Ferry News

Stena Line Invests in Pet Friendly Cabins and Duty Free on North Sea

From this week, Stena Line will be able to offer improved duty free shopping and dog-friendly cabins on its Harwich – Hoek van Holland route.  The company has just completed a £1m refit programme across its two ferries on the route, STENA HOLLANDICA and STENA BRITANNICA.  

The two German-built vessels are the biggest in the Stena Line fleet and still among the largest in the world by vehicle intake. For their 2022 refit and dry-docking, STENA HOLLANDICA and STENA BRITANNICA went to the EDR Shipyard in Antwerp.  

More Duty Free

In addition to the usual regular maintenance and refurbishment undertaken during such visits, an additional shop was added to each of the twin ferries.  This extended the retail floor space by 40% on each ship, allowing the company to hold more stock and extend its duty free range by a third.  

The exterior of the second shop, added to STENA HOLLANDICA and STENA BRITANNICA during their 2022 refit. Image: Stena Line.
The exterior of the second shop, added to STENA HOLLANDICA and STENA BRITANNICA during their 2022 refit. Image: Stena Line.

Duty free has been a major earner for ferry companies on routes between the UK and the EU, despite depressed passenger numbers due to Covid-19.  According to Stena Line, onboard spend per passenger increased by 118% in 2021.  Other ferry operators have also reported a dramatic increase in onboard spend since duty free shopping was reintroduced.

Inside the second shop, added to STENA HOLLANDICA and STENA BRITANNICA during their 2022 refit. The addition of this area increased the retail floorspace on each ship by 40%. Image: Stena Line.
Inside the second shop, added to STENA HOLLANDICA and STENA BRITANNICA during their 2022 refit. The addition of this area increased the retail floorspace on each ship by 40%. Image: Stena Line.

Dog Friendly Cabins

Stena Line has also taken the opportunity to introduce pet-friendly cabins to the route for the first time.  Each of the ships now has fifteen dog friendly cabins.  The move follows Brittany Ferries offering similar cabins for a number of years and is in response to customer feedback received by Stena Line.

STENA HOLLANDICA 29 August 2021. Image: Rob de Visser.
STENA HOLLANDICA. Image: Rob de Visser.

Erik Thulin, Trade Director for the North Sea said:

“Our annual dry-docking programme is key to keeping our vessels ship-shape and continue looking so good. It also allows us to be flexible in responding to our customers’ demand, so we’ve taken the opportunity to extend our onboard Duty Free offer, to provide for more products and more bargains for our customers. We are also pleased to offer our first ever dog-friendly cabins. We listened to our many customers who have requested this option and they can now have up to 3 dogs with them in each of our 15 dog-friendly cabins. We are looking to forward to welcoming all our customers, including our four-legged friends back on newly refurbished vessels on the North Sea.”

Other Improvements

Another piece of work undertaken on both vessels was the refurbishment of the Barista Bar cafés.  These now have a Scandinavian look and feel, not dissimilar to that in the same facilities on Stena’s newest E-Flexer class ferries.  

The refurbished Barista Bar onboard STENA BRITANNICA and STENA HOLLANDICA. Image: Stena Line.
The refurbished Barista Bar onboard STENA BRITANNICA and STENA HOLLANDICA. Image: Stena Line.

Finally, the Captain’s Suites onboard the ships have also been refurbished.

STENA HOLLANDICA and STENA BRITANNICA between them offer two sailings in each direction per day on the route between Harwich and Hoek van Holland, in the Rotterdam area of the Netherlands.

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