DFDS suspends on-board services on UK – France routes

Due to the Covid-19 situation, the UK – France ferry routes are unable to continue most of their on-board service activities. This means that bars, restaurants and shops on board will be closed until further notice. The routes will continue sailings with a high frequency in order to service our freight customers and their drivers as well as travellers with a transport need.

Following the introduction of new national measures intended to delay the spread of the Covid-19 virus, DFDS has to close restaurants, bars, shops and other services on board our Dover – Calais, Dover – Dunkerque and Dieppe – Newhaven routes over the weekend.

Kasper Moos, Head of DFDS’ Short Routes and Passenger business, says: “Sailings will continue at a high frequency as we have an obligation to keep servicing our freight customers in order to maintain the supply chains. This is in line with the Government’s recommendations to ensure that there is food and other goods on the shelves in the supermarkets and supply of goods to keep wheels turning in industry and communities.

“Unfortunately, the suspension of on-board services will mean that a number of colleagues at sea and ashore will be sent home temporarily, and we are currently in dialogue with staff, crews and union representatives as well as the authorities on possible schemes to mitigate the consequences of this.”

“We fully understand the concerns this causes amongst our staff. But whilst we are doing what we can to comply with new measures and restrictions, we are also trying to keep the wheels turning and at the same time protect our business throughout the crisis.

“Needless to say, myself and the whole management team are extremely proud of the way you have continued to take care of our customers and each other throughout these extremely difficult weeks. Now conditions beyond our control have put a temporary end to our on-board services, but I can’t wait to welcome you back again as soon as the Covid-19 crisis is under control and travel restrictions have been lifted,” says Kasper.

COVID-19 measures on the UK – France routes

Dover Seaways, and other ferries on the UK – France routes, will sail with additional COVID-19 measures and precautions.

To slow down the spread of COVID-19 on our UK – France routes, several measures are implemented including reducing the number of passengers allowed on board and precautions advised by World Health Organisation. There are no changes to the sailing schedules.

Over the last few days, the French government has taken significant measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19. Those measures are restrictions around the number of people gathering in one place and the closure of bars, restaurants, museums, some shops and other venues until further notice within France.  

Kasper Moos, Vice President and Head of BU Short Routes & Passenger, says: “There are no changes to our sailing schedulesTo minimise the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of those travelling, we have reduced the maximum number of people allowed on each crossing by 50% on our routes; Dover – Calais, Dover – Dunkirk and Newhaven – Dieppe until at least 6 April. Passenger booking remains open as we work hard to ensure that people can get home and undertake essential travel. 

In addition, other onboard precautions advised by the World Health Organisation are implemented which includes:  

  • Hand sanitizer dispensers are installed everywhere on the ship for our passengers to use. 
  • Ongoing extra touchpoint cleaning. 
  • 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. 

“We are committed to ensure that our passengers have the best service and experience whilst travelling with us and we will continue to do so during this difficult period” says Kasper. 

He continues: Our routes between the UK and France are also an important part of the arteries of trade. We will therefore continue to provide frequency and capacity to ensure that vital goods can reach shops and businesses. 

Dunkerque refitted with a brand-new lounge

Artist impression of the new Horizon restaurant on board Dunkerque Seaways. The restaurant is already popular on ferries sailing on the Dover – Calais route.

With many customers travelling long distances, the chance to relax is a very welcoming part of the customer experience. From today on, passengers can look forward to a peaceful and quiet journey in the new Relax Lounge. As shown on the picture below, the lounge has chairs built into an airline style pod for extra privacy, complimented by soft lighting for the perfect stress-free environment. While children can enjoy other activities and facilities on board, the Relax Lounge will only be accessible for passengers over 16.

Artist impression of the new relax lounge on board Dunkerque Seaways

The new fully refurbished Premium Lounge areas now have comfortable lounge furniture and modern décor to provide luxurious and peaceful surroundings. This private lounge is open 24 hours a day and is available for all ages. Passengers can enjoy complimentary glass of Prosecco, snacks and pastries, hot and cold refreshments and hot food available from the Premium Lounge menu.

Artist impression of the refurbished Premium Lounge area

With the success of the Horizon restaurant on the Dover to Calais routes, the refit also includes this restaurant being installed on all three ships on the Dover to Dunkirk route. Here guests can enjoy a selection of freshly cooked pizzas, pasta dishes and healthy salads.

Artist impression of the new Horizon restaurant

Passengers will also benefit from new bathroom facilities throughout the ship and can now enjoy watching a spot of television in the Lighthouse Café, with newly installed TVs as an additional feature.

Steve Newbery, Onboard Commercial Director for BU Short Routes and Passenger at DFDS said: “This is a very exciting refit programme and continues on from last year’s successes with our Lighthouse Café. It also demonstrates our commitment to continuously improve the passenger experience. Dunkerque Seaways will be the first of the three ships on the Dover to Dunkirk route to receive a number of new looks as part of a £3.9m investment. The two other ships, Delft Seaways and Dover Seaways will be refitted from 1st March and the end of March respectively.

“We believe the improvements will help our passengers relax even more and give them the best possible start to their onward journeys. Many of the changes are in response to ideas and suggestions from our customers, so I am looking forward to the feedback from our passengers.”

Dover – France routes launch new Pirate Island kids pack

Young ones and others young at heart can channel their inner pirate on the Dover – France routes with the new Pirate Island pack

Kids boarding the ferries on the Dover – France routes can now look forward to being part of Jack the Pirate’s crew. Our junior guests will be issued two different pirate packs at check-in from Dover and France consisting of various activities on each crossing.

“This initiative will definitely be an amusing part of the voyage for the young ones when travelling with us over the high season. The pack also compliments the fabulous new Pirate Island Zapper app which was devised by our great on-board commercial team in Dover,” says Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager.

“With the app you go around the ship zapping the treasure hunt posters allowing you to get a selfie with the Pirate Island crew of Jack the Pirate, Sam the Turtle and co. It will also lead you to the special Pirate Island menu in the 7 Seas Restaurant and play area available on all vessels.

“We will also have pirate island mascots on board on selected departures where our junior guests and parents can have a selfie with the characters in a pop-up Pirate Island area. So, if you see Jack the Pirate, Sam the Turtle and Ali Kazam, please do go and say hi.”

The pack includes a colouring pop-up scene with the Pirate Island characters, three colouring pencils, a DFDS adventure book, a selfie mask and a post card to send home

Steve Garner showcasing the Pirate Island Zapper app by having a picture with Sam the Turtle

Ferries on our Dover – France routes get superfast internet

The new system increases the broadband capacity from about 2 Mbits to 50-100 Mbits

Following an agreement between the DFDS IT project team and the Swedish company Nowhere Networks, the six ferries on our Dover – Calais and Dover – Dunkerque routes get a superfast internet connection.

It increases the broadband capacity from about 2 Mbits to 50-100 Mbits, and this is very appreciated by Steve Newbery, On-board Commercial Director of BU Channel. He says: “This will really add value for our passengers and help our staff in their work. Furthermore, we have lots of projects right now that require a reliable broadband connection.”

The system is currently installed on one ship, and the project team plan to deploy the system on the remaining five ships over the next two months.

“Last year we had more than 129,000 families travelling with us, and highly-improved Wi-Fi means that we can launch our Pirate Island augmented reality treasure hunt for families, and it makes sharing pictures on social media so much easier,” Steve says.

Gert Møller, Vice President & CIO, says: “The project has been ongoing for almost five years, and now we have finally found this small Swedish company that recently tested a new concept very successfully at Tallink, a shipping company with sailings between Helsinki and Tallinn.”

“Nowhere Networks produces low-cost tracking antennas, allowing them to deploy several tracking antennas ashore and on the ships. This increases capacity and performance vastly, and signal delays are significantly reduced. It really is bleeding-edge technology, bordering on the impossible and certainly not an off-the-shelf solution!”

The Nowhere Network solution includes everything from equipment to the full operation of it and on top of that, they deliver high-quality broadband at a considerably lower cost compared to other suppliers on the market.

The technology can only be used on the short Dover – Dunkerque – Calais routes because the system is based on a radio link with a range of no more than 50-60 km.

“I want to thank Jan Svane and Poul Daugaard from the Network and Communications Department and Xavier Kemp in Dover, who manages all the local installations. They have done a great job in reaching this milestone,” Gert says.


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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Selfie Seaways bringing joy on Channel vessels

The creative team in Dover are always seeking new ways to increase customer satisfaction. The latest additions comprise a selfie vessel and binoculars for children.

Steve Garner, Customer Experience Manager of BU Channel, says: ”Our passengers have a lot of fun when having their photo taken on board Selfie Seaways. We have these on board all Channel vessels and in our ticket offices. Actually, this has been such a big success that we have now also placed orders for selfie vessels for Newcastle, IJmuiden, Newhaven and Dieppe. Thank you to Hawa Turner, Marketing Manager OBS, for creating the selfie stands for the ports and on board.

“We are also giving away children’s binoculars at check-in and encourage the kids with their parents to go around the ship and decks and share what they experience at sea. The children are very happy to get this free welcome gift.”