Pride of Kent

The Pride of Kent was built in 1991 as the European Highway, originally as a dedicated freight ship for the Dover to Zeebrugge freight service. The original order with the shipyard was for four identical ferries to be named: European Seaway, European Pathway, European Pathway and European Causeway. However as ever in the ever changing ferry world during construction of the European Causeway the design was amended and the ship was launched as the full passenger ship Pride of Burgundy.

Throughout the ships career the Pride of Kent (ex. European Highway) has only ever worked on routes out of Dover, in fact the ship has only ever operated on two routes. The Dover to Zeebrugge route in the original freight design as the European Pathway from 1991 to 2003 and since then on the Dover to Calais route as the Pride of Canterbury in full passenger design. In 2003 when the Zeebrugge route closed the ships were sent back to the builders to take up the option that was designed into the ship during construction, this option essentially gutted the superstructure that was present and then substantially added to the superstructure all the way to the rear of the ship. Very little of the passenger decks remain the same as when she was built and it is very easy to forget that the ship is a sister to the European Seaway and Pride of Burgundy.

This project for the conversion was named 'Project Darwin' and turned two twelve-year-old freighters into bright and modern passenger vessels. The ship emerged from the shipyard resplendent in a new livery, as a freight ship the hull was dark blue up to the top of the freight decks, whereas as a passenger ship the dark blue stopped halfway, now carrying the name of Pride of Kent. Upon entering passenger service, the ship took up the roster of the ageing PO Kent, which was then retired from the fleet and sold to GA Ferries for further service in Greece. The ship is the second to carry the name Pride of Kent.

During the winter storms of 2017/2018 the Pride of Kent whilst departing Calais was hit by high winds which forced the ship aground, no injuries occurred and the passengers were well looked after until the ship could be re-floated some hours later. After discharge in Calais the ship sailed for Dunkerque and repairs. What was initially thought to be relatively minor turned into several months in dry dock before finally returning to service in May 2018.