Motorsport fans driving to Le Mans in 2019 should enjoy a more relaxing trip across the English Channel, with the news that Brittany Ferries is investing in a new LNG-powered ferry. The Honfleur – which will operate on the company’s busiest route from Portsmouth to Caen – is scheduled to arrive in spring 2019.
At 42,400 gross tons, the Honfleur – named after a harbour town in Normandy – is larger than the ferry operator’s current flagship, the Pont-Aven, making it the largest vessel on its fleet.
Free wifi will be available in all cabins and public spaces, making it easy to share photos from your trip to the famous 24-Hour race. Caen is 100 miles from Le Mans and can be reached in just 90 minutes – or less if you’re prepared to risk a roadside chat with the gendarmerie.
Ferry for the digital age
In common with other ferries operated by Brittany Ferries, the Honfleur will boast bars, restaurants, cinemas, shops and quiet zones, along with a new ‘digital lounge’. The ferry operator claims the ship will be the “greenest vessel regularly operating on the English Channel”.
The liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered cruise ferry will burn fuel with no sulphur emissions, much lower particulates and less carbon dioxide than diesel. The quieter and more efficient form of power delivery reduces vibration and noise: ideal if you’re hoping to get some shut-eye after a long night at Le Mans.
The Honfleur will ferry 1,680 passengers between Portsmouth and Caen, with space for 550 cars. The route – currently handled by the Normandie – takes six hours, either on a day or overnight crossing.
Life after Brexit
News of the order comes a year since the UK voted to leave the EU, with the Honfleur set for its maiden voyage as Brexit negotiations reach a climax in 2019. The ferry will be built by the German shipyard, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft.
A spokesman for Brittany Ferries told the Daily Mail: “We remain confident about the future despite the challenges of Brexit.
“Almost exactly a year after the Brexit vote, Brittany Ferries has confirmed the order for a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) cruise ferry. It will operate on the company’s busiest route from Portsmouth to Caen with a planned arrival in spring 2019 – as Brexit negotiations move towards completion.”
Brittany Ferries operates ferries from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth, with destinations including Cherbourg, Le Havre, Santander and Bilbao. The company was founded in 1972 by a group of Breton farmers who wanted to export their cauliflowers and artichokes to the UK. Today, it is the largest maritime carrier on the western and central Channel.
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