P&O Pioneer represents the future of ferry travel

P&O Ferries’ new Fusion-class ship will enter service later this year 

P&O Pioneer represents the future of ferry travel

P&O Ferries

P&O Pioneer’s onboard venues include a food court, lounge bar and quiet bar

By Richard Humphreys |

For the P&O Ferries brand, the new P&O Pioneer ro-pax ferry represents the future of ferry travel in the English Channel. The vessel, which is expected to enter service in 2023, is the first of two identical purpose-built Fusion-class sister ships ordered for the route between Dover, England, and Calais, France. The second ship, P&O Liberté, is expected to join service towards the end of 2023. 

P&O Pioneer will be both the first double-ended ferry to be deployed on English Channel services, as well as the largest in the world at the time of delivery, and the first diesel-electric hybrid ferry working on the Dover to Calais route. The double-ended design means that unlike its predecessors on the route, the ship will not need to turn 180 degrees in port, saving time and fuel. P&O Ferries claims that the vessel will consume 40 per cent less fuel than previous Dover Strait ferries. 

Another advantage that P&O Pioneer will offer over P&O Ferries’ current English Channel ferries is that it will have around 1,550 square metres of deck space. Meanwhile, double-height windows spanning decks eight and nine dominate the middle of the vessel, allowing passengers to take in views from inside. 

Other facilities onboard P&O Pioneer will include various lounges, a 588-square-metre duty-free area and engaging zones for children of all ages.  

Many of the areas passengers can enjoy on decks eight and nine were built by North Sea Offshore Technology (NSO), a ferry and offshore industry turnkey interior contractor headquartered in Yantai, China, that also has offices in Sweden, Estonia and Malaysia. 

“The people at P&O Ferries really knew what they wanted,” says Kristian Vidfar, director of NSO. “Add to this an efficient shipyard, the competent naval architects of OSK-ShipTech and the talented team of Steen Friis Design and one comes to the conclusion that it is not too difficult for a company like NSO to do a good job. The Fusion-class ships are fantastic vessels that are here to stay for many years to come.” 

P&O Ferries’ Ship of the Future project director Ross Barrett says: “Walking into the spaces created onboard P&O Pioneer by NSO makes you stand there in silence, and look around at how beautiful the spaces are that connect you with the ocean and contemplate how amazing this incredible new vessel really is.” 

P&O Pioneer and P&O Liberté will replace the Pride of Canterbury and Pride of Kent vessels, which will be retired alongside Pride of Burgundy. The new ships will serve the Dover-Calais route alongside the Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France, giving P&O Ferries the newest fleet on the Dover Strait. 

This article was first published in the 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Interiors. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Interiors for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

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