​DFDS Celebrates 15 years of Dover-Dunkirk Ferry Service

Award-winning ferry operator, DFDS, is celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Dover-Dunkirk route today. The inaugural sailing on the cross Channel service into northern​ France took place on 20th March 2000, with freight vessel Northern Merchant, which was operated by Norfolkline.


To kick off the anniversary celebrations, DFDS employees at Dover Port are handing out special cupcakes today (Friday 20th March) to customers before they board their ferries. DFDS ​will also be offering some surprises over the coming days.

History of the Dunkirk Fleet

Although Northern Merchant was primarily a freight vessel, she did also carry a small number of passengers. The fleet of ferries on the route expanded quickly, with the addition of Midnight Merchant in October 2000 and then Dawn Merchant in September 2002.

In 2005-2006, the predominantly freight ships were replaced with three purpose-built mixed passenger and freight (RoPax) vessels, which continue to operate on the route today. The introduction of this modern fleet of ferries on the Channel set a new standard for both freight and passenger facilities. Sister ships Delft Seaways, Dover Seaways and Dunkerque Seaways continue delight customers today with their beautiful panoramic sea views and high quality onboard facilities, including separate amenities for passengers and commercial drivers. 

DFDS took over responsibility for the route in July 2010 when it acquired Norfolkline from Maersk. In February 2012, DFDS​ launched its Dover-Calais service, which led to an expansion of the Dover-France fleet, growing it to a total of five vessels by the end of that year.

Max Foster, passenger director at DFDS reflects on the last fifteen years of the Dover-Dunkirk service: “There have been a great deal of amazing milestones, achievements and experiences over the last decade and a half. From extraordinary events such as a baby being born onboard, to shipping exotic cargo such as a rhino, a giraffe and even a great white shark, no two days are the same on our ferries!

“One thing has remained constant, however, which is our approach to providing the best possible service for our customers.”

DFDS now transports in excess of 2 million passengers a year on the Dover-Dunkirk route.

DFDS sails up to 44 times a day between Dover and France, providing passengers with flexible crossing times, a luxury travel experience and convenient travel options.

To find out more information, visit http://www.dfds.co.uk, or telephone 0871 574 7235.

- ENDS –

For media enquiries contact:
Caroline Walker or Chelsey Palmer on 01732 779087 / dfdspr@westgatecomms.com

Notes to editors

About DFDS

DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships. DFDS ​prides itself on offering world-class facilities and services and the widest choice of ferry routes into Northern Europe.

In the UK, the company operates DFDS passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newhaven to Dieppe and an overnight service from Newcastle to Amsterdam.

DFDS operates up to 44 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover to Dunkirk and Dover to Calais routes.  It also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam. In addition, the DFDS network includes a passenger and freight service between Newhaven to Dieppe, which has four sailings a day and is operated by Transmanche Ferries.

DFDS has been named the ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for the last four years (2011-14), as well as ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ at the prestigious 2014 World Travel Awards. It was also the only recommended ferry operator nominated by Which? Travel (2011).

For further information about DFDS, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, visit: www.dfdsseaways.co.uk.


We are Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator 2012-2019 & the World’s Leading Ferry Operator 2011-2018!​​