens, it is seems that the very best days of Superfast’s “cruise-paxes” are over. The new Bari ships, reliable freighters as they may be, lack the ambience even of the Blue Horizon. Whilst it is unlikely that the more tourist-oriented Ancona route would be well served by such vessels, the future for the whole operation must seem a little uncertain right now.

This Summer, I sailed on the Superfast V out of Ancona and the pictures which follow were taken on board. The ship was relatively quiet as it was ‘against the season’ as it were – in late August the traffic is predominantly northbound as North Europeans return home from their holidays. Watching her arrive and discharge however, it was clear that, inbound, she had a heavy load of freight, camper vans, cars and foot passengers.

The interior design of the Superfast V was by AMK.

A quick turnaround at Ancona: foot passengers, freight and cars load and unload simultaneously.

A quick turnaround at Ancona: foot passengers, freight and cars load and unload simultaneously.

Foot passengers, boarding over the stern ramp, are whisked up to the passenger decks by escalator.

Foot passengers, boarding over the stern ramp, are whisked up to the passenger decks by escalator.


At the top of the escalator is this small lobby area, just aft of reception (seen in the background).

At the top of the escalator is this small lobby area, just aft of reception (seen in the background).


Reception.

Reception.


Continuing forward on the port side, next is the à la carte restaurant.

Continuing forward on the port side, next is the à la carte restaurant.


The design is slightly weakened by the fore-aft alleyway which cuts through the area, giving it something of a 'corridor' feel.

The design is slightly weakened by the fore-aft alleyway which cuts through the area, giving it something of a 'corridor' feel.

Amidships is the casino/bar. The forward third of this deck contains cabins and a small shop. The centrally located casino area is concealed behind the dividers to the right.

Amidships is the casino/bar. The forward third of this deck contains cabins and a small shop. The centrally located casino area is concealed behind the dividers to the right.

The forward stairwell at Deck 9 level.

Turning around and heading aft along the starboard side, after passing a small childrens' play area, the self service restaurant can be found.

Turning around and heading aft along the starboard side, after passing a small children's play area, the self service restaurant can be found.


Right aft is the twin level main bar.

Right aft is the twin level main bar.

The upper level, looking across from the aft starboard quarter.

The upper level, looking across from the aft starboard quarter.

The bar at night.

The bar at night.


Other than the upper level of the aft bar, Deck 8 is given over to overnight accommodation. The same applies to Deck 9, other than this partially covered deck bar astern.

Other than the upper level of the aft bar, Deck 8 is given over to overnight accommodation. The same applies to Deck 9, other than this partially covered deck bar astern.

The view from Deck 9.

The view from Deck 9.

Looking forward on Deck 10 at night. Just out of sight on the right is an area of covered bench seating which, matched on the port side, provides nearly 300 seats.

Looking forward on Deck 10 at night. Just out of sight on the right is an area of covered bench seating which, matched on the port side, provides nearly 300 seats.

The pool and lido area, amidships on Deck 10.

Builder's plate, Deck 10.

Builder's plate, Deck 10.

Lastly, the partially enclosed Deck 5 is the location of the 'camp on board' facility, where passengers can sleep in their caravans or camper vans. Toilet, showers and free electricity are provided.

Lastly, the partially enclosed Deck 5 is the location of the 'camp on board' facility, where passengers can sleep in their caravans or camper vans. Toilet, showers and free electricity are provided.

Unloading in Igoumenitsa.

Unloading in Igoumenitsa.

Things Seen – November 2009

The Lincoln Castle

The Lincoln Castle

  • The paddle steamer Lincoln Castle is up for sale for £20,000. The last of the trio of ships built for the New Holland-Hull ferry service of the LNER, this ship, along with her two earlier routemates, the Tattershall and Wingfield Castles, eventually passed to Sealink in whose unlikely hands the service closed in 1981 upon completion of the Humber Bridge. The Lincoln Castle had been withdrawn in 1978 however and has served as a bar and restaurant ever since, for the past twenty years in Grimsby.
  • The call of the Oasis of the Seas at Southampton in early November, en route to Fort Lauderdale on her delivery voyage, brought the chance to compare sizes with the local Isle of Wight ferry fleet, such as the St Clare, seen here in the Daily Mail. An even more astounding comparison however was this picture of the ship with Brittany Ferries’ Mont St Michel – one of the largest cross-channel car ferries, but completely dwarfed by the ‘OOTS’.
  • Several months ago we looked at B&I Line’s first purpose-built car ferry, the Munster of 1968. irishships.com has an interesting series of photographs from on board, both general views and crew scenes.
  • The Maersk ‘D’ class have a series of artworks on board by different modernist Danish artists – Jan van Lokhorst on the Maersk Dunkerque, Anne Vilsbøll (Maersk Delft) and Per Arnoldi (most recently famous in the UK for his work on Michael Winner’s National Police Memorial in London) on the Maersk Dover.
    Van Lokhurst’s website has a series of images of his work on the first ship including pictures of the creative and manufacturing process whilst Vilsbøll can be seen here working on some of her paintings for the ‘Delft’.
  • Sessan & Stena at Frederikshavn

    Sessan & Stena at Frederikshavn

  • Over on LandgÃ¥ngen they have been discussing in minute detail the changes to the berthing arrangements at Frederikshaven between the Stena and Sessan terminals. Meanwhile on the Nautilia messageboard there are 143 pages discussing the Agios Georgios (ex-Hengist) and 57 pages on ‘Historic Photos of Piraeus port’.

    In many ways it is a shame that there is no equivalent all-encompassing British forum for the analysis of not only the endlessly trivial minutiae but also the broader fascinating history of the British short-sea passenger shipping scene. It would perhaps be impossible to rival nautilia’s seemingly comprehensive catalogue of Greek ferries, where every ship, historic or modern, has its own thread, but it would be nice to try.

  • The Prince of Wales was the last-built of the SRN-4 hovercraft, being delivered as late as 1977, five years after the previous example, the Sir Christopher. Withdrawn after just 14 years service, she was destroyed in 1993, whilst laid up in reserve, by an electrical fire. Together with other period images, here are some photographs of the craft being broken up after this event on the hoverpad at Dover. The SeaCat berth at the Hoverport was under construction at the same time.
  • Not quite as successful as the SRN-4s were the French SEDAM Naviplanes. The tortuous delivery voyage of the Ingénieur Jean Bertin, the only example of the type to actually enter service, is chronicled here.
  • The Diana II

    The Diana II

  • The much heralded conversion of former overnight ferries into ‘Accommodation/Repair Vessels’ (ARVs) has hit trouble. Work on the ARV 2 (formerly the Normandy, St Nicholas, Prinsessan Birgitta) has been halted before even starting. Shippax reports that the ARV1, which was delayed during rebuilding, was the other contender for the 18 month accommodation contract near Perth won by Hurtigruten’s Finnmarken. The former Meloodia/Diana II therefore remains laid up in Singapore. Some coverage of the ship during her extensive refurbishment can be seen here and more details of what has been done can be gleaned from the ship’s new General Arrangement plan.
  • Now travelling between Bari and Albania, the ice breaking capacity of the Rigel sees little use. That was not the case during her previous life as the Baltic Kristina of Riga Sea Lines, as this photostory demonstrates.
  • Having mentioned the early Trasmed. car ferries last month, it would be remiss not to point readers in the direction of trasmeships.es which has a host of interesting photographs from various ship through the history of the Spanish company. With the volume of ships covered it is a little hard to pick out favourites, but the Ciudad de Tarifa, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Ciudad de Valencia (now Mary the Queen), and the Ciudad de Sevilla are particularly interesting, the latter page including startling images of the ship’s determined attempt to sink herself off Palma in October 1982.
  • The Ciudad de Valencia at Ibiza in August 2003.

    The Ciudad de Valencia at Ibiza in August 2003.


  • The abandoned wreck of the poor old Assalama (formerly Trasmed’s Ciudad de la Laguna and originally the Bore Line (Silja) Botnia of 1967) remains at Tarfaya, over one and a half years since she sank just after leaving port.

    Some interesting footage from that day in April 2008 can be seen here and here.

  • The very first ship of freight operator Truckline Ferries was the Poole Antelope which, 11 years before the company was purchased by Brittany Ferries, entered service in 1973 between Poole and Cherbourg, followed shortly after by her sister the Dauphin de Cherbourg. This pair are slightly glossed over in histories of Truckline, being too small, too slow and sold within a couple of years. Whilst the second ship has rather passed into obscurity (she became an oilfield research vessel in China named Bin Hai 504 (sometimes seen as Rin Hai 504)), the Poole Antelope was ultimately converted into a passenger ship and at present is offering regular ferry services for Ukrferry between Odessa in the Ukraine and Istanbul in Turkey under the name Caledonia. Ukrferry also offer cruises on the ship and the website for this side of the operation has plenty of photographs together with a deckplan.
  • Ukrferry also operate the former Scandlines vessel Greifswald and, since her return from charter to ISCOMAR for Ibiza sailings as the Begoña del Mar, the Yuzhnaya Palmyra (ex-Silesia). The latter has her own website here and maintains the Odessa-Istanbul service in Summer.
  • The Express Santorini (ex-Chartres) is back in Greece, presently operating for ANEK on a subsidy-munching Piraeus-Patmos-Leipsoi-Leros-Kalymnos-Kos-Symi-Rhodes routing. This after another Summer on Charter to Atlanticoline in the Azores. According to this report, she continued to make a favourable impression and is in excellent condition “due to good maintenance, since it is owned by Hellenic Seaways”. That last point is, to be fair, not as unlikely as it sounds; HSW are not GA Ferries.

    Nonetheless, it seems the ship did have a little trouble with that side ramp installed for use on the charter. Back home, and with the demise of GA Ferries and SAOS, there must be some demand for smaller, cheap-to-run ships for use on the subsidised routes beyond just refit cover so the ‘Santorini’ may yet have a future in Greece. If so, it would be nice to see that side door removed altogether.


  • The Porfyrousa (ex-Canbulat Pasa) at Drapetsona in July 2008. On the left of the photograph is NEL's Panagia Tinou and in the background the same company's former Aeolos Kenteris, by then the Red Sea I.

    The Porfyrousa (ex-Canbulat Pasa) at Drapetsona in July 2008. On the left of the photograph is NEL's Panagia Tinou and in the background the same company's former Aeolos Kenteris, by then the Red Sea I.

  • In September’s Things Seen I mentioned the fleet of Fergün Shipping of Turkey. The company’s website is not the most up to date, but I, sort of, implied that the Canbulat Pasa as the newest member of the conventional fleet was probably still in service. Richard Seville rushes to correct, reminding me that we in fact encountered the ship whilst visiting the Aegean Heaven mid-refit at Drapetsona in July 2008. She was in the process of being renamed Porfyrousa and has since taken up service on the local routes out of Kythera.

    There are some interesting thoughts, upon which it would be wisest not to comment, on the happenings which preceded the introduction of the ship in Greece here.

  • Mention of Drapetsona prompts me to draw attention to the redevelopment plan for the area. You’d have to think this has a fair chance of never happening, but what a revolution it would be. I can see the Beach Club, the Family Entertainment Zone and the Retail Zone/Marina. But where is the long quayside where ferries of all kinds go to lay up – many forever? Is that what Sunset Park is maybe?
  • What would Drapetsona be without the laid-up Alkyon?

    What would Drapetsona be without the laid-up Alkyon?

  • The wreck of the Express Samina is the rather haunting location for this video on youtube.
  • Little knowing the unfortunate fate of their new ship, this video from Greece shows happy dignitaries on board the Arion (ex-Nili, Jamaica Queen etc) as she was entering service for NEL in 1975. The ship was subsequently bombed in Haifa in 1982. (h/t nautilia.gr)
  • The act of boarding the modern ferry has perhaps through familiarity lost some of the excitement of days gone by but this video from 1995 of Minoan Lines’ Fedra at Venice shows that even lorry drivers can make something interesting from an otherwise mundane day to day experience.
  • Ghosts from the past can live forever on the internet, and that is the case with Hellenic Mediterranean Lines whose website is still offering sailings from Brindisi to Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Paxi, Zakynthos, Cefallonia and Patras on the Egnatia III and the Poseidonia, just as if it was still 2003.
  • Another operator living in the past is Skenderbeg Lines, where it is forever 2004. Their Europa I remains laid up in Brindisi, as she has been since 2007. Her heroic past was remembered on 30 October however, 18 years to the day since the ship, then Jadrolinija’s Slavija I, led the ‘Libertas Convoy’ to Dubrovnik in an attempt to help stop the destruction of the latter city during the Croatian War of Independence. With numerous tourist and fishing boats following and with on board, amongst others, Stipe Mesić, today the President of Croatia, the ship sailed down the coast to besieged Dubrovnik.

    The Slavija I made several, increasingly harrowing, return trips, and the Diary of Dr Slobodan Lang gives a detailed account of the period, including a final sailing:

    The ship was intended for 600 passengers, but there was a crowd of 3,500 people on board. We approached the ship coming through the Gruž harbour which was littered with sunken, capsized or burnt down ships. Smoke was rising out of the burning installations for days. We were being watched by those on the top of the hill, not being able to do anything but think they would start to shoot at any moment.

    On board that ship, I was contemplating about the ships crowded with Jews on their way out of Germany in the late thirties, as well as the abandonment of Saigon. We were at the very bottom of the ship’s garage. It was simply not possible for the cars and trucks to embark because the ship was crammed with men, children, women, elderly and sick people. The sick were lying on the metal floor, with their I.V. drips hanging up in the air. Tears and silence were hand in hand. Faces were totally changed with crying, haggard because of the silence. People were lying on the stairs in positions I had never seen before, fifteen persons per cabin. One could step between human bodies only too carefully. As we sailed out, huge waves were tossing the ship up and down, so many people vomitted, were nauseous, felt psychical discomfort. Doctors were sought on all sides, painful crying expressed a thousand year old Croatian suffering, agony of yet unborn children to 90 year old people.

  • The Europa I (ex-Slavija I) laid up in Brindisi, August 2009.

    The Europa I (ex-Slavija I) laid up in Brindisi, August 2009.

  • The Dieppe-Newhaven steamer Lisieux was one of the more beautiful post-war passenger ships. Her career with the SNCF was relatively brief however and she followed her former Dieppe partner the Arromanches into the fleet of Nomikos Lines in 1966 as the Apollon (the Arromanches became the Leto). Both ships can be seen in excerpts from the Greek film ‘La Parisienne’ of 1969; the Apollon is seen at Mykonos. (h/t nautilia.gr)
  • Following on from the British Pathé website mentioned in October, this month it is time to investigate a French equivalent, ina.fr. Having just mentioned the Arromanches, it does not seem inappropriate to begin with coverage of her launching in March 1946.

    Other videos of note are:

    The ruins of Boulogne, Calais and Marseille, January 1945

    The maiden voyage of the Côte d’Azur, 1951

    Departure of the Ville de Tunis from Algiers, 1956

    Coverage of the introduction of SNCM’s Napoléon in 1978

    Coverage of the building of the Scandinavia in 1982

    The evacuation of PLO troops from Tripoli using the Vergina (ex-Dan, Bilu), December 1983

    Further footage of the Tripoli evacuation, this time with footage of the Ionian Glory (ex-Compiegne) and, briefly at the end, the Odysseas Elytis (ex-Svea Regina)

    A mini cruise on the Corse, 1984

    Coverage of the introduction of SNCM’s Danielle Casanova in 1989

    The return of the damaged Baroness M (ex-Lion) to port after her encounter with Syrian gunboats, February 1990

    A few historic adverts:
    Sealink Ferries SNCF, 1983
    Sealink Ferries SNCF, 1984
    Townsend Thoresen, 1984
    Sealink SNAT, 1992
    P&O European Ferries, 1993
    Sealink SNAT, 1993
    Corsica Ferries, 1997

    And, lastly, some epic coverage of the maiden voyage of the France.

  • The Skagen of 1958, built for KDS’ Kristiansand-Hirtshals route, was a fine early example of what now seem quite small passenger and vehicle ferries designed by Knud E Hansen. The ship passed later to Fred. Olsen before she was sold in the 1970s for use as a ‘mother ship’ for mini submersibles used in oil exploration. Latterly renamed the Pan Trader, she survives in Norway to this day, and these pictures on Flickr demonstrate that much of her original interior is still intact (compare with these ‘as built’ images on Fakta om Fartyg).
  • Please send any contributions for ‘Things Seen’ to admin@hhvferry.com.

    The Dubrovnik (ex-Connacht, Duchesse Anne)

    Since the sale of the Ivan Zajc earlier in the year, the Dubrovnik (ex-Duchesse Anne, Connacht) of Croatia’s state ferry company Jadrolinija is now rostered to sail on Split-Ancona sailings alone this Summer. Repeating her pattern of the past couple of years, the ship makes four round trips a week, all overnight save for a daylight crossing from Ancona on Sundays. In addition, on overnight sailings ex-Italy the ship carries on after arrival in Split to do a domestic round trip to Stari Grad on the island of Hvar; with customs formalities completed in Split, this can be booked as a through sailing from Ancona, or as a normal domestic sailing.

    With the retrenchment of the coastal Rijeka-Split-Stari Grad-Korcula-Dubrovnik-(Bari) services in recent years, the current roster is comparatively straightforward – in 2003 for example, a breathless Summer timetable saw the ship each week make one of the complete 26 hour hauls from Rijeka through to Bari, then back again, followed by Rijeka-Split-Stari Grad-Korcula, Korcula-Stari Grad, Stari Grad-Split-Ancona and back, and finally Stari Grad-Split-Rijeka to begin it all again. Today, life is rather more simple and the ship has plenty of time in between sailings – particularly Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when she sits in Ancona from her early morning arrival until a 2100 departure.

    The Connacht as built

    The Connacht as built


    Delivered by Cork’s Verolme Shipyard as the Connacht to B&I Line in 1979, the ship initially served Cork, briefly from Swansea and then on the new Pembroke Dock service. She was was transferred to the Dublin-Liverpool service in September 1980, where she was joined by sister Leinster in July 1981. Loss-making B&I sought improved utlisation of the new ships and a daily Dublin-Holyhead round trip in between the overnight sailings from and to Liverpool was subsequently added. These began, after no little controversy over the use of the Sealink port, in Spring 1982 and the Connacht eventually closed the Liverpool link altogether in January 1988, leaving Dublin services in the hands of the Leinster alone, being transferred back to Pembroke (the Irish port now being Rosslare). B&I’s financial position forced the sale of the Connacht at the end of that year, with Brittany Ferries acquiring her for St Malo-Portsmouth sailings. After less than a decade with the French company, during which she saw service for a period back to her Cork birthplace on sailings from both St Malo and Roscoff, she was disposed of to Jadrolinija at the end of the 1996 season.
    As the Duchesse Anne, at Saint Malo.

    As the Duchesse Anne, at Saint Malo.

    I joined the ship for one of her domestic sailings from Stari Grad to Split in July 2007; this leg in particular, forming the return to Split after the theoretically through sailing from Ancona, is just another departure on this important route on which up to seven return sailings a day are offered in the Summer – generally in recent years the ex-Japanese Valun has been a mainstay. Stari Grad itself is a delightful place – overlooked by many of the guidebooks in favour of flashy Hvar Town on the other side of the island, it was originally a Roman settlement from the era of the Emperor Diocletian but was rebuilt with narrow lanes and defensive walls following the Roman collapse. The ferry port itself is around a twenty minute walk along a shoreside pathway from the old town.

    On board, it is clear that little has changed aboard the Dubrovnik since her Duchesse Anne days – yet the most important influence on the ship’s layout remains the refit given to the ship by B&I Line in Spring 1986. At just seven years old, it might have seemed somewhat early for the Connacht (and her even newer sister) to receive radical internal rearrangement, but circumstances had changed – conceived primarily as an overnight ship, the addition of Dublin-Holyhead sailings saw a change of emphasis with the main cabin deck (Upper Deck) being stripped out and an extensive new duty free shop, cinema and reclining seat lounges (‘Super Rest Lounges’ in B&I nomenclature) were added. Upstairs on what was originally the Service Deck, the restaurant and cocktail lounge forward were swept away to become a new self service restaurant, and the original self service amidships on the port side became the new restaurant. The £2m refit the ship was given before introduction by Brittany Ferries essentially retained this layout with certain areas receiving more attention than others – especially the self-service – whilst the newly-added Duty Free shop, aft on the Upper Deck (now the Information Deck), which had originally been a reclining seat lounge was replaced by additional cabins.

    The Dubrovnik at Stari Grad port, seen from the pathway leading from the old town.

    The Dubrovnik at Stari Grad port, seen from the pathway leading from the old town.

    Waiting to board...

    Waiting to board...

    Boarding for foot passengers is over the vehicle deck.

    Boarding for foot passengers is over the vehicle deck.

    The lower of the two main passenger decks, latterly the Pont Information on the Duchesse Anne - this is the view looking aft along the centreline towards the information desk.

    The lower of the two main passenger decks, latterly the Pont Information on the Duchesse Anne - this is the view looking aft along the centreline towards the information desk.

    Adjacent to the arcade seen above is the shop.

    Adjacent to the arcade seen above is the shop.

    Moving forward, seen here are the staircases leading down to the car decks and lower cabin decks.

    Moving forward, seen here are the staircases leading down to the car decks and lower cabin decks.

    Right forward are a series of reclining seat lounges. Originally this area contained cabins with four berths and a washbasin; on day sailings the upper berths could be folded away and the lower berths converted into broad setees for six passengers.

    Right forward are a series of reclining seat lounges. Originally this area contained cabins with four berths and a washbasin; on day sailings the upper berths could be folded away and the lower berths converted into broad setees for six passengers.

    The area was originally converted to reclining seats by B&I Line in the 1986 refit, and has been retained as such ever since.

    The area was originally converted to reclining seats by B&I Line in the 1986 refit, and has been retained as such ever since.

    Moving up to the main saloon deck, right aft is the bar, 'L'Astrolabe' in the Duchess Anne days. This bulk of this area is actually not significantly changed since the later Irish Sea days, including details such as the furniture and the dance floor (below).

    Moving up to the main saloon deck, right aft is the bar, 'L'Astrolabe' in the Duchess Anne days. This bulk of this area is actually not significantly changed since the later Irish Sea days, including details such as the furniture and the dance floor (below).


    On the starboard side of the space, Brittany Ferries added 'Le Glacier', selling ice creams, ably assisted by a decorative parrot.

    On the starboard side of the space, Brittany Ferries added 'Le Glacier', selling ice creams, ably assisted by a decorative parrot.

    Moving forward along the starboard-side arcade, seen here is the entrance to Libertas Restaurant (formerly 'Le Nouveau Monde' on the Duchess Anne, but originally the location of the self service cafeteria).

    Moving forward along the starboard-side arcade, seen here is the entrance to Libertas Restaurant (formerly 'Le Nouveau Monde' on the Duchess Anne, but originally the location of the self service cafeteria).

    The restaurant - looking forward.

    The restaurant - looking forward.

    Continuing along the arcade - originally on the Connacht this was lined with fixed airline-style seating.

    Continuing along the arcade - originally on the Connacht this was lined with fixed airline-style seating.

    Amidships is the former Viennoiserie 'La Licorne' (The Unicorn), still in use as a snack bar today.

    Amidships is the former Viennoiserie 'La Licorne' (The Unicorn), still in use as a snack bar today.

    The carved unicorn head above the servery - similar in style to the carving above the bar counter on the former Duc de Normandie in her aft bar.

    The carved unicorn head above the servery - similar in style to the carving above the bar counter on the former Duc de Normandie in her aft bar.

    Right forward is the self service restaurant - this is the view looking across to port.

    Right forward is the self service restaurant - this is the view looking across to port.

    Looking aft to starboard - with the small children's play area visible on the left.

    Looking aft to starboard - with the small children's play area visible on the left.

    The servery area is to port.

    The servery area is to port.

    The uppermost passenger deck retains the original layout with crew accommodation forward and to starboard, with 16 passenger outside cabins to port (above) and a reclining seat 'observation' lounge aft, surrounded by a full promenade deck. As built, those 16 cabins were the only ones with en-suite facilities.

    The uppermost passenger deck retains the original layout with crew accommodation forward and to starboard, with 16 passenger outside cabins to port (above) and a reclining seat 'observation' lounge aft, surrounded by a full promenade deck. As built, those 16 cabins were the only ones with en-suite facilities.

    A Duchesse Anne-era deckplan. These have subsequently been replaced by Jadrolinija plans.

    A Duchesse Anne-era deckplan. These have subsequently been replaced by Jadrolinija plans.

    On two decks beneath the vehicle deck, the ship retains her original cabins without facilities.

    On two decks beneath the vehicle deck, the ship retains her original cabins without facilities.

    The promenade deck, looking forward.

    The promenade deck, looking forward.

    The Deck Bar, astern.

    The Deck Bar, astern.

    Upper deck.

    Upper deck.

    Leaving Stari Grad.

    Leaving Stari Grad.

    Passing the Petar Hektorovic (ex-Langeland III) off Split.

    Passing the Petar Hektorovic (ex-Langeland III) off Split.

    Just outside Split harbour entrance, the crew of the Georgian freighter Valentino go for a swim.

    Just outside Split harbour entrance, the crew of the Georgian freighter Valentino go for a swim.

    The Blue Line fleet, the Split 1700 and the Ancona, unusually together in Split. Time is running out for this contrasting but classic pair, both built in 1966.

    The Blue Line fleet, the Split 1700 and the Ancona, unusually together in Split. Time is running out for this contrasting but classic pair, both built in 1966.

    The 2004-built Supetar manouvering in Split harbour before a sailing to her namesake island. She has since been displaced by further new tonnage and in 2008 could be found operating on the busy Prizna-Žigljen (Pag) route north of Zadar.

    The 2004-built Supetar manouvering in Split harbour before a sailing to her namesake island. She has since been displaced by further new tonnage and in 2008 could be found operating on the busy Prizna-Žigljen (Pag) route north of Zadar.

    Disembarkation in Split.

    Disembarkation in Split.

    The Dubrovnik and Ancona seen from the Valun on our return sailing to Split later that afternoon. Also in harbour were the Split 1700 and the Istra (ex-Mette Mols) - a fascinating selection of classic ferries, each of interest in their own right.

    The Dubrovnik and Ancona seen from the Valun on our return sailing to Split later that afternoon. Also in harbour were the Split 1700 and the Istra (ex-Mette Mols) - a fascinating selection of classic ferries, each of interest in their own right.

    Jadrolinija’s coastal and international fleet, shorn of the Ivan Zajc, is now only three-strong – in the peak season the Marko Polo maintains what is now only a twice-weekly Rijeka-Dubrovnik-Bari service whilst the delightful little Liburnija ensures the Bari-Dubrovnik link is serviced six times in total, her four return sailings on the route being extended up to Korcula three times weekly (and to Split on Saturdays). Despite being in generally excellent condition, the company has in recent years been thinking aloud about the need for newer tonnage than the current vessels, of which the Dubrovnik is the youngest. That still seems some way off however and it seems likely that the former Connacht will remain with the Croatian state operator for several years to come.

    On the funnel, the Jadrolinija logo has been simply welded over the old Brittany Ferries one.

    On the funnel, the Jadrolinija logo has been simply welded over the old Brittany Ferries one.

    The old 'Duchess Anne' name is just about visible.

    The old 'Duchess Anne' name is just about visible.

    The Dubrovnik at Ancona in 2008.

    The Dubrovnik at Ancona in 2008.

    Funnels: Pont-l’Abbé (ex-Dana Anglia)

    Pont-l'Abbé. Click for larger image.

    Pont-l'Abbé. Click for larger image.

    Funnels: Armorique

    Armorique. 
Click for larger image.

    Armorique.
    Click for larger image.

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