THE newest member of the Condor Ferries fleet is in Poole preparing to operate on the port’s route to the Channel Islands.

Condor Voyager – which was previously a Brittany Ferries ship called Normandie Express – is in the harbour for mooring trials and training for crews and port staff.

The 98metre high-speed catamaran is due to enter service next month, working on Condor’s routes to the Channel Islands and France.

Condor says it has seen a surge in bookings for the summer, with Jersey and Guernsey both proving popular destinations.

The expansion in summer operations is expected to create around 100 jobs, split between Condor’s ports and ships.

Condor’s operations director, Elwyn Dop, said: “We were delighted to see Condor Voyager arriving in Poole in her Condor livery ready to serve passengers destined for Jersey and Guernsey this summer.

“Our team and crew will be busy getting her ready for service to start sailing in June and allow extra car and passenger capacity for the additional interest we have had in customers wishing to visit the beautiful Channel Islands.

“With the rise in staycations and ferry travel, we are certain Condor Voyager will be enjoyed by many people who want to take a stress-free holiday, with no testing and quarantine, onboard a spacious vessel with an outer deck that allows passengers to enjoy the fresh sea air,” Mr Dop added.

The new addition to the fleet will add extra capacity on the route, which is already served by the triaran ferry Condor Liberation, which can carry up to 880 passengers and 245 cars.

Condor Voyager can carry up to 850 passengers and 235 cars.The catamaran can travel at speeds of up to 42 knots and the crossing to the Channel Islands can take around three hours.

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

Health and wellbeing policies are in force on board ferries and Condor says passengers says bookings can be amended for free, up to 48 hours before travel.

Condor Ferries was sold in 2019 to a consortium headed by Columbia Threadneedle European Sustainable Infrastructure fund, with Brittany Ferries as a minority stakeholder. Brittany runs the Barfleur ferry from Poole to Cherbourg.