DFDS services eight passenger routes, including four between the UK and Mainland Europe and others between Norway and Denmark, and Scandinavia/Baltic Sea connections from Germany to Sweden with Lithuania and Estonia.
DFDS, which runs its own retail shops across all routes, confirms to TRBusiness that there will not be a reduction in the number of categories available to passengers travelling on its vessels amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.
Perfumes and cosmetics bestsellers from the likes of Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne, Dior and Lancôme are being offered with savings on high street prices.
Guests can peruse from a wide assortment of spirits from brands including Chivas Regal, Jack Daniel’s, Famous Grouse, Absolut Vodka, Bombay Sapphire; wines from Yellow Tail, Mateus Rose and Faustino; and much more.
Cigarettes and rolling tobacco is available on all routes, offering brands such as Marlboro, Benson & Hedges, Lambert & Butler and Golden Virginia and confectionery remains a mainstay favourite.
Those seeking travel accessories can find car motor vehicle headlight adaptors, GB plates, European travel adaptors, warning triangles and other items.
Meanwhile, a wide assortment of toys, gadgets and plush items, including DFDS’ limited edition ‘Travelling Ted’ brand, are available to purchase onboard.
Steve Newbery, On board Commercial Director, DFDS said: “The usual restrictions on shop opening times apply. Duty paid goods can only be made available to purchase outside of UK waters – from around 20 minutes into the journey from Dover on the cross-channel routes – but otherwise there is no limitation to shop opening times.”
In response to a climb in passenger demand, the company is planning new deals at its shops and restaurants.
On the Newcastle-Amsterdam route, the Sea Shop, Explorers Restaurant, Columbus Club and Navigators Bar are open but the North Sea Bistro is closed.
Passengers are required to pre-book meals and request a restaurant reservation online during the booking process.
On Dover-Calais and Dover-Dunkirk routes, the Road Kings commercial drivers’ restaurant and Seven Seas restaurant are open and the Light House Café and Horizon area will be open based on passenger capacity and demand. All bookings include a complimentary meal for each passenger scheduled to travel.
FERRY SCHEDULES RESUME
On the Newhaven-Dieppe route, the sea shop and Maupassant restaurant are open, although other bars onboard are closed.
DFDS resumed ferry services from Newcastle to Amsterdam on 16 July after the UK government lifted quarantine rules for 59 countries and 10 Overseas Territories on 10 July.
The route had been suspended since the lockdown began in March but reopened after the Netherlands was included on the UK’s travel corridors list.
Routes across the English Channel – from Dover to Dunkirk and Calais, and Newhaven to Dieppe – also reopened on 10 July, although DFDS continued to service these during lockdown for essential travel purposes and to transport freight goods into the UK.
Services between Denmark and Norway restarted on 25 June, with twice-daily routes between Copenhagen and Oslo bolstered by a new service between Frederikshavn and Oslo.
Booking are being taken for routes to France, the Netherlands and other European destinations such as Germany and beyond, although passengers are advised to monitor changing travel advisories across countries.
As reported, the UK government has removed Spain from its list of quarantine-exempt countries and Luxembourg was removed from the list yesterday (31 July). All arrivals to the UK from the aforementioned countries will now have to quarantine for 14 days.
CAPACITY LIMITS INSTORE
In response, DFDS has rolled out measures to welcome back passengers to sailing in a safe manner. Capacity on routes have been reduced to maximise onboard space and ensure guests comply with physical distancing guidelines.
This has been aided by early and staggered boarding and disembarkation procedures, with crew using protective equipment and passengers asked to wear face coverings for embarkation and disembarkation.
“Measures are in place to ensure that the number of people permitted into the shop at any one time is limited to allow for social distancing,” added Newbury.
DFDS’ revenue in the first quarter of 2020 shrunk by 1% year-on-year, with operating profit down -10%. Announcing its Q1 results in May, DFDS said that EBITDA will likely pare down to towards DKK2 billion for the full year.
Sailing suspensions across the Amsterdam-Newcastle and Copenhagen-Oslo routes coupled with broader travel restrictions hampered results, although as mentioned, freight services have remained operational covering the company’s Baltic Sea, Mediterranean, North Sea and English Channel networks.
Aside its own fiscal resources, DFDS has secured financing from banks and says it possesses the liquidity required to navigate the company safely through the pandemic.
DFDS will continue to operate as normal during the Brexit transition period, which runs until 31 December, but will be anxious to see a trade deal struck between the UK and EU before the transit period ends to allow the continuation of free movement of goods between both. The UK officially left the EU at the end of January.
In the face of Brexit uncertainty, DFDS has executed its ‘Win23’ programme focusing on driving growth across four strategic pillars: industrial solutions; digitising the company; fulfilling a business plan for the Mediterranean, investing in new ferries, acquisitions and network expansion; and creating added value for customers.
All images courtesy of DFDS.