|Passengers: 2000||Cars: 195||Freight: 180||Built: 2010||Speed: 22 knots|
On the 8th August 2008 P&O Ferries released news that they had concluded their design process and that an order for two new ships had been placed with Aker Yards in Finland. These two new ships will be the largest and most modern on the Dover to Calais route, whilst not reducing the sailing time they will set new standards onboard. Whilst the news that two new ships will be built, with an option to build two more to the same design, was excellent news it did however lead naturally to the news that two of the oldest and most well known ships operating on the Dover to Calais service would be withdrawn. These being the 1987 built mv Pride of Dover and mv Pride of Calais, the last ships built for Townsend Thorsen and the most successful ships ever built for the route. The mv Pride of Dover was the first to be withdrawn when the mv Spirit of Britain, sister to the mv Spirit of France, entered service in January 2011. The mv Spirit of France at the time was still underconstruction in Finland and was due to enter service during September 2011 at which time the mv Pride of Calais would then be withdrawn.
An interesting fact of the new ships, the three bow thrusters have the same amount of power as the main engines on the 1987 built mv Pride of Dover and mv Pride of Calais!!!
Shortly after the mv Spirit of Britain entered into service serious vibrations problems were found. Following launch these were duplicated on the mv Spirit of France, the ship yard was able to see first hand the issues and as such the mv Spirit of France was delayed for several months whilst the issues were rectified, finally arriving in Dover at 11:00am on the 28th January 2012, just over 12 months after the mv Spirit of Britain.. Upon entry to service the mv Spirit of France undertook the maiden voyage in 55 minutes from Dover to Calais pierheads.
Due to the closure of Seafrance, the mv Pride of Calais, originally due to be withdrawn following the introduction of the mv Spirit of France was retained and still operates between the ports of Dover and Calais