A welcome sight returned this weekend as a Condor ferry could once again be regularly spotted from Swanage, as the company resumed sailings from Poole Harbour to the Channel Islands, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.
While the ferries have been seen on training exercises, this Saturday 4th July 2020 at 11.45 am, Condor Rapide undertook the first of a weekly Saturday service that will operate under COVID-19 travel restrictions with a maximum of 350 passengers. She departed Poole heading for Jersey and returned in the afternoon to Poole at 5.27 pm.
On Sunday 5th July 2020, Condor Rapide undertook the first trial sailing from Poole to Guernsey. She left at 10.56 am this morning, returning this afternoon. A second trial sailing is scheduled for Wednesday 8th July 2020.
Condor Rapide viewed from Swanage this morning, on its way to Guernsey, with cruises ships in the background
Not only the Condor ferry but also a number of cruise ships
The view from Swanage Bay out to sea also includes, not only the Condor ferry but also a number of cruise ships. This weekend P&O’s Aurora, and TUI’s Marella Explorer and Marella Explorer 2 have been spotted from the bay. Cunard’s Queen Victoria and P&O’s Arcadia have also been seen recently.
Cruise ships have been sailing back and forth along the south coast and dropping anchor in various locations, while they wait to be able to return to service.
In line with government travel restrictions all passengers on Condor’s ferries must wear a face covering during the journey. The company has also introduced social distancing floor markers, self service food and drink counters with card-only payment and are allowing more time for checking-in.
Condor Rapide on its way from Poole to Guernsey
“After more than 100 days of lockdown, we are delighted to announce sailings”
Paul Luxon, chief executive of Condor Ferries, said:
“After more than 100 days of lockdown, we are delighted to announce sailings from Poole to Jersey are restarting this weekend. We have always kept one eye on the future and prepared for sailing once restrictions are lifted.
“Unlike the airlines, we normally have capacity for 800 people and plenty of inside and outside space, so with a reduction in capacity, safe sailing through distancing can be readily introduced.
“We take the health and wellbeing of passengers and crew very seriously so can offer reassurance that various contingency plans and measures are in place to mitigate any potential impact of coronavirus.
“Some of these procedures were in use before we suspended passenger services in March, but travellers will certainly recognise the difference.”