New €360m P&O Ferries Near Readiness for Dover-Calais Route

P&O is preparing to launch its newest ferry, the Spirit of Britain, which is currently scheduled to make its first sailing from Dover to Calais at 0415 on the 23rd January, 2011.

One of a pair of new ferries for the Dover-Calais ferry route, it has almost twice the carrying capacity of the ship it replaces (the Pride of Dover) and will be able to carry:

  • 180 lorries
  • 195 cars
  • 1,750 passengers

In addition, the Spirit of Britain will apparently have a dedicated deck for “tourist vehicles” – meaning that motorhomes and caravans will no longer have to share space with freight vehicles and instead will have their own, dedicated space. From a customer point of view, I don’t see why this matters, but I guess a lot of people will like it and I suspect it will improve loading efficiency for the ship.

The new ferry is one of an identical pair – its sister ship, the Spirit of France, will replace the Pride of Calais and will enter service a few months after the Spirit of Britain. The two ferries have been built in Finland at a cost of €360m and are intended to operate on this route for the next 25 years – so they are a major commitment by P&O. Each ferry weighs 49,000 tonnes and has been designed to be as large as possible for the existing facilites at Dover and Calais. Each ferry is 213m long and has 3,746m of vehicle lanes – if loaded only with cars, each ferry could carry more than 1,000 cars. For comparison, the existing ferries can carry 650 cars if loaded only with cars.