Published: 15:00, 28 May 2021
| Updated: 15:49, 28 May 2021
A new ferry which will have the biggest Duty Free shop on the English Channel is sailing towards its new home in Kent from China as operators expect a renaissance for sea travel.
The DFDS vessel, Côte d’Opale, will be the longest on the short sea Dover to Calais route at 214 metres and her retail space, measuring 1,100 square metre will be packed with booze, cigarette and perfume bargains associated with Duty Free.
She departed China yesterday (Thursday) on her 6,000-mile voyage to the UK and is expected to arrive in Dover to begin service in time for the summer holidays.
It comes after the Danish shipping and logistics firm signed a space charter with competitiors P&O Ferries on Tuesday.
That will allow lorries to arrive at either Dover or Calais and board the next available sailing, regardless of which of the two companies operates that ferry.
An interactive tour and film of the new Côte d’Opale gives an exclusive preview of what passengers can expect.
The tour has to-date only been seen by DFDS staff and workers at the Weihei shipyard in China, where she was built.
" We’re expecting a renaissance for ferry travel once Europe opens its doors to UK visitors." Filip Hermann, DFDS
The Côte d’Opale can carry up to 1,000 people and up to 180 lorries.
Among the highlights onboard are the modern, open-plan shopping experience with an overhead atrium allowing for plenty of natural light.
The shop will feature separate areas for perfumes, spirits, luxury goods and electronics, and the ferry operator has teamed up with fellow Danish-brand LEGO® to offer exclusive discounts on its products onboard.
The companies have also collaborated on two LEGO®-themed children’s play areas onboard.
The new ferry will also be faster, more efficient and more environmentally friendly than the Calais Seaways, which it will replace.
A sleeker hull design and two-engine layout is expected to reduce fuel consumption by around 25 per cent, as DFDS seeks to meet ambitious targets for emissions reduction by 2030.
Filip Hermann, Vice President and Head of BU Channel for DFDS, said: “The outbound ferry journey sets the scene for a traveller’s whole holiday experience. We’re expecting to see a renaissance for ferry travel once Europe opens its doors to UK visitors as holidaymakers seek out all the benefits that we can offer, including relaxing on board in spacious surroundings, with scenic sea views, and a chance to refuel before the onward journey – it's quite a contrast to other modes of transport.
“Passengers beginning their holidays this summer won’t just be excited to get away for the first time after lockdown but, on the Côte d’Opale, will be travelling on the most modern ferry on the cross-Channel service. Customers today have higher expectations for their journey and the Côte d’Opale will exceed anything they have experienced before on this route.”
In the UK, DFDS operates passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe.
The Côte d’Opale will provide some of the company's DFDS 54 daily sailings between Dover and Calais and Dunkirk.