BRITTANY FERRIES (Ferries)
Specifications of Santona ferry
|Year built||2023 new ship|
|Builder||AVIC Weihai Shipyard Co (Weihai, China)|
|Class||Stena E-Flexer cruiseferry (Ro-Pax ship)|
|Ferry route / homeports||Portsmouth-Santander-Bilbao|
|Building cost||EUR 195 million (USD 240 million)|
|Owner||Stena AB Group (via Stena RoRo)|
|Speed||22 kn / 41 kph / 25 mph|
|Length (LOA)||215 m / 705 ft|
|Beam (width)||28 m / 92 ft|
|Gross Tonnage||42400 gt|
|Decks with cabins||3|
Santona ferry Review
Review of Santona ferry
MS Santona ferry is a Ro-Ro passenger vessel owned by STENA LINE and operated under charter by the French company BRITTANY FERRIES. The ship has a max capacity of 1680 passengers, 550 cars and 64 trucks (or 130 trailers) The vessel is scheduled for launch in 2023 to operate on the UK (England)-Spain ferry route Portsmouth-Santander (crossing time 20 hours) and Portsmouth-Bilbao (crossing time 24 hours).
As cruise ferry, Santona has a total of 343 cabins (plus 36 truck-driver cabins), all of which are air-conditioned and with en-suite bathrooms. The ferry company provides bed linens, towels, and toiletries. The ship additionally has reclining seats. Some staterooms are wheelchair-accessible (adapted for disabled passengers).
The ship's staterooms as categories are 4-Berth Outside "Club Plus", 4-Berth Outside "Club", 4-Berth Inside, 2-Berth Inside, as well as Wheelchair-Accessible and Pet-friendly (both with linoleum flooring). Also available are reserved lounge seats and baby cots.
All passengers must vacate their staterooms 30 min prior to homeport arrival.
Shipboard dining and entertainment options
As facilities, the Santona cruise ship offers:
- A La Carte Restaurant (120-seat, offers locally-sourced meals prepared by French chefs)
- Azul Restaurant (self-service/buffet restaurant, hot and cold meals) - ticket price-inclusive are 1x 3-course dinner and 1x Continental breakfast. Restaurant Azul is open for Breakfast (Continental, waiter-served), Lunch (buffet) and Dinner (3-course meals).
- Taberna de Tapas / Cafe Bar (light meal, sandwiches, tapas, cakes, pastries, hot/cold drinks, HDTVs) the Cafe Restaurant serves tapas (from patatas/papas bravas to traditional regional Spanish favourites) and various hot dishes from the menu. Taberna de Tapas offers waiter-served Continental or Spanish breakfast and (during summer only) the inclusive 3-course dinner from Azul Restaurant.
- Plaza Mayor is a large bar lounge serving food (snacks and light bites) and beverages (including Spanish wines and beers) throughout the day, as well as Afternoon Tea (coffee and pastries/cakes). The venue features plenty of natural light (coming from its SkyLight / glass-roof cover) and a large HDTV streaming live sporting events and music.
- Commodore C-Club Lounge is a limited-capacity bar lounge with large, round-shaped windows and comfortable seating. The lounge access is complimentary for Commodore-class passengers and at-fee for lower-class cabins. The fee is payable onboard (at the Reception Desk) or prior departure (online, upon booking). The Commodore C-Club Lounge's access includes beverages (hot and cold) and light food (snacks, hot and cold dishes) which are provided complimentary throughout the day.
- 2 cinemas - tickets can be purchased from Information Desk
- Kids Playroom is an indoor playground (part of Azul Restaurant) where is complimentary provided children entertainment program (digital and interactive games, arts-crafts, physical activities) by dedicated youth supervisors. Another kids' playground (with Travel & Sea exhibition area) is located outside Le Bar.
- Games Planet (teen lounge - video games, air hockey, foosball)
- Chance Planet (casino/gambling lounge with slot machines)
- Reading Lounge
- 2 Reserved Seating Lounges (with reclining / Pullman seats)
- Le Bar (fine French wines, cocktails, cold/hot drinks, HDTVs)
- Les Boutiques (shops) sell gifts, souvenirs, spirits, wines (large wine cellar), tobaccos, perfumes, cosmetics, leather goods, toys, books, confectionery, clothing, cameras, sunglasses, jewellery). Special shopping promotions are held on each voyage.
- free Wi-Fi, ATM / cash machine (next to Information Desk / Reception), disabled toilets, baby changing rooms, complimentary Baggage Room
- elevators (passenger lifts) accessing all decks
Sun Deck (Deck 10) is a large outdoor area that doubles as Helideck (helipad) - helicopter landing platform used in cases of emergency. On sundeck can be found canopy-shaded seating areas (round tables with garden armchairs), sunbathing areas (with deckchairs and sun loungers), an outdoor Gym (sports equipment), an outdoor playground for kids.
In the Santona cruise ship's Lobby Hall (close to the Reception) are located several information kiosks (Internet-connected PC terminals) with touch screens available complimentary to all passengers. MS Santona is BRITTANY FERRIES' third liner (after Galicia and Salamanca) that offers shipwide VOD service (video-on-demand / movies, radio, TV programming). The service is provided via passengers' mobile devices (using the complimentary Wi-Fi) or via the smart HDTVs in the staterooms.
The cruiseferry features a collection of ~1000 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photographies. Many artworks were made by Spanish artists.
All onboard emergency instructions are displayed in staterooms, on the TV screens and at the ship's assembly stations (aka muster stations). Life jackets are issued at the assembly stations. In case of emergency, the use of elevators/passenger lifts is forbidden.
BRITTANY FERRIES cruise deals
The company offers regularly scheduled ferry services between England and France (travel time on cruise ferries 3-4 hours) and between France and Spain (travel time 20-36 hours). The high-speed UK-France service allows the ships to successfully target the UK's "mini cruise" and holiday travel markets.
As on cruise vessels, all BRITTANY FERRIES ships offer passenger cabins with modern amenities, individually controlled air-conditioning and en-suite facilities. Cruise accommodations range from 2-bed "Inside Cabin" to "Commodore Suite" (with in-cabin dining / Afternoon Tea and Breakfast service). Some suites are with private balconies.
Onboard food is predominantly French cuisine and prepared by French chefs. All ships have a la carte priced restaurants, self-service cafeteria, selection of bars, live entertainment (singers, magicians, pantomimes for kids), at least one cinema, casino, arcade room, Bureau de Change, baby changing rooms, disabled toilets, Sun Deck areas, free of charge Wi-Fi.
Cruise ferries on France-Spain routes have swimming pools (open during summer months only), as well as kids' play areas with supervised activities (during holidays only). Spa treatment rooms on Spain-France cruise ferries offer facials (from ProCare), massages (by certified masseuses), modern massage chairs, pedicure and manicure services (OPI nail varnishes), treatments using skincare products by the French brand "Filorga Professional".
Ships' boutique shops sell at discount prices tobacco and alcohol (budget and premium wines and spirits), as well as luxury brand perfumes and cosmetics, designer jewelry, watches, sunglasses, souvenirs, toys.
Fun fact is that BRITTANY FERRIES serve annually around 22 tons of langoustines (Norway lobster), 15 tons of smoked salmon, 260 tons of meat, 240,000 English breakfasts, 333,000 liters of beer. By onboard sold perfumes, the company is ranked France's 3rd largest perfume retailer.
- Ferry fares are based on departure dates, routes and time (season).
- GBP 35 deposit is required to secure bookings during the peak summer season.
- Summer prices are usually higher. Same goes for the weekends and overnight crossings.
- Departures in the mornings, afternoons and overnights are offered throughout the whole year.
- Overnight France-Spain crossings are 7 in a week.
- Mix and match route deals are also available.
Follows the list of all BRITTANY FERRIES routes with crossing times and frequencies.
- Portsmouth-Caen (6 hours) - 3 daily
- Portsmouth-St Malo (11 hours / overnight) - daily
- Portsmouth-Cherbourg (3 hours) - 10 return (in the period late April - early September)
- Portsmouth-Santander Spain (24 hours / overnight) - 3 crossings weekly
- Portsmouth-Bilbao Spain (24-36 hours) - 2 crossings weekly
- Portsmouth-Le Havre (5 hours 30 min) - daily return crossings
- Poole-Cherbourg (4 hours 15 min) - daily return
- Plymouth-Roscoff (6 hours) 2 return
- Plymouth-Santander Spain (20 hours) - direct weekly crossings
- Cork Ireland-Roscoff (14 hours) - weekly, return crossings in the period April-November)
- Cork-Santander (26,5 hours) - 2 weekly return crossings
Pets on the ship
BRITTANY FERRIES is a DEFRA (UK and EU)-approved pet carrier by the ET140 (Pet Travel Scheme). Pets on the cruise ship can travel either in a Pet-friendly passenger cabin or in a kennel (for dogs). Pets are not allowed to stay in the vehicles.
The shipping company requires dogs to be muzzled and leashed when off the vehicles or the stateroom - which also includes the ship's pet-exercise area (on Deck 7). It is recommended that prior to boarding the ferry, dogs to be exercised and toileted.
At check-in onboard, dog's chip is scanned and its passport checked. A sticker is placed on the car's windscreen to ensure that the pet-carrying vehicle is appropriately parked. Don't remove the sticker during the voyage. Pets are allowed only in the designated staterooms (pet-friendly) and at the ship's designated pet exercise zone (Deck 7) and not in any other public areas. An exception is made only for registered assistance dogs.
Vehicles carrying pets are greeted in the parking (car deck) by dedicated crew. Pets stay temporarily in the vehicles whilst their owners exit the garage for check-in. Shortly prior departure, pet owners are called to the Reception Desk, then escorted (together with the pet) between the car deck and the cabin. One hour before port arrival, an announcement is made (via the ship's PA system) asking pet owners to return to their cabins. Soon, a crew escorts them to their vehicles, where the animals remain until arrival. Pet owners are not allowed to remain in the vehicles. After arrival, a PA system announcement invites pet owners to return to their vehicles.
For safety reasons, in bad weather, pets must remain in the cabins and the access to their exercise areas is forbidden.
The cruiseferry Santona provides small and large dog kennels. The kennel must be pre-booked. Small kennels are recommended for dog breeds like Toy Poodle, King Charles Spaniel, Terrier, Jack Russell. Large kennels are recommended for dog breeds like German Shepherd, Labrador, Dalmatian, Boxer, Pointer, Setter.
Follows a list of car decks related safety procedures:
- Disabled passengers or those requiring specific assistance should visit the ship's Information Desk, open 24-hours).
- Apply handbrake and place the vehicle in park or 1st gear position. Switch off the ignition, alarm, electrical equipment, headlights. Gas cylinders, if any, must be switched off. Lock the vehicle.
- From your vehicle take only valuables and essential hand baggage.
- Make a note of your vehicle's location and garage deck number/stairway before leaving the car deck.
- Access to the ship's vehicle (cargo) decks during the voyage is prohibited.
- Smoking on vehicle decks, as well as in cabins and passenger lounges is forbidden.
- Wait for the onboard announcement before returning to your vehicle.
- In order to avoid air pollution, don't start the engine until instructed.
The ship operator Brittany Ferries (founded in 1972, headquartered in Roscoff France) is a French ferry company operating on the shipping routes France-UK and France-Spain. Brittany Ferries current fleet includes the ships Armorique, Baie de Seine, Barfleur, Bretagne, Cap Finistere, Connemara, Etretat, Mont St Michel, Normandie, Pont Aven, E-Flexer (Honfleur, Galicia, Salamanca, Santona).
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MS Santona is BRITTANY FERRIES' third LNG-powered vessel (liquefied natural gas) and one of the company's largest newbuilds - together with the sisterships and fleetmates Salamanca and Galicia. From the same series (Stena E-Flexer) are also the STENA LINE ships Estrid, Edda, Embla, and the modified (cabins-free) Cote d'Opale (DFDS). The vessel is France-flagged (MMSI number tba) and French crewed-staffed.
The cruise ship Santona (yard number W0272) features innovative design and top-notch marine technologies. Its four LNG engines run on fuel without any sulfur emissions, which results in less COx and soot particulates in comparison to diesel-powered vessels. The propulsion system is diesel-electric, consisting of modern Azipod units (azimuth thrusters). This type of propulsion is generally used extensively on large-sized cruise ships as it generates less noise and vibrations, and also optimizes fuel consumption at lower speeds. Ship's combined power output is 30 MW.
In the Spanish ports, the company's E-Flexer ships are LNG-bunkered by Repsol SA (Madrid Spain-based energy company). Nearly 3 months were spent for creating a digital model of the vessel's hull and CFD testing (Computational Fluid Dynamics). The tests allowed the shipbuilder AVC to visualize wave impact on the liner and optimize the hull's shape for best energy conservation. Animations were also created to show how the vessel will perform in heavy seas.
On December 11, 2017, BRITTANY FERRIES signed the 3-shipbuilding financing, part of the company's EUR 750 million "Green Shipping Guarantee" fleet expansion program for three "Stena E-Flexer Class" ships (Galicia 2021, Salamanca 2022, Santona 2023). The program was put in place in 2016, supported by "European Investment Bank" and "Societe Generale". Both banks signed a EUR 150 million guarantee agreement to support the vessels' construction in China. Societe Generale was the main arranger of EUR 142,6 million ship financing (per unit), which also includes a EUR 49,5 million tranche fully guaranteed by European Investment Bank.
Santona vessel's building order with AVIC International was signed by STENA RORO on March 27, 2019. At that time, STENA had 8 E-Flexer cruise ships on order, with the option for another two units. On July 8, 2019, was officially announced the ferry's name Santona (in English pronounced "Santonia"). The town Santona is in Cantabria's eastern coast (Spain's north coast) located approx 45 km (28 mi) from Santander.
All BRITTANY FERRIES E-Flexer ships are chartered for 10 years from STENA RORO, with the option to purchase the vessel after the charter period expires.
As a modified "Stena E-Flexer" vessel, Santona was specifically tailored to the BRITTANY FERRIES' (long-term charterer) needs. Modifications include Deck 7's car deck space (converted to passenger cabins) and a deckhouse (decks 7-8) extension that allowed an increased number of cruise staterooms (343, instead of the basic design's 175). MS Santona also has two scrubbers (EGCS-Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems / 1 per engine) and two more lifeboats.
The ship's interior was designed by FIGURA Arkitekter AB (Goteborg Sweden-based design company specializing in buildings, interiors and graphic concepts).
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