CONDOR will be using a Brittany Ferries ship to link Poole with the Channel Islands and France when high-speed passenger sailings resume this summer.

The ship, formerly called the Normandie Express, is being renamed Condor Voyager and will arrive in the port next month.

Condor Ferries says it has seen a surge of bookings for summer trips to Jersey and Guernsey and that Condor Voyager will provide more capacity.

The 98metre long high-speed catamaran can carry up to 850 passengers and 235 cars. It can travel at 42 knots and the crossing to the Channel Islands can take around three hours.

Brittany Ferries is a minority shareholder in Condor.

Elwyn Dop, Condor’s operations director, said: ‘With the extra interest in Jersey and Guernsey for travel destinations this summer, the ship will provide greater car and passenger capacity for those wanting to visit these beautiful islands. On arrival in Poole, our team and crew will get her ready for service and start sailing in May.”

Condor Voyager is currently undergoing engineering checks followed by sea trials.

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The ferry is due to visit Poole next month when the evaluation has been completed and approval granted. The company will run mooring trials and familiarisation training for Condor’s crews and port staff before it enters service.

The Channel Islands and the UK form a Common Travel Area, so trips will not face the same restrictions as international travel.

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Mr Dop added: "Interest in ferry travel is significantly up on previous years because of people’s desire to use their own car and benefit from the wide spaces onboard and enjoy fresh sea air on the outer deck.

“With the Islands being part of the Common Travel Area, people can take a stress-free holiday with no tests before leaving, and no quarantine or testing once they arrive back into the UK. The Channel Islands are safe, clean, fresh, natural holiday destinations so a great place to escape to this year.”