This morning, Dubai owned P&O ferries took delivery of the Spirit of Britain – one of the largest ferries in the world. The vessel will operate on the Dover-Calais channel route, and is capable of transporting 2000 passengers.
Compared to the ferries of the past, this new vessel is more cruise ship than ferry – with an upscale shopping center, private lounge, shower facilities, free Wi-Fi and various restaurants.
Passengers on the 90 minute journey can drive their car onto the ship along with up to nine passengers for just GBP19 ($30), with 6 free bottles of wine and a free breakfast. There is room on its decks for 180 freight trucks, for a total of 400 vehicles – or almost 2.2 miles of cars and trucks.
Despite the introduction of the Channel Tunnel back in 1994, ship traffic between the two countries is busier than ever. On this short route, P&O has to compete with two other ship operators.
The Spirit of Britain is the sixth ferry from P&O to operate on the channel route, and will be joined in September by the Spirit of France. The ships were built in Finland by STX shipyards, the same yard responsible for building the massive Norweigan Epic cruise ship as well as various Carnival cruise ships.