Op-Ed: Low-cost ferry surprises with pro-PaxEx alternative to flights
Despite the Brexit stormclouds on the horizon, travel between the UK and Europe is booming. Yet the passenger experience hasnt evolved for the better recently, whether by air or rail. Europes airlines are engaged in a race to the bottom with the low-cost carriers, while crowded airports, poor public transport, peak holiday pricing plus the location and price of cross-channel trains all mean that families and other groups travelling together find themselves staring at a big hole in the budget in exchange for a stressful and multi-modal experience.
Innovation, however, is coming from the cross-channel ferry operators, which offer numerous routes from various parts of the UK to various parts of France and Spain, crucially allowing passengers what is essentially a single-seat ride in their own vehicle to their destination. With an eye on price, an expanded and expanding network of low-cost, no-frills économie-branded ships is now sailing for Brittany Ferries, which also operates eight other full-featured vessels.
The économie part revolves around the onboard PaxEx, which is much reduced from the standard cruise ferry offering. The cruise ferries offer a variety of restaurants and bars, shops, cinemas, play areas, video games rooms, swimming pools, live entertainment and more. By contrast, the économie ships offer one modest restaurant-bar, plus a café and shop, while the first économie ferry, Étretat, adds a cinema and the second, Baie de Seine, has a playroom.
All ships offer cab....