In March 2007 Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (L D Lines) took over the ferry service from Transmanche who have operated a year round cross-channel route for freight, coaches, cars and passengers from Newhaven to the French port of Dieppe. The duration of these crossings had been approximately four hours.
It was reported by Barbara Davidson in The Argus on 8 March 2004 that two new ships were being built for Transmanche to replace the ferries then operating on this route, Sardinia Vera and Dieppe.
The first of the new ferries Cote d’Albatre arrived at Newhaven and went into service on 13th March 2006. In November 2006 the second ferry Seven Sisters arrived. The stated target was to make the 70 mile crossing in about three hours. If the ships could approach this in normal conditions it would make a huge difference to the appeal of this route to the Continent but the published times remained at four hours. Dieppe and Sardinia Vera have since retired from the route.
In a surprise announcement LD Lines also unveiled plans to open a daily summer service on a new route from Newhaven to Le Havre with a five hour crossing time - this service starting on 30 April 2007 and continuing until the end of September with the outward journey leaving Newhaven at 12.30 pm, arriving back at midnight. Seven Sisters was used for this crossing which inevitably impacted on the sailings to Dieppe.
Since then the Le Havre service has ceased and by 2011 the Dieppe route was more often operated by Seven Sisters than the Cote d’Albatre.
In the past it was usual for the schedules to allow from Newhaven the possibility for a day trip either by car or on foot with sufficient hours in Dieppe between sailings to justify making the crossing. Unfortunately this is no longer the case (in 2011) as it would hardly be worth leaving the ship before needing to embark for the return journey to Newhaven.