LS Retail live on King Seaways

The LS team went on board King Seaways in the first week of October to prepare for the GO-live on 5 October. King will be the first ship to have LS Central as the operating system which is a step up from the Channel and allows us to have automatic table allocation with the hospitality module. This will enable us to be more efficient in the restaurant and turn tables quickly when needed.  

It also gives us other opportunities in the future with presales items. Having LS Retail across all passenger ships allows us to control inventory more centrally and allows us to leverage price with our suppliers and being a live system gives the Business Leaders the tools they need to manage stock levels effectively and thus reducing stock held onboard.   

Although Covid-19 is putting quite some restrictions in place for international travel, with the assistance of Jesper Christensen and HR Dover, the team managed to obtain the necessary paperwork to travel and carry out this essential piece of work. 

“We encountered a number of unforeseen technical difficulties upon go-live. Our IT support did a great job in rendering assistance to overcome these. LSR team was instrumental in addressing the numerous issues that kept coming up with full support and flexibility from the onboard staff. It was real and pure teamwork what I witnessed on board that ship,” says Laura Neimetaite, Product Owner in the Passenger Tribe.  

Niels Ryslev, Commercial Head, says that he is still impressed with the flexible and pragmatic teamwork with which the roll-out was executed and believes that despite some problems, it has been the smoothest  implementation of a Point of Sales system, he can recall in 32 years.

Peter Hoogendoorn, Project Manager, explains that with the completion of LS on King, we are now well prepared to perform the next roll-out on Princess Seaways which is planned for the first week of December, in order to have this finished before the Christmas period. 

Product Owner Laura Neimetaite adds: “Special thanks to the staff on board King Seaways for their unmatching hospitality and desire to adopt the new system. It was an absolute pleasure working with you, climbing that learning curve of the first implementation!  

“Equally so, a big thank you to Michal from Master Data for being the most effective and pragmatic business partner one would wish for, Andy Watkins for your mammoth efforts and countless hours and evenings put into this roll out, Finance, Procurement, EDI and Seabook teams for being such team players, and the LSR core team for your relentless dedication and professionalism in delivering such a comprehensive system all in one go. “

“It was breath taking seeing all that cross functional teamwork come together on a single sailing” adds Laura. 

Covid-19: Newcastle – Amsterdam route resumes service from 15 July

Princess Seaways

Following the announcements from the UK government about the lifting of quarantine restrictions and the restart of travel to many other countries, DFDS is resuming sailings between Amsterdam and Newcastle. As both ships are laid up in IJmuiden, the first departures will take place on Wednesday 15 July from IJmuiden and Thursday 16 July from Newcastle.

In addition, our English Channel services between the UK and France are available again to holidaymakers from the 10th July. The Channel routes have continued to sail throughout the Covid-19 period for freight and essential travellers only ensuring the transport of vital goods to communities both sides of the channel.

Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passengers says, “We are very pleased that we are finally able to welcome our passengers back to our routes between the UK & Continent. However, we will be running on significantly reduced capacity and reduced onboard services as part of our COVID-19 measures to ensure the safety of all staff and passengers”.

“These restrictions mean we will continue to evaluate staff and crew requirements whilst we monitor booking developments closely. Whilst some people will return to work very shortly, many of you will remain on temporary leave for a while longer and we will be in touch with all colleagues to keep them updated on next steps.

I want to express my gratitude for your continued patience and support during the many weeks this route has been suspended.”

Adapted onboard services
Services will be adapted onboard to ensure social distancing and the onboard catering offering has temporarily changed.

On the Channel services, we offered complimentary meals to essential travellers during the crisis and we are now extending that to all passengers and including it within the ticket price.

On the Amsterdam Newcastle service, all meals must be pre-booked before boarding and à la carte dining will not be available.  A reduced buffet service will be available, and all food will be served to passengers by our crew.

You can find out more about the new safety measures onboard here:

A new way to travel
Kasper Moos added, “I’m really looking forward to starting up the service after this extended period without a route between Amsterdam and Newcastle and welcoming holidaymakers back to our Channel routes. I am confident that together we can ensure that our passengers relax and enjoy their crossings while practising social distancing.”

Cruise routes suspension extended until 17 June

Crown Seaways and Pearl Seaways will continue to be laid up in Copenhagen. The same goes for King Seaways and Princess Seaways in Amsterdam.

BU Short Routes & Passenger have extended the suspension of our Amsterdam – Newcastle and Copenhagen – Oslo services until 17 June.

“Our ability to resume sailings is, as you know, very dependent on the national measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. “If our passengers can’t cross borders, we can’t sail and therefore have no alternative but to extend the suspension,” says Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger.

“Our customer service colleagues are now working hard to inform our customers about this, rebook travel and handle requests.

“We are all very eager to start sailing again, and we are even receiving requests from passengers who can’t wait to get out to sea with us. However, there is little we can do until the relevant nations have reopened borders for travellers and tourists. Even though some governments have indicated they will make a decision about this before mid-June, patience is still required as we don’t know what they will decide. We also need both Denmark and Norway to open their borders before we can start sailing on the Copenhagen – Oslo route. The same goes for the Netherlands and the UK for the Amsterdam – Newcastle route.”

“As we informed earlier, working groups are already looking into which changes a post-Covid-19 operation will require in the market and on board. However, one thing is certain: When the borders reopen, we can offer one of the safest means of travel. There is plenty of space for social distancing on those large ferries, and passengers have their own cabins. We will of course continue to comply with all recommendations for using public areas and restaurants, including extra cleaning and disinfecting touchpoints to protect the health of both passengers and colleagues.”

Covid-19: Amsterdam – Newcastle ferry route suspended

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the Amsterdam-Newcastle ferry route will be temporarily suspended. Latest sailings will be on 21 March from Amsterdam and 22 March from Newcastle. DFDS is in consultation with crews on board and staff ashore about the temporary effects on employment.

Following the introduction of new national measures intended to delay the spread of Covid-19 virus, DFDS suspends sailings on the Amsterdam (IJmuiden) – Newcastle route temporarily.

Last sailings will be from Amsterdam on Saturday 21 March and from Newcastle on Sunday 22 March.

“Customers with a booking are being informed individually about this, and we have decided to continue sailing for a few days more to give travelers a chance to get home,” says Kasper Moos, Vice President and Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger.

“We had hoped to be able to continue the route on the basis of a reduced operation. However, the situation has developed fast, and the recent national measures to slow down the virus spread, including travel restrictions, give us no alternative but to suspend sailings until 13 April as a minimum.”

Unfortunately, this also means that we will need to send crews and staff in Newcastle and IJmuiden home until the route can be re-opened. Crewmembers will be on board for some days to get the ships ready to be laid up in IJmuiden. We have informed everyone working at the route about the situation and are currently in talks with union representatives and national authorities in the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark and Germany about this and possible schemes to mitigate the consequences on staff. We will be able to inform people in more detail next week.”

“That we have been able to sail and service our customers until now is only due to the fantastic efforts of our colleagues on board and ashore. They continued working and servicing our customers under extremely difficult conditions, and we owe every one of them our thanks and gratitude. I look very much forward to welcoming colleagues and customers back on the route, as soon as the Covid-19 crisis is under control,” says Kasper Moos.

COVID-19: DFDS Suspends mini-cruises

As governments implement new COVID-19 measures, DFDS Suspends mini-cruises on Amsterdam-Newcastle route. Sailing continues for transportation purposes. Pictured is King Seaways.


DFDS will temporarily suspend all mini cruises until at least 6 April. Mini cruise bookings up to this date will be cancelled, and a travel credit will be issued to use on a future sailing.

Over the last few days, the Dutch government has taken a number of significant measures as part of efforts to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.

Included in those measures are restrictions around the number of people gathering in one place and the closure of all bars, restaurants, museums, some shops and other venues until further notice within the Netherlands.

As a result of this DFDS will temporarily suspend all mini-cruises with immediate effect until at least 6 April. Mini cruise bookings up to this date will be cancelled with immediate effect and a travel credit will be issued to use on a future sailing.

The Amsterdam Newcastle service will continue to sail for transportation purposes and bookings will remain available. Onboard our service we have already taken significant measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19 including:

• Hand sanitizer dispensers are installed everywhere on the ship for our passengers to use.
• Ongoing extra touchpoint cleaning.
• Buffet food now served to passengers by our staff
• No more than 100 people in each of our venues onboard
• The ships’ crew is subject to strict measures and hygiene requirements.
• The ships carry a stock of masks to limit the spread of infection, if the need should arise.

As you know, we have also taken every precaution advised by the World Health Organisation to minimise the spread of Coronavirus / COVID-19 to protect the health of those travelling.

The customers will receive an email today about this.

Kasper Moos, VP & Head of Passenger

Man overboard on King was a false alarm

A major rescue operation was called off as the passenger who reported the man overboard incident withdrew his report. “The crew acted in an extremely professional manner,” Captain Flemming Langballe says

It will most likely have consequences which the passenger on board King Seaways had never imagined when he shortly after midnight on Thursday 21 February claimed he saw a person fall overboard on from King Seaways.

The ship was about 80 kilometres off Grimsby when Captain Flemming Langballe was informed. A lifebuoy with lights was thrown into the sea, and the captain decided to make a so-called Williamson turn, which is a manoeuvre that turns the ship around to follow the same course in the opposite direction towards the location of the incident. The UK rescue authorities were alerted and participated in the search with a helicopter. Nearby ships also participated in the search with their man-over-board boats.

“Later on, however, the man who caused the alarm withdrew his report. We used the PA system to check if other passengers had seen anything and after confirming that they had not, we agreed with MRCC Humber to call off the search,” Flemming Langballe says.

The rescue authorities reported the incident to the UK police and to the Danish police (the ship sailed under Danish flag, and the incident took place in international waters). Due to good wind conditions, the arrival in Ijmuiden was only delayed by 45 minutes.

“I am extremely proud of the way the crew dealt with the incident.  Alba Severinsen, Floor manager, received the alarm and informed the bridge where the officer on duty, Dmytro Degtyarenko, at once initiated the necessary manoeuvres – even before I arrived on the bridge. Patrick Spang Sørensen, Chief Officer, took swift action and gave me the necessary information to carry out the operation, and Robert Bately, Commercial Head, interviewed the person who had reported the incident, and he also quickly communicated it when it proved to be a false alarm.  In fact, all crew members did a fantastic job. They took responsibility and acted fast when it was needed. They clearly demonstrated the benefits of the many on-board emergency drills,”  Flemming Langballe says.

Changes to commercial organisation on King and Princess Seaways

We have been working for some time now with a new commercial structure which was implemented as part of the Project Starlight recommendations. The role of Floor Manager was introduced in order to bring more focus to the customer experience onboard the Amsterdam – Newcastle and Copenhagen – Oslo routes.

Having now worked with this structure onboard King and Princess Seaways, we have concluded after a thorough evaluation, that it is not the optimum way for us to be organised on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route, because we simply do not have as many outlets onboard our vessels as the Pearl and Crown do.

We have therefore decided that we will do a small restructure onboard where the following will take place:

The Chef de Cuisine will be retitled as Business Leader Head Chef – and will no longer report to the Business Leader Food and Beverage, he will report directly to the Commercial Head.

This will free up the Business Leader Food and Beverage to focus on the customer experience front of house.

One Floor Manager will be refocused to concentrate on Food and Beverage, reporting to the Business Leader Food and Beverage. This will ensure we deliver excellent customer experiences in our bars and restaurants onboard.

This means that there will no longer be a requirement for one Floor Manager position on both King and Princess which means we need to find alternative positions for four of our colleagues.

We are pleased to advise that two of our affected colleagues have already been assigned to vacant Floor Manager positions on the Copenhagen – Oslo route, and we are currently in direct discussions with the other two on various alternative opportunities across the DFDS Fleet.

It is important to note that this change will only take place on the Newcastle – Amsterdam route and the position of Floor Manager will continue on the Copenhagen – Oslo route.

We wish everyone great success in their new or adapted roles.

Teun-Wim Leene, Route Director Amsterdam – Newcastle and
Kasper Moos, VP and Head of BU Short Routes and Passenger

Whodunnit? Who was the murderer?

On 1 November, Princess Seaways was the venue for a dastardly Murder Mystery mini-cruise which the UK sales and groups team organised with Red Herring Events.

Janet Donaldson, Sales & Project Manager, BU Short Routes and Passenger, says: “Red Herring approached us earlier in the year with an ambition to take a group to Amsterdam whilst entertaining them with a fabulously well-played murder mystery on board. So on 1 November, we set sail with 50 passengers taking part in the murder mystery and with many more of our customers curious about the night’s proceedings.”

The premise of the story is Hugh Edwards, the famous novelist and third cousin of the Earl of Rochester, who is travelling to Amsterdam with his new wife and former secretary, Florence Archdeacon. Their recent marriage created something of a scandal in the press, given the 40-year age difference. Love, it seems, knows no barriers. Unfortunately, it seems death also knows no barriers as their honeymoon plans are far from the expected marital bliss. Just as the ship leaves port, an unknown man is found dead in a steward’s cupboard. With the boilers stoked and the great ship already underway, there is little to be done but telegraph the police, who ask that the body be put into cold storage until the ship returns.

Questions abound. Who was the dead man? Why was he killed? And, with it likely that his murderer is still on board, are any of the passengers safe?

Janet says: “After the announcement of the initial murder of the Steward, Trevor Fitzpatrick, suspects were interrogated on the first night. Characters were placed around the ship for guests to ‘interrogate’ to solve the mystery. Our on-board team then delivered a letter under cabin doors during the first evening explaining that Florence Archdeacon, the newly married wife of Hugh Edwards, was missing and presumed dead, and this was later confirmed by the other suspects. It also contained some puzzles which helped passengers open a locked box on the second night. This contained a clue that Imelda Fitzgerald was a German spy, not an American dancer as she initially stated.”

“What came out on the second day of interrogation was that Hugh Edwards came back to his cabin to discover Florence dead in bed. In a panic he turned to Gerald to help him as he was worried that his writing career would be tarnished by this scandal. Gerald agreed to help him throw Florence’s dead body overboard because Gerald gave Florence Valium to help with her nerves that night and was worried he might have accidentally killed her. While Gerald and Hugh were throwing poor Florence overboard, the sand-loving archaeologist Laurence saw them and agreed to stay silent if they funded his work in Egypt – so they did!”

So, who was the murderer? The participants of the mini-cruise now know but who do you suspect to be the murderer? Write your guess in a comment to this article and Janet will tell us who the murderer was in a few days’ time.

Agreement with Moby cancelled

Our passenger ferries on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route offer excellent customer service and will continue doing so until a new solution is in place.

On 6 September 2019, DFDS entered into an agreement with the Italian ferry company Moby to acquire two ferries, Moby Wonder and Moby Aki, for deployment on the Amsterdam-Newcastle route.

Moby would in turn acquire the two passenger ferries currently operating on Amsterdam-Newcastle, King Seaways and Princess Seaways.

The agreement was expected to be completed in the second half of October 2019 but Moby has unfortunately not been able to meet the delivery terms of the agreement. The agreement has therefore been cancelled.

“We will continue to explore solutions for a renewal of the ferries on the Amsterdam-Newcastle route in line with our customers’ wishes and our strategic ambitions for the route and for DFDS.

The two current ferries offer a great service today, and they will continue doing so until a new solution with new ferries is in place. Therefore, this will not change our plans for developing the route, it will merely delay it,” says Peder Gellert, EVP and Head of DFDS’ Ferry Division.

German ship enthusiasts bid farewell to Princess Seaways

Upon the occasion of a bridge visit, society founding member Kai Ortel took the opportunity to hand over to Captain Dánial Vang (left) and Commercial Head Niels Ryslev (right) the book he has written about DFDS

We have received this story from Kai Ortel from the German ferry shipping society.

During its annual members’ trip, the German ferry shipping society DFV in early October bode farewell to Princess Seaways. Many of the 20 ferry enthusiasts travelling on the Mini Cruise to Newcastle had a special fondness for the 1986-built ship, having literally grown up with her when she was in service between Germany and Sweden for her former owners during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

After its initial sale to Australia, no one expected the vessel to return to Europe at all, but in 2003 she was acquired for a North Sea service between Bergen and Newcastle which DFDS took over three years later.

In 2007 and renamed Princess of Norway, the much-travelled ship was put on DFDS’ Amsterdam – Newcastle route which she continues to serve until the present day under the name of Princess Seaways. But in 2020, this 34-years success story will end with the delivery of the vessel to her new Mediterranean owners and the introduction of her successors Newcastle Seaways and Amsterdam Seaways on the North Sea.

The Mini Cruise was rounded off by a group tour of the galley led and moderated by Princess Seaways’ chef de cuisine Tommy Aakjær.

Kai Ortel


New ferries for Amsterdam – Newcastle route

Once refurbished, this is what DFDS new ferries on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route will look like when they take up service at the beginning of 2020 under the names Amsterdam Seaways and Newcastle Seaways

There is very good news for our colleagues in BU Short Routes & Passenger, and specifically for those working with the Amsterdam – Newcastle route:
Today, DFDS has entered into an agreement with the Italian ferry company Moby to acquire the two passenger and freight ferries, Moby Wonder and Moby Aki, built in 2001 and 2005.

Moby will in turn acquire the two passenger ferries currently operating on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route: King Seaways and Princess Seaways, built in 1987 and 1986.

“The new ferries are ideally suited for our Amsterdam – Newcastle route. Their modern, on-board facilities and higher car-deck capacity will enable us to deliver what our high-yield car passengers require, and will improve the customer experience in line with our Win23 strategy of increasing value for our passengers. In addition, the new ferries will increase capacity for our freight customers on the route, so we can offer increased freight capacity throughout the year”, says Peder Gellert Pedersen, EVP and Head of DFDS’ Ferry Division.

We expect to take over the new ferries during the second half of October. Therefore, DFDS will bareboat-charter King Seaways and Princess Seaways from Moby until January and February 2020, when the new ferries will be deployed.

“We now have a big task ahead of us as the ferries need to be upgraded to DFDS standards and route specific requirements. I know that Kasper Moos, Head of BU Short Routes & Passengers, has informed everyone working on and with the route about this. We only have a few months from October, when we receive the ferries, until February when they are deployed, so I can only confirm that it will be an extremely busy period, which will place a huge workload on the shoulders of Thomas Mørk and his staff, Michael Stig and his staff in Marine Standards as well as everyone else involved in the route. However, it will also give you a perfect opportunity to build the facilities you need and the framework for your own daily work,” says Peder Gellert.

“The ferries will fly the Danish flag, and I am also pleased to reveal that we will name the ferries Amsterdam Seaways and Newcastle Seaways in respect of the two cities they will be linking,” says Kasper Moos.

The ferries’ freight capacity will increase by about 40% on a full-year basis. The car capacity will increase by about 5% on a full-year basis, supported by a cabin configuration that is well suited to the requirements of holiday-makers travelling by car.

In 2018, Amsterdam – Newcastle carried more than 600,000 passengers, 122,000 passenger vehicles and 350,000 lane metres of freight. “I am confident we will see further growth in travel and trade, and with new ferries, we will be playing our part in servicing the additional numbers of passengers and exporters,” says Kasper.

Ships details:

Moby Aki
Gross Tonnage: 36284
Deadweight: 5628 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 174.99m × 27.6m
Year Built: 2005

Moby Wonder
Gross Tonnage: 36093
Deadweight: 5500 t
Length Overall x Breadth Extreme: 174.99m × 27.6m
Year Built: 2001

Princess and King invite colleagues on a tour of the ship

When travelling with Princess Seaways and King Seaways on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route, colleagues can look forward to an invitation to a guided tour of the ship

Niels Ryslev, Commercial Head on Princess Seaways, came up with the idea. He says: “It’s always nice to have colleagues on board. Through this initiative, we wanted to ensure that our travelling colleagues have the best experience possible. During the summer many are travelling with their families, and visiting the bridge and other parts of the ferry can be quite interesting, especially for the kids. It’s also nice to get feedback from our colleagues on how we can ensure an even better experience for our guests.”

Janet Donaldson, Sales & Project Manager, went on the tour on board Princess and says: “We started our comprehensive tour of the bridge where I was given lots of information on the instruments, conditions at sea, weather and current forecasting tools and impacts of delayed departures on fuel costs etc. The tour also included behind-the-scenes areas which were fascinating to see, including crew mess, leisure areas and bakery. We also visited the main galley, bar areas, dog hotel and the brig (jail).

“It was so informative in terms of getting insight into how our colleagues work at sea. A huge thank you to Princess Seaways for a great initiative and such a warm welcome on board.”

The warm welcome message waiting for our colleagues in the cabins on board Princess and King

Training & Development concludes leadership training on cruise routes

Over the last few weeks, Emma Nordström and Trine Arlyng from Training & Development went on our Amsterdam – Newcastle and Copenhagen – Oslo cruise routes to conclude a 5-module leadership training that started last June. It was an initiative to accommodate the changes from Project Starlight and the new organisational structure on board the cruise ferries.

The five modules covered topics like change management, situational leadership, conflict management, feedback, coaching and questioning technique, and the DISC training. This was also the first time all leaders on board had gathered to receive the same training at the same time.

“The fifth module has allowed Business Leaders and Floor Managers to reflect upon the training and tools from previous workshops. They have shared concrete examples and best practices on how they have implemented the tools and how it has made a difference and positive impact,” says Emma Nordström.

“Gender diversity was another topic on the agenda as diversity and inclusion are things all managers should be aware of and incorporate in their management. The leaders had good discussions and came up with good reflections on what initiatives they can take to make a difference; for example, be aware of bias and stereotypes when delegating daily tasks and consistently raise awareness about the topic within your own team. The ideas and input collected from the sessions will also be shared with the Gender Diversity Steering Committee.”

Emma and Trine both say: “We have received really positive feedback from our colleagues on board who say that they benefit from the training and management tools in their daily work. Thank you to all participants who met us with enthusiasm every session.”

Business Leaders and Floor Managers on board Pearl Seaways generating ideas and inputs for a more inclusive and diverse DFDS

BU Group Passenger: Successful sales initiative promotes Holland in Bloom

Mark Henderson on his way to 65 different travel agencies to promote the Newcastle – Amsterdam route

We all enjoy the wonderful blooming spring and the clever UK Passenger sales team uses the famous tulip season in Amsterdam to promote the Newcastle – Amsterdam mini-cruise.

Mark Henderson, Regional Sales Manager UK North, says: “Last week I went on an agent blitz to promote our fantastic mini-cruise to Amsterdam and what better way to do this than by bringing travel agents some tulips from Amsterdam. We do this annually, and we aim to visit as many agents as possible within three to four days. This is a very different kind of visit than what they are used to, and it is a great way to showcase our travels to agents who sell for thousands of different companies simultaneously.”

During his roadshow, Mark managed to visit more than 65 different travel agency branches throughout North East and North West England and Scotland, and he hand-delivered no less than 4000 tulips.

Besides promoting the Holland in Bloom mini-cruise where customers receive a free bunch of tulips on their return journey from Amsterdam, Mark and his colleagues also promoted their Keukenhof Gardens travel. Keukenhof Gardens is one of the world’s largest and most famous flower gardens.

“My colleague Graham Hopcraft and myself hosted a farm trip to Keukenhof for coach operators to showcase our on-board facilities and services. We took 20 operators (owners and decision makers) on a two-day trip with two nights on board and one day in Keukenhof and the city centre. They were blown away by the DFDS quality, and I would like to thank all crew on board King Seaways for the amazing trip we all had. All operators were very impressed and future bookings are already being sent over,” says Mark.

4000 tulips were delivered in person – much appreciated by the travel agency workers!

The beautiful Keukenhof Gardens

Alcohol control experiment delivers multiple wins

It’s a sure fact that some of the best business initiatives result in both an improved customer experience and increased income. The recent alcohol control experiment on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route has delivered exactly that.

Last year, Project Starlight identified that a few customers were bringing their own alcohol on certain busy mini-cruise departures from Newcastle. They were causing a negative experience for other passengers and staff by uncontrolled drinking and intoxicated behaviour.

A joint project was launched on a six-week trial basis and it was managed by Chris Whitfield, Operations and Compliance Manager, and strategically by Gary Andrew, Business Process Developer.

Several initiatives were created, including bringing additional security in on busy Friday departures from Newcastle and warning signage prohibiting passengers from bringing their own alcohol on board.

Pre-check-in security guards also spoke to passengers and carried out alcohol checks, allowing passengers to return alcohol to their parked cars. The booking confirmations were also amended to warn passengers that illicit alcohol would be confiscated.

During the experiment, alcohol-related incidents significantly dropped and on-board sales at the bars increased. As a result, the initiative will now become a permanent part of the sailings.

Chris Whitfield says: “Our terms and conditions have always prohibited passengers from bringing their own alcohol on board. By implementing these new initiatives, however, we have vastly improved the environment for passengers and for our staff ashore and on board. The experiment is driven by a customer experience principle but it is fantastic that our costs are more than covered by the increased on-board spend, leading to a net increase in income.”

Gary Andrews adds: “This is an excellent example of how Business Development and Strategy can support the wider passenger business to develop an idea into something that can improve the customer experience and generate more business. A relatively simple idea can be quickly tested at low cost, and if successful, it will be rolled out.”

Sharing the Valentine’s love in BU Channel

The #DFDSSURPRISES winner’s voucher brought smiles from coast to coast in BU Channel


The romantic day of love we call Valentine’s Day is celebrated annually on 14 February in honour of the two early saints named Valentinus. The BU Channel team put their heads together on what they could do to celebrate the day.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, said “There was so much love in the air onboard and ashore and we could not let the day of love pass without sharing this with our wonderful customers. In Dover, Dunkirk and Calais our tickets offices were dressed in hearts and banners, and our customers enjoyed chocolates and Valentine’s sweets.”

20 lucky passengers were also selected at each of the three ports and given a #DFDSSURPRISES winner’s voucher – A real Valentine’s treat with complimentary lounge access and a meal for two, along with a rose and a box of chocolates.

The charming solo passenger Derek, aged 71 was overwhelmed at the surprise and caused quite a stir with fun and laughter together with Dover’s check-in team and their Customer Support Supervisor, Lenka Frycova

On Friday the sharing of love continued in Newcastle where the team also decorated the terminal in a Valentine’s theme, gave out chocolates to our passengers and upgraded four couples to a complimentary two course meal and a bottle of wine in the North Sea Bistro for their cruise between Newcastle and Amsterdam on board King Seaways.

Restaurant tables for the lucky passengers were set with rose confetti and a ‘love’ cracker, arranged by Jade Whitfield, Port Office Manager and Tamara Rebair, Port Supervisor from Newcastle

The channel overflowed with smiles from our excited winners, as did our social media with lots of sweet comments from our followers.

“Did cupid work his magic onboard Calais Seaways whilst sailing into the Channel sun? Or did he wait for King Seaways to cruise into the night dusk of the North Sea? Who can really say? This event was a great opportunity to give something back to our guests who appreciated the extra attention on both our Dover-France and Newcastle-Amsterdam routes,” added Steve.


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2018: Best North Sea Sounds yet!

Level 42 playing North Sea Sounds

It’s been quite a November, with two sell-out North Sea Sounds shows on board King Seaways and Princess Seaways.

Level 42, a British funk-pop band, kicked the season off on 9 November with local northern group Smoove & Turrell as support acts, followed by 80s electronic pioneers Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, who headlined the second event on 16 November, supported by Tiny Magnetic Pets.

Stephen House, Senior Campaign Manager UK, says: “It has taken us years to build up the credibility of this concept and I’m pleased that we can now land great headline acts such as Level 42 and OMD. It takes a lot of hard work from not only the marketing teams and crew onboard, but also from our dedicated Events Manager, Jen King. We’re looking forward to what next year will bring!”

Andy McClusky, one half of the duo band OMD, says: “This was a very enjoyable event. Great audience, well organised, and we were looked after impeccably.”

We reported earlier this year that the Level 42 gig was the fastest-selling North Sea Sounds ever, but that isn’t the only remarkable achievement this year. It was also the first time that we offered all-inclusive packages only, with evening meals and breakfast, which not only boosted total revenues, but also ensured that a large proportion of November’s pre-catering targets was met.

All staff came to make the weekend a success. Here back stage with Level 42: Jennifer King, Groups Reservations and Events Manager (UK), Jade Whitfield, Port Office Manager (UK), Joyce Dijkhuizen, Campaign Coordinator, and Yvette Eelman, Sales Operations, who are both based in the Netherlands.
“I would also like to mention Lisa Chenery, our Campaign Manager in the UK, who assisted with both events but is not pictured, and to thank all staff on board King and Princess who have worked very closely with us over the last few months to make the events a success,” says Jennifer King, Groups Reservations and Events Manager.


Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark playing North Sea Sounds

DFDS UK Facebook Video – OMD


Smoove & Turrell playing North Sea Sounds


Robert Bately becomes DFDS’ youngest Commercial Head

The role of Commercial Head is a senior management position within our cruise ferry business and involves being a member of the route management with the overall commercial and catering responsibility. We have eight Commercial Heads on our four cruise ships, and the latest, as far as we are informed, is the youngest addition ever. Robert Bately, aged 32, joined King Seaways on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route last week.

Robert began his adventure in shipping in 2004 when he joined Norfolkline on the Eastern Channel as an assistant chef on the ferry Midnight Merchant and sailed on the Dover – Dunkerque route. From here Robert moved to Dover Seaways. In 2007 he was promoted to sous chef and moved to Delft Seaways, where he spent seven years in the role, after which he became the Head Chef on board Dunkerque Seaways. In 2016 Robert was promoted Business Leader, which was a significant change of roles.

In 2017, Robert was given the opportunity to join the DFDS Horizon programme and graduated earlier this year. He received the Customer Driven Award, which was one of the awards given to five of the 21 participants in Horizon.

We are very excited to welcome Robert to our management team on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route and I have no doubt that the crew on board will give him a warm welcome as well. In his daily work Robert will join forces with Commercial Head Jørn Vase.

Please help me in congratulating Robert on this great achievement.

Best regards

Teun Wim Leene, Route Director, Amsterdam – Newcastle

Second Next in Line course finished

From left: Victoria Refsnes, Floor Manager Conference – Crown Seaways; Camilla Søegaard, Floor Manager Conference – Pearl Seaways; Jette Krog, HR Manager; Inda Imamovic, Floor Manager Bar – King Seaways; Peter Shlaimon, Sous Chef – King Seaways (back); Julia Midtgaard, Business Leader Shop – King Seaways (front); Emma Nordström, Training & Development Consultant (back); Adele Murphy, Floor Manager Bar – Princess Seaways (front); Kim Heiberg, Route Director; Brian Blixt, Commercial Head (back); Rasmus Krøyer, Floor Manager Bar – King Seaways (front); Morten Berg, Head Chef – Crown Seaways; Lucas W. Haagensen, Floor Manager Restaurant – Princess Seaways and Grzegorz Firgon, Floor Manager Accommodation – Crown Seaways

Last Tuesday was an important day for the 10 participants who completed the second round of our Next in Line internal training programme for new and future managers on our cruise route vessels.

Their journey started with the assessment in June 2017. Since then, the participants have completed nine modules within leadership tools and theories as well as in personal development.

Emma Nordström, Training & Development Consultant, says: “Through the programme, the participants have strengthened their competencies and learned about situational leadership, the DISC personality test, coaching and presentation techniques, just to mention a few of their new skills.”

The new graduates completed the course by presenting their final project in front of a competent jury consisting of Kim Heiberg, Route Director, Birgitte Kjærsgaard, Director of Training & Development, Brian Blixt, Commercial Head on Pearl Seaways and Jette Krog, HR Manager on Crown and Pearl.

Kim Heiberg says: “I was very impressed with the presentations and I’m pleased to see the great diversity in the group. Having so many talented managers on board our cruise vessels brings a lot of potential.”

The Business Development & Customer Experience Team focuses on the customer journey on our cruise routes

Since March, the Business Development & Customer Experience Team has been focusing on improving the customer experience on the two cruise routes Copenhagen-Oslo and Amsterdam-Newcastle, and now the results of the hard work are starting to show.

The first step for the Business Development & Customer Experience Team was to map the whole customer journey for the cruise routes. Not only the experience on board but the entire journey from the moment the passenger checks in at the terminal or in the car lane until disembarkation. This was done to identify areas for optimisation, cross-selling opportunities and training needs.

Building on the findings, several projects have been launched. While Training & Development has been training the staff to interact with passengers in the best possible way, the Business Development & Customer Experience Team has been working on improving the signage in the four terminals. In cooperation with Brand & Innovation, they are also working on increasing brand awareness on the entire customer journey, and a more aligned way of communicating has been established.

Most changes will be made in the Copenhagen terminal, where DFDS has full rights to complete “a makeover”. Marianne Birkeskov, Head of Communication & Projects, says: ”It is important that the first meeting with DFDS is a positive experience. We are making it more intuitive for the passengers to go through the check-in process, and the design of the terminal has been changed to increase brand awareness by using logos and DFDS colours. When arriving at the Copenhagen terminal from Oslo, the focus has been on creating a welcoming feeling and incorporating the destination. Now the passengers can have their photo taken in front of the Tivoli wall or the ‘Welcome to Copenhagen’ sign.”

The team is also working on making it more intuitive and easy for the passengers to find their car on board King Seaways, thereby ensuring an improved customer experience.

Marianne Birkeskov Head of Communication & Projects, says: “By focusing on the customer experience, we hope to improve customer satisfaction and create Instagram moments to share. We see lots of potential in the project, and we believe that a possible increase in sales and revenue as well as improved safety, efficiency and compliance are all among the additional benefits to the business.”

Before and after photos (the after photos – to the right – show the design; the changes have not been implemented yet).

The Copenhagen Terminal

King Seaways


New structure for cruise ferries and passenger sales

With the introduction of Project Starlight earlier this year, the management of Copenhagen – Oslo and Amsterdam – Newcastle cruise routes were moved to Henrik Holck to ensure maximum focus on the various work streams, not least training and development, which were – and still are – important elements in preparing the routes for future growth.

“This has been a successful project structure. Project Starlight is now so advanced in its progress that the time has come to look beyond the current status of the project and decide on the permanent structure, which can best ensure success for our cruise routes as well as BU Group Passenger. And we all agree that the key to their success is to pay full heed to gains already made and the very different potential in each of the routes instead of automatically putting them in the same basket,” say EVPs Peder Gellert and Henrik Holck.

Therefore it has been decided that:

1: The Oslo – Copenhagen route will continue to be managed by Henrik Holck.

2: The Newcastle – Amsterdam route will be placed under VP Kasper Moos’ UK organisation.

3: BU Group Passenger will be a focused agency organisation under VP Brian Thorsted Hansen.

“This structure, which we describe in detail below, will be the best foundation for growing and refining our passenger business and making it an even more exciting place to work,” they say.


1: The Copenhagen – Oslo route will continue to be managed by Henrik Holck

The Copenhagen – Oslo route is to a great extent about leisure, experiences and having a great time at sea or taking advantage of the ships’ unique conference facilities. Therefore, it differs from all other shipping routes due to the fact that the bulk of the revenue is generated by activities on board.

“Delivering true excellence of service has been and is the goal of all Project Starlight work streams that is also about challenging, inspiring and moving people and making them proud of what they do. Therefore, we will continue with all Project Starlight work streams and include training and developments as a key element,” says Henrik, who is heading the division that is responsible for people.

Due to this, the route will continue as part of People & Ships under Henrik Holck, who also has a personal drive for engaging in the route: Besides personal experience with the restaurant environment in Copenhagen, he has a glowing passion for food and developing restaurant concepts.

Kim Heiberg will continue as Route Director with responsibility for the bottom line and managing the operation of the route. He will report to Henrik.

The Business Sales Department – groups and conferences – will continue to be managed by Maria Lentz Greve, who with her staff will move to the Copenhagen – Oslo route organisation and in the future report to Kim. “We only have conference facilities on the Copenhagen – Oslo route and therefore it makes sense to add it to the route structure,” says Kim. “Together, we are already working hard to refine our conference concept, customer offering and internal processes.”   

The cruise routes’ central functions that were established with Project Starlight will continue for the Copenhagen – Oslo route only, however at a lower resource scale. With 2/3 of the revenue generated on board, there is a need for dedicated specialists in travel retail, on-board concepts and communication.


2: Newcastle – Amsterdam will be managed by Kasper Moos

“In contrast to Copenhagen – Oslo, the Newcastle – Amsterdam route is primarily about transport to and from the UK. Similar to the Channel routes, it generates 2/3 of its revenues from ticket sales and the route’s services are directed towards the same markets in the UK and on the Continent. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to place the responsibility for the Newcastle – Amsterdam cruise route under the same management as the eastern and western Channel routes. This means that VP Kasper Moos will have management and bottom line responsibility for all routes with passengers to and from the UK,” says Peder Gellert, to whom Kasper reports.

Teun-Wim Leene will continue as Route Director, reporting to Kasper. Teun-Wim will be based in IJmuiden.

The On-Board Sales team in Dover will be strengthened in order to also support the route management on Amsterdam – Newcastle, and we will now prepare the handover of tasks from the On-Board sales team in Copenhagen, says Kasper Moos, VP Channel

“I look very much forward to being able to use our valuable experience from the Channel on the Newcastle – Amsterdam route and vice versa with their experiences. In general, we are attracting the same type of customers who want to get across the sea to the UK or the Continent and have the same requirements for food, shopping and services. This means that there are great potentials for synergies between the routes as regards on-board sales and services,” he says.

Freight sales for the Amsterdam – Newcastle route will continue as today through the freight shipping agency in Rotterdam.


3: BU Group Passenger will focus fully on its agency role

“The original intention of creating BU Group Passenger was to ensure that we focus fully on our role as an agency,” says Peder Gellert.

“In line with the original plan, the organisation will therefore be a classic agency function with a similar relation to all routes,” he says.

This clarifies the responsibility of the BU Group Passenger and the cooperation with the route owners that have the bottom line responsibility and will give our colleagues a clearer understanding of their roles and responsibilities,” says Peder.

“Business-to-business sales will move to the Copenhagen – Oslo route as this is the only route with conference facilities,” says Brian Thorsted Hansen, VP and Head of BU Group Passenger.

“With the clarification of the structure, we now have a clear task. Over the coming years we will focus fully on developing all our natural agency functions such as marketing, sales, distribution, contact centres, revenue management etc. to build competence and excellence so we can provide the routes with second-to-none services and reap the benefits of the synergies that lie in approaching the same markets for various routes,” he says.

Starlight project starting to show results

Five months ago, we informed you for the first time about Project Starlight – a project to enhance customer satisfaction, job satisfaction and results for our two cruise routes. Since then, the Steering Committee and the Project Team have launched several new initiatives in this regard, and the results are now beginning to show.

One of the initiatives, the Early Boarding initiative, is already showing great improvements in relation to customer satisfaction. On the graph below, you can see the encouraging ratings of the staff made by our guests on the Copenhagen – Oslo route, which was the first to implement early boarding.

The Early Boarding initiative means that passengers can board from 12.30 or 14.00 depending on the route, and whether they are foot passengers or passengers travelling with a car. This is around 2-4 hours earlier than before.

Not only does the Early Boarding initiative mean more satisfied customers, it also means increased earnings from onboard sales in restaurants, shops etc., which can be seen on this graph.


Kim Heiberg, Cruise Route Director, says: “This is a very positive picture, which confirms that the hard work and efforts put into this project are well spent. My thanks to everybody for thinking outside the box in order to make this such a great success”.

The Early Boarding initiative started on the Copenhagen – Oslo route in April, and on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route in June, and this is the reason why we are only showing the figures for the first-mentioned route. When we have more data on the Amsterdam – Newcastle route, we will get back to you with updated results.




IJmuiden Contact Centre study trip to Newcastle

Last week, six colleagues from the Contact Centre in IJmuiden went on a nice three-day trip to Newcastle. The purpose of this study trip was mainly to increase knowledge about the on-board facilities.

“We started the trip with a guided tour of King Seaways, including a bridge visit accompanied by Captain Ingimar Tór Thomsen. It is important for us to know about the facilities down to the last detail, so we can offer the right information to our customers,” says Claudia Zwanenburg, Senior Contact Centre Executive.

“Afterwards we had a walking tour through Newcastle city centre to see the sights. Additionally, we went to some of the hotels to get a first-hand glimpse of what we offer.”

At the end of the study trip, when our six colleagues thought that the trip was coming to an end, a pleasant surprise awaited them in the North Sea Bistro, as a delicious tasting was set up just for them to enjoy. Some examples of the tasty food can be seen below.

“It is so great that we can learn from each other while having a good time. Thanks to all the staff on board King Seaways for the fantastic service,” adds Claudia.

Project Starlight: New structure for the cruise organisation

We want our passengers on the cruise routes Copenhagen – Oslo and Amsterdam – Newcastle to enjoy an even greater time when travelling on our two cruise routes. We also want our colleagues on board to thrive in their jobs and feel they make a real difference. This should be the foundation on which we build an even better business and improve results.

With these aims, we launched Project Starlight in February and at the same time transferred the responsibility for the cruise routes to People & Ships for the project period to enable Group BU Passenger to focus entirely on making their new organisation work. This means that the Project Starlight and the cruise routes came under the management of EVP Henrik Holck with Cruise Director Kim Heiberg reporting to Henrik.


Stronger Business Leader roles, visible floor managers

Since March, the project group has worked on eight identified workstreams covering nearly all parts of operations. One of the workstreams focused on the organisation, and the project group is now ready to present the new structure for the two routes.

In the new structure, we will maintain a Commercial Head on board each ship but reduce the number of Business Leaders from up to six (seven on Pearl where there is a casino) to three Business Leaders on each ship. The below description is for Copenhagen – Oslo, on Amsterdam Newcastle the titles and areas differ slightly:

Business Leader Food & Beverage (F&B) will replace the three previous Business Leaders: Restaurant, Bar and Chef de Cuisine. This is to ensure that we utilise the synergies and knowledge from all three areas and along with Floor Managers (see below), become more visible to our customers in all restaurants. With this setup, we expect to increase our service and have a more dedicated focus, to ensure an even higher customer satisfaction in the future.

Business Leader Shop & Conference will have the responsibility for the shop and the conference on the Copenhagen – Oslo route. This will make room for the crew to care about customers and ensure that we are always aligned with products and concepts on board. Bringing the shop and conference business areas together will also make it easier to offer an enriched experience for our conference guests and make room for a more holistic way of thinking about their entire customer journey.

Business Leader Accommodation & Service will be a merger of the previous accommodation and guest service, which was formerly under the Business Leader Conference responsibility. Many of the questions asked in the Guest Service Centre are about cabins, beds, upgrades, cleaning etc. Therefore, it will be valuable to strengthen the knowledge and focus within the two areas.


Floor Managers

All areas will have Floor Managers who will be part of the daily work and at the same time have managerial responsibility. They will report to Business Leaders in specific areas. For example, the Business Leader F&B will be supported by Floor Managers in the restaurants. This is to ensure that we always have a visible manager on the floor in all outlets, to send a positive signal to our guests and support our crew. Up until now the Business Leader has been responsible for appearing in each restaurant every day.

See the organisational charts for both routes here:

Copenhagen – Oslo

Amsterdam – Newcastle


New structure in Cruise Routes’ central organisation

We want to ensure that all of our outlets on each route offer the same great experience, service and products and have the same advantages in relation to procurement and sales. Our guests should be able to recognise our concepts no matter which of our ships they are travelling on. Therefore, many of the responsibilities will be moved to the central organisation. To be in a better position to provide the necessary competencies and support, the previous On-Board Sales department will change from one overall supporting role for all areas into three more specific and focused departments. They will report to Kim Heiberg. This is to increase the cooperation between ships and shore in relation to competencies and areas of responsibilities.

The three new positions will be Head of Travel Retail, Head of Onboard Concepts and Head of Projects & Communication, who together with Peter Holleufer’s existing role as Head of Performance Management are essential for mirroring the onboard set-up, aligning the ships and support and follow-up on all areas onboard.

See the new structure for Cruise Routes’ central organisation here

“With this new organisation, we will simplify all workstreams and make sure that the crew can focus on the most important thing: our customers. The management will be much more visible, which makes a difference to both employees and guests. It will hopefully make our passengers even more satisfied with their journey with us and our colleagues thrive more in their jobs. I am looking forward to following the process closely in the coming months,” says Kim Heiberg.

All Business Leaders, floor managers and coordinators have been informed about their new roles, and Kim Heiberg will hold a staff meeting on Crown today and on Pearl tomorrow (1 June).

Teun Wim Leene will have a staff meeting onboard King today and on Princess tomorrow (1 June).

“I would like to thank everyone on board and all of you who have been part of Project Starlight. I am thankful for your great efforts and I hope that you will all be able to see the benefits of our hard work across ships and land. I am proud to be part of the cruise organisation and I am confident that with these new changes we will be able to improve and move for all to grow,” says Kim.


Lotte Weaver to leave DFDS

In the new structure, Lotte Weaver’s position as Head of On-Board Sales (OBS) will cease to exist. Lotte has been offered another position, but she has chosen to leave DFDS. “Lotte has been one of the strongest forces in the past half year in Project Starlight where she has put enormous amounts of effort into the project. I have had the pleasure of working with Lotte for the past seven years, and she has really done a fantastic job. She is extremely hardworking, reliable, strategic and competent, and it is very unfortunate for DFDS that Lotte has chosen to leave,” says Kim. Lotte will stay until August as a consultant, making sure that the new organisation is well implemented and to help recruit three new managers to the Cruise Routes’ central organisation. “I would like to thank all of my great colleagues whom I will certainly miss. The past seven years with DFDS have truly been a journey for me, and I wish you all the best,” says Lotte, who will be leaving DFDS to take care of her daughter, who will be coming home from hospital after lengthy treatment for mental illness.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Kim Heiberg.