BRITTANY Ferries have unveiled plans for a new luxury ‘cruise-ferry’ to carry passengers on the route between Ireland and Spain beginning in November 2022.
The Galicia, a 214.5m cruise style vessel, will carry up to 1,000 passengers between Bilbao and Rosslare replacing the no frills service currently in place.
Since 2018 the Connemara has been sailing the route which is predominantly a freight vessel that offers only limited facilities and is limited to 500 passengers.
“This befitted the company strategy of establishing freight links from Ireland to Spain. Now the route has proved a success however, attention is turning to passenger traffic,” the company said in a statement.
The Galicia is described as ‘a more tourism-oriented ship’ and comes with onboard shopping boutiques, children playrooms, sundecks and a choice of restaurants, all with a Spanish theme.
Passengers can choose between the fine dining Azul Restaurant, the more casual Taberna de Tapas and the Plaza Mayor bar, a vast space in the centre of Deck Eight with a light filled atrium.
The luxury ensuite cabins offer on demand TV with doubles and bunks for four.
It also contains a kennel area and dog walking deck for those that travel with their pets.
“The Galicia will continue to provide a strong freight offering,” said Brittany Ferries’ President, Jean-Marc Roué.
“However, our research has indicated that there is a demand there from Irish people wishing to holiday in Spain, and the Galicia will certainly make for a far more enjoyable experience for them.”
The route between northern Spain and southern Ireland takes around 27 hours and crosses the notoriously rough Bay of Biscay.
There are currently two sailings each way a week with prices starting at €223 each way with extra for cabins, although prices soar during high season.
Brittany Ferries have not yet announced a new schedule and prices but said the sailings would be published in May.