After a rocky start that saw the inaugural voyage delayed from April 29th due to undisclosed "operational reasons", Brittany Ferries launched its first service between Ireland and Spain.
The company, which already operates regular sailings between Bilbao and Santander to UK ports, will run a twice-weekly service between the northern Spanish port of Santander and Cork on Ireland’s south coast.
MV Connemara on her maiden trip passing Cobh for Ringaskiddy this morning. Norwegian Jade in the background Roche’s Point. pic.twitter.com/H5DxC8EVZl— Donal O'Connell (@heddeball) May 7, 2018
The 26-hour service will run from Cork on Wednesdays and Fridays and return from Santander on Thursdays and Sundays,
Britanny Ferries announced in January that the new route would be provided by the 'Connemara', a ferry equipped to carry around 500 passengers with space for 195 cars.
“This is a significant move for Brittany Ferries, offering haulage companies a direct route to Spain and passengers a far greater range of holiday options from Cork,” said Hugh Bruton, general manager with Brittany Ferries Ireland when the route was announced.
“As a destination so-called green Spain promises visitors a wealth of opportunities. It hosts sweeping sandy beaches, snow covered mountains just an hour from the port, fabulous food and offers visitors a welcome as warm as the Spanish will receive when they join us in Ireland,” he said.
It is the first time Brittany Ferries has offered a route between Ireland and Spain, although in 2014, LD Lines launched a connection between Rosslare and Gijon but the service only last a season.
Among the first travellers to use the service are fans of Leinster Rugby, which reached the final of the European Champions Cup and play Paris team Racing 92 in Bilbao on Saturday.
But it is the long-term commercial traffic that is expected to make the route a success.