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The new MS Visborg (image: Destination Gotland)

Gotland boosts ferry capacity with new ship

Destination Gotland opens bookings for travel during summer 2019, while MS Visborg is due to start sailing in spring.

From today, the ferry company Destination Gotland is opening reservations for summer sailings to and from the popular Swedish island.

New for 2019 is that three large vessels will be in operation at the same time, two of which are on the northern line between Gotland’s Visby and Nynäshamn, which is one of the Ports of Stockholm.

“We are offering more capacity on the northern line,” reveals Christer Bruzelius, chief executive of Destination Gotland. “We will increase car capacity by up to 20% on attractive departures.”

Destination Gotland AB, a company fully owned by Rederi AB Gotland which operates the island’s ferry services on behalf of the Swedish government, currently uses four high-speed vessels. The larger two SF1500 ferries sail year-round, with the smaller SF700 vessels supporting during the peak season.

It sails two lines, from Visby to Nynäshamn as well as to the port closest on the Swedish mainland, Oskarshamn. Total transport volumes are up to 1.8 million passengers, 560,000 cars and 810,000 lane metres of freight per year, with frequencies rising to 21 departures per day during the high season between Gotland and the mainland.

New ship
However, a new LNG-powered ship, MS Visborg, has just been completed in China and is due to get its Swedish flag today so it can sail to Visby in time to start service for Destination Gotland in February or March.

The new vessel “looks a bit different from the previous SF1500 vessels,” says Bruzelius. “Among other things, she has two grand lounges and a separate children’s lounge for the youngest passengers and their families.”

The biggest change is in the ship’s middle saloon. Unlike the other big vessels, Visborg has two smaller sections with numbered reclining chairs in close proximity to the restaurant section. The chairs and tables in the restaurant will not be possible to book or buy a ticket for.

“We want to increase the comfort and availability of the restaurant,” Bruzelius explains. “The idea is that travellers can eat and drink at the restaurant’s table and then be able to sit comfortably in a resting chair for the remainder of the trip.”

Prices in all stalls on the bigger ships in 2019 will correspond to the current economy fares.

“Simply explained, all seats will be in reclining chairs on MS Visborg,” Bruzelius says, “and all seats in the stall lounge on all major ships, as well as mid-range on the new ship, will be sold as economy.”

All of the bigger ferries have an onboard cinema, Nintendo DS rental, televisions, playrooms, a children’s cinema, a food shop and a restaurant.

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