Published on Monday, March 28, 2011

Ferry operator launches Bilbao route


Brittany Ferries is offering a new way for UK holidaymakers to visit the Basque country with the launch at the weekend of a twice weekly service from Portsmouth to Bilbao.
This is the first new port destination the ferry operator has offered in 25 years. The first sailing of the route, which is served by the 33,000 Cap Finistère, took place this Sunday.
The move brings Brittany Ferries’ crossings from the UK to Spain up to five a week, two from Portsmouth to Bilbao, two from Portsmouth to Santander and one from Plymouth to Santander.
The Portsmouth-Bilbao crossing takes between 24 and 32 hours and arrives at Bilbao’s new terminal, close to Spain’s A8 motorway, with connections to Madrid, the Costa Brava and the south.
The operator made sure it was well placed to catch airline business last year when the ash cloud meant thousands of air passengers wanting to get to and from Spain were stranded.
Last week it picked up an award for its marketing strategy based around this.
Brittany Ferries Group passenger commercial director Mike Bevens said: “As the numbers of air travellers from the UK to Spain have declined, we’ve witnessed a surge in demand for direct UK Spain crossings.
“Our customers welcome being able to relax on a comfortable and spacious cruise-ferry and the freedom that having their own car brings.
Cap Finistère, which was added to the Brittany Ferries fleet last year, features a children's playground, a cinema and cafe, a dedicated dog walking area and ten pet-friendly cabins.
by Dinah Hatch


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