HSC Normandie Express
|Name:||2000: Incat Tasmania
2000-2003: The Lynx
2005-present: HSC Normandie Express
|Operator:||2005-present: Brittany Ferries|
|Port of registry:||2006-present: Caen, France|
|Builder:||Incat, Tasmania, Australia|
|Identification:||IMO number: 9221358|
|Length:||97.22 m (319.0 ft)|
|Beam:||26.6 m (87.3 ft)|
|Speed:||42 knots (service), 46.5 knots (maximum)|
She was purchased from Incat in early 2000 for £30m ($38.9m) having been on charter from them since 2005. She was built as Incat Tasmania at the Incat yards in Tasmania, Australia. Her first use was on charter to the Australian Trade Commission as a floating conference centre during the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney. Later that year she was chartered to Tranz Rail for their Interisland Line service between Picton and Wellington, New Zealand. She was renamed The Lynx for this service and remained on the route until 2003 when she was returned to Incat.
In September 2004 P&O Ferries announced they were to withdraw their services from Portsmouth to France, Brittany Ferries later announced they would run a fastcraft service between Portsmouth and Cherbourg/Caen (Ouistreham) as a replacement and The Lynx was chartered. In January 2005 she was renamed Normandie Express and sailed for France, stopping off in Indonesia to drop off supplies and equipment for the tsunami relief effort.
Also on board for the trip to Europe was the French yacht Sill et Veolia which was being returned to France after being damaged whilst on the Vendée Globe round-the-world yacht race. After calling in at Roscoff to drop off the yacht and being shown off to Brittany Ferries management, she undertook berthing trials in Portsmouth, Cherbourg and Ouistreham before starting service in March 2005.
For her first year in service with Brittany Ferries the Normandie Express had a bridge and engine room crew supplied by Northern Marine and was registered in Nassau but protests from French unions meant that from 2006 she would fly the French flag and be registered in Caen with a full French crew.
In mid-2012, Brittany Ferries announced that Normandie Express would no longer operate the Portsmouth - Caen Route in 2013. Instead, a new route was introduced, sailing from Portsmouth to Le Havre from Friday 17 May until Sunday 8 September but only on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays.
Route(s) as of 2013:
Portsmouth-Cherbourg-Portsmouth once daily from May - Sept
Portsmouth-Le Havre-Portsmouth from May - Sept (Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday Only)
Approximate Timetable: (Times in GMT)
Monday to Wednesday: Depart Portsmouth at 09:00 arriving at Cherbourg at 12:00. Departing Cherbourg at 16:00 arriving back at Portsmouth at 19:00.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: Depart Portsmouth at 07:00 arriving at Le Havre at 10:45. Departing Le Havre at 11:30 arriving at Portsmouth at 15:15.
Departing Portsmouth at 16:00 arriving at Cherbourg at 19:00. Departing Cherbourg at 19:45 arriving at Portsmouth at 22:45.
In February 2008, Normandie Express covered the Plymouth-Roscoff route due to the Pont L'Abbe's delayed return from refit.
Bars and restaurants
- Le Café.
- Le Bar x2.
- La Boutique.
The vessel was fitted with a Club lounge and children's play area but these were removed during the refit for Brittany Ferries in favour of more standard seats. Condor Vitesse which used to operate for Brittany Ferries under charter from Condor Ferries between Poole and Cherbourg has these facilities. During her most recent refit (2013/2014), HSC Normandie Express has received new Commodore Seating on board and the Car Deck and Livery have been repainted.
- Brittany Ferries official site
- Brittany Ferries official Facebook Fan Page
- Brittany Ferries Enthusiasts site
- Unofficial Normandie Express site, part of the Brittany Ferries Enthusiasts site.