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Cruise ferry update

by hidden europe


Catamarans compete for space with whales and dolphins in the crowded sea lanes off the south coast of Spain. Space is tight in some European waters as more travellers embrace ferry travel and an efficient and relaxing way of getting around.

The news this autumn that growing numbers of long-distance swimmers in the Strait of Dover between England and France are posing a great hazard to ferry traffic is a reminder that European waters are crowded. It was a spokesman for ferry operator DFDS who raised the issue.

The swimmers would presumably have put a different spin on the same tale, emphasising how ferries are a growing hazard to endurance swimmers. We are no experts on these matters, but presumably when a ferry weighing many thousands of tons collides with a swimmer, it is the human being who comes off worse.

Although ferry services to and from Britain seem to be in a state of terminal decline — good for all those swimmers perhaps — in other waters around Europe, the news is more positive.

In the Gulf of Finland, the St Peter Line ferry service between Helsinki and St Petersburg has evidently had a good first season, taking advantage of new Russian immigration rules which allow passengers arriving and leaving by ferry to stay in St Petersburg for up to 72 hours without a visa. The new service launched in April 2010, using the Princess Maria cruise ferry — a new name for the former DFDS vessel Queen of Scandinavia which had worked the Newcastle to Bergen route until that North Sea link was axed in 2008.

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