Brittany Ferries in the Irish Sea

A trip to Ireland or the British Isles can be excellently combined with a culinary excursion to Brittany. Regardless of their different mentalities, the European countries have, after all, always grown closer. Faced with the isolationist prospect of Brexit with uncertain consequences, every trip through Europe counters the isolationism somewhat.

Auch die größten Laster finden in der Pont Aven Platz / © Foto: Georg Berg
Even the biggest trucks seem small in the Pont Aven / © Photo: Georg Berg

An understanding of evolved transport links is particularly well established on a ferry, where you have time and don’t just meet tourists. Even as you board the ship, you get a sense of the scale of international freight traffic. The routes operated by Brittany Ferries across the western and central English Channel seem equipped as an alternative in case the eastern Channel ports, already congested today, reach their capacity limits as a result of Brexit and its consequences.

Engpass Dover: Im Hafen gibt es nur wenig Platz zum Ausweichen, wenn der Verkehr durch Zollkontrollen ins Stocken kommt / © Foto: Georg Berg
Dover bottleneck: There is little room to maneuver in the port when traffic is stalled by customs checks / © Photo: Georg Berg

Farmers’ cooperative as shipping company

The history of the shipping company is interesting. Founded and still operated by Breton farmers, in the early years it was mainly freight traffic that enabled Brittany Ferries to open up new markets in Ireland, England and Spain. The fleet of currently 9 own and four chartered ships was actually to be increased by three more ferries. The Honfleur, the new flagship powered by liquefied natural gas, was actually scheduled to be launched in Flensburg in 2020. Due to delays in completion and declines in sales during the Covid pandemic, the shipping company backed out of the order.

Unter Deck der Pont Aven ist Platz für 650 Pkws und Motorräder oder 77 hohe Lkws / © Foto: Georg Berg
Below deck on the Pont Aven, there is room for 650 cars and motorcycles or 77 high trucks / © Photo: Georg Berg

From storm Lorenzo, the sea is a bit more agitated than usual at the beginning of our crossing. Pont Aven is big enough to handle the swell of the Irish Sea without any problems. Nevertheless, all trucks and motorcycles are secured with tension belts. In passenger cars, the handbrake is sufficient. In contrast to the usually punctual connections to Ireland, the longer route across the Atlantic to Santander (Spain) can sometimes be delayed due to weather conditions.

Pont Aven – The flagship of Brittany Ferries

Since 2004, the luxurious Pont-Aven has been operating on the long routes between the United Kingdom, France, Ireland and Spain. There is room for up to 2,416 passengers on 2,012 beds in 650 cabins and 47 reclining seats. Two cinemas, two restaurants, several bars, an indoor swimming pool, plenty of room to move around and a very cultured atmosphere mean there is no room for boredom.

Kunst, wo man geht und steht. Angela Berg staunt: Nicht nur in den Kabinen hängen echte Kunstwerke / © Foto: Georg Berg
Art wherever you go. Angela Berg is amazed: real works of art hang not only in the cabins / © Photo: Georg Berg

A total of 1,300 works of art from the extensive Brittany Ferries art collection are on display on the fleet’s nine ships. Each ship has a thematic reference. The Brittany community of Pont Aven is closely associated with the impressionist painter Paul Gauguin.

Im Restaurant der Pont Aven kann man á la carte speisen und dazu eine große Auswahl erlesener Weine genießen (Küchenchef: Yann Collen) / © Foto: Georg Berg
In the Pont Aven’s restaurant, you can dine à la carte and enjoy a wide selection of fine wines (chef: Yann Collen) / © Photo: Georg Berg
Vor dem Schlafengehen noch mal frische Luft tanken / © Foto: Georg Berg
Get some fresh air before going to bed / © Photo: Georg Berg

After a restful night, gently awakened by Celtic music and greeted with a continental breakfast, you arrive rested in the Irish port city of Cork.

Das Frühstück wird in der luxuriösen Commodore Kabine serviert und kann auch auf dem eigenen Balkon eingenommen werden / © Foto: Georg Berg
Breakfast is served in the luxurious Commodore cabin and can also be taken on your own balcony / © Photo: Georg Berg
Das Boot des Lotsen begleitet die Fähre in der Bucht von Cork / © Foto: Georg Berg
The pilot’s boat accompanies the ferry in the bay of Cork / © Photo: Georg Berg

Highest concentration on the bridge

We are allowed to witness the close approach to Cork with Captain Gilles Marré at his command post, where a junior captain is currently completing a training station. Because each port has its own special characteristics, the captains of the Brittany Ferries fleet specialize in the routes with which they are most familiar. Accompanied by a pilot boat, the crew navigates the ship with the utmost concentration through the natural harbor, which is located at the mouth of the River Lee. Only a few quiet words are exchanged here.

Kapitän Gilles Marré (vorn) und das Offiziersteam der Pont Aven  auf der Kommandobrücke der Fähre Pont Aven bei der Hafeneinfahrt von Cork in Irland / © Foto: Georg Berg
Captain Gilles Marré (in front) and the Pont Aven’s team of officers on the bridge of the ferry Pont Aven at the entrance to the port of Cork in Ireland / © Photo: Georg Berg

As was the case on the Armorique crossing, the Pont Aven’s relaxed, confident atmosphere stands out, setting Brittany Ferries apart from other ferries. From the vehicle deck to the service in the restaurant, passengers feel very attentively treated.

Auf der Kommandobrücke der Fähre Pont Aven bei der Hafeneinfahrt von Cork in Irland. Entertainment-Managerin Julie Moranges (l.) beantwortet auf der Brücke die Fragen von Angela Berg / © Foto: Georg Berg
On the bridge of the Pont Aven ferry at the entrance to Cork harbor in Ireland. Entertainment manager Julie Moranges (l.) answers Angela Berg’s questions on the bridge / © Photo: Georg Berg
Die Pont Aven, das Flaggschiff der Brittany Ferries / © Foto: Georg Berg
The Pont Aven, the flagship of Brittany Ferries / © Photo: Georg Berg

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The cost of the cruise was not calculated

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