Many Brittany Ferries passengers are making an “informed personal decision” to travel even in the face of quarantine restrictions on Spain and France.

Data from reservations on the ferry firm’s Spanish routes suggests that large numbers are continuing with their holiday plans.

Brittany Ferries has continued to run services connecting Portsmouth and Plymouth with Santander and Bilbao since quarantine was imposed on those returning from Spain from July 25.

In that period only around one in five of those who booked to travel has cancelled or changed their travel plans. The majority have carried on sailing.

Company chief executive Christophe Mathieu said: “Imposing quarantine from those arriving from France is of course bad news for Brittany Ferries and passengers.

“However, after six months of the Covid crisis it appears that many of our predominantly-British customers are determined to have their summer holiday abroad.

“Of course, we are all better informed about the crisis than we were in May or June and appreciate both the risks of infection and the measures we must take to protect ourselves and others.

“Social distancing, mask wearing and regular hand washing are now habits that we have started to adopt as a routine, whether on board Brittany Ferries’ ships, at home or in a holiday destination.

“Perhaps this goes some way to explaining their determination to get away.”

Brittany Ferries says that it understands that quarantine may be a tool used to combat the spread of Covid-19.

However, the company believes measures must always be proportional to the risk, enabling people to travel to and from lower risk areas within different countries this summer.

It is also reminding customers visiting France and Spain that basic health protection is still afforded by EHIC cards (European Health Insurance Cards) which remain valid until the end of 2020.

Before the announcement of the removal of France from the UK quarantine exemption list, it expected to carry around 240,000 passengers this summer compared with around 780,000 for a normal year, a consequence of lockdowns, restrictions on travel and capacity limits on ships.

The company warned of potential changes to schedules at the end of the summer if forward demand falls to levels that means services become unsustainable.

“Brittany Ferries will closely follow forward demand over the coming weeks,” a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, DFDS is reassuring travellers that it will continue to support their holiday plans following France and Holland being added to the UK’s quarantine list,

The ferry firm, which runs 57 sailings a day from Dover, will continue to run passenger services to facilitate travel to and from  the Continent.

DFDS runs ferries on routes to Calais and Dunkirk, three crossings a day between Newhaven and Dieppe and daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam.

Kasper Moos, head of DFDS’ short routes and passenger business, said: “Customers with existing bookings, or those considering booking a holiday to Europe can rest assured that we will continue to operate our passenger routes between the UK, France and Holland.

“While arrangements may have changed for what they must do when they return from their break, we continue to provide a safe and relaxing means to travel to and from the Continent.”