Ferry News

Red Funnel ferry Red Falcon to undergo £2m makeover

Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries' car and passenger ferry Red Falcon is to undergo a £2m interior refurbishment in time for Easter 2014.

It has appointed marine design agency SMC Design and Southampton’s marine interior refit specialist Trimline to carry out the work.

The investment will see the ship’s interior design and facilities replaced with a bright, modern and stylish new look which will set the standard for cross-Solent travel.

The design team were tasked to increase the number of internal seats by 55 per cent and create an interior design that optimises the space to deliver an unrivalled travel experience across the Solent. Some of the new features customers will see include: -

  • New sun deck and promenade walk (with wheelchair/pushchair access)
  • Two new passenger lounges with additional toilet & baby changing facilities
  • New pet friendly lounge, child play space and designated quiet zone
  • Exciting new food and drink options
  • Air-conditioning in all passenger lounges and improved heating in winter
  • New Information Bureau selling tickets, merchandise & gifts
  • Flexible space to host live music, entertainment and meetings
  • Improved Wi-Fi solution and more laptop/phone charging points
  • Lower environmental footprint thanks to LED lighting and additional recycling
  • Murray Carter, Operations Director, commented “We have listened very carefully to our customers over the last few years to develop a new travel experience which will meet their needs – significantly more inside seats, more tables for food and drinks, air conditioning, a new pet lounge, better facilities for wheelchair users and an improved food and beverage offer are just some of the highlights”.

    Red Falcon
    The refurbished Red Falcon will be sail by Easter 2014

    The project in detail

    AA Deck – This is a brand new Wi-Fi equipped sun deck located fore and aft of the ship’s bridge. Accessed via four outside staircases from A deck, the new space features teak style seats and will afford striking views of the Solent. The new deck will be the perfect place for holidaymakers to unwind, enjoy a locally-made ice cream and watch the yachts and ships passing through the Solent.
    A Deck – Two new large fully enclosed passenger lounges will be built on this level replacing what’s there today. An exciting new open-air promenade walk will enable guests to stroll around the perimeter of the ship or just relax on the new bench style seating. The passenger lift will be extended to reach this deck, so for the first time wheelchair users will be able to enjoy the sea air during the crossing.

    A contemporary look and feel has been chosen for the design of the new lounges which will be air conditioned and fitted with comfortable chairs and tables. The heavily glazed outer walls will provide plenty of light and give guests 180 degree views. Each lounge will have a Steam café bar serving delicious freshly made baguettes, panini and pizza slices as well as sumptuous cakes, pastries and scones. Customers will also be offered a wide selection of premium teas, coffees, wines and bottled beers from local breweries.

    TV screens will show useful information during the crossing and a large 65” interactive touch-screen will inform and entertain. For tech users, 240v charging points for laptops and phones will be fitted in convenient locations and free Wi-Fi will be available throughout. By using moveable furniture, the lounges can be configured differently and used to provide play space for young children or as venues for live music and entertainment. They will also be suitable to hire for meetings, seminars and workshops and incorporate AV facilities.

    Pet owners will be able to use one of the new lounges, marking a massive improvement over the existing facilities, particularly during winter. Toilets will also be installed on this deck for the first time.

    Red Falcon lounge
    How Red Falcon’s new B deck lounge will look

    B Deck – This deck will be completely stripped back to its shell and transformed into a modern contemporary travel environment that will set the standard for cross-Solent travel. Featuring a mix of comfortable airline-style seats with tray backs, dining tables for different size groups or informal nested table and chairs in the bar area, the space offers a lot of flexibility for guests regardless of whether they want to dine, work or stretch out and relax.

    TV screens will be fitted throughout, giving the flexibility to show live TV, news headlines, travel information and points of interest along the route. Free Wi-Fi will be available on this deck and charging points will be located in the seating areas.

    With a brand new galley, the hot and cold food offering will feature a new range of freshly cooked dishes which will be of higher quality and sold at affordable prices. Red Funnel’s famous English breakfast remains the signature dish and will be given a local twist with more ingredients sourced from the Isle of Wight and Hampshire. The widened breakfast menu will be joined by 4-5 high quality dishes during the day such as Beer Battered Cod & Chips, which will change regularly to give more variety for regular travellers.

    A lot of thought has been put into the design of the galley and the counter area to reduce waiting times and this has led to the relocation of the drink stations. Fixed dining tables and chairs with different configurations should prove popular with families, couples, freight drivers and business travellers.

    The onboard retail offer is also being extended to include more Red Funnel branded items and gifts which are made on the Isle of Wight. Retail items will be available to purchase via a new Information Bureau on B deck which will also offer event and attraction tickets, an accommodation booking service and allow customers to amend or make new ferry bookings.

    The Red Falcon project is due to start in February and will be completed in time for the busy Easter holidays. The work will be undertaken with the ship alongside in Southampton, thereby securing valuable employment for local trades and businesses.

    Paul Winter, acting CEO, commented “If the new design and layout proves as popular with customers as we expect, then I am confident that we can make further investments in customer service for Red Eagle and Red Osprey that would further raise our service standards in time for the 2015 summer season.”

    Posted on 6th December 2013 at 09:18 am in Ferry Operators | Red Funnel | Ferry News |

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