Brittany Ferries: creating an onboard destination experience

Joëlle Croc explains how the operator draws inspiration from destinations for the interior design of its ships 

Brittany Ferries: creating an onboard destination experience

Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries commissions work by artists local to the destinations it serves

By Guest |

Brittany Ferries’ brand promise to “connect people to life-enriching places in the unique region we call home” is the starting point of every interior design brief we give to architects when they are working onboard our ferries.  

The destinations we sail to are another powerful source of inspiration for the unique interior designs and onboard experiences on each ship. We have teams based in Brittany and Normandy in France, as well as in Spain, UK and Ireland, and they use their expertise in their respective destinations to help us deliver this promise onboard our ferries and in our ports. Our French crew is also fundamental in creating the Brittany Ferries brand; they are recognised by our customers for their quality of service and care and are therefore part of the identity of each ship too.  

To help us fully develop the vessel’s identity, we create mood boards for each onboard area, from cabins and public spaces to restaurants, bar and guest services spaces. We indicate landscapes, colours, symbols and textures inspired by the destinations and choose the name of each restaurant and bar accordingly. We then collaborate with the architects to create the design and build the choice of materials, then follow those guidelines throughout the entire design process. 

Crucially, we must balance functionality with our desired aesthetic, and our methods for doing this vary from vessel to vessel. If the ship is designed from scratch, we will brief the architects on the operational needs to ensure all kitchens, workspaces and backrooms are fit for purpose. However, in instances where we already have a base design for the ship – like we did for our latest five ferries – we work hand in hand with the architect and the shipyard to adapt the spaces to our operational needs as much as possible. It is always a balance between the costs and the benefits, but we have managed to make the most out of the spaces to create unique ships combining both the desired aesthetic and the operational efficiency. 

Brittany Ferries

Artwork contributes to a harmonious environment onboard

Art plays a major role in creating both our desired aesthetic and a harmonious environment onboard our vessels. There are so many elements to focus on when using destinations as inspiration for artwork, including people, history, architecture, food and culture. We have an extensive back catalogue of commissioned artwork from a network of local artists who we also specially commission to produce pieces for our newbuilds, such as Galicia, which launched in 2020. Most of the art on this ship is from Spanish artists who were commissioned to create art for specific restaurants, bars, alleyways or decks. 

Our new ship, Saint-Malo, which will operate on our route between Portsmouth, UK, and Saint-Malo in France when it launches in February 2025, will embody the region of Brittany. For example, we’ve taken inspiration from the coastline to develop the colour palette, from the pink granite coast and grey granite found in the Celtic region, to the blues of the sea and sandy colours of the beaches. Meanwhile, the onboard bar will be inspired by the Breton festivals and will feature a black and white skylight inspired by the Breton flag. The same attention to detail will be given to Guillaume de Normandie, which will launch in April 2025 and reflect the nature, architecture and colours of Normandy. 

At Brittany Ferries we want to immerse our customers in the ambience of the beautiful destinations we serve as soon as they step onboard our vessels. We do this not only through the interior design, but also with our carefully curated menus that feature authentic dishes made using local products and the onboard wake-up and departure/arrival music, which is inspired by the traditional music from each region. This helps us create destination-inspired experiences that enhance our customers’ holidays for the duration of their time with us – it’s the Brittany Ferries way.  

Joëlle Croc is director of customer experience and onboard sales at Brittany Ferries 

This article was first published in the 2024 issue of  Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe  for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.  

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