M/V Mont St Michel

Mont Saint Michel at sea, heading to Portsmouth from Ouistreham.
M/V Mont Saint Michel. Picture Antoine H.

 Mont Saint Michel is a RoPax ferry delivered in 2002 to Brittany Ferries and operated since then by the company. When built, she was one of the largest ferries in Europe. She is also one of the most profitable in the fleet.

Her names comes from a famous world-heritage site located in Western Normandy, France.


Technical Datas of M/V Mont St Michel
M/V Mont St Michel (2002 onwards)
The Ship
Launch 15th March 2002 
Maiden Voyage 20th December 2002 
Shipyard Van der Giessen de Noord, Krimpen a/d IJssel, Netherlands
Cost £80M 
Operator Brittany Ferries 
Routes  Ouistreham (FR) - Portsmouth (GB)
IMO  9238337
MMSI 227286000 
Call Sign FNMT 
Port of Registry  Caen, Normandie, France
Technical Datas
Length  173.95 m
Breadth 28.50 m 
Draught 06.21 m 
Gross Tonnage 35,891 GT 
Deadweight 5,579 t 
Engines specifications
Engines 4 Wärtsilä-Crepelle engines - 12 cylinders 
Speed 22.00 knots (max) - 21.00 knots (service) 
Passengers & Cargo
Passengers Capacity 2,123 passengers + 123 crew members 
Cabins and Seats 224 cabins (825 berths proposed) + 419 seats 
Garage Capacity 830 cars /or/ 118 trucks 
Garage Linear Length 2,250 lane meters for lorries
3,375 lane meters for cars

Service History

Mont Saint Michel's genesis

An artist view of Normandie 2.
An artist view of Normandie 2. Courtesy Brittany Ferries.

Brittany Ferries ordered Mont Saint Michel on 11th September 2000 to Van Der Giessen de Noord shipyard in order to replace smaller Duc de Normandie on the route linking Ouistreham and Portsmouth, for which Duc de Normandie was too small to cope with the growing traffic. However, she was to replace in the fleet Quiberon, since Duc de Normandie was to be transferred to the Roscoff – Plymouth service after Mont Saint Michel’s introduction.

The building began on 7th January 2001 for delivery scheduled in March 2002. However, she was eventually delivered nine months behind schedule, In December. Therefore, Brittany Ferries had to operate Quiberon instead Mont Saint Michel on the Ouistreham service instead, and chartered Purbeck to cope with the freight traffic.

The name of the ship was difficult to find. As a project, she was called Normandie 2, yet it was not to be her official one. At first, she was to be called Deauville yet the name was quickly refused. Then, Brittany Ferries thought of Honfleur, before finding it to close to Barfleur, another ship of the fleet. Eventually, Brittany Ferries came up with the name Mont Saint Michel.

Her engineers and designers decided to reuse some parts of Normandie’s general arrangement regarding her accommodation decks in order to have two ships on the same route that would have a lot in common, to ease operation.

An efficient ship for a taxing service

Mont Saint-Michel arriving in Ouistreham.
Mont Saint Michel. Rights reserved.

Designed for the Ouistreham – Portsmouth service, Mont Saint Michel found easily her place on the route on which she has always been operated, although she has sometimes operated services from Cherbourg-en-Cotentin or Le Havre, due to Ouistreham’s harbour being unavailable.

Mont Saint Michel was overhauled in early 2005 and her livery was slightly modified in order to paint Brittany Ferries’ new logo on her sides. Although she is in demand, her strong construction enable her to get older very well.

Mont Saint Michel in the 2015 social crisis

View towards the bow of Mont Saint Michel whilst at sea from Ouistreham to Portsmouth.
View towards Mont Saint Michel's bow. Picture Antoine H.

In early-2015, Mont Saint Michel’s crew went on strike to claim for additional crew to operate properly the ship.

Then, on 6th May 2015, Ouistreham’s dockers went on strike, claiming a wages increase and the hiring of extra-staff. In order to put the company under pressure, they decided to take as hostage the freight that was in the harbour and also Mont Saint Michel, with her crew onboard. However, the company refused to negotiate with them, paralysing Ouistreham’s traffic. Normandie had hence to be diverted to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, whilst a lot of customers was diverted to Saint-Malo, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin and Le Havre services, and also to Dieppe’s services operated by DFDS Seaways.

During the night of 09th May (at 2am on 10th exactly), Brittany Ferries’ chairman, Jean-Marc Roué and other shareholders broke into Ouistreham’s harbour, wearing balaclavas and equipped with tools. Despite the presence of 3 strikers, they released Mont Saint Michel' moorings removed the lorry that was on Mont Saint Michel’s ramp in order to enable Mont Saint Michel to set sail. In less than twenty minutes, Mont Saint Michel was at sea, although her bow door wasn’t properly closed whilst she was leaving her berth.

Therefore, the dockers from all of the company’s ports refused to welcome her and she had to anchor off the coasts of Roscoff. The following day, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin’s dockers refused to welcome Normandie which also had to be diverted to Roscoff, in support to their colleagues that underwent a “piracy act”. Eventually, dockers decided to end strike on the 11th, and service resumed normally on 13th.

Mont Saint Michel's overhaul

Mont Saint Michel sailing to Portsmouth after her 2015 refit.
Mont Saint Michel with her scrubber. Picture Tony WEAVER (BFShips).

Following the latest European Regulations about the ship’s exhausts, it was announced in late-2013 that Mont Saint Michel would be equipped with LNG engines had the end of 2015. However, this plan has been eventually reviewed in late-2014 and it has been decided to eventually equip Mont Saint Michel with exhausts scrubbers, a much cheaper operation.

She went in dry dock between 25th September and 18th December 2015 in order to be equipped with Hybrid Scrubbers. This imply the building of a third funnel between both of her previous funnels, since the Hybrid Scrubber was too large to be installed in the older ones.

Aboard Accomodations

Aboard Dining and Bar

  • La Galerie - Self-Service Restaurant ; Deck 8 ;
  • Les Romantiques - À la carte Restaurant ; Deck 8 ;
  • Le Café du Festival - Café ; Deck 9.
View in Mont Saint Michel's À la carte restaurant.
Mont Saint Michel's À la carte restaurant. Picture Benjamin H.

Aboard Shopping

  • Les Boutiques ; Decks 7 and 8 ;
  • Kiosk.

Passengers Accommodations

  • 8 Outside "Commodore" cabins with 4 berths ;
  • 68 Outside cabins with 4 berths ;
  • 105 Inside cabins with 4 berths ;
  • 40 Inside cabins with 2 berths ;
  • 3 Cabins for person with reduced mobility ;
  • 15 Cots
  • 419 allocated seats.


  • 2 Cinemas room ; Deck 9 ;
  • Videos Games room ; Deck 10 ;
  • Slot Machines room ; Deck 9 ;
  • Inside playground for children ; Deck 9.

We would like to thanks Captains Cuvillier and Richard, their officers and the crew of Mont Saint Michel for their welcome on board Mont Saint Michel's wheelhouse and engine rooms in late-July 2015.

Photo Library

See Also


  • "About Mont St Michel". In Brittany Ferries, B.A.I. SA, 2015. [retrieved the 29/08/2016]. Available at www.brittany-ferries.co.uk ;
  • In The Ferry Site, Koefoed-Hansen, M., 2015. [retrieved the 29/08/2016]. Available at www.ferry-site.dk ;
  • In MarineTraffic, Maltenoz Ltd, 2015. [retrieved the 29/08/2016]. Available at www.marinetraffic.com ;
  • "MV Mont St Michel". In Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation and its writers, 2015. [retrieved the 25/12/2015]. Available at en.wikipedia.org.