Saturday, December 15, 2018

New vessel to connect Valle Gran Rey with Tenerife

HSC Champion Jet 1 arriving in La Gomera yesterday. (Images:
The rapidly expanding ferry company Naviera Armas will be introducing yet another vessel on the route between Los Cristianos on Tenerife and Valle Gran Rey on La Gomera island from today. The high speed catamaran (HSC) Champion Jet 1 has been chartered by the Canarian ferry company Armas from the Greek/Cypriot shipping company Seajets to replace the Trasmediteranea Alcantara 2 which sailed on this route up to last night (see my recent post).
Champion Jet 1 was built in Tasmania by Incat as hull number 044 in 1997 and has just  undergone a complete refurbishment (see image below). This latest vessel on the LC-VGR route can accommodate about 750 passengers and 200 cars and offers all the usual facilities such a bar cafeteria, shop, etc. while achieving a top speed of 36 knots, which makes her faster than the previous vessel on this route and should ensure more realistic arrival times (ETAs). The 285ft long vessel with a beam of 85ft once operated in the Channel islands and later connected Poole with Cherbourg for Brittany Ferries as 'Condor Vitesse' before being sold to Seajets in Greece in 2015, where she was renamed Champion Jet 1 and operated from Piraeus and Heraklion.
Now the chartered HSC is expected to also connect Los Cristianos with Santa Cruz de La Palma once trials there have been completed and hopefully the fast ferry will connect La Palma with La Gomera as well.
Tickets for sailings between Los Cristianos and Valle Gran Rey can now be booked well in advance on the Naviera Armas website. Presently two return trips are offered on most days until the 10th of February 2019 and further schedules are expected to be published soon.
Update: This morning's first Champion Jet 1 scheduled sailing from Valle Gran Rey arrived in Los Cristianos on time, covering the distance in just 90 minutes. The previous ferry was always very late arriving at its destination. The new vessel seems to achieve the ETAs, making the service more reliable which is crucial when you have to catch a flight from Tenerife.

Latest (summer 2019): This service temporarily only operates Saturday/Sunday due to fleet restructuring. A new service is likely to begin at the end of summer and is expected to connect Los Cristianos with Valle Gran Rey and  the island of El Hierro. Update to follow...
UPDATE OCT. 2019: 
This service has now been suspended indefinitely.


cully said...

Any idea of their timetable for next week? I tried to book online for 14th February but all dates from February 10th onward are blanked out.
Does this mean they have ceased to operate?

La Gomera said...

I know it is annoying, but the online booking system of Armas sometimes doesn't allow much planning ahead and is a bit cumbersome. The ferry service should be operating, I guess. There hasn't been any information to the contrary.
Alternatively, book at their port offices or phone the company.
Armas really need to improve their online booking system as their current web service just isn't good enough and loses the company customers. I've met several people who booked tickets with Fred Olsen only because it is a lot easier to plan and book sailings.
Keep trying and safe journey !

Bart Bogaert said...

I am watching it right now, ready to leave Los Cristianos, so all seems to be ok 👍