|The first newbuilding for Dover Strait crossings since the opening of the Channel Tunnel Seafrance Rodin, which entered service in November 2001, was also the largest ship ever to operate in the area.
The most outstanding feature of the ship is her speed - having achieved 29 knots on trials, the Rodin is scheduled with a service speed of 25 knots, compared to the 18-20 knots of the ships she joined in the Seafrance fleet. A relatively simple ship internally, with just four large general passenger lounges (two aft and two forward on the two main passenger decks), she lacks any key 'signature' lounge, such as the twin-level forward lounge on fleetmate Seafrance Cezanne, or the aft bar/Parisien Cafe aboard Seafrance Renoir. Instead, the most impressive on-board feature is the starboard-side atrium which spans both of the passenger decks and follows the off-set passageway linking the forward and aft lounges on each level.
|ABOVE: Seafrance Rodin leaving Berth 7 at Calais for Dover in early 2002.|
|ABOVE & BELOW: Seafrance Rodin makes a surprise entrance through Dover's Western Entrance in March 2002.
Although perhaps the ship's greatest feature is her speed, it is ultimately of little benefit operationally to Seafrance as, although the Rodin's scheduled crossing times are some 25 minutes shorter than her fleetmates, the company have not yet been able to change the schedule so that the newer ship can undertake more crossings - the time saved is therefore spent in port and not at sea.
On this occasion, the Rodin was hampered both by arriving ahead of schedule, but also by her berth not being available upon arrival in Dover. Having diverted out of the way through the Western Entrance, the ship then lay in the centre of Dover harbour (below) for over 40 minutes, waiting to berth. Not the most productive use of Seafrance's FFr 611m investment!
|BELOW: Seafrance Rodin arriving at Calais in the Summer of 2002.|
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