Brittany Ferries looks forward to brighter 2021 – and opens for sale today
Brittany Ferries is on sale for 2021. The company has opened reservations today, for most routes connecting the UK and France, excluding Portsmouth-St Malo and Portsmouth-Le Havre. Reservations can be made for crossings up to the end of October next year.
Customers are being encouraged to book now for the best choice of sailings, lowest fares and to take advantage of flexible ticket options. Next week reservations will open for routes linking Spain with the UK & Ireland.
The move is the first major step towards a brighter future for the ferry and holiday company. Passenger services re-commenced on 29 June, following a three-month hiatus from late March, however summer 2020 will be no more than a damage limitation exercise.
Brittany Ferries expects to carry around 240,000 passengers this summer. That compares with around 780,000 for a normal year, a consequence of lockdowns, restrictions on travel and capacity limits on ships. A €117m loan has been secured to carry it through a difficult winter ahead and into a five-year recovery plan.
“Today is the day when we really start to turn a corner and look forward to the future,” said company CEO Christophe Mathieu. “This year is a write-off. We are therefore opening next year’s books as early as possible to give holidaymakers something to look forward to, and to ensure our comeback is robust and successful. We are also making sure that those who have supported us through this difficult time, by accepting vouchers for sailings we were forced to cancel, are offered the first choice of available crossings in 2021.”
Passengers are getting used to Covid-safe procedures on ferries, following the resumption of services. As part of its Together & Protected campaign, Brittany Ferries is reinforcing the suite of measures it has taken to protect passengers, freight drivers and crew. This includes restricting capacity on vessels to less than 50% of normal passenger traffic, staggering embarkation and disembarkation and ensuring every passenger takes a cabin or is allocated to a limited number of reserved seats.
“We hope that ferries may continue to be more attractive to travellers than some other modes of transport post-crisis,” added Mathieu. “Our ships are huge and that makes social distancing easier. Furthermore, there are plenty of open areas with access to open-air decks, while fresh sea air pumped throughout the vessel including every cabin.”
“Looking to next year, we expect particularly strong demand for travel to destinations near our ports. Taking our British customers for example, Normandy, Brittany and the western Loire promise the exoticism of an overseas holiday – but with the security that comes from taking your own car while staying in a region that is not too far away from home. Psychologically, I think that will be very important for all travellers next year.”
For 2020 and 2021 reservations, holidaymakers should visit www.brittanyferries.co.uk. For a full list of sanitary measures and advice for those travelling this year go to https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/information/coronavirus/sailing-safely
About Brittany Ferries
In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK.
In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born. The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story therefore begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain’s entry into the Common Market (EEC). From these humble beginnings however Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.
Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative. Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British. Around 210,000 freight units are carried each year.
- Turnover: Approximately €444.2m per year
- Multi-million Euro investment in three new ships, including two powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas)
- Employment – Between 2400 and 3100 employees (including 1,700 seafarers), depending on the season. 360 in the UK.
- Passengers: Between 2.5 and 2.7 million each year travelling in approximately 900,000 cars
- Freight: 205,400 units transported annually, and one freight-only route linking Bilbao and Poole
- Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain
- Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
- Tourism in Europe: There were 854,000 unique visitors, staying 9.2 million bed-nights in France.
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