New ferry service to France and Spain gets under way
THE NEW ferry service connecting Rosslare to the west of France and on to Spain has begun operating.
LD Lines' vessel, the Scintu, which is to be renamed the Norman Atlantic, berthed for the first time at Rosslare Port on Thursday and departed on Friday night.
The ferry company said the new route is part of an overhaul of what it calls its 'Motorway of the Seas' concept, connecting Rosslare to St. Nazaire and then on to Gijón in northern Spain.
'We're absolutely delighted. It's the first ro ro service between Ireland and Iberia and will open up new trading opportunities – for both tourism and freight,' said Rosslare port's general manager John Lynch.
Mr. Lynch said it was possible that the service would take some freight from existing carriers with cargoes to and from the west of France and Spain, many reliant on the UK landbridge.
'But we expect it grow traffic,' he said.
It's the first time the northern Spanish port of Gijón will provide a passenger ferry link with Rosslare, and between Gijon and Poole, in Dorset, as part of a two-ship operation combining the Norman Asturias and sister ship Scintu.
LD Lines says that for the tourist markets, these ferry links will make destinations in Spain, France and Portugal, including regions such as the Algarve more accessible, particularly for motorists.
Christophe Santoni, CEO of LD Lines said the new links provide the tourist passenger market with even greater choice.
The vessels Norman Asturias and Scintu, built in 2008/2009 by the Visentini Italian shipyard, each have capacity for up to 500 passengers and 200 cars and on board. Facilities include 120 cabins, a bar, restaurant, shop and a full range of passenger entertainment is being developed and introduced in the months ahead.
The voyage between Rosslare and St. Nazaire will take 22 hours, with another 15 hours for the onward sailing to Spain.
The weekly service departs Rosslare for St. Nazaire on Fridays at 9 p.m. and from St. Nazaire to Gijón at 10 p.m. on Saturdays. The return service departs Gijón on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. and onwards from St-Nazaire on Wednesdays just before midnight.
New Ross Standard