DFDS welcomed its newest ferry to the Dover-Calais route on Wednesday 4 August when it made its maiden voyage to Dover.

The Côte d’Opale can carry 3,100 lane metres of freight, making it the longest ship on the Channel, and has space for up to 1,000 passengers. It replaces Calais Seaways, which is currently operating on the Dover-Calais route alongside Côte des Flandres and Côte des Dunes.

The new ferry offers the largest duty-free shopping experience on any cross-Channel ferry. The shop stretches across 1,100 square metres and its centrepiece is a large atrium with a skylight. It features 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.

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.

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.”

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.”

By Ed

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