Almost exactly a year after the Brexit vote, Brittany Ferries has confirmed the order for a new LNG cruise ferry with a budget of around £175m. It will operate on the company’s busiest route from Portsmouth to Caen with a planned arrival in spring 2019 – as Brexit negotiations move towards completion.

The new ship will be named Honfleur after the charming seaside destination on the Seine estuary in Normandy. First details have been revealed today after contracts were signed with the Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellshaft shipyard in Germany.

She will be powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas) and promises to be the most environmentally-friendly vessel operating on the English Channel. LNG emits less carbon dioxide than diesel following combustion and burns with no smoke. It is entirely free of sulphur and produces very low emissions of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.

In LNG-electric propulsion, four engines feed electric generators and two electric propulsion motors. This quieter and more efficient form of power delivery reduces vibration, meaning an even smoother ride for passengers.

Christophe Mathieu CEO of Brittany Ferries said:   “It is important that we invest in new technologies and new vessels that respect the environment in which we operate. Equally, we must not forget that our customers expect Brittany Ferries ships to be comfortable, relaxing and adapted to the digital age. These objectives are compatible and I believe Honfleur will set a new standard for ferries operating on the Channel.”

Innovation goes beyond the powertrain. Every aspect of Honfleur’s interior has been carefully considered with the digital age in mind. Free Wi-Fi will come as standard in all cabins and public spaces, and a digital information lounge will serve as her focal point. Quiet lounges, panoramic views and reading areas will complement cabins designed to sooth and reflect the unique ambience of a short voyage by sea.

“This is a ship that has been truly designed with the customer at heart and Honfleur will be the first full-service cruise ferry to embrace the digital age,” added Mike Bevens Brittany Ferries commercial director. “She will reaffirm our position as a class-leading operator thanks to LNG propulsion and an interior that has been carefully considered to meet the needs of everyone. It’s a huge step forward for us, a clear statement of our intent for the future and a reassuring signal for our customers, 8 in 10 of whom are British.”

Brittany Ferries believes a journey by sea should be the richest way to travel. Honfleur will therefore offer a top-class, à la carte restaurant serving locally sourced meals prepared by French chefs on board.

Her digital information lounge will present inspiration for future visits on big screens, revealing the richness and variety of holiday destinations around the coastline of the European west, as well as information on current destinations for passengers. They will be able to research things like connection times, view recommendations suggested by other passengers and find out more about services on board.

In addition to the à la carte restaurant, Honfleur will host a self-service facility, café and bar serving light snacks. Two cinemas have been included in the design, alongside other areas designed to keep children and teenagers entertained. Like other ships in the fleet, she will feature boutique shopping and showcase original works of art by local artists.

Upon Honfleur’s arrival, Brittany Ferries’ cruise-ferry Normandie will move east to serve the Portsmouth-Le Havre route.

Technical specifications:

Length: 187.4 metres
Breadth: 31 metres
Max Draught: 6.6 metres
Tonnage: 42,400 gross tons
Max speed: 22 knots
Decks: 11
Passengers: 1,680
Passenger cabins: 257
Passenger areas: 5,200 m2
Vehicle capacity: 2,600 lane metres (130 freight trailers, or 550 cars and 64 freight trailers)