Data from Brittany Ferries Spanish services suggests travellers may continue to sail, despite quarantine restrictions

14th August 2020

14 August 2020


  • Only one in five travellers to Spain has amended or cancelled their travel plans since imposition of quarantine
  • Travellers are making informed decisions based on better understanding of risks and measures to protect themselves and their families
  • Data suggests most Brits may still be determined to take a break abroad after extended lock down period
  • Passengers must not to travel to Brittany Ferries ports today (Friday 14 August) without a reservation. More info:


Quarantine restrictions on those holidaying with Brittany Ferries in France and Spain this summer are not good news for the company or its passengers. However, there is some evidence that traditional British stoicism is alive and well, and that many passengers are making an informed personal decision to travel even in the face of quarantine restrictions.

Earlier this week, when interviewed on potential new quarantine measures, chancellor Rishi Sunak advised travellers “to take everything into account and to make the best decisions they can in uncertain times”. Data from reservations on Brittany Ferries’ Spanish routes suggests that large numbers have already heeded this advice, and are taking a measured, personal decision to continue with their travel plans.

Since quarantine was imposed on those returning from Spain, Brittany Ferries has continued to run services connecting Portsmouth and Plymouth with Santander and Bilbao. In that period only around one in five of those who booked to travel has cancelled or changed their travel plans.  The majority have carried on sailing.

“Imposing quarantine from those arriving from France is of course bad news for Brittany Ferries and passengers,” said Christophe Mathieu CEO Brittany Ferries. “However, after six months of the Covid crisis it appears that many of our predominantly-British customers are determined to have their summer holiday abroad.

“Of course, we are all better informed about the crisis than we were in May or June and appreciate both the risks of infection and the measures we must take to protect ourselves and others. Social distancing, mask wearing and regular hand washing are now habits that we have started to adopt as a routine, whether on board Brittany Ferries’ ships, at home or in a holiday destination. Perhaps this goes some way to explaining their determination to get away.”

Brittany Ferries says that it understands that quarantine may be a tool used to combat the spread of Covid-19. However, it believes measures must always be proportional to the risk, enabling people to travel to and from lower risk areas within different countries this summer. It is also reminding customers visiting France and Spain that basic health protection is still afforded by EHIC cards (European Health Insurance Cards). These remain valid until the end of 2020.

Brittany Ferries will closely follow forward demand over the coming weeks. Before today’s news it expected 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.

The company has warned of potential changes to schedules at the end of the summer, if forward demand falls to levels that means services become unsustainable.