THE FANTASIA STORY
PART THREE: LEAVING HOME
2003-
e-mail: matt@hhvferry.com
[HOME]   [LINKS]   [HENGIST]   [HORSA]   [VORTIGERN]   [INDEX PAGES: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z]
It had been expected after her refit that the Alkmini A would join the former P&OSL Kent (by then Anthi Marina) in domestic Greek traffic running from Piraeus down to Rhodes. In the event, and rather unexpectedly, GA made a return to international services operating the ship on the competitive Adriatic route from Igoumenitsa to Brindisi in Southern Italy. With her interiors only slightly modified (largely by the addition of reclining seats and a new nightclub), the Alkmini A went head to head with arch family rivals Agoudimos Lines but came out rather worse for the experience with Agoudimos' smartly fitted-out Ionian Sky seeming to take a rather larger proportion of the traffic, with a much better agency coverage in Brindisi to secure passing trade. Had GA persisted with the route, the Alkmini A would doubtless have received attention to install more suitable overnight accommodation: although this did not seem to be a significant problem with the traffic on offer during her 2004 season, the relatively limited number of original cabins retained for crew use by Sealink in 1990 would not have been enough for the ship to be truly suited to the role (particularly on the return overnight leg from Igoumenitsa).

In the event such considerations were academic and GA made alternative arrangements for the 2005 Summer season, forming an association with HML and utilising two of their elderly ex-Japanese domestic ships for service from Brindisi. The unwanted
Alkmini A meanwhile had been sold again, this time to Polferries in September 2004. The Polish national operator was, after several quite desperate years, undergoing something of a renaissance after their country's entry into the European Union in 2004 and required larger replacement tonnage for their routes to Sweden. Renamed Wawel, their new ship underwent a lengthy refit in Gdansk (which included the installation of significant amounts of new cabin accommodation) before entering service in February 2005 between Swinoujscie and Ystad. In October 2008 it was announced, rather unexpectedly, that the ship had been chartered to DFDS. However, she would continue to operate on her existing route under the existing brand name, DFDS and Polferries now operating in collaboration.
Above and Below: The Alkmini A pulling away from her berth in Brindisi in July 2004.
Above: Two former Sealink Dover-Calais ships on adjacent berths at Brindisi in 2004: the Cesme and the Alkmini A. As the Scandinavica the former spent a two month period on charter in the Summer of 1988 but is best remembered in UK waters for her service with Norway Line, Color Line and DFDS as the Venus and latterly the second King of Scandinavia.
Below: Resplendent in Polferries livery, the Wawel is seen at Swinoujscie soon after entering service.
Below: The Wawel at Ystad in May 2005.
Below: The Wawel seen from the foot passenger walkway at Swinoujscie; the gangway at the Polish port connects with the ship unusually at sponson level.
Below: Seen from one of the cross-river Swinoujscie ferries, the Wawel prepares for her return sailing to Sweden.
Click below to return to the Fantasia & Fiesta main menu