NAOS ship design, and the Visentini yard have become synonymous with highly cost effective RoPax vessels. With a hull design which enables higher capacity and speed for lower fuel consumption, and basic but flexible passenger accommodation modules, the Visentini yard vessels can be found all over the world, especially in Europe. Corsica Linea is the most recent covert.
Building ferries for Corsica in a new era
Following the bankruptcy of SNCM and the emergence of Corsica Linea from the remains of the company, some fleet renewal was necessary to deal with both an ageing fleet. Additionally, ever tougher environmental regulations will soon affect the Mediterranean.
In the past, SNCM have opted for bespoke, often French built where feasible, vessels with large passenger accommodation, high levels of interior design specification and relatively high speeds. However the market to Corsica has changed. Corsica Ferries have continuously grown their fleet and taken an ever larger share of the passenger traffic. This has meant that Corsica Linea increasingly is a lifeline RoPax provider of the Marseille services to the island specified by a public tender.
As a new company, needing a newbuild relatively quickly but for a budget without the largesse of state backing it once had, it was a natural fit for Corsica Linea to turn to Visentini. In the process, they have introduced the first of a new series of vessels designed by Naos with significantly larger passenger accommodation, and LNG power.
With the striking red livery, and yellow accents, there can be no mistaking a Corsica Linea vessel in port.
In common with many vessels in the Med, A GALEOTTA is boarded over a very wide stern ramp for vehicles and passengers. Unlike others though, there is no escalator on the Corsica Linea vessel.
The public rooms on A GALEOTTA are concentrated on a single deck in 3 distinct zones.
At the forward end is the dining space.
This is essentially one large space split by glass walls and doors into five sections. Two sections are across the bow and three just aft of those.
To port is the self-service cafeteria counter. This is relatively small compared to a traditional ferry cafeteria, and more like a takeaway counter. It has the, now common, self-service tills, and a menu of sandwich, snacks, salad and pizza. The dedicated seating area is just ahead of this counter and it includes high stools and tables as well as some regular height seating. The look is clean and fresh with the idea being clearly to eat quickly and leave. By opening doors, the seating area for the self service can be expanded into other sections.
À La Carte restaurant
The starboard forward area, and starboard and central sections slightly aft are all part of the à la carte restaurant. For a RoPax, it is noticeable that a significant proportion of passengers choose to dine in the à la carte restaurant. This may be in part due to the good value menu on offer. Many passengers pre-book their dinner as part of meal packages when booking the crossing. This is also the venue for the buffet breakfast served prior to arrival each morning. This restaurant is very spacious almost to the point of being under-furnished.
A piano bar on a RoPax
Moving aft, is the standout feature of A GALEOTTA, a Piano bar. This large space is divided into multiple cosy sections. There is a large bar, a children’s play area, and a baby grand piano. With waiter service upon embarkation, this really does have the feel of a much higher quality of experience than the term RoPax normally leads one to expect.
Continuing aft, is a further small seating area. In the centre, is a windowless reclining seat lounge.
Meanwhile, to starboard is a small meeting room and games machine area.
The outside decks on this level are generous and have a considerable amount of seating. The pet kennels can also be found here.
The deck above contains passenger cabins. There is a notably higher standard of finish in the cabins and corridors than previous Visentini vessels. Features include recessed lighting and carpeting which helps lessen night-time noise.
One quirk of the layout of some of the cabins is that the upper bunk on the side of the cabin opposite the bathroom is narrower at the foot than the head, in order to allow the bathroom door to open properly.
First of many
In common with a number of vessels from this builder and designer, the ship is not without some quirks which must have a technical explanation but are not obvious to the naked eye. These include things like raised parts of outside deck, staircases that seem to be a different size than the space they fit in, and a lift from the car deck which is situated up several steps.
Following the most recent contract, A GALEOTTA can usually be found on the Bastia and Ajaccio routes. She tends to do part of the week on each service.
We can expect more ships of a similar design in future. A further variant is already under construction which will enter service for Polferries next year.
With special thanks to Shipadvisor without whom this article would not have been possible.