Brittany Ferries - History - 2000s


In 2001 a new fast ferry service operated between Poole and Cherbourg in partnership with Condor Ferries. The Normandie Vitesse operated the service in just over two hours. In 2002, a new ship, the Mont St Michel, was due to enter service between Portsmouth and Caen. The Duc de Normandie was transferred to the Roscoff route in July, whilst the Quiberon was sent to Caen to cover until the new ship arrived. The Mont St Michel was delayed until December however. The Quiberon spent the remainder of the year on the busiest Brittany Ferries route. She had been with the company for almost 21 years when she was sold in 2003. In 2004, another new ship, the Pont-Aven, was introduced on the Santander & Cork routes. She could travel much faster than the rest of the fleet, cutting journey times by a quarter. This allowed the Val de Loire to join the Bretagne on the St Malo route. Both ships also provided a new mid-week link to Cherbourg from Portsmouth.

In late 2004, the company withdrew the Duc de Normandie from the fleet. The Bretagne transferred to the Roscoff route, leaving the Val de Loire at St Malo. The Coutances was also earmarked for disposal, but then a change of heart resulted in its refit, losing her Truckline Ferries livery in favour of the new Brittany Ferries logo.

More changes occurred in 2005 with the withdrawal of P&O's French routes from Portsmouth. A new fast craft, the Normandie Express was chartered to operate between Portsmouth and Cherbourg and Caen. In addition, the Poole-Cherbourg ship Barfleur was redeployed to operate a triangular service between Portsmouth, Poole and Cherbourg. A new ship was announced, in part a replacement for the Coutances. The ship was named the Cotentin. Purbeck was to have returned from operating in New Zealand and cover the Portsmouth-Cherbourg link but this plan was dropped. Barfleur returned to the Poole-Cherbourg link in November 2005.

The former flagship of the fleet (from 1993 until the arrival of the Mont St Michel) Val de Loire left the fleet in February 2006, having been sold to DFDS and renamed King of Scandinavia. In the meantime, Brittany Ferries had taken a 2 year charter of the DFDS ship Duke of Scandinavia, which was renamed Pont-L'Abbé and ran on the Plymouth-Roscoff route. The Bretagne returned to the Portsmouth-St Malo route. Brittany Ferries also announced a new build for the Plymouth-Roscoff route, to be launched early 2008. In February 2006 the Normandie Express was brought under the French flag, she was later purchased by the company in early 2007. Brittany Ferries new freight ship, the Cotentin, entered service on 26 November 2007 with the 23:45 Cherbourg-Poole service. The new ship also operated a weekly service to Santander from Poole. It was announced on 19 December 2007 that the company had purchased the Pont-L'Abbé from DFDS. On 1 May 2008 MV Coutances completed her last sailing for the company - having been with Truckline Ferries] for 30 years and with Brittany Ferries since 1985. In early 2009, the Armorique was launched on the Plymouth-Roscoff route, replacing the Pont L'Abbe. For 2009, the Pont-Aven operated a new Portsmouth to Santander service once a week (cutting the previous Plymouth to Santander route to once a week).

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