P&O PIONEER is a P&O Ferries operated “Fusion class” Ro-Pax ferry which serves the Calais – Dover route. At the time of her delivery she was the worlds largest double-ended ferry. P&O PIONEER is notable as the first double-ended ferry to be deployed on English Channel services and is also the first diesel-electric hybrid.
The double-ended design means that the ship does not need to turn 180 degrees in port as is the case with all previous Dover – Calais ferries. This saves both time and fuel.
P&O Ferries claim that P&O PIONEER will consume up to 40% less fuel than previous Dover Strait ferries. As there is no shore power available at Dover or Calais, P&O PIONEER‘s batteries are charged using the onboard Diesel engines when at sea.
As-built, battery only operation will take place when manoeuvring or in port. The ships have been designed to be upgraded to full battery-electric operation once charging facilities become available.
P&O PIONEER is the first of two identical purpose-built “Fusion Class” sister-ships ordered for the Dover – Calais route. The second ship, P&O LIBERTÉ, is expected to join P&O PIONEER in service towards the end of 2023.
At the time of ordering P&O PIONEER and P&O LIBERTÉ, P&O Ferries also agreed two options with the shipyard but has not (yet?) exercised these.
P&O PIONEER & P&O LIBERTÉ will replace PRIDE OF CANTERBURY and PRIDE OF KENT which are then expected to be disposed of. PRIDE OF BURGUNDY, which is a similar age to the ‘Kent and ‘Canterbury is already undergoing recycling in Turkey.
The new fusion class ferries will serve the Dover – Calais route alongside SPIRIT OF BRITAIN and SPIRIT OF FRANCE, giving P&O Ferries the newest fleet on the Dover Strait.
P&O PIONEER is the first vessel in the P&O Ferries fleet to have the name of the company as a prefix. She is named “Pioneer” as she is the first of a new generation of ferry to be introduced on the Dover Strait.
Further Information on P&O Pioneer
For further information on P&O PIONEER:
Current location of P&O Pioneer
P&O Pioneer Frequently Asked Questions
Is P&O Pioneer really identical at both ends?
While the bow and stern of P&O PIONEER and P&O LIBERTÉ may look the same from the outside on first appearance, the ships are not totally identical at both ends.
In order to ensure optimal fit at both Dover and Calais, the bow and stern access arrangements are different onboard P&O PIONEER with the upper ramp landing platform at the stern being wider than that at the bow. The lifeboats onboard also point towards the bow of the ship on both sides.
The passenger areas on P&O PIONEER are also different towards the bow and stern. Consequently, the full-width club lounge outside deck overlooks the stern of the ship (towards Dover). In contrast, the outside deck at the bow end of deck 9 is split in two between the pet lounge and the drivers lounge. A green square, which marks the dog toilet area, is clearly visible near the centre of this outside deck if looking at the ship from above.
How are the batteries on P&O Pioneer charged?
As shore charging facilities are not available at either Dover or Calais, P&O PIONEER‘s batteries are charged solely by excess power from the main engines during passage between the two ports. This allows the ship to run completely on zero-emission battery power when manoeuvring in port. This helps P&O PIONEER cut emissions and fuel use by up to 40% compared to older vessels.
Provision has been made within the design to fit additional batteries to the ship to enable completely emission free running once shore charging becomes available in both ports.
When was P&O Pioneer’s maiden voyage?
P&O PIONEER‘s maiden commercial voyage was on 19 June 2023. The ship left Dover for Calais on schedule at 09:45 (UK time, UTC +1).