In this final part of the review of the construction of Norfolklineâ€™s â€˜Dâ€™ Class, we move upstairs inside the Maersk Dunkerque in mid-2005 as the interiors of the ship were assembled at the Samsung shipyard at Geoje in South Korea, prior to handover to her owners that September. This post covers the upper of the two main passenger decks â€“ Deck 7 – and some of the crew areas.
To give a feel for how the ship looked as completed, the under construction images are paired with equivalent pictures from on board the ship and her two sisters in service on the English Channel.
Click here for an on board guide to the ships showing the arrangement of facilities.
Previous posts in this series can be found here:
Right forward, in the prime position on Deck 7, are the 'Road Kings' areas, exclusively for the use of freight drivers. 'Road Kings' consists of a cafeteria to port, a separate lounge forward to starboard, with a 'Relaxation Lounge' just astern of the latter. This view on the Maersk Dunkerque, from March 2005, shows what will become the mezzanine area overlooking the main self service restaurant on the deck below.
The same area on the completed Maersk Dover.
Part of the 'Road Kings' restaurant seating area, March 2005.
A Norfolkline image of the same area on the Maersk Dunkerque just before she entered service.
Looking aft at the 'Road Kings' restaurant on the port side, July 2005.
The ceiling of the restaurant is dominated by this deckhead-mounted Maersk star.
The completed star illuminated on board the Maersk Delft.
Looking across the mezzanine down to Deck 6 below (July 2005).
Spreading across the rest of the forward part of the ship is the adjacent freight drivers' lounge, seen here under construction in March 2005.
Significant progress has been made by the time this image was taken four months later.
The completed lounge on the Maersk Delft.
Looking across from starboard, March 2005.
The space in late June 2005.
(Maersk Delft, April 2006)
Just aft on the starboard side, with its distinctive windows (later complete with sliding panels), is the truckers' Relax Lounge. Ultimately fitted with massage chairs the space is seen here in January 2005.
The completed space on the Maersk Dover, December 2007.
The forward section, March 2005.
The aft section, June 2005.
Moving aft slightly, outside the entrance to the 'Road Kings' section, is the upper part of the main lobby and forward staircase. As completed, this is the most aggressively modernist space on board but looks fairly nondescript in this March 2005 shot on board the Maersk Dunkerque.
The scene in July 2005.
The same area on board the Maersk Dover, October 2009.
The passenger accommodation continues aft to starboard where, fronting the upper level of the twin-deck windows is La VÃ©randa, a bistro/cafÃ©/bar; in more recent times the forward section of this space has been appropriated as a more formal table-service restaurant. This is the scene in July 2005.
The same area on the Maersk Delft in 2006. In the background can be seen two of the artworks created for the ship by the Danish artist Anne VilsbÃ¸ll. Each ship was entrusted to different artists, the Maersk Dunkerque receiving work from Jan van Lokhorst and the Maersk Dover Per Arnoldi, some 40 years after he had been similarly commissioned by DFDS to provide art on their Copenhagen-Oslo mini car liners Kong Olav V and Prinsesse Margrethe. In between times, Arnoldi has become internationally renowned and is most well known in the UK for his work with Lord Rogers on the National Police Memorial in London.
Looking aft with what will become La VÃ©randa's servery area to the right.
The same area looking forward, June 2005.
Aft on the port side is the First Class area - two lounges (a VIP and a Business Lounge) accessible by swipe card upon paying a supplement. The entrance to this area is seen in July 2005.
The aftermost of the two rooms, the VIP lounge, is seen here under construction in March 2005.
The completed space on the Maersk Delft, complete with excruciatingly expensive Arne Jacobson 'Egg' chairs.
The adjacent Business Lounge, seen in March 2005.
The completed space on the Maersk Delft.
Another angle, taken in June 2005.
Aft on Deck 7 is further outside deck, albeit accessed from Deck 6 below.
Moving behind the scenes, this enclosed space will become the Officers' Mess, forward on Deck 8.
The buffet area in the crew mess, just aft.
The bridge, March 2005.
Although we have focussed on the passenger spaces in the final two posts of this series, the real success of the ‘D’ class is in their continuing inroads into the core freight market. Whereas pretenders such as LD Lines have, after much effort, achieved less than a 5% share of the England-France ferry freight market (excluding the Tunnel), Norfolkline are now second only to P&O, with approximately 20-25%. Using only three ships the freight load factors achieved are the envy of everyone else, so the next big problem facing the class just might be a lack of capacity come the economic recovery.
Having previously been owned by Maersk, and now DFDS, it seems counter-intuitive to describe Norfolkline as an insurgent operator. However, competing against long-established rivals and having commenced operations less than a decade ago, it is certainly not an unfair categorisation. Where Norfolkline as a whole, under its new owners, goes next is difficult to predict, but the ‘D’ class, at least, are likely to be around for several years yet.
With grateful thanks to Stephen Mackenzie at Norfolkline for the under construction images.