Photo: Could this be the shape of things to come next year at Rosyth?
Bookings being taken for new Rosyth ferry service
Full steam ahead for resumption of direct sailings from Scotland...
Norfolkline has announced that it can accept booking for their new Rosyth-Zeebrugge service which is due to start on May 18, 2009.
Passengers can now make booking online at www.norfolkline.com. The ship will depart from Zeebrugge, Belgium every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 18.00 CET and from Rosyth, Scotland, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 17.00 GMT.
Kell Robdrup, Managing Director of the Ferry Division, said:
“The opening of web booking is a key milestone in our plan. We have received many enthusiastic response and valuable suggestions in the last few months. We know our customers are eagerly waiting for this announcement. Norfolkline is a committed ferry operator and our goal is to provide safe, comfortable and environmentally friendly crossing to customers.”
Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said:
“The launch of the booking service is great news for passengers, tourists and businesses who can now plan their travel with confidence.
"With our year of Homecoming just weeks away, this is a major boost. Visitors from Europe can now make plans to join in our Homecoming celebrations.
"We have a unique opportunity with Norfolkline to get the ferry off to the best possible start through encouraging friends and family from Europe to travel to Scotland using this new ferry service. Maintaining connections with major European markets is vital for Scotland, particularly during these challenging economic times. In the six years this route has been operating, it has carried nearly one million passengers, 4.2 million tonnes of freight and made a significant contribution to Scotland’s tourist industry.
"I wish Norfolkline, Forth Ports, freight operators and the many passengers who will sail the Rosyth-Zeebrugge route, all the very best."
Denise Hill, VisitScotland’s Head of International Marketing, said:
“Car tourers from the key European markets of Germany, France and the Benelux countries have long been a very important source of visitors for Scotland. We are delighted to be working with Norfolkline to promote their Rosyth-Zeebrugge ferry service to ensure that these travellers continue to exploit the opportunity of a direct crossing and maximise the number of nights they spend within our borders.
"It is particularly important that the ferry service starts in May next year, during the year of Homecoming Scotland 2009, when we look forward to welcoming an even greater number of visitors from Europe eager to join us in our year of celebration.”
Charles Hammond, Group Chief Executive, Forth Ports PLC, said:
“This is a significant announcement for both Scottish tourism and hauliers in Scotland – on May 18, 2009 Scotland will re-establish its direct ferry link with the continent. It comes at a time when every effort should be made to encourage economic activity. With a direct ferry link, Scotland can once again promote its world renowned tourism centres to a much wider audience while hauliers can look forward to reduced transport costs and faster access to continental markets. These benefits are being achieved in a way that is friendly to the environment.
"We will be continuing to work with Norfolkline, the Scottish Government and wider stakeholders to ensure that the Rosyth-Zeebrugge ferry service is a success story in 2009.”
Norfolkline say the construction of their new ship is in good progress:
"The combination of advanced engineering and sailing at economic speed will make crossing comfortable and more environmentally friendly. Facilities on board include 109 en-suite cabins, the Unicorn Bar, Alba Restaurant, wide screen cinema, on board shop and children's play area.
"Norfolkline’s Rosyth-Zeebrugge service is the only direct link between Scotland and the Continent. Our ferry service is ideal for family and travellers who enjoy the freedom of driving.
"Our well located terminals in Rosyth and Zeebrugge provide convenient access to major tourist destinations in Scotland and on the Continent."
Details on freight booking will be advised in January, 2009.
The new vessel is under construction in the Visentini Shipyard in Italy. It is believed to be one ordered by Epic Shipping in 2007. The photo shows the latest newbuild from the yard ordered by Epic and chartered to ISCOMAR. Details of the new ferry seem not to have been released by Norfolkline, but Shipping Times hazard a guess that the Rosyth ferry will not be too dis-similar.