Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries is to invest £2.2million in a major refurbishment of the interior of a second ro-pax ferry, MV Red Osprey, which operates between Southampton and East Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
The investment follows a record breaking year for the company, with traffic levels up 15% over the main summer holiday period. This growth has seen the company's Southampton-East Cowes route overtake Portsmouth-Fishbourne as the most popular cross-Solent route for vehicles
The company’s success has been due in part to the major refurbishment and upgrade of the passenger accommodation on MV Red Falcon, which returned to service in April this year. The company is also benefiting from the repositioning of the Isle of Wight as an all season destination for active couples and families, a strategy which has seen the value of the Island’s tourism economy grow by 6% in the past 12 months.
The new look planned for Red Osprey will be almost identical to the refurbishment carried out on Red Falcon, although the design will incorporate some minor changes following operational experience and customer feedback.
Kevin George, CEO of the company, said: “We are delighted to announce this new tranche of investment following such positive feedback received from the customers who have travelled on Red Falcon since April. The traffic figures for this year are very gratifying in that more and more customers are choosing Red Funnel for great service at competitive prices. The refurbishment of Red Osprey further underpins our commitment to the Isle of Wight as we work with partners and stakeholders to help grow the Island’s economy.”
The new look Red Osprey will re-enter service in time for Easter 2015 and new features include 55% additional inside seats; two new lounges, one of which is pet friendly; air-conditioning throughout; new food and beverage menu with free drink refill; and free high bandwidth Wi-Fi in all passenger areas.