Scotland’s only year-round passenger ferry service to mainland Europe is to be scrapped.
The operator, DFDS, said the Rosyth to Zeebrugge (Belgium) sailings would end in December after failing to attract enough passengers. Travellers who have booked later trips will be offered a full refund.
The 489-passenger ferry Scottish Viking was purpose-built for the three-times-a-week service, which was launched in a blaze of publicity in May last year.
Despite a busy summer and heavy promotion, the company said it had managed to achieve only 60 per cent of its expected passenger numbers for the year.
DFDS Vice-President, Andreas Teschl, said: “We are aware that the ferry service has provided an important link between Scotland and the continent so it is a matter of deep regret that we have had to take the decision to no longer operate passenger services on the Rosyth to Zeebrugge route.” He said he believed the route had a future as a freight-only service.
Several people who posted messages on the website of the Scottish Daily Record complained that the passenger ferry service had simply been too expensive.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique offers a range of luxury hotels in Edinburgh, Glasgow and many other cities in Scotland.
Italy is to embark on a project to open up miles of 14th century waterways that have fallen into disrepair.
The aim is to allow tourists the opportunity to travel by slow boat from Lake Maggiore to Venice via Milan. The restored canal system would eventually link up with the River Po, winding its way to Venice by way of Pavia, Piacenza, Cremona and Ferrara. It will be a chance for visitors to ‘drift past the Italian Renaissance landscape.’
The project, costing a billion euros (£886 million / $1.3 billion), aims to revive what was once a main transport artery, as confirmed by casual references in Shakespeare to Milan as an inland port.
The first part of the route was originally used to transport marble from quarries in Piedmont to build Milan’s Gothic cathedral, which was begun in 1386. The trip, using horse-drawn barges known as cagnone, took two weeks, with each barge carrying up to 50 tonnes of stone.
The canals began falling into disuse in the 1930s, as goods were transported by road and rail instead of water. They became unnavigable either because of neglect or because dams were constructed for irrigation. Electronically-controlled locks will now be built.
Some of Milan’s canals have already been restored for picturesque boat trips, including the oldest one, the Naviglio Grande, now lined with boutiques and cafés.
by Andy Moreton
Luxique can offer a wide selection of luxury and boutique Italian hotels, including some of the finest in Venice and Milan.