P&O To Stop Portsmouth-Bilbao Ferry Service

I’ve written about the whale-watching delights of P&O’s Portsmouth-Bilbao ferry service before, but today P&O announced that they will scrap the service at the end of September 2010.

Apparently, the current ship, the Pride of Bilbao, is reaching the end of its charter and as the service loses money, P&O can’t justify the cost of building a new ship and have not been able to find a suitable replacement to charter. P&O say that passengers with bookings up to and including the 27th September will not be affected by the change. Passengers with bookings after this date will be contacted by the company for “alternative arrangements or refunds”.

P&O Ferries chief executive Helen Deeble said: “We have examined every option very carefully and have been trying for more than three years to find a suitable replacement ship in order to continue the service profitably. The Pride of Bilbao has served us well but is now an old ship nearing the end of her commercial life and needs to be replaced.

“However, we have reached the sad conclusion that such a replacement vessel is not currently available and as this loss-making route is unable to fund the cost of a new purpose-built ship we have no alternative other than to close it.”

From a practical point of view it shouldn’t make much difference to motorhome travellers – assuming Brittany Ferries’ Santander service keeps running, it will still be possible to get a ferry to the north coast of Spain from both Plymouth and Portsmouth.

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