DFDS Refreshes Optima Seaways RoPax Ferry

By: Gary Andrews
OPTIMA SEAWAYS at Kiel 23/3/22. Image: Julia Bott.
OPTIMA SEAWAYS at Kiel 23/3/22. Image: Julia Bott.

DFDS has recently unveiled some significant improvements to the customer experience aboard the OPTIMA SEAWAYS. 

Built in 1999 as one of the earlier evolutions of the Visentini Ropax design, the vessel has spent most of her career in the Baltic Sea.  She has been with DFDS (and predecessors Lisco) since 2006.

OPTIMA SEAWAYS operates across the DFDS Baltic network, lately mainly on routes from Klaipeda to Karlshamn and Kiel.  OPTIMA SEAWAYS was also the vessel to launch DFDS’ new Rosslare – Dunkerque route.  She operated on the “Brexit beater” service for a month before returning to the Baltic.

The vessel visited Remontowa, Gdańsk for around three weeks from mid-February until early March 2022.  At refit, not just an extensive technical overhaul was carried out but also some major improvements to the passenger areas.

Below we take a look at the refurbishment carried out to the OPTIMA SEAWAYS and the improved facilities on offer. 

For reference, please see the onboard plan for the ship from 2019.  The Lighthouse Café is in the area shown as Road Kings Bar.

OPTIMA SEAWAYS deckplan. Image: © DFDS.
OPTIMA SEAWAYS deckplan. Image: © DFDS.

Lighthouse Café

The main strategy for the make-over project on the OPTIMA SEAWAYS was to vastly improve the Lighthouse Café area (previously Road Kings Bar).  The goal was to transform it into the Lighthouse Café concept (colours, design) as seen on other DFDS routes, such as on the English Channel.

A bulkhead has been removed to change the previously enclosed space into an open plan area with light from outside on the starboard side. Gone are dark colours and in their place brighter shades.  It incorporates the previous passageway and a now refurbished Guest Services Desk.  The modern café style servery has been moved to a central bulkhead

Reclining Seat Area

The reclining seat area, located immediately aft of the Lighthouse Café, has also undergone an extensive refurbishment.

To give a complete renovation, seat density has been reduced and the seats themselves replaced.  In addition, the walls have been refreshed and carpet replaced by modern wood-effect flooring.

Refurbished Reclining Seat Area, OPTIMA SEAWAYS. Image: DFDS.
Refurbished Reclining Seat Area, OPTIMA SEAWAYS. Image: DFDS.

Kids’ Zone

Located within the Lighthouse Café area, the new kids‘ corner, Pirate‘s Island, was designed in collaboration with the biggest childrens‘ educational entertainment centre in Lithuania, Curiocity. The games and visuals are designed to reflect marine life and deliver fun with an educational aspect.

The previous play area was located within the 7 Seas Buffet.  As a result of the move, additional seating has been installed within the freed space in the restaurant.

Pirate's Island Children's Play Area on OPTIMA SEAWAYS. Image: DFDS.
Pirate’s Island Children’s Play Area on OPTIMA SEAWAYS. Image: DFDS.

A look back

Our gallery below illustrates well the wonderful improvements carried out.  The gallery of photos was taken on a Klaipeda – Karlshamn crossing in September 2018.  The previous dark and windowless Road Kings Bar can be seen where the now bright Lighthouse Café exists, including the former corridor running alongside.  The old style reclining seat lounge and childrens’ play areas are also illustrated.

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