Ferry company

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The Independent Travel

Brittany Ferries, which for years has offered high-quality “Cruise Ferries” across the Channel and to Spain’s north coast, is now giving travellers the choice of Economie crossings - few-frills sailings that offer fares competitive with the airlines.

Caledonian MacBrayne rolling out lower fares to the Western Isles - and also introduced wildlife watching on its Arran ferry from Ardrossan to Brodick. On Saturdays in summer, the operator has recruited volunteers from North Ayrshire RSPB to help passengers spot species such as the peregrine falcon and Manx shearwater.

And the world’s longest-running commercial hovercraft operator celebrated half a century of shuttling between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Hover travel is investing in a pair of brand-new 21st-century hovercraft.