Published: 16:43, 05 August 2021
| Updated: 16:46, 05 August 2021
The newest and longest ferry to sail from Dover was welcomed with fireworks last night.
At At 214 metres long, the DFDS Côte d’Opale - boasting the largest Duty Free shop on the English Channel - was met with streams of colour in the sky as she arrived at the port of Dover at 9.45pm last night.
Able to carry up to 1000 passengers and 3,100 lane metres of freight, the China made vessel consumes 25% less fuel than existing ferries in the Danish company's fleet.
It is hailed "exceeding anything experienced before" on the busy Dover-Calais route.
It replaces Calais Seaways and will sail alongside Côte des Flandres and Côte des Dunes.
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. "Customers today have higher expectations and the Côte d’Opale will exceed anything they have experienced before on this route.
"With excellent passenger and driver facilities, improved environmental impact and increased capacity, we are excited to welcome Côte d’Opale to Dover to launch a new era of cross channel ferry travel.”
The interior centrepiece layout features a large atrium with a skylight and separate ‘wings’ for each product category on offer, including perfume and cosmetics, wine and spirits, and electronics.
The return of duty-free means that passengers will be able to make huge savings on premium products sold in the onboard shop.
In addition, the ferry has an exclusive Premium Lounge, which offers an exclusive, laid-back space for passengers to enjoy a peaceful crossing, and three dining areas.
The 7 Seas restaurant and Lighthouse Café are for leisure travellers.
Commercial drivers have their own dedicated area in the Road Kings lounge and restaurant, with showers and rest areas specially designed for drivers.
Côte d’Opale will be highly efficient and environmentally friendly with an expected reduction in fuel consumption of around 25 per cent compared to the current fleet.
With two engines instead of four, she will offer improvements in fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions and give a service speed of 20-22 knots.
Congratulating DFDS on its milestone day, Doug Bannister, CEO of the Port of Dover said: “The addition of a brand new, state of the art ferry on the route from a long-established operator cements market and customer confidence in the Short Straits.
"2021 has demonstrated the strong reliance on the Dover-Calais route post Brexit transition and throughout a pandemic to keep supply chains moving and trade flowing as the shortest and most efficient crossing. I look forward to that continuing in years to come as we prepare to welcome tourists back soon. My thanks go to our operations team here and at DFDS for working so hard behind the scenes to make today happen.”
Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover, said: “Good Luck and Bonne Chance to the beautiful new addition to the DFDS Channel ferry fleet - the Côte d’Opale.
Costing over £100 million to build, this is a huge investment by DFDS in the Dover-Calais route. A tremendous vote of confidence and commitment to the future of Dover; reducing carbon emissions, increasing comfort and capacity across the Channel. We wish DFDS and the Côte d’Opale crew every success.”
Côte d’Opale was ordered by DFDS in April 2018 (on a charter from Stena RoRo) and has been built at the CMI Jinling Weihei shipyard in China.
DFDS will operate the ship for an initial ten years with an option to buy it after that. It has the capacity to handle growth in both freight and leisure customers post-Brexit and Covid-19.