Running a French Holiday Gite in Rural Brittany

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Brittany Ferries and Barfleur say "Farewell" to Poole

Brittany Ferries

Earlier this week the BBC reported that Brittany Ferries had quietly dropped the Barfleur conventional ferry service from Poole to Cherbourg, terminating the daily ferry service to France that has operated for the past 17 years.

Not surprisingly the Bournemouth Echo reports the town's "Bitter disappointment" in loosing the Barfleur service although Steve Tuckwell, a spokesman for Brittany Ferries, is quoted as saying that the service has been "haemorrhaging money" and that "The Poole to Cherbourg route using Barfleur has lost us money since 2003”, so it's perhaps hardly surprising that the route is being axed.

Later in the week the Bournemouth Echo reported rather nostalgically about how loosing Barfleur is the 'end of an era', and recalled Brittany Ferries optimism when the boat was commissioned in 1991 to compete head-on with the forthcoming Eurotunnel service.

At the time the new boat was actually delayed by 3 months as Brittany Ferries ordered the Finnish Kvaerner-Masa yards in Helsinki to "stretch" the new boat at a cost of an additional £5 million by welding an extra nine metres into its mid-section, increasing the ferry’s length and weight, and providing 200 more cabin berths, and more public and car deck areas.

Barfleur will complete its last sailing on 7th March 2010 and will be taken out of service afterwards. Poole will still retain the high speed Normandie Vitesse catamaran service to Cherbourg which operates through the summer months from May through to September.

In slight recompense Brittany Ferries have also announced that they're increasing sailings from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, and will also increase the Portsmouth to Santander (Northern Spain) service from 4 crossings a week to 5, having purchased the Superfast V cruise ferry for £75m from Greek company Attica to boost their capacity on this route.
Brittany Ferries have been strongly promoting the benefits of cruising to Spain rather than driving down through France and by 2012 are predicting to be carrying 250,000 passengers each year to from the UK to Spain.

I noticed that the Brittany Ferries website now offers services from "Poole / Portsmouth to Cherbourg" rather than there being separate routes from "Poole to Cherbourg" and "Portsmouth to Cherbourg" - despite the fact that it's an hour or so's drive between the two ports.

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  • We have been ferrying between Poole and Cherbourg with all our family for 10 years now on the Barfleur and are really disappointed to hear the sad news that it is being withdrawn from service in March 2010. I am now stuck with a car journey to Portsmouth because I do not care to travel on the fast craft.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 09, 2010  

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