Brittany Ferries and the worlds of the Celts

Die Armorique hat ihren Namen nach einer Region der Bretagne und bedeutet übersetzt, „Die Gegend, die dem Meer gegenübersteht“ / © Foto: Georg Berg
Armorique takes its name from a region of Brittany and translates as, “The area facing the sea.”/ © Photo: Georg Berg

The Celtic roots of Brittany and Cornwall can be well combined in one vacation. This is possible with the route of Brittany Ferries, which connects the ports of Roscoff and Plymouth daily in the western English Channel. The Armorique is one of seven ships operated by the company and entered service in 2009. It can carry 1,500 passengers and 470 cars. Up to 120 crew members can look after the welfare and safety of passengers on the ship.

In den Bauch der Armorique passen jede Menge Fahrzeuge / © Foto: Georg Berg
Plenty of vehicles fit in the belly of the Armorique / © Photo: Georg Berg

Two regions for connoisseurs and explorers

So why not combine the southwest of England with Brittany on vacation? Both destinations have their own magic and are especially relaxing the more time you have available, especially since the relatively long journey from Germany is then worthwhile. We took a closer look at two destinations in each country.

The Endsleigh Hotel, located in Devon and separated from Cornwall only by the River Tamar, is wonderfully embedded in a park, as is the Tresanton Hotel on the south coast of Cornwall. In Brittany, we stopped in Roscoff at the Hotel Brittany & Spa and near St. Malo at the Fèrme du Vent run by 3-star chef Olivier Roellinger.

The crossing starts for us on the command bridge

Der Kapitän der Armorique Erwan Fournis auf der Kommandobrücke mit Journalistin Angela Berg / © Foto: Georg Berg
The captain of the Armorique Erwan Fournis on the bridge with journalist Angela Berg / © Photo: Georg Berg

At his command post on the bridge of the Armorique in the port of Plymouth, Captain Erwan Fournis tells us that today it is mainly British tourists who use the crossing. Brittany Ferries was founded in 1973 primarily to boost sales of agricultural products from Brittany to the British Isles. Today, Brittany Ferries is still predominantly owned by Brittany farmers, although trucks now account for only about 20 percent of transport volume.

Auch bei Fahrradurlaubern ist die Verbindung zwischen England und Frankreich beliebt  / © Foto: Georg Berg
The connection between England and France is also popular with bicycle tourists / © Photo: Georg Berg

Established 1973 – Europe grows together

The founding impulse was the entry of Great Britain into the EEC in 1973. Four decades later, we are facing the Brexit negotiations. In the meantime, Brittany Ferries has gained a good reputation among British vacationers as a tour operator for trips to the continent and has positioned itself so broadly, among other things through the ferry connections also to Spain and Ireland, that the exit of Great Britain from the EU is probably economically bearable for Brittany Ferries. The connection between England and France is also popular with bicycle tourists, because from Roscoff, Brittany can be developed very well in pleasant stages. In general, the passengers on board are mainly individual travelers who are hungry for adventure and want to bring back new experiences from their vacation.

26 Knoten Windgeschwindigkeit zeigt 90 Minuten vor der Abfahrt im Hafen von Plymouth das Instrument an / © Foto: Georg Berg
26 knots wind speed shows the instrument 90 minutes before departure in the harbor of Plymouth / © Photo: Georg Berg

While on the lower deck the vehicles are briefed, Captain Fournis checks the wind strength. “26 knots already in the harbor, that can then increase a bit during the night at sea and lead to noticeable rocking. But all still in the safe range.”

Der Monitor auf der Brücke der Armorique zeigt die Route der Überfahrt  / © Foto: Georg Berg
The monitor on the bridge of the Armorique shows the route of the crossing / © Photo: Georg Berg

The crossing in the western English Channel is farther and takes longer than the connections from Dunkirk or Calais to Dover. The atmosphere is all the more relaxed for it. On the crossing in one direction (from France to England), you can let the Atlantic wind blow around your nose on the sun deck during the day.

Französische Küche auf der Armorique: Am Buffet wird man von den Köchen selbst bedient / © Foto: Georg Berg
French cuisine on the Armorique: The chefs themselves serve you at the buffet / © Photo: Georg Berg

Brittany Ferries: Making distance while you sleep

We made the crossing from England to France during the night. After a dinner of French cuisine from the buffet and a drink in the bar, we retired to one of the 247 air-conditioned cabins on the sleeping deck.

Schlummertrunk an der Bar der Armourique / © Foto: Georg Berg
Nightcap at the bar of the Armourique / © Photo: Georg Berg

The next morning, a Breton plucked chord very discreetly alerts us to our imminent arrival over the cabin speakers. Daylight is already streaming into the cabin from the porthole. The gentle rocking of the ship, to which one had already become accustomed overnight, can still be sensed under the shower, with which each cabin is equipped.

Von den neun Decks der Armorique sind die oberen beiden für die Schlafkabinen der Passagiere und Besatzungsmitglieder ausgelegt. Darunter zwei Decks mit Gastronomie, Service und Aufenthaltsräumen. Darunter befinden sich die Fahrzeuggaragen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Of the nine decks of the Armorique, the upper two are designed for the sleeping cabins of passengers and crew members. Below that are two decks with catering, service and lounges. Below are the vehicle garages / © Photo: Georg Berg

Depending on the weather and personal preference, you can still watch the nautical maneuvers outside before arriving or slowly wake up in the cabin with a hot drink.

In den Gewässern vor der bretonischen Küste nähert sich der Lotse / © Foto: Georg Berg
In the waters off the coast of Brittany, the pilot approaches / © Photo: Georg Berg

On the horizon, no sooner has the Breton coast come into view than a fast boat appears and approaches alongside the Armorique, which is still sailing full speed ahead. It turns out that a pilot is about to take command of the Armorique for the waters off Roscoff, which are interspersed with small rocky islands.

In voller Fahrt besteigt der Lotse für die Gewässer vor Roscoff die Armorique / © Foto: Georg Berg
At full speed, the pilot for the waters off Roscoff boards the Armorique / © Photo: Georg Berg

A few minutes later, the port of Roscoff comes into view, and fortunately, two hours later, the sun is out. Due to the optimal travel time of 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., one can get back into one’s own car rested and marvel at the scenic similarities between Cornwell and Brittany on the onward journey. The people are similarly laid back and foodies are pleased to find that oysters, lobsters and other sea creatures thrive on both coasts.

Der Hafen von Roscoff – Im Dunst auf dem Hügel ist die Kapelle Saint-Barbe zu sehen. Die Armorique auf ihren letzten Metern vor dem Anleger im Hafen von Roscoff / © Foto: Georg Berg
The port of Roscoff – The Chapel of Saint-Barbe can be seen in the haze on the hill. The Armorique on its last meters before the jetty in the port of Roscoff / © Photo: Georg Berg

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The cost of the cruise was not calculated

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