A further three ships covering four routes will re-open to passengers in July. It concerns the non-laid up CONNEMARA as well as BRETAGNE and NORMANDIE, which have been laid up in Le Havre since 19 and 20 March, respectively.
Due to a combination of unpredictable demand on the services they operate and a shortage of cabins, Brittany Ferries has decided that ETRETAT (Le Havre-Portsmouth), BARFLEUR (Cherbourg-Poole) and the high-speed craft NORMANDIE EXPRESS (Cherbourg-Portsmouth) will remain laid up until further notice. The Le Havre-Portsmouth and Cherbourg-Portsmouth routes will instead be operated by the Visentini Class CONNEMARA, a near sister of ETRETAT.
Passenger capacity will be capped on all vessels. All services connecting France and the UK will be limited to a maximum of 550 passengers, but the capacity limits will be ship-specific, and will be reviewed as the summer progresses. This measure reduces capacity by more than 60%, applying until mid-July at the earliest.
A range of new sanitary and social distancing measures will also be imposed on all vessels. These measures go above and beyond compliance with statutory guidance in countries served by the company.
In preparation for the resumption of passenger sailings, Brittany Ferries has drawn up a 12-point guide to safe travel this summer. Part of the company's 'Together & Protected' campaign, the guide is based on new safety measures and is designed to inform, reassure and prepare all those people thinking about ferry travel, as well as those who are about to embark on holiday.
The 12-point guide specifies:
- Passengers may be required by national or local authorities to fill in a health form prior to travel.
- Passengers must check in at least 90 minutes before departure.
- To avoid queues, boarding and disembarkation will be staggered.
- Masks must be worn while boarding, disembarking and in public areas on board.
- Passengers will be reminded that hands should be washed regularly, they should use hand sanitisers and follow all crew instructions.
- Customers will be asked to read onboard signs and to respect physical distancing guidance in all public areas.
- A cabin or reserved seat is compulsory on all sailings. To minimise contact with others, passengers should remain in their personal space as much as possible.
- Fresh sea air is supplied in all public areas on board, including cabins.
- Enhanced cleaning with virucidal cleaners will take place during and between sailings.
- In restaurants and bars, meal choices may be limited and space adapted to comply with new safety protocols.
- In all public areas, crew will wear masks when interacting with passengers.
- Medical assistance is available in the event of a suspected COVID-19 case, including a dedicated cabin for isolation.
Other measures defined by Brittany Ferries' chief doctor are also in place, including full crew training and a dedicated nurse on all sailings. According to a Brittany Ferries statement, all measures are already well-practised as the company has been carrying only essential freight in recent months, having allowed them to implement, practise and finetune measures on board working with lorry drivers.
"We are very much looking forward to welcoming holidaymakers back on board starting on Monday," said Christophe Mathieu, CEO Brittany Ferries. "Operationally, we have put in place everything for a safe return to service and we have practised these measures daily. Our job now is to reassure passengers that ferries are open for business and that travel by sea is the safest way to enjoy an international holiday. It won't be quite the same Brittany Ferries experience on board of course, at least to start with. However, it will still be a relaxing sea bridge to take you to the beautiful destinations you have been dreaming of during lockdown."
© Shippax / PR / PHO
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