Interior view: Brittany Ferries’ Salamanca

Brittany Ferries has added a Spanish flavour onboard the latest E-Flexer to join its fleet

Interior view: Brittany Ferries’ Salamanca
Salamanca’s art collection features street art murals from Spanish artist Rubén Sanchéz

By Elly Yates-Roberts |

Destinations play a key role in the modern sailing experience. This is particularly true of Brittany Ferries’ Salamanca, which entered service in March 2022.  

Named after the western Spanish city, which is home to a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the oldest universities in Europe, the ship celebrates centuries of history, art and knowledge.  

Tastes of the city, the Castilla y León region and Spain can be found throughout the onboard spaces in everything from the bold artwork to the choice of catering.  

Swedish architect Richard Nilsson was entrusted with the interior design of Salamanca, having created the original E-Flexer layout and design for Stena RoRo. German marine interior specialist Rheinhold & Mahla was involved with outfitting and constructing the cabins at China Merchants Jinling shipyard in Weihai, China. In addition, Greek firm Aluminox Marine fitted out the kitchens and bar, and Spanish marine architecture firm Oliver Design installed the artwork and specific fittings and finishings.  

“Our ultimate goal is to provide the very best experience onboard,” said Catherine Querné, strategy director at Brittany Ferries, who oversaw the whole project. “The beauty of travel by sea is that your holiday starts as soon as you step onboard. Our priority is to surround the passenger with authenticity, relaxation and well-being. The journey aboard Salamanca will inspire them ahead of their visit to this wonderful destination.” 

Querné, Nilsson and artistic advisor Kimberly Poppe spent time in the city of Salamanca before beginning the interior design process, enabling each to bring their own experience to life onboard the ship. 

“Salamanca is so rooted in history that you sometimes feel in another world,” said Querné. “But because of its famous university, it also has an incredibly youthful and vibrant air. The artwork on deck 10 for example is inspired by the modern street art that enlivens the city’s old working-class districts.” 

The artwork onboard is central to Brittany Ferries’ passenger experience and connecting its ferries with the location and culture of their namesakes. It is a tradition that stretches back to 1989, when the line’s first bespoke super-ferry Bretagne featured commissioned works from Scottish painter Alexander Goudie, inspired by the region from which both the ship and the company took their names. 

In keeping with the tradition, Salamanca features colourful, street art-inspired murals from Spanish artist Rubén Sanchéz, who has previously worked with Facebook, YouTube and Nike.  

“Sanchéz reflects this lively, younger, hipper aspect of Salamanca in particular with his bold graphic style,” said Poppe. “He’s Spanish, originally from Madrid, and much of his iconography is rooted in Spanish everyday life. He’s inspired by Picasso and other Cubist painters, but he also has this skater and graffiti background, which makes him unique.” 

Spanish culture is heavily rooted in its cuisine, so the ferry also hosts multiple lounges, restaurants and bars, including Restaurant Azul, Taberna de Tapas, Commodore C-Club Lounge and Plaza Mayor.  

“The ship’s bar is based on the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, which is one of the most famous squares in Spain,” said Poppe. “I spent a lot of time there just hanging out and photographing the comings and goings at different times of day, which you’ll see in the images in the bar. Our hope is that when you sit down and have a drink in the bar, you’ll be transported to that feeling of relaxing in a Spanish square.” 

With such a focus on the destination, Salamanca is sure to delight its passengers. “We try to awaken all the senses onboard, to bring a taste of Salamanca to passengers: the soft colours of the sandy beaches, the seaside restaurants, a taberna de tapas that makes you want to taste the Spanish flavours, photography of the city, comfortable cabins, cultural information and, of course, the warm welcome of our onboard colleagues,” said Querné. 

This article was first published in the 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.  

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