A new ferry that will have the Channel’s largest duty-free shop is sailing to its new home in Kent from China as operators expect a renaissance in sea travel.
The DFDS vessel, Côte d’Opale, will be the longest on the short distance Dover-Calais route at 214 meters and its retail space, measuring 1,100 square meters, will be stocked with good deals of alcohol, cigarettes and perfumes associated with Duty Free.
She left China yesterday (Thursday) for her 6,000 mile journey to the UK and is expected to arrive in Dover to start her service in time for the summer holidays.
It comes after the Danish shipping and logistics company on Tuesday signed a space charter with competitors P&O Ferries.
This will allow trucks to arrive at Dover or Calais and board the next available boat, regardless of which company operates that ferry.
An interactive tour and film of the new Opal Coast gives an exclusive glimpse of what passengers can expect.
To date, the tour has only been seen by DFDS staff and workers at the Weihei Shipyard in China, where it was built.
“We expect a renaissance in ferry travel once Europe opens its doors to British visitors.” Filip Hermann, DFDS
The Opal Coast can transport up to 1,000 people and up to 180 trucks.
Among the highlights on board is the modern, open-plan shopping experience with a ceiling atrium allowing plenty of natural light.
The store will have separate spaces for perfumes, spirits, luxury goods and electronics, and the ferry operator has partnered with another Danish brand LEGO® to offer exclusive discounts on its onboard products.
The companies also collaborated on two LEGO®-themed children’s play areas on board.
The new ferry will also be faster, more efficient and more environmentally friendly than the Calais shipping lanes, which it will replace.
A sleeker hull design and twin-engine layout are expected to reduce fuel consumption by around 25%, as DFDS seeks to meet ambitious emission reduction targets by 2030.
Filip Hermann, Vice President and Head of BU Channel for DFDS, said: “The outward journey by ferry sets the stage for a traveller’s entire vacation experience. We expect to see a renaissance of ferry travel once Europe opens its doors to UK visitors, as holidaymakers seek all the perks we can offer, including relaxation on board in spacious surroundings, with a panoramic sea view and a chance to refuel before. onward journey – this is quite a contrast to other modes of transport.
“Passengers who start their vacation this summer will not only be thrilled to get away for the first time after the lockdown, but on the Opal Coast will travel on the most modern ferry in the cross-Channel service. Customers today have higher expectations for their trip and the Opal Coast will surpass anything they have experienced before on this route.
In the UK, DFDS operates passenger ferry services on the Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe routes.
The Opal Coast will ensure part of the company’s 54 daily DFDS crossings between Dover and Calais and Dunkirk.
Read more: All the latest news from Dover