Readers may be all too aware that it is the last UK-Scandinavia passenger link and though Esbjerg is on the fringe of Scandinavia it is hundreds of miles nearer Sweden and Norway than the alternatives that the prospective traveller is left with after September 29. It seems no time at all since we could board the Princess of Scandinavia at North Shields and disembark at Kristiansand or Gothenburg, or the Queen of Scandinavia and have the choice of Norwegian calls at Stavanger, Haugesund or Bergen. Or before her Fjord-Line’s Jupiter or her previous incarnation as Color Line’s Color Viking. But that all seems like the last days of a golden age now.
It is hard to see how any such passenger routes will return as the running costs of these longer distance ferries can only rise, especially with low sulphur fuel, and the public is now so used to paying very little for international travel by air that an economic fare for the ferry company will look very high in comparison to the alternatives. Meanwhile car travel, with increasingly fuel effi cient engines, looks attractive for taking two or more passengers and their luggage long distances by fast motor road from short sea ferry hubs.
At least that is what DFDS Seaways are saying on their website pointing out that drivers can head north from their own ferry terminals at Ijmuiden/ Amsterdam and Dunkerque to their onward Scandinavian Ferry Services out of Copenhagen to Oslo or from Kiel to Klaipeda, Lithuania. They say it is ‘just’ 400 miles from Ijmuiden to the Danish border and 500 or so to Copenhagen. On that basis other ferry rivals will have an equal or greater claim for that onward Scandinavian traffi c with the ferries out of Kiel to Oslo (Color Line) and Gothenburg (Stena) and Travemunde for Sweden, being 340 miles from Amsterdam. Maybe more likely still to gain (if drivers don’t want to use the Oresund Bridge!) are the short hops from the North of Denmark by Stena Line from Fredrikshavn to Gothenburg or Color Line to Kristiansand and Larvik. Then there is the revitalised fleet of Fjordline with the new Oslofjord and Stavangerfjord out of Hirtshals with a fast ferry too across to Kristiansand and Langesund with a longer leg offered to Stavanger and Bergen.