A NEW 'no frills' car ferry service has been launched which will sail from Hampshire to France and Spain.

Brittany Ferries économie ferry will sail from Portsmouth to Le Havre in Normandy and the city of Santander in northern Spain.

The new ferry is operated by a newly acquired ship called the Etretat and the new service comprises a daytime sailing from Portsmouth to Le Havre and an overnight sailing from Le Havre to Portsmouth each Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Crossing times are five hours and 30 minutes during the day and around nine hours overnight. At weekends there is a Saturday morning departure from Portsmouth to Santander and a Sunday afternoon sailing back to Portsmouth, with a crossing time of 26 hours each way.

The facilities and space onboard is limited compared to Brittany Ferries' cruise ferry services, however there is a bar, self-service restaurant, small boutique, movie lounge and free Wi-Fi internet access.

Group Commercial Director of Brittany Ferries, Mike Bevens, said: “We began operating from Portsmouth to Santander in 2009 and to Le Havre in 2013, and both routes have proved popular with customers.”

“Etretat allows us to build on that success by offering them more capacity, a wider range of sailing times, and, thanks to the économie concept - even greater value.”