PRIDE OF PORTSMOUTH (ex-Olau Britannia)

P&O Ferries (formerly Olau Line)

 

 
Above: A superb, atmospheric view of Pride of Portsmouth arriving at her home port on May 9th 2003. The ship is resplendent in the new P&O Ferries livery. (picture David Baker)
 
Olau Line's decision to build two new giant overnight ferries for their still relatively young service from Sheerness and Vlissingen in the Netherlands was an incredibly bold one. The operator had only commenced services in 1974 yet by the late 1980s they had outgrown their first pair of purpose-built sisters and moved onto their second - the Olau Britannia and Olau Hollandia of 1989 and 1990.

These were truly vast ships and well ahead of anything else on the North Sea at the time, even the similar and relatively new Dutch Koningin Beatrix of the Harwich - Hook of Holland route. Unfortunately the figures could not be made to stack up and in the recession of the early 1990s Olau's parent, the German TT Line, were looking for economies. A plan to switch the pair to TT's own main Travemunde-Trelleborg route fell through but the Olau service itself was summarily terminated in May 1994 with the twins being chartered long-term to P&O European Ferries becoming Pride of Portsmouth (ex-Olau Britannia) and Pride of Le Havre (ex-Olau Hollandia). They were destined for the Portsmouth-Le Havre service which P&O had been looking to upgrade for some time. Despite some concerns about limited freight capabilities, the charters were later extended and the pair remain on the Le Havre route, now under P&O Ferries management.

 
Below: An Olau publicity postcard view of the twins in their original guises. This is clearly the work of someone in the Olau PR department as, although the ships would pass each other twice each day, they would rarely come quite this close to one another!
 

 

 
Above: (left) a view of Pride of Portsmouth at Portsmouth in her original P&O livery.

(right) seen in September 2002 with the modification of www.poportsmouth.com on her hull.

 
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e-mail: matt@hhvferry.com