Exhibition area - artists impression

Honfleur - inspiring design

“Brittany Ferries is more than just a business,” says Catherine Querné. “It’s an identity.”

She should know. After four decades, Catherine is often referred to as the soul of the company. In that time, she has helped create the passenger spaces of eleven new ships. 

Now, as Strategy Director, Catherine leads the team charged with creating Honfleur’s onboard experience. Of all the ships she’s worked on, Catherine says Honfleur is the most significant, because it is the first to be commissioned since the company defined its brand philosophy.

“We’ve always known what makes this company special; what’s in our DNA,” she says. “We’re generous. We’re people who love people. We have an eye for detail and a respect for the environment. But now we’ve defined it. And in Honfleur, we’re creating a space which brings that alive.”

Clearly, designing a 4,400 square-metre public space which must welcome up to 1,680 guests three times daily is a daunting task. “But our customers make it easier,” adds Joëlle Croc, Brittany Ferries’ Onboard Services Director. “We send all our customers a questionnaire after they’ve sailed with us, and we get over a million responses every year. That’s an incredible starting point.”

Catherine, Joëlle and the team have also examined demographic trends, such our tendency to live longer, healthier lives and continue to travel later in life, as well as many customers’ need to be constantly digitally connected. 

Catherine Querné - Directrice Stratégie EN

It’s not just about providing what passengers need. It’s very important to be good hosts, and to treat our guests as individual travellers, not tourists. We also hope we can provide the small discoveries that make travel by sea so enriching.
Catherine Querné
Strategy Director
Brittany Ferries

On the firm’s regular ‘travel safaris’, Brittany Ferries’ staff members have explored and reported back on the latest trends in hotel and restaurant design, such as the shift to simple but stylish hotel room design, and the rise of informal, ‘on-the-go’ dining. All of this will be reflected aboard Honfleur.

And because the team already know the times at which Honfleur will sail each day, they’ve been able to map out individual ‘customer journeys’, imagining what passengers are likely to need as they come aboard, and ensuring it’s waiting for them.

“It’s not just about providing what you need,” Catherine clarifies. ‘It’s very important to us to be good hosts, and to treat our guests as travellers, not tourists. If you’re tired and you just want to relax in your cabin, you can do that. We’re not pushy. But we hope we can also provide the small discoveries that make travel so enriching.

Honfleur’s innovative new travel lounge is the most likely source of such inspiration, offering big-screen interactive information on all of the regions which Brittany Ferries connects. But there’s also real joy in the detail of Honfleur’s interior design, such as the cabin floors inspired by the wooden boardwalks of Deauville, or the bigger windows and better views which celebrate the fact that you’ve taken the time to travel by sea.

“Creating a great customer experience aboard Honfleur is a real team effort,” says Catherine, “but I do get a sense of personal pride when I know our customers have come aboard, been happy, and chosen to come back.”


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