Shipping company Brittany Ferries has confirmed plans to introduce a new ‘cruise ferry’ which will serve Irish passengers traveling to and from Spain later this year.
The company will replace the Connemara, a predominantly cargo vessel with few onboard facilities, with a more “touristy” vessel.
The trip from Rosslare to Bilbao, Spain takes around 27 to 33 hours, with passengers spending at least one night on board the ship.
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The new ship, called Galicia, can carry up to 1,015 passengers and is “closer to cruise ferries like the company’s flagship, Pont-Aven, with much better facilities for holidaymakers”.
Galicia launched in December 2020, traveling from Portsmouth to Santander. It has a Spanish theme, which is a first for the company.
The ship has a sundeck with sports equipment, a children’s play area, onboard shops, a playground with interactive digital games and much more.
It is hoped that the ferry cruise will allow Tourism Ireland to promote the ease of access to this part of Spain, encouraging tourists to come and discover Ireland by car.
Siobhan McManamy, Markets Director for Tourism Ireland, said: “We already work closely with Brittany Ferries and look forward to working with them to maximize the promotion of this service to Rosslare.
“Tourism Ireland is rolling out an extensive program of promotional activities in Spain throughout 2022.
“Our message is very simple: Ireland is open for business again and we look forward to ‘rolling out the green carpet’ and welcoming our Spanish visitors back.”
Brittany Ferries Chairman Jean-Marc Roué said: “Our research has indicated that there is demand from Irish people wishing to holiday in Spain and Galicia will certainly provide them with a much more enjoyable experience.
“The job now is to work in partnership with tourism bodies in Ireland and Spain to ensure holidaymakers fill our ships and enrich destinations in both markets.”
The route between Rosslare and Bilbao was established in February 2020, primarily as a freight route.
Galicia will hit the road again later this year, with revised prices yet to be released.
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