With P. & O. having stolen the limelight with Pride of Bilbao, Brittany Ferries took a long time to get even with their rivals on the long haul Spanish routes. A successor for Val de Loire was ordered in 2002 for delivery in April 2004: Pont-Aven, in every respect, outshines the competition, with facilities never previously seen on the Channel. She boasts an outdoor heated swimming pool on her sun deck which has a retractable dome shaped cover for protection against the elements. First class cabins feature private balconies. Her grand atrium is served by panoramic glass walled lifts. In every respect she fits the description of ‘cruise liner’, but in this instance she carries roll-on, roll-off vehicle traffic too.

By contemporary standards, she has a relatively attractive appearance, with far more refined edges than the rather robust Mont. St Michel. Those travelling from Plymouth to Roscoff have the opportunity to sample her marvellous facilities when she augments capacity on that route at weekends in peak season. With a service speed of twenty seven knots, she cuts the crossing time by twenty five percent. Having cost one hundred million pounds to build, Pont-Aven is the most expensive investment in the history of Brittany Ferries.

M. S. Pont-Aven
Builder: Meyer Werft, Germany.
Yard number:
Dimensions (length, breadth, depth): 184.6 x 30.9 x 5.4 metres.
Gross tonnage: 39,500.
Power: 47,200 kW.
Speed (knots): 27.
Passenger certificate: 2,200.
Car capacity: 650.

A night time scene at Portmouth's Continental Ferry Port; Pont-Aven is found in the company of her older and smaller fleetmate, Bretagne. Note the differing liveries.
Photo: © Faith Jordan.