Brittany Ferries has unveiled the latest addition to its fleet.

Galicia will carry passengers between Portsmouth and Santander in northern Spain, and Cherbourg in Normandy, France.

Its first crossing, between Santander and Portsmouth, departs on December 2.

The French and Spanish ferry operator’s new “super-ferry” was built in China. Its inauguration ceremony was held virtually.

It is the first in a trio of sisterships, with Salamanca and Santoña due for delivery in 2022 and 2023.

Galicia is an ‘E-Flexer’ class ferry. At 215 metres long she is the largest-ever Brittany Ferries ship and will carry more than three kilometres of freight and passenger vehicles.

“Galicia’s arrival marks the start of a bright new future for Brittany Ferries,” says chief executive Christophe Mathieu. “When we ordered her, we could never have imagined the current pandemic situation and its impact on trade, travel and tourism. But she is our symbol of hope and optimism, and above all our confidence in a much brighter future on the horizon.

“Our customers demand modern, comfortable and environmentally-friendly sea travel. We can only meet their expectations by introducing new, advanced and innovative ships. Galicia is a vital first step in our fleet renewal programme, and proof of our ongoing commitment to our customers, partners and colleagues in the years to come.”

Jean-Marc Roué, Brittany Ferries’ chairman, added: “This has been a challenging year for our customers, and also for my colleagues across our business in France, the UK, Spain and Ireland,

“But this is a new start, and Galicia is a sign of hope for all of us. She will be followed by two beautiful sister ships: Salamanca in 2022 and Santoña in 2023. The entire project demonstrates our conviction and our ambition to continue serving our passengers, and our all-important freight clients.

“Galicia will be kinder to the environment. She’ll be more efficient. These three new ships are just the start of a bright new future for our company and most importantly our customers”.

In a first for French-owned Brittany Ferries, Galicia has been built from the keel up with Iberian décor, paintings, photography, sculptures and murals. The theme will be extended to the food and drinks served on board, offering “a unique taste of Spain as soon as they board”.

Brittany Ferries’ technical director Arnaud le Poulichet, who has overseen the conception of the ship since the first steel was cut in 2018 says: “Galicia has already exceeded all our expectations. She is technologically advanced, easy for our crew to operate, and most importantly comfortable for our customers. We are confident that they will appreciate her”.