M/V Normandie

Normandie casting off Portsmouth bound to Ouistreham.
M/V Normandie casting off Portsmouth. Courtesy Brittany Ferries.

Normandie is a ship operated by Brittany Ferries built in 1991 and introduced in May 1992 on the Ouistreham – Portsmouth route. Her name comes from a French Western Région, where Ouistreham is located.


Technical Datas of M/V Normandie
M/V Normandie (1992 onwards)
The Ship
Launch 5th October 1991
Maiden Voyage 18th May 1992 
Shipyard Kvaerner Masa-Yards, Turku, Finland 
Cost £80M 
Operator Brittany Ferries
Routes Ouistreham (FR) - Portsmouth (GB)
IMO 9006253 
MMSI 2272273000 
Call Sign FNNO 
Port of Registry Caen, Normandie, France 
Technical Datas
Length 161.40 m 
Breadth 26.00 m 
Draught 05,65 m 
Gross Tonnage 27,542 GT 
Deadweight 5,229 t 
Engines specifications
Engines 4 Wärtsilä-Crepelle 12V32E engines - 12 cylinders 
Power 17,740 kW 
Speed  20.50 knots (max) - 19.00 (service)
Passengers & Cargo
Passengers Capacity 2,123 passengers + 134 crew members 
Cabins and Seats 220 cabins (771 berths proposed) + 416 seats 
Garage Capacity 575 cars 
Garage Linear Length 1,720 lane meters

Service History

Normandie's genesis

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

In 1989, Brittany Ferries launched its first super ferry, Bretagne, on the routes linking France to Ireland and Great Britain to Spain. She became soon very popular and successful, thanks to the changes she brought to its customers. Therefore, she proved to be able to cope with the growing traffics. Therefore, the company decided to order another superferry to Finnish shipyard Aker Yards for service between Ouistreham and Caen. They were at first to be two sister ships (the other was supposed to be operated on the Poole - Cherbourg-en-Cotentin service), however due to the lack of spaces at the shipyard it has been impossible to built both.

This new superferry, longer than Bretagne was to be introduced on a route that was becoming more and more popular, the one linking Ouistreham to Portsmouth and created in 1986. This route has been operated since 1988 by two ships, but they proved to be too small to cope with the growing traffic and therefore a superferry was needed to provide additional capacity.

Brittany Ferries decided to do as with Bretagne, by giving the superferry another symbolic name, Normandie. Moreover, this name recalls the former Ocean Liner SS Normandie, built in Saint-Nazaire and launched in 1935 for service between Le Havre and New Yord that proved to be France’s glory.

Normandie was to provide much comfortable accommodations than Bretagne, although she has been made as a day ferry. She has also been designed to offer additional freight and cars capacity, and she therefore proposes 4 full-length car decks. She can load trucks and cars at the same time via (whereas she is berthed by her stern or her bow) decks 3 and 5, something new to Brittany Ferries’ ships that required works to be done in both Ouistreham and Portsmouth, in order to built double-deck link spans.

Normandie's career

Normandie arriving in Portsmouth shortly after having been christened in Rotterdam.
Normandie during her first arrival in Portsmouth. Courtesy Brittany Ferries

Normandie was launched on 5th October 1991, before being delivered to Brittany Ferries on 5th May 1992. She was officially named on 14th May in Rotterdam, and arrived to days later in Portsmouth. Normandie then operated a mini-cruise. Her maiden voyage took eventually place on 18th May 1992, from Ouistreham to Portsmouth and has always been operated on this route since. She has however operated a few sailings from Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, when Ouistreham was not available.

In late-2002, Normandie was joined on her route by Mont Saint Michel, a larger superferry that replaced Duc de Normandie, enabling the company to operate on the route two ships that has a similar layout regarding their car decks and accommodations, although there are differences between both.

She was overhauled in Gdansk in February 2006. During this dry docking, she was fully repainted to wear Brittany Ferries’ latest corporate identity. Nevertheless, she kept her blue and red stripes on her bow door. In 2008, she was sold by the SOMACAL to the SOMANAR, however it did not have an impact on her operation. She was repainted in 2012 and lost her blue and red stripes on her bow door, alongside the blue stripes she had on her stern.

The busy 2015 year for Normandie

Normandie pictured in Summer 2015 during a sailing from Ouistreham to Portsmouth.
Normandie sailing to Portsmouth. Picture Benjamin H.

In 2013, Brittany Ferries announced that Normandie would be equipped by 2014 with exhaust scrubbers, in order to enable her to comply with the latest European regulations regarding sulphur exhausts. She was sent to Astander shipyard in Santander on 18th October 2014 to perform the installation of those scrubbers, implying also a general overhaul and refurbishment of her accommodation decks. This installation implied the replacement of the top of her final by a new one, more rectengular. She resumed service on 2nd January 2015.

During March 2015, Normandie's crew went on strike for a few days, claiming better wages and the hiring of extra-staff.

On 6th May 2015, it was Ouistreham’s dockers' turn to went on strike for similar reasons. Normadie was therefore diverted to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin until 10th May, because she was unable to berth in Ouistreham due to Mont Saint Michel being taken hostage in the harbour, preventing other ships from mooring. Indeed, after Mont Saint Michel’s liberation by Brittany Ferries’ shareholders, the dockers of all ports the company serves refused to welcome her and Normandie had to be diverted to Roscoff to unload, and was then anchored. Once the conflict was resolved, Normandie resumed service on 13th May.

Normandie between Le Havre and Portsmouth

Normandie casting off Portsmouth harbour bound to Ouistreham.
Normandie sailing out of Portsmouth. Picture Antoine H.

In an interview given in April 2016, Brittany Ferries’ chairman, Jean-Marc Roué told that the company was to order three new ships by the end of 2016 to replace Bretagne, Cap Finistere and Normandie. The replacement of Normandie would be made by the early-20s. Moreover, on 6th June, it was announced by Jean-Marc Roué that this replacement would not be possible until works were made in Ouistreham in order to enable the docking of larger ships, and that port authorities have to keep up to date its harbour. Without those works to be done, it would be impossible to replace Normandie by a larger ship.

Eventually, on 19th June 2017, Brittany Ferries organised a press conference during which it was officially unveiled the company commissioned a new 185m-long RoPax ferry that would replace Normandie on the Ouistreham - Portsmouth. The new built, which is to be named Honfleur, will be the first ferry of the company to be powered by hybrid LNG-electric engines, enabling the company to make important fuel savings on this service. With Honfleur expected to be introduced in June 2019, Normandie will then be moved to the less taxing Le Havre - Portsmouth until she finally gets retired.

Aboard Accommodations

Aboard Dining and Bar

  • Le Riva Bella - Self-Service Restaurant ; Deck 8 ;
  • Le Deauville - À la carte Restaurant - Deck 8 ;
  • Le Pays d'Auge - Café ; Deck 9 ;
  • Le Derby - Bar ; Deck 9.
Le Pays d'Auge café aboard Normandie. Picture Antoine H.
Le Pays d'Auge café. Picture Antoine H.

Aboard Shopping

  • Boutique ;
  • Perfumes boutique.

Passengers Accommodations

  • 8 "Commodore" cabins with 3 berths ;
  • 139 Outside cabins with 4 berths ;
  • 27 Inside cabins with 4 berths ;
  • 33 Outside cabins with 2 berths ;
  • 1 Inside cabins with 2 berths ;
  • 2 Cabins with 2 berths for person with reduced mobility ;
  • 14 Cots ;
  • 416 Allocated seats.


  • 2 Cinemas rooms
  • Videos Games room ; Deck 8 ;
  • Slot Machines room ; Deck 9 ;
  • Inside playground for children ; Deck 9.

Photo Library

See Also

Brexit. Brittany Ferries to create 19 weekly rotations

The Department for Transports has awarded a £46,6 millions contract to Brittany Ferries to operate 19 further weekly crossings from 29th March from Plymouth, Poole and Portsmouth in case of a without-deal Brexit.

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An out-of-common cruise aboard Normandie

Normandie leaving Portsmouth's harbour, en route to Ouistreham
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Brittany Ferries commissions M/V Honfleur

An artist impression of Brittany Ferries' new ship, which is to be christen M/V Honfleur in April 2019.
Artist impression of M/V HONFLEUR, released on19th June. Courtesy Brittany Ferries.
Read More

Brittany Ferries. A new LNG-powered ship to be built

An artist impression of the new LNG-powered ship which is to be delivered to Brittany Ferries by 2019 to replace Normandie.
An artist impression of the new ship of Brittany Ferries. Picture Brittany Ferries
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Brittany Ferries. A project to replace Normandie

An artist impression of Pegasis. Picture STX France.
An artist impression of Pegasis. Picture STX France.
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Brittany Ferries. Strong performances and thwarted projects

M/V Bretagne performing a U-Turn in Saint-Malo, before berthing in the harbour.
Bretagne was to be replaced by 2019 by a new built. It is now very unlikely. Picture Antoine H.
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  • "Normandie Cruise Ferry". In Brittany Ferries, B.A.I. SA, 2015. [retrieved the 27/12/2015]. Available at www.brittany-ferries.co.uk ;
  • In Dover Ferry Photos Forum, Goodfellow, R. ; Thornton N. ; Cloke P., 2015. [retrieved the 27/12/2015]. Available at www.doverferryphotosforums.co.uk ;
  • In The Ferry Site, Koefoed-Hansen, M., 2015. [retrieved the 27/12/2015]. Available at www.ferry-site.dk ;
  • In MarineTraffic, Maltenoz Ltd, 2015. [retrieved the 29/08/2016]. Available at www.marinetraffic.com ;
  • "MV Normandie". In Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation and its writers, 2015. [retrieved the 27/12/2015]. Available at en.wikipedia.org.