- Cork to Santander 2w to start April 29
- 10-year-old MS Asterion to be renamed Connemara
- First ever direct Ireland to Spain route
- New route to go on sale end January
- Vessel to be chartered from Stena for two years.
- Connemara will increase Cork-Roscoff to 2w
- 2,225 lane metres 195 cars 500 passengers
Ireland-France operator Brittany Ferries is launching Ireland’s first direct route into northern Spain. Starting at the end of April, the service will link Cork and Santander, making two return-sailings a week.
The move comes as Brittany Ferries celebrates its 40th year in Ireland – the Cork to Roscoff route opened on St Patricks Day in 1978.
The former Ms Asterion will be renamed Connemara. She will carry around 500 passengers with space for 195 cars. She hosts 2,225 lane metres of garage space and Brittany Ferries expects a fifty-fifty split between passengers and freight carried.
The new service from Brittany Ferries is expected to be on sale by the end of January. The Port of Cork will facilitate and enhance significant freight and tourist activity already established in Cork.
Previously known as Borja (2007-2010), MS Baltic Amber(2010-2011) and MV Norman Asturias (2011–2016), MS Asterion was delivered in 2007 and has a gross tonnage of 25,000, A RORO passenger and freight ferry registered under the Greek flag she was operated by Balearia as Borja from 2007 to 2010, then as Baltic Amber for AVE Lines and then DFDS Seaways between 2010 and 2011, before subsequently spending 4 years on charter to LD Lines. She spent the majority of 2014 and 2015 on charter to Inter Shipping sailing from Algeciras, Spain, when she was then chartered by ANEK Lines for sale in the Adriatic and Ionian Sea. She briefly served on the Belfast-Birkenhead route to cover the Stena Lagan refit.
Brittany Ferries also charter the MV Etretat from Stena ro-ro on their Portsmouth – Le Havre/Santander.
LD lines operated Rosslare-St Nazaire-Gijon January to August 2014 with a sister ship the Norman Atlantic.
Hugh Bruton, General Manager of Brittany Ferries Ireland said “Connemara will follow the successful économic model that the company has established on services from Britain to France & Spain. On board, passengers can expect a comfortable, no-frills service with a distinctly Spanish theme. Dining options will reflect the regions served, reinforcing the company’s drive to reveal more about its destinations at every stage of the journey. There will also be a small shop and café-bar as well as passenger lounges. Interior and exterior cabins are spacious, with beds for up to four passengers. It will also hve a small allocation of pet-friendly cabins on the ship. This is a significant move for Brittany Ferries, offering haulage companies a direct route to Spain and passengers a far greater range of holiday options from Cork, As a destination so-called green Spain promises visitors a wealth of opportunities. It hosts sweeping sandy beaches, snow covered mountains just an hour from the port, fabulous food and offers visitors a welcome as warm as the Spanish will receive when they join us in Ireland.”
Cork Port commercial Manager Captain Michael McCarthy said it is “a service we have been trying as a port to establish for some time now. We are delighted that our long term customer, Brittany Ferries, has committed to this new service which will see an increase in tourism and freight. This will also be an option for freight operators to bypass Brexitig Britain, adding: As Brexit uncertainty continues. We have no doubt that both exporters and importers will make this a viable service.”
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