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  June 2012
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx High Spirits
  New P&O ferries at Dover

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High Spirits
The Dover Straits is one of the most contested stretches of water in Western Europe with several ferry companies and the Channel Tunnel battling it out for business.   Ferry operators have traditionally deployed their biggest and best stock ranging from Sealink's Saint class in the 1980's to SeaFrance's recent Berlioz and Rodin.   P&O's response to the latest challengers has been to replace the Pride of Calais and Pride of Dover, now nearly a quarter of a century old, with the Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France.   These vessels are over 50% larger than their predecessors and are amongst some of the largest ferries in Europe.   They dwarf their sea competitors and are particularly impressive at swallowing huge amounts of freight.   Although they may be spectacular from the outside, their interiors are disappointingly uninspiring.   There is none of the style and panache of the DFDS and former SeaFrance ships, it's all just a bit dull and functional.   However they do what it says on the tin - transport vast numbers of traffic and passengers from Britain to France in stress free surroundings.   And for many years to come no doubt.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Click to enlarge photos and play clip.   All photos taken in March 2012.
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Photo Facts (Top to Bottom)
  • Exterior
  • Spirit of France about to load at sunset in Calais
  • Spirit of Britain arriving in Calais
  • Spirit of France arriving in Calais
  • Spirit of Britain in Dover
  • Clip - Spirit of France arriving in Calais
  • Interior
  • Deck plan of Spirit of France
  • Seating area of the food court of Spirit of Britain in August 2011
  • Food court serving area on Spirit of France.   The restaurant is rather disappointing, being located in a tight corner of the ship.   The food is a throw back to the bad old British Rail days.
  • Chicken curry on the Spirit of France in June 2012.   Fortunately most of the food made it onto the plate.   This is more slop than haute cuisine - curry and rice in the same bowl, with extra rice added on top for good measure.
  • The family lounge on the Spirit of France.   One of the few stylish touches is the reclining couches for two (visible back left).
  • The bar on the Spirit of France
  • The vast proportions of the ships are clear.   The main corridor seems to go on forever.
  • No award for aesthetics - a bench seat on the Spirit of France




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Photo-Transport has been publishing themed articles about Public Transport for over 10 years.

If you enjoyed the above article you may be interested in these articles which were first published in November 2003 and December 2007.

  After Freight
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