|Despite the presence of the Prins Filip as its massive flagship, the Dover (and later Ramsgate) to Ostend service of the nationalised Belgium RMT was doomed to an inglorious end in 1997. Entering service in 1991 she was a stark contrast to her smaller fleet-mates and on her own could not prevent the demise of the historical but loss-making route. Laid up in Dunkerque for many months, the Prins Filip was finally bought by Stena and renamed the Stena Royal in 1998 and soon chartered to P&OStena for freight relief duties on the Dover-Zeebrugge run. After a period of apparent deliberation, P&OStena then took the vessel on a more permanant basis, refitting her for Dover-Calais service as the P&OSL Aquitaine, running in place of the P&OSL Picardy. With the departure of Stena from the joint venture, the ship became Pride of Aquitaine.
Continuing P&O cutbacks saw the Dover fleet successively reduced with the departure of one-time flagship Pride of Provence and then, in May 2005, the Pride of Aquitaine, the company preferring to retain only those ships it owned as opposed to chartered. After a further period of lay up in Dunkerque, the ship was chartered to cross-Channel newcomer LD Lines, a subsidiary of Mediterranean conglomerate Louis Dreyfus. Operating a new one ship Portsmouth-Le Havre crossing, the ship, renamed Norman Spirit, directly replaced the previous P&O operation which had ceased three days prior to the first LD departure on 3 October 2005.