The British tourists had discovered Flanders in the late-19th-century when Ostend Belgium was a day-trip (by steamship) away from Dover UK. In 1974, with the adhesion of the UK to the EU, commenced the ferry service (cars and passengers) Zeebrugge-Hull. The service aimed at passengers and wheeled cargoes heading north (including Scotland) allowing them to skip the long road journey from Dover.
Onboard, truck drivers and passengers were housed in cabins, serviced by two restaurants, shops, disco nightclub, live shows, promenade strolls.
Since then, the ferry service has been without interval, served by 3 generations of vessels, and carrying millions of travellers. The last generation of ships was operated by P&O Ferries UK with two vessels - Pride of Bruges and Pride of York - alternating each night on the North Sea route.
Today, 19 years later, the age of the two liners started to tell. Passenger numbers dropped while freight turned more towards the Channel Tunnel. More recently, the UK's Brexit and the Coronavirus/COVID crisis added their effects.
At the beginning of December 2020, P&O decided not to continue investing in this route. Pride of York departed from Hull (for the last time) on December 9, heading for Rotterdam Netherlands, after having been laid up in Hull since April 2020. Pride of Bruges left Zeebrugge (en route to Rotterdam) on January 4.
Sadly, both sisterships are expected to be scrapped.