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Since 1841, ferry service has been a crucial link from the United Kingdom to her surrounding islands and the ports of call in Eastern Europe. As the demand for both passenger and commercial ferries has increased, so has the demand for speed. Whether crossing the English Channel, the Celtic sea, or the Irish Sea, the need to get there faster and safer has pushed the ferry industry to new levels of innovations, and the result is a new breed of “fast ferries” that have risen to the challenge of matching the tempo of our modern world.
The development of fast ferries has enabled companies to offer their customers up to four crossings a day carrying passengers, vehicles and commercial freight. One of the drawbacks of these fast ferry designs involves frequent cancellations because they cannot operate in high winds, which happens often in the waters surrounding Great Britain. If your travel plans require you to hit specific deadlines, you will need to consider if using a fast ferry is the best option.
Some of the new ferries that have been launched since 2008 are over 11,000 tonnes and can make the trip in almost half the time as the traditional ferries. The fast ferries revolutionary structural designs make the trip comfortable and safe for passengers and cost effective for loading and unloading cargo and vehicles at different ports of call.
Fast ferries are finding wider acceptance by the day, as new routes are opened up for both travelers and industry. Even though the ticket price is higher than the traditional ‘slow’ ferries, the cost remains competitive with airfares. The added ability to bring not only passenger cars, but recreational vehicles and trailers makes many vacationers and businesses chose fast ferries to make the most of their transportation budget.
To maintain the competitive edge, ferry companies have created quick access to major motorways from their terminals at the popular ports of call, as well as easy access to rail lines. Meeting the challenge of more speed with less risk has led to the development of diesel powered catamarans that have all the amenities of traditional ferries, including food service and private lounges. Select voyages also have duty free shops with great bargains on popular items such as liquor and tobacco products.